John Moses Browning (January 21, 1855–November 26, 1926), born in Ogden, Utah, was an American firearms designer who developed many varieties of weapons which were used in the US Military for decades in the 20th century. He is credited with 128 gun patents—his first (for a single shot rifle) was granted October 7, 1879.
In addition to designing several versions of lever action rifles for the Winchester Firearms company, the weapons he developed included:
A semi-automatic shotgun
A pump action shotgun (including the US Army issue M97)
A .22 caliber rifle
The M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun
The Model 1917 water-cooled machine gun
The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR)
The Browning Hi-Power 9mm semi-automatic handgun
The Colt Model 1911 .45 semi-automatic handgun
The last three weapons saw use in World War I, World War II and the Korean War. The Colt 1911 had the longest period of service from 1911 to 1986, and a variant is still used by special operations units of the USMC and FBI's Hostage Rescue Team. Browning had a long standing relationship with Fabrique Nationale (FN) to build many of his guns. In 1977 FN aquired the Browning Arms Company which had been established in 1927, the year after Browning's death.
Browning belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a served a two year mission for the church in Georgia beginning on March 28, 1887. His father Jonathan Browning, who was among the thousands of Mormon pioneers in the mass exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois to Utah, had established a gunsmith shop in Ogden in 1852.