Browning BDM 9mm

Browning BDM 9mm

This is a discussion on Browning BDM 9mm within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I was looking at the sale bill for an upcoming auction in my area. They are selling a Browning BDM 9mm NIB. It's my understanding ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array MandM's Avatar
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    Browning BDM 9mm

    I was looking at the sale bill for an upcoming auction in my area. They are selling a Browning BDM 9mm NIB.

    It's my understanding these were manufactured up until the late 1990's. They came with either a 10 round or 15 round magazine. The safety is ambi but there are some complaints about the way the safety operates.

    Anyone here have experience with this gun? Would you consider it as a CC gun? It seems to have a very thin profile.
    You can't fix stupid. Ron White


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    I'm on my second BDM, here.

    There are many other guns to choose from on the market, these days, including ones with ~15rds. If the Glock 19 fits you ergonomically and shoots well, I would recommend that, instead. Otherwise, the BDM is an interesting package. Having had two of them, I can recommend the BDM for its unique features and excellent shootability, though that's qualified given that gunsmiths don't like to touch them.

    I purchased one the year it came out, early 1990's. Saw it in the case at a sporting goods store, just sitting there in the corner, unloved. It had been there for months, and wouldn't sell. IIRC, it came with two 15rd mags. Used it to get familiar with semi-autos in advance of applying for my CHL the first time (in Calif.). Carried it daily for years in a IWB holster.

    Mine took forever to break in. I think it was something about the steel used in the barrel. After about 5-6K rds, the gun began to smooth out and accuracy skyrocketed. At which point, I had to have Browning replace the slide due to a gouge that began to affect performance. After 10K rds, it was near flawless for the next ~28K rds. It would simply go and go and go, no failures. Very confidence inspiring. Even after nearly 40K rds the barrel was in top shape with very sharp grooves and shiny bore. It simply got better and better, as time wore on.

    The gun rides very flat, yes. It's an all-steel frame, and the grip panels are cut into the sides of the frame, not attached on the outside of them like on a 1911. Personally, I'd prefer a little bit of palm swell and for the grip panels to be made of a softer rubber-like material, but that's just me. It's the source of the flatness, and that's a good thing.

    The gun points very, very naturally, I think. It's easy to shoot well. The overall length (OAL) is nearing 8", so it's every bit a handful to conceal. Your body shape, clothing and holster must allow for the length. The size of the grip is about the same as a 1911 Commander, and about as thin as one with thin panels.

    At 31oz, it is fairly light for an all-steel, full-size, easy-to-conceal pistol. You've got to go to STI for something comparable (ie, the STI VIP), but then it's nowhere near as flat.

    Some people have reported that the thin nature of the steel frame led to stress cracks, over time. I never saw that in either of my two, nor did I ever see someone else's BDM have problems. Unknown.

    The gun originally was built with 15rd magazines. Those ran up against the 1994 AWB, so there aren't many of them around (though you can find them, at a price). You can find Wolff extra-power springs for the mags, though replacement followers are tough to find. The 10rd variants are easy to find, and are reasonably inexpensive. The 15rd ones will cost more. If, like me, you want a dozen 15rd mags on hand (to cycle through, for reliability concerns), you can easily spend more on the magazines than the gun. But, 2ea x $300 plus 15ea x $25 can still be a good value, given the uniqueness of the package, even at that price. Depends on what you're looking for.

    As for ammo, I found the Remington Golden Saber JHP 124gr to run like a top. There are better choices, these days, IMO. Though, it depends on what you find runs exceptionally well in your particular gun. The Golden Saber was the one that was perfect, in mine.

    There is one strange feature to the gun. I like it, but died-in-the-wool 1911 types hate it with a passion. The safety. It's an ambidextrous unit, with a big, fat lever. Easy to use, and impossible to miss. Actually, it's a decocker/safety. Bad part is, it's "down" to put it on "safe." Flip it "up" to fire. That is completely opposite the 1911. If that works for you (it did, me), then you'll be fine, though keep in mind the difference in terms of most every other semi-auto you'll use, given the potential impact during a defensive situation. It was my first and I was highly comfortable with it, so for me it was far less an issue than for most folks. Just something to consider.

