My Wife and My Browning Hi-Power

Jan 12, 2020
Many many years ago when we lived in the UK, the following incident took place.

I worked for my Dad farming, we lived a big old English farm house and I operated a part time firearms business as a hobby. The gun room was in a secured upstairs bedroom as our business was mainly with local gun clubs and mail order.

In these old houses built in closets were very uncommon, we had a large wardrobe in our bedroom, a free standing cupboard that was about six feet tall. Security was a concern as the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland were at their peak, and I was known to "associate" with members of our "security forces". I kept the keys for the gun room on top of the wardrobe, out of sight but easy to reach. Next to the keys was my Browning Hi-Power, in "condition two" (loaded mag 13 rds) inserted and empty chamber; also out of sight and easy to reach. She always lay on her left side just left of the keys. By habit every time I reached for the keys my hand first felt the reassuring feel of my Browning.

One day when my hand reached for my keys and I first touched the Browning I was shocked, the Browning lay on her right side. I nearly peed my pants, what was going on, I picked up the Browning fully expecting her to be empty, but the weight immediately told me she was still loaded. I racked a round in the chamber flicked on the safety. It was a neat speed safety a friend had made for me. That Browning was sold before I emigrated to Canada but the safety came with me and is fitted to my current Browning. I then commenced a search of the house, gradually extending my search radius. Everything was normal but I was very uneasy. I made a cup of tea and sat with my back to the corner of kitchen, my trusty Browning on my lap. My wife Pat was out shopping, what would happen next, a phone call or would Pat come home, my security had been breached. I doubled checked the Browning magazine, the first round was "Two Z" (UK MOD issue FMJ) followed by a Norma soft nose, this alternating load was standard for me at that time, all was good.
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I explained what had happened, to my surprise she started to laugh. "What's so funny? I asked. "Well that will teach you stay all night in the yard gossiping!" I was not amused. Now for the rest of the tale.

A day or two before, I had gone out in the evening Rabbit shooting with the game keeper, we went out when it was dark, shooting rabbits from the back of the Land Rover with "Two Two" rifles (Twenty two to you North Americans), fitted with a good 4 x 40 telescopic sight and a Parker Hale "Sound Moderator" (Silencer); any rabbit foolish enough to run into the path of Land Rover headlamps was dead. My Collie dog "Bonnie" worked with no commands, retrieving the "kills". Bonnie reacted to the "plop" sound of the bullet impact, miss and she had the habit of giving the gunner a very disdainful look! She was incredible. In later years she was a poachers best mate but I can't talk about that, well maybe in a future musing.

Anyway we returned a few hours later, we had a good evening and quickly gutted them, a cut with a sharp knife and two fingers pulled the guts out into a bucket (pail to the rest of you), hock their hind legs and hang them up. Then Peter started to "gossip". The story was about a well know local farmer, a very highly regarded and well educated man who had been caught in a ladies bedroom and had to flee the house minus his trousers as the husband had arrived home earlier than expected. Peter had me in stitches. (I was later to meet this "lady" when cultivating her garden, she certainly was appealing, I also left in hurry, but with my trousers on let me add). Anyway we laughed and one topic led to another and we were soon putting the world to rights.

We were both startled when a voice called "John", we looked behind us, standing in the shadow (as I had taught her) of the corner light on the house was Pat, wearing her dressing gown (bath robe). "Are you coming in TONIGHT?" "Yes dear we are just about finished" I didn't pay attention to the fact that her right hand, by her side, was concealed by her robe nor did I know that she had my Hi-POWER IN HER HAND WITH A ROUND IN THE CHAMBER AND THE SAFETY WAS OFF. Bless her heart.

Pat was good, she unloaded the Hi-Power and returned it to her hiding place but just forgot to lay her on her left side! Pat never shot a lot but I would not want to argue with her if she had a gun in her hand, sadly her arthritis prevents her from racking the slide on the Hi-Power now so I gave her a little J frame S&W .38 special with a three inch barrel. I also let Pat know if I am going to be staying out late.

Anyway I started to give Pat hell for stepping outside with my Browning loaded, "Well what did you expect me to do I was concerned where you were, any way I wouldn't have got hurt". "No dear, I guess you are right" My pride was a little dented but deep inside I was super impressed with how she had handled the evening.

Keep your powder dry,
Mr Wolverine

My Current Browning

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