Soldiers in Afghanistan will be among the first to use a new type of pistol that is being provided to the armed forces, it was announced today.
Personnel from all three services are to start using new Glock pistols after a contract was awarded to a Yorkshire firm to replace the currently used Browning model.
The Ministry of Defence has signed a £9m contract with Harrogate-based Viking Arms Ltd to provide the armed forces with more than 25,000 of the new Glock 17 Gen 4 pistols.
They replace the Browning pistol which has been used for more than 40 years but is said to have become increasingly expensive to maintain.
The new sidearm, which is manufactured in Austria, is