Those who love the Browning brand often have a unique relationship with both the outdoors and the firearms they take afield. Browning has unique roots as a company. In 1878, on the American frontier, a young man began a journey that would revolutionize modern firearms. The young man was John Moses Browning.
Fabrique Nationale (FN) began in 1889 in the small Belgian city of Herstal, near the larger city of Liege. It began as a cooperative business arrangement founded by several smaller arms makers in the region near Liege joining together to deliver an order of bolt action rifles to the Belgian government. This tradition of cooperation continues today as FN has grown into a world leader in both sporting and defense products.
Over time FN grew into a group of companies and brands which eventually became the “Herstal Group.” Today’s Herstal Group is comprised of several strong entities, including the world famous brands of Browning, Winchester Repeating Arms, FN Herstal and FNH USA.
The history of FN was altered forever by its long term arrangement with John Moses Browning in 1897. The exclusive agreement gave FN the opportunity to produce Browning-designed firearms under license worldwide. The gun design genius of Browning combined with the FN’s commitment to manufacturing innovation and excellence has resulted in many of the most famous and beloved firearms of all time. Through all this, the goal of the evolving group has been to exceed the expectations of its customer and its partners.
Over the years the design expertise of FN expanded to provide many of the most famous defense-related firearms to the world market. In fact, at various times throughout its history FN has been the dominant provider in national defense for many countries and it’s superb FAL battle rifle was often called “The right arm of the Free World.”
The famous Herstal factory is still in operation today and the factory campus includes state of the art facilities for testing, research and development as well as manufacturing, yet it still maintains a number of historic buildings where John Browning himself worked on many projects including his now legendary Superposed over and under, his last firearms design. In fact, it was at the Factory in 1926 while working on the Superposed that “the greatest gunmaker the world has ever known” passed away. In his lifetime he had made over 60 transatlantic voyages from Ogden, Utah to Herstal working on various firearms being produced at the FN factory. He had loved his time in Belgium and at FN and was revered by the people of Belgium.
Browning has been part of the Herstal group since 1977 and Winchester Repeating Arms joined in 1990. Factories are positioned around the world, with the Herstal factory still being the anchor of worldwide production.
Today FN’s firearms are used by the armed forces of over 100 countries and the Group is the provider of virtually all light machineguns to the U.S. armed forces. Continuing John Moses Browning’s legacy, the Browning brand remains a leader in innovative sporting arms design and is appreciated throughout the world as “The Best There Is.”