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Navy and Royal Marines take aim with new pistols in £9m deal

Navy and Royal Marines take aim with new pistols in £9m deal

11/01/2013

Sailors and Royal Marines will receive lighter, more accurate pistols with bigger magazines from today. Some 25,000 new Glock 17 pistols are being issued to all three Services as part of a £9m deal to replace the trusty Browning, which is being retired after 40 years’ service.

Reliable, light and easy to carry, the Glock inspires confidence and performs exceptionally well
WO1 Mark Anderson RM

Royal Marines Commando Sgt Steve Lord demonstrates the latest sidearm in the arsenal of Britain’s Armed Forces.

Over the coming weeks and months, some 25,000 Glock 17s will replace Brownings as the pistol of choice in all three Services.

The MOD today signed a £9m deal with Viking Arms in Harrogate to provide the military with their first new pistol in more than 40 years.

The Glock 17 Gen 4 – to give it the full title – is not only much lighter than the Browning currently in use, it is also more accurate and its magazines can carry more bullets (17 compared with its predecessor’s 13).

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 also includes more than 25,000 holsters.

Commando units, such as 40 Commando currently deployed in Helmand, typically use the weapon for close-quarters fighting, room entry, and when reconnaissance teams are on missions.

All Royal Marines and Royal Navy personnel deployed to Afghanistan are pistol-qualified and those working in forward headquarters carry a pistol.

Away from the sands of Helmand, pistols are used heavily by Royal Marines boarding teams from 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group, by Viking vehicle commanders – they can be exposed in their turrets and have limited ability to bring longer-barrelled weapons to bear.

As for the dark blue world of the Senior Service, pistols are carried in Royal Navy armouries for use by aircrew, divers and officers involved in boarding operations.

WO1 Mark Anderson RM, who tested the new Glock 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."

The new Glocks, manufactured in Austria, will complement the wide range of weapons already available to the forces, including:

  • 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.

After four decades of trusty service the long-standing Brownings were proving increasingly difficult to maintain so a contract for a replacement was put out by Whitehall two years ago.

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