    The main feature of the BDM, at least from a marketing standpoint, was the "double mode" feature (as in, Browning Double Mode). With the turn of a screw, you could have it be DA/SA, or DAO. I simply left it in DA/SA mode and ran with it. It worked very well, as-is. Didn't need the marketing fluff to "improve" things.

    Several holster makers still cover the gun. Check out Fist holsters for some options.

    One fly in the ointment: no gunsmith on earth will touch them. I had my first through nearly 40K rds, and as I began a search for a decent gunsmith who knew the BDM I found that nobody liked to work on them. Apparently they are full of little roll pins, springs and other parts that are loads of fun to remove, but a pain unlike any other to install. On my second BDM now, I still cannot find a gunsmith to work on it, 10yrs after I sold the first one. Basically, once the springs wear out, or if a problem occurs internally, you toss it ... unless you can bribe someone or DIY. Oh yeah ... if you happen to find a competent gunsmith willing to work on them, send me the contact info!!

    Even with all that, I still recommend it for a reasonable carry gun. I would suggest getting 2ea of them. You can find them for under $300, if you're patient. Me, I'd look for a decent used one that the original owner is selling. That way, you'll get it well broken-in.

    Hope this helps.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  3. #3
    Member Array MandM's Avatar
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    ccw9mm Thank you for a very complete review of this gun. I appreciate the input. I'll have to see what happens at the auction this weekend. I told my local gun shop owner to check it out and buy it. I'm not sure I have the cash for it now. If he buys it I could keep track of it and pick it up later.

    Thanks again
    You can't fix stupid. Ron White

  4. #4
    New Member Array Gaffer65's Avatar
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    DBM magazines

    CCW9MM,

    I have had a BDM for nearly 9 years and up to last Wednesday it has worked flawlessly. Wednesday while shooting in a IDPA match it started to malfunction by not extracting. I have replacment parts for the extractor and pin but not have been able to get the pin out. any suggestions?

    BTW, I think I have over 20K rounds through the gun and like yours the barrel shows very little wear.

    I bought the gun during the magazine restrictive period so I have 3 high cap and 13 ten rounds mags. Do you know of anyone who has developed a replacement for the 10 round limiting mag pads? I would dearly love to replace those pads with something that would allow me to convert the 10 rounders to high capacity.

    Gary

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaffer65 View Post
    I have replacment parts for the extractor and pin but not have been able to get the pin out. any suggestions?
    I am no gunsmith, not even for relatively simple stuff. On the BDM, though, my gunsmiths' comments about the difficulty of reassembly has kept me from trying much beyond basic field stripping. Uncertain which pin you mean. If it's a basic roll pin, then it probably just needs a punch and judicious removal. (Unknown what else will unhinge, if that pin's removed.)

    BTW, I think I have over 20K rounds through the gun and like yours the barrel shows very little wear.
    They must use a certain type of steel. Like with Norinco 1911 pistols, which are known for taking a lot of abuse/wear.

    Do you know of anyone who has developed a replacement for the 10 round limiting mag pads?
    No, I don't. Sorry. I simply bought the 15rd varieties. Kept an eye out for when a batch of 3-5 of them was being sold inexpensively. You can find them for under $30, generally, and occasionally under $20. That's with the 10rd variants going for ~$16-25. I'd simply keep watching GunBroker and perhaps Gun Digest. You could also put out the word on classified ad boards as a wanted-to-buy listing: WTB -- 5-10 Browning BDM 15rd magazines in good working condition (new or used). Keep in mind that without gunsmith support the BDM's ultimate life expectancy is getting shorter all the time. May of those who are hanging onto the 15rd mags must know this.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  6. #6
    Member Array conwic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    I'm on my second BDM, here.

