The MoD has signed a £9m contract to provide the Armed Forces with more than 25,000 new Glock sidearms.
The Glock 17 Gen 4 pistol is not only much lighter than the Browning pistol currently used by the UK military, it is also more accurate and its magazines can carry more bullets.
The Glock 17 has an increased magazine capacity of 17 9mm rounds, compared to 13 rounds for the Browning.
Personnel across all three Services will begin to receive the new Glock 17s in the coming weeks and troops deployed to Afghanistan will be among the first to use the new weapon. The contract with Viking Arms Ltd of Harrogate, Yorkshire, also includes more than 25,000 holsters.
Warrant Officer 1 Mark Anderson, Royal Marines, who trialled the new weapon before the contract was awarded, said:
“Pistols are vital in close combat and are a key part of a soldier’s armoury. Reliable, light and easy to carry, the Glock inspires confidence and performs exceptionally well.”
Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne said:
“We are determined to provide our troops with the best possible personal kit available and these new Glock 17s will give them greater firepower and accuracy on operations.
“Now that we have balanced the budget we can invest with confidence in the equipment our Armed Forces need for the future. I have seen this pistol demonstrated in target ranges and am impressed that this new lighter, safer generation of pistol provides both better value for money for the MoD and will complement the wide range of weapons already available to front line troops
Sidearms are a valuable weapon for servicemen and women on the battlefield and the new Glock, manufactured in Austria, will complement the wide range of weapons already available to our forces, which includes:
• SA80A2 assault rifles, which fire 5.56mm rounds;
• Light Machine Guns, which fire 5.56mm rounds;
• Sharpshooter rifles, which fire 7.62mm rounds;
• General Purpose Machine Guns, which fire 7.62mm rounds;
• Combat Shotguns, which fire 12-gauge cartridges; and
• Sniper Systems, which fire 8.59mm rounds.
The Glock pistols will replace the Browning which after being used by the Armed Forces for more than 40 years has become increasingly expensive to maintain. The contract for a replacement pistol was put out to tender two years ago and is not in response to any specific or increased threat.