The Ballester–Molina is a pistol designed and built by the Argentine company Hispano Argentina Fábrica de Automotores SA (HAFDASA). Between 1938 and 1940, it bore the name Ballester–Rigaud. The Ballester was designed to offer the Argentine police and military a less-expensive alternative to the Sistema Colt Modelo 1927, which was itself a licensed copy of the Colt M1911A1, built under the supervision of Colt engineers. Production of the Ballester–Molina began in 1938 and ceased in 1953. Ironically, the Sistema Colt 1927 was manufactured until 1966.
The history of the company dates back to 1929, when two Spaniard entrepreneurs, Arturo Ballester and Eugenio Molina, established a branch of the Spanish Hispano-Suiza in Buenos Aires. Years later, HAFDASA hired two engineers, Frenchman Rorice Rigaud and Carlos Ballester–Molina, a relative of the founders. Rigaud became the chief designer of the firm, while Ballester–Molina was appointed chief executive officer.
As the Ballester–Molina was designed to serve alongside the Modelo 1927 that was currently in Argentine service, it bears a striking resemblance to the Colt M1911A1. The Ballester–Molina and the M1911 share an identical seven-round magazine, barrel, recoil spring, and barrel bushing. Although many other parts appear identical at first glance, they are not; only the barrel and magazine are interchangeable. The Ballester is also known as the "Hafdasa", after the initials of the company that made it.