Browne began his service in India in April 1849 as Second in Command of the 2nd Regiment of Punjab Cavalry, the unit which also later took his name (22nd Sam Browne’s Cavalry).
On 31 August 1858, at Seerporah, Browne silenced a field gun, single handed, which blocked the advance but during the fighting he received two sword cuts, one on the knee, and the other on the left shoulder which cut off his arm. The dress regulations for British Officers of the 2nd Punjabis required members to wear their waist belts under their tunics. Browne found this ungainly with his left arm missing, and devised an external belt, supported on the left-hand (sword) side by a shoulder strap. The belt had two shoulder pieces when a pistol was added.
In the Australian Army a brown leather Sam Browne is worn on ceremonial occasions by officers and Warrant Officers Class One of all corps, except those who wear silver dress embellishments (Armoured, Aviation and Nursing Corps); these members wear a black Sam Browne.