Due to increased popularity of the military-style double action pistols, engineers of the Belgian FN Herstal company developed a double action variation of their famous FN / Browning "High Power" (GP35) pistol. First appeared in 1983, the new pistol was called as Browning Double Action (for American market) or FN HP-DA (for European market). Having similar construction and general outlines similar to old High Power pistol, the new gun differed from it in some ways. First of all, it has Double Action trigger with ambidextrous, frame mounted decocker lever instead of manual safety. Hammer spur was decreased in size, triggerguard reshaped for better two-hands hold. Slide also had slightly different contours of the front part. Magazine capacity was increased by 1 round and now it hold 14 rounds plus one in the chamber. Along with Standard version FN developed a Compact (HP-DAC) and Medium (HP-DAM) versions of the basic design. Compact pistol had shortened barrel, slide and grip, which held shortened, dual-stack magazine with 7 rounds. Standard, 14 rounds double-stack magazines also fit to Compact model. Medium model was a hybrid of the Standard frame and Compact barrel and slide. Due to some reasons, neither model sold well and FN discontinued this line circa 1987.
Later, in 1990, FN decided to bring a Double Action High Powers back to life. Using new manufacturing processes and a redesigned DA trigger, FN engineers produced a new variations, called Browning BDA9 and BDAO (for American market) or FN HP-DA and HP-DAO (for European market). BDA9/HP-DA differed from earlier HP-DA very little (most visible change is in decocking lever - newest guns has longer, triangle-shaped levers for better control). BDAO / HP-DAO is a further step down to modern trends and is a Double Action Only gun, withouth any manual safeties or decocker levers.
Unlike the original HP-DAs, newest models found its niche on European military and police market, and also sold in USA.
Technically, HP-DA / BDA9 is a recoil operated, locked breech semiautomatic pistol. It uses Browning cam to interlock barrel and slide. Trigger is of double action type with ambidextrous decoker and internal fireing pin safety or of double action only type with firing pin safety only. Additional safety prevents pistol from firing if slide does not closed completely. Basic design featured fixed sighst that are dovetailed into the slide. Magazine is double-stack and holds 14 rounds. Magazine release button is located behind the triggerguard and can be installed on either side of the gun by the user.
In general, the HP-DA / BDA9 pistol represents slightly conservative, but still sound approach to combat pistol, offering good firepower, reliability and reasonable safety level.