Founded in 1889 to produce 150,000 Mauser Model 89 rifles for the Belgian government, Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal—originally known as Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre or “National Manufacturer for Weapons of War”—has since become one of the world’s leaders in pistol, rifle, machine gun and submachine gun production.
In 1897, an FN sales manager travelling to the U.S. to learn about bicycles happened to meet John Moses Browning, the prolific inventor and founder of Browning Arms Company, and the two companies began a long and fruitful relationship, centering on the design partnership of John Browning and FN’s chief designer, Dieudonne Saive.
FN and Browning’s joint productions include the Browning Hi-Power pistol—one of the most popular military pistols ever made—the Auto-5 (which holds the distinction of being the world’s first mass-produced semi-automatic shotgun), the Browning Automatic Rifle, and the FN Baby Browning pistol, which was completed by Dieudonne Saive based on one of John Browning’s final designs.
In 1947, Dieudonne Saive created the first prototype of the FN FAL light automatic rifle, which was first used by the Canadian Army in 1953 and was subsequently adopted by over 90 countries, making it among the most widely used rifles in history.
In 1990, FN Herstal began production on the FN P90 submachine gun, a compact yet powerful staple of support personnel, special forces and counter-terrorist groups worldwide which is used by over 200 law enforcement agencies including the United States Secret Service; and in 2005 FN started manufacturing the semi-automatic PS90 for the civilian market.