    One fly in the ointment: no gunsmith on earth will touch them. I had my first through nearly 40K rds, and as I began a search for a decent gunsmith who knew the BDM I found that nobody liked to work on them. Apparently they are full of little roll pins, springs and other parts that are loads of fun to remove, but a pain unlike any other to install. On my second BDM now, I still cannot find a gunsmith to work on it, 10yrs after I sold the first one. Basically, once the springs wear out, or if a problem occurs internally, you toss it ... unless you can bribe someone or DIY. Oh yeah ... if you happen to find a competent gunsmith willing to work on them, send me the contact info!! Hope this helps.

    Excellent summary of the BDM. And thank you for the tip on FIST.

    I bought one new about 12 years ago. However, unlike your's , mine didn't seem to have any break in period. It had excellent accuracy from day one. Wasn't the BDM manufactured at two different production lines with the last runs at FN in Columbia SC? Maybe that resulted in some variations in performance. I also like the safety decocker, though I use it as the slide release/decocker. Quick and easy way to load and put the hammer into DA.

    I haven't had any problems with mine except replacing recoil springs periodically ( Wolff) and the roll pin holding in the front sight disappearing one day at the range. I was able to get a replacement pin from Browning easily enough. IIRC, ( this was some years ago) they told me that they would support the gun as long as they had parts, but replacing the gun under warrenty with another BDM was impossible. Have you tried the manufacturer for repair under warrenty?


    Regards-conwic

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by conwic View Post
    Have you tried the manufacturer for repair under warrenty?
    Well, freshening of the springs after nearly 40Krds isn't exactly a warranty thing. While it didn't exactly seem to need any gunsmith's attentions, I knew it was high time to have the various springs replaced. Maintenance items, like this, though, would be my responsibility.

    Quote Originally Posted by conwic View Post
    It had excellent accuracy from day one.
    Might well have been due to the various manufacturing sites. Wouldn't be surprising, as tolerances would be different on the machining, equipment, jigs, etc.

    At ~7-10yds, I used to regularly carve neat little ~2" circles out of the paper targets at the range, by marching right around the circle one shot at a time (generally without fliers). At the end, the paper "hole" would simply fall out. Haven't been able to do that with any gun since. And none of my buddies could approach that accuracy with that gun. I'm sure it was something like being "in the zone" athletically. Somehow, the specific ergonomics, balance and timing of the gun was so well-matched to my hand/eye coordination that I could be that accurate with that specific gun, but no other. Strange. Sort of like my old "magic" 2-iron (golf), which due to balance and flex resulted in a 50% increase in yardage over the 3-iron ... and tremendous accuracy. Carving perfect 290yd dogleg draws was a real joy. I wasn't able to do that with any other club, or even with the replacement after the original got reshafted. Talk about getting shafted. "Bummer" isn't the word for it. Ha!

    Anyway. Here's to accuracy ... wherever it comes from.

    I haven't had any problems with mine except replacing recoil springs periodically ( Wolff) ...
    Same, here. Did the extra-power mag springs, and the recoil spring. A few times, I replaced all of the followers, given that they'd get little nicks and gouges over time. Otherwise, it was like the Energizer Bunny and just kept on tickin'. Had nearly 30Krds without a failure. By far, the most reliable stint on any gun I've owned.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Ex Member Array lafayettela's Avatar
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    Browning BDM Gunsmithing

    Does anyone have experience with this company:
    Browning BDM 9mm: MGW


    They specifically list BDM for gunsmithing services
    Browning BDM Gunsmithing: MGW

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lafayettela View Post
    They specifically list BDM for gunsmithing services
    Browning BDM Gunsmithing: MGW
    Ooooooooh! Great find. I'll contact them. If they can do a trigger job, slide smoothing and replacement of all the springs (including the nasties inside that fade with age), then this will make ONE shop on planet Earth that touches the BDM.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  10. #10
    Ex Member Array lafayettela's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Ooooooooh! Great find. I'll contact them. If they can do a trigger job, slide smoothing and replacement of all the springs (including the nasties inside that fade with age), then this will make ONE shop on planet Earth that touches the BDM.
    I just purchased a Browning BDM. If you don't mind I may be calling on your experience to ask you a few questions like "what ammo does it like best?"

