News story

New pistols for UK Armed Forces

The Armed Forces are to be supplied with more than 25,000 new Glock sidearms to replace the ageing Browning pistols currently in service.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Close up of a Glock 17 pistol [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown Copyright/MOD 2013]

Close up of a Glock 17 pistol

The Glock 17 Gen4 pistol is not only much lighter than the Browning L9A1, it is also more accurate and its magazines can carry more bullets. It has an increased magazine capacity of 17 rounds, compared to 13 rounds for the Browning.

Personnel across all 3 Services will begin to receive the new 9-millimetre (mm) calibre 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.

Glock 17 pistol (left) and a Browning 9mm pistol

A Glock 17 pistol (left) and the Browning the new pistols will replace [Picture: Richard Watt, Crown Copyright/MOD 2013]

Warrant Officer Class 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.

The 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.

A Glock pistol is fired on a range

Royal Marines firearms instructor Sergeant Steve Lord demonstrates the new Glock pistol on the range at Woolwich Barracks in London [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown Copyright/MOD 2013]

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 2 years ago and is not in response to any specific or increased threat.

Published 11 January 2013