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American Handgunner May/June 2011 - Page 71
the PS A 25 Auto • • • • The P.S.A. .25 in an average hand shows its compact nature. This model is of very high quality. The BroWning “BaBy” reTurns! J.B. Wood The Baby through history: (left to right) P.S.A., PSP, Bauer and FN/ Browning, the original Baby. H ere at the start, a little history: In 1927, just a year after the death of John Moses Browning, the design department at Fabrique Nationale in Belgium decided some-thing smaller and neater was needed to replace their original .25 Auto pistol. They wisely assigned the project to Dieudonne Saive, and the result was the FN/Browning “Baby.” It was, indeed, smaller, flatter and more concealable. And it did away with some of the unwanted features of the earlier pistol, such as the grip safety. The “Baby” was made at FN from 1931 to 1979, and then briefly (1979-1983) by MAB in Bayonne, France. Total production was around a half-million pistols. During World War II, the “Baby” was a favorite of the resistance in Nazi-occupied France. Much later, in Vietnam, I’ve been told it was a standard-issue kit item for pilots. Otherwise, along the way, its small size and total reliability made it popular as a deepcover personal carry piece. While the .25 Auto cartridge is definitely not a major-power round, it has settled matters many times. After the MAB firm went out of business, FN contracted with Precision Small Parts in Canada, and their subsidiary in Charlottesville, Va., to produce the pistol. They subsequently ran into US export problems. Between 1985 and 1995, a small number of this production was sold to KBI of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Then, PSP closed its doors. After the infamous US law of 1968 banned importation of handguns of this size, the Bauer company of Fraser, Michigan marketed a stainless-steel version of the pistol from 1972 to 1984. To avoid patent hassles, there were a few internal mechanical differences. Still, it was essentially the Baby. After the Bauer firm dissolved, the actual maker, the factory, continued to offer it for a few years as the Fraser. End of history lesson. They didn’t rush into production. Several years went by as they studied the design, adding a few subtle refinements. Finally, in 2007, they began production in Aspen, Colo., and the Baby was back! And, starting in 2010, all models are made from billet stock. I’m pleased to be the first writer to actually try out the new P.S.A. .25 Auto, and I’m also pleased to report they have cut no corners here. Through the magic of CNC machining and dimensional control inspection technology, everything is exactly right. The over-all effect can only be described as elegant. Continued on page 100 Reborn Not long after the PSP firm ceased operations, their assets were purchased by Lenn Kristal and a group of investors. The manual safety is shown in the “on” position and falls under your thumb naturally. The elegant P.S.A. original container is as highend as the gun itself. WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM 71