Browning BDA .380 Auto Pistol

Author: Eric Sof

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The Browning BDA Auto Pistol resembles the Berreta Model 84 in most respects and is actually made by Beretta in Italy, but there have been one or two modifications to bring it to the specification demanded by Browning. Another plus feature is that, in the United States, it costs considerably less than an imported Beretta Model 84.

This model was sold in the United States as the Browning BDA 380. On the right side of the slide is marked Fabrique National Herstal with the FN logo followed by “Made in Italy.” In the same manner as the larger BDAs, the left side of the slide is marked “Browning Arms Company Morgan Utah and Montreal, P.Q.”


The Browning BDA is a conventional blow-back automatic pistol, perhaps unusual in having a larger magazine capacity that is common in American pistols. The principal difference between this and the Beretta 84 is the use of an enveloping slide and the addition of a slide-mounted safety and decocking lever which operates from both sides of the slide.

Browning BDA 380 Auto Pistol
Browning BDA 380 Auto Pistol (Photo: XY)

Depressing this lever lowers the hammer from a full-to-half-cock position and locks it; once the safety is down the pistol cannot be cocked by thumbing the hammer back. Pulling the trigger allows the hammer to fall from the half-cock to the fired position, without touching the firing pin. Releasing the safety allows both thumb-cocking and double-action cock-and-fire action with a single pull on the trigger.


Sights on Browning BDA pistol consist of a fixed front sight and a non-adjustable rear sight which is held in a dovetail groove and can be laterally shifted for zeroing. Accuracy is satisfactory, the pistol grouping within a five-inch circle at 50 yards. The finish is excellent, with walnut grips inlaid with the Browning medallion.

Technical specifications

Manufacturer:Armi Beretta SpA, I-25063, Gardone Val Trompia, Italy
Marketed by:Browning Arms, Rt #1, Morgan, UT 84050, United States
Type:Blowback double-action semi-automatic
Caliber :.380 / 9 mm SHORT
Barrel:3.8 in (97 mm)
Weight (empty):23 oz (652 gm)
Magazine capacity:13 rounds
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8 thoughts on “Browning BDA .380 Auto Pistol”

  1. Bought one for my wife in 1987, new nickel. Ran about 50 rounds through it to get her comfortable , cleaned it and she kept it in her dresser draw. We divorced in 1989 . She died in 2017 and had willed the pistol back to me. I cleaned it oiled it up and shot a mag through it . WONDERFUL I ordered a replacement medallion for it and she is good as new. I carry it in a ‘two shoulder ” concealed carry holster rig from Craft holsters , P239 on my left side and the Browning on my right side .

  2. I owned one about the same time. About a year later the DA trigger small coil spring broke and when it breaks your out of business. I called Browning and the guy I talked to asked me if I was going to replace it myself, I said yes, he replied good luck. It was rather hard to do. After replacing it I sold the gun. Loved the gun, but I did not want to take a chance on that happening again.

  3. Ive owned one since the early 1980s. It has never failed to function ever. It is as reliable as it can possibly be. I did change out the grips for Pachmayer grips because I found the wood grips to be too smooth for my liking. If I leave home to go to town this little pistol is on my left hip in a crossdraw belt mount holster.

  4. I also bought tge firearm in 1985, I still have it and it looks brand new. Love this gun, saved my life and others twice. Accurate to fire, very little kick it does have a tight wracking but holly crap it shoots like a dream.

  5. I bought this modal in Gun store in Lakeland Fl. and comparing it to the picture I noticed mine does not have the name Fabrique National Herstal On it Can anyone tell me why?

  6. James Arden Daniels
    The Browning BDA 380 was made in Italy by Beretta in Italy and by FN Herstal in Belgium. Yours was made in Belgium.

  7. Bought one right before the Clinton ban took place. Love the gun, but can feel the burning powder specks when shooting hot loads. It’s a neat piece.

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