Helwan Brigadier: A Egyptian copy of Beretta M1951

Author: Eric Sof

Updated:

The Helwan Brigadier is a 9x19mm semi-automatic pistol that was an exemplary contribution by Egypt to the world of handguns. The Helwan Brigadier, also known as Egyptian Contract Model 951, is actually a copy of the Beretta M1951.

Introduction

Therein hangs an interesting tale. Initially, in the early 1950s, Egypt contracted with Beretta for 9mm military sidearms. After a few years of purchasing contracted Berettas from Italy, the Egyptian government approached the Italian manufacturer for permission to manufacture a copy of the Beretta M1951. Same as the Beretta, Helwan Brigadier was produced strictly for military use.

Helwan Brigadier, also known as Egyptian Contract Model 951
Helwan Brigadier, also known as Egyptian Contract Model 951 (Photo: XY)

The Italians agreed, assisted in setting up the production of licensed Egyptian facilities, and taught them the production procedures. Thus was born the Helwan Brigadier. The Maadi Co manufactured it. For Engineering Industries and imported to the U.S. by Century International Arms in Georgia, VT.

Skipping ahead almost a half-century, the official BATF list of Curio and Relic firearms now includes those initial Egypt-contract Italian Berettas. Still, it does not include the Egyptian production Helwan Brigadiers.

Design

I have found the Helwan Brigadier to be a fine 8-shot semi-auto that is accurate and well-built. I have read some complaints regarding the Brigadier but have not experienced any problems in mine over several hundred rounds of ammunition. The main criticisms that have been lodged have been that the Brigadiers are not as finely crafted as the Beretta and that the takedown tends to work loose during firing.

Helwan Brigadier, also known as Egyptian Contract Model 951 - diagram
Helwan Brigadier, also known as Egyptian Contract Model 951 – diagram (Photo: GunParts)

A special version of this “second series,” the Egyptian Contract Model 951, later known as Helwan Brigadier, was modified according to the military’s wishes of the Egyptian Arab Republic, who placed Beretta in competition with Hungary’s Tokarev to become its primary supplier of sidearms.

The Egyptian Contract Model 951’s particular modifications included more prominent sights, a simplified, narrower grip, and an external thumb-spring magazine release, a departure from the push-button release in the lower-right grip of the M1951s. The Egyptians appreciated the Egyptian Contract Beretta Model 951’s accuracy, power, and uncanny reliability in desert conditions, and Maadi Co. produced approximately 50,000.

Helwan Brigadier, also known as Egyptian Contract Model 951 field-stripped to the basic parts
Helwan Brigadier, also known as Egyptian Contract Model 951, field-stripped to the basic parts (Photo: XY)

Technical specifications

Manufacturer: Maadi Company for Engineering Industries, Egypt, and Beretta, Italy
Type: Short recoil, locked-breech
Caliber: 9x19mm Parabellum
Barrel: 114.2 mm (4.5 in)
Weight (empty): 870 grams (31 oz)
Magazine capacity: 8-round detachable box magazine
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1 thought on “Helwan Brigadier: A Egyptian copy of Beretta M1951”

  1. Great pistol, if you have the right one.. Some of the commercial ones are made out of inferior steel which cause the locking blocks to fail.

    If anyone is in need of a quality new manufacture locking block for there Helwan or Beretta 1951 feel free to contact me.

    Wess Schrijver from The Netherlands

    wess-zakelijk@hotmail.com