    Jim

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lafayettela View Post
    I just purchased a Browning BDM. If you don't mind I may be calling on your experience to ask you a few questions like "what ammo does it like best?"

    Jim
    Sure. I've not done a review of the BDM for a long, long time, but I remember the break-in procedure and my full experience with that gun since it was my first, and the one I used to learn about pistols in advance of applying for the CHL.

    My first BDM went through 38K+ rounds before I (stupidly) sold it. This second one is on about 5K but needs some smoothing and tuning.

    On the first BDM, hands-down it loved the Remington Golden Saber JHP 124gr 9mm. Very smooth, reliable, reasonable (though not stellar) ballistics. After 10Krds, it took all loads of every brand, and every type of bullet (RN, watcutter, ball, HP, jacket/not, brass/steel, mixed magazines of various bullets). In short, there wasn't anything it wouldn't do well, but that's after it got broken-in. Amazingly, at least in that example BDM, accuracy simply got better and better, instead of going sloppy.

    On this second BDM, I've had pretty good luck so far with Federal HydraShok Tactical JHP 124gr, though at only 5K rds it isn't really broken-in yet to the point where it'll swallow anything. I've not tried the Golden Saber 124gr, on this one yet. It's possible it would also do well. Won't know unless I torture-test the various rounds again. Though, I reserve that sort of testing for carry guns, since it can get expensive in order to come to the conclusion that a given round is flawless in a gun. Takes a lot of ammo of various types in order to narrow down the selection, then a lot of ammo of that specific choice in order to meet my standard of reliability.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    New Member Array Bubbabob's Avatar
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    BDM 9mm Slide Stop Issues

    I have a BDM and I feel it's very accurate. I keep seeing some members having absolute reliability with thier BDM's however, I have been having problems with FTF (Failure to Feed). I bought the pistol used but in excellent condition. It came with 2-10 rnd mags. While at the range it has a tendency to feed perfectly to the next to last or last round, but locks open without feeding that last bullet. If I wiggle the small tang that sits up on the left side of the mag well the slide will close.

    Could something have bent that might be causing this type of failure? I share the same problem in finding someone willing to work on it.

    Thanks

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    Member Array HeadHunter's Avatar
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    The BDM was originally designed without a safety. The multi-function lever served as both decocker and slide release. Browning's lawyers insisted the pistol have a safety so the MF lever was redesigned.

    That's what killed it commercially. Releasing the slide with the MF lever puts it on Safe. The Secret Service was initially very interested in it until the change. It's a good pistol IMO, especially if you can find one of the very late production ones that don't have a safety. Those are marked "Decocker Only" on the slide.

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    Ex Member Array lafayettela's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubbabob View Post
    I have a BDM and I feel it's very accurate. I keep seeing some members having absolute reliability with thier BDM's however, I have been having problems with FTF (Failure to Feed). I bought the pistol used but in excellent condition. It came with 2-10 rnd mags. While at the range it has a tendency to feed perfectly to the next to last or last round, but locks open without feeding that last bullet. If I wiggle the small tang that sits up on the left side of the mag well the slide will close.

    Could something have bent that might be causing this type of failure? I share the same problem in finding someone willing to work on it.

    Thanks
    What brands of ammo have you tried in your BDM? Is the problem consistent across brands?

    Jim

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    New Member Array sunaj's Avatar
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    I have owned my Browning BDM for 10 years and for combat pistol it is my personal favorite. Ergonomics are great, the only thing that prevents it from being my ideal carry is the caliber, I have come to feel a bit undergunned with the 9mm (although honestly I think +p loads do mitigate that for the most part) but it is a great backup.
    I think the safety is well designed, allowing you to carry a round in the chamber with confidence, and being able to flip the safety easily as you are drawing the gun.
    I would prefer the hammer was slightly more extended, it is difficult to retract the hammer with thumb when the hammer is completely down.
    15 rd standard magazines, that always makes you smile:)
    A very attractive and pleasing-looking firearm, sorry to see the pistol out of production:(

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