New Defender: a snub nosed pistol that shouldn’t exist

new defender

new defender




  … a snub-nosed pistol that shouldn’t exist!



It is a New Defender made by Harrington & Richardson as the Model 299 and is cataloged as being a top break revolver chambered in .22 Long Rifle, 9 shots, and the 2” barrel says exactly that. But, it isn’t. This pistol has a seven shot chambering for the .22 WRF, which is an inside lubricated bullet rimfire, with a larger diameter case than a .22 RF, and a little more velocity and energy. A common loading for WRF was a 40 gr. hollow point bullet with a muzzle velocity of 1440 fps, and that might be a clue to why and how this pistol came to be.

The New Defender was based on the Model 999 and follows the variations of the 999 exactly, according to William Goforth. It was touted as a short barreled revolver with target accuracy and has adjustable front and rear sights. The 999, or Sportsman, was a development of the U.S.R.A. Model, the design of which was strongly influenced by Walter Roper. The 999 was intended as a target pistol and had appropriate features, including H&R’s interchangeable grips, a fine trigger, and adjustable target sights.

The catalog listing for the 299 started in 1935 and stopped in 1939. This New Defender S/N has a D prefix, putting production in 1943. When I acquired the pistol, the rounded grip had been modified with some filler material to fit someone’s hand. Many parts for the 999 and 299 interchange, so it would have been possible for a gunsmith to simply swap out a seven shot cylinder and hand for the nine shot cylinder and hand but, apparently, that didn’t happen. The seven shot cylinder is numbered to the gun, in H&R style. It looks like a factory job.

This may have been a war time special order for someone who knew exactly what they wanted for a specific purpose. They would have had an easily concealable pistol, handy and quick, with more power than a .22 LR for close work. It could use .22 LR in a pinch, even though the cases sometimes split if fired in the WRF chamber. It would have been accurate enough for hitting at a distance, and the sights could be regulated for a specific load, again with more stopping power than a .22LR. It wouldn’t have been quite as loud as a centerfire pistol, either. This someone might have been working for, say, the OSS, perhaps? What would this little New Defender tell us, if it could talk?

Member Featured Firearm: FN 1922

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In a previous post, we showed a FN 1910 designed by John Browning as a followup to his popular FN 1900 pistol.  Today, we are showing a variant of the 1910 called the 1922.  The Yugoslav army was looking for a new military pistol and favored the 1910 but wanted a longer barrel and more magazine capacity.  FN was able to design some variations to the 1910 design to make this happen:

  • The grip was lengthened to allow 2 more rounds
  • A longer barrel was added
  • The bushing from the 1910 was replaced with a “Cap” that accommodated the longer barrel
  • A Lanyard ring was added

Like the 1910 and 1900, it is chambered in 7.65×17mm Browning (32acp).

For comparison, here is the 1910 on top and the 1922 on the bottom.


And a similar picture with the the cap removed for comparison.  You can see the frame length is identical but the barrel is longer and grip extended:


Here is an excellent article on about this Pistol.


Member Featured Firearm: fn 1905



Note:  This is a continuing series of posts highlighting some of the guns that HHAA members have in their collections.   Members, please see the newsletter for information about how to contact the webmaster and have your gun featured here.

The parade of early John Moses Browning pistols continues.  Today’s featured firearm is the Fabrique Nationale (FN) model 1905.  Named because of the patent date, this gun was sold by FN from 1906 until 1959.  The Colt Vest Pocket, which is virtually identical, came out 2 years later in 1908.  While John Browning sold gun designs to both FN and Colt, the 1905/1908 was the only design that was produced by both companies.  The gun was popularly known at the time as the “Baby Browning”, but it is a totally different gun from the “Baby Browning” designed by Dieudonné Saive for FN (although it is said that Saive based his design on the 1905).

This small striker fired, blowback pistol is chambered in the underwhelming 25acp (6.35×16mmSR) and is meant to be easily concealed in a gentleman’s “vest pocket”.  The removable magazine holds six rounds.


The gun features 3 safeties:  A manual safety, a grip safety and a magazine safety.


Above, is the gun field stripped. In the upper left hand corner, you can see the three parts of the striker.   The frame is in the upper right hand corner and the slide in the lower right.  In the center are the recoil spring, guide rod and the 2 inch barrel.  Finally, the 6 round magazine is in the lower left.

Very concealable but definitely more of a belly gun since the sights are minuscule.


Member Featured Firearm: FN Hi-Power in 40 S&W



This pistol is an FN Mark III Hi-Power chambered in 40 S&W.  Picked this up at a gun show a while back.  The Hi-Power, or P-35, has a rich history and is one of the greatest pistols ever designed.

John Browning began work on the Hi-Power but died before it’s completion.  It was completed by Dieudonné Joseph Saive.  Saive designed a double stack magazine from which the pistol gets its “Hi-Power” name.

Typically and traditionally, the Hi-Power is chambered in 9x19mm but this one is chambered in 40 S&W.  The 40 cal magazine holds 10 rounds.

This pistol also features the SFS  (Safe Fast System) designed by Cylinder & Slide.  Whereas a traditional hi-power is carried “Cocked and Locked”, the SFS safety functions differently.  To engage the safety, the hammer is pushed forward into the “down” position.  When the safety is disengaged with the lever, the hammer pops up into the ready position.   This allows one to carry his gun without the hammer being obviously cocked.

This is a fun gun to shoot.  It is certainly has heavier recoil than the 9mm but is manageable.

For more information, check out this article from the NRA Museum.

Member Featured Firearm: FN 1910



As promised in last month’s featured gun article,  this is a FN/Browning m1910.  This gun was designed by John Browning during a prolific period of small caliber handgun designs including the FN 1900, the Colt 1908 Pocket Hammerless, and the Colt Vest Pocket. Like it’s older Fabrique National sibling, the FN 1900, it is a striker fired, blowback operated, magazine loaded pistol chambered in 32ACP.   It was also offered in 9mm Kurz (.380).   It features a number of changes from its big brother:  It is smaller. It does not require tools to disassemble and the gun can be switched between the calibers with just a barrel change.   The recoil spring also wraps the barrel which was later used in other guns.


Size of M1910

Size Comparison of M1900 (top) and M1910 (bottom)

Size Comparison of M1900 (top) and M1910 (bottom)

The 1910 was used in a number of historically interesting assassinations:

  • In 1914, Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie with an M1910 chambered in 380.  This lit the fuse on the powder keg that started World War I
  • In 1932, the President of France, Paul Doumer, was assassinated with an M1910.
  • In 1935, The governor of Louisiana, Huey Long (The kingfish), was assassinated with an M1910.

I picked this up at the same gun show that I bought the 1900.  It has been reblued so it’s a shooter rather than a collectable gun.  It is definitely designed for close range shooting since the sights are very small.  Even the best shot I know (and HHAA board member) had a hard time getting it on the paper at 25 yards.  He will attest to significant slide bite and can show you the scars!

Here’s more from Wikipedia about the M1910.

Reminder: Members, feature your gun here.   Contact me and I’ll post it!

HHAA Member Featured Firearm: Browning/FN 1900


This pistol is an FN 1900.  It is John Browning’s first commercial pistol.  It was built and sold by Fabrique Nationale, the Belgium pistol maker.  It is a single action, striker fired, semi-automatic blowback pistol and the first commercial pistol to use a slide.   It features a removable magazine.

It was very successful and made “Browning” synonymous with Pistol in Europe.  It is chambered in 7.65 Browning, known in America as 32acp.   The two flathead screws at the top of the slide are for disassembly,  making the 1900 unusual in that it requires a screwdriver to disassemble.

The two crossed Mosin’s on the frame directly over the grip indicate that this particular pistol is an Imperial Russian Contract Pistol ordered for the Russian Military Academy.

Many people believe that an FN 1900 was used to assassinate Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie and set off the chain of events that started World War I.  This is not the case.   That gun was a FN 1910 chambered in .380 and will be featured in a future article.

Ran into this gun at a gun show in Las Vegas and picked it up for a decent price.

For more information about the gun, see this short article on Wikipedia.