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W+F Bern P43: A Swiss Take on the Browning High Power

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In 1940, Switzerland began a series of trials to replace their Luger service pistols with something equally high quality, but more economical. They had squeezed as much simplification out of the Luger as they could in 1929, and by this time the guns just needed to be replaced. The first 1940 trial had only two entrants (a Petter prototype from SIG and an Astra 900), but a second trial in 1941 included a large assortment of modern handguns, including a French 1935A, a Polish Vis-35, and prototypes from both SIG and W+F Bern.

One of the most tenacious competitors (aside form the winning SIG/Petter design) was the Bern factory’s series of Browning High Power copies. In this video, we will be looking at three progressive versions of this gun as they were modified through the course of the trials (which would last until 1949). While they are all mechanically very similar to the High Power, they will get progressively less visually similar as the trials progressed. In addition, we will see features like the slide lock, manual safety, and magazine release evolve and change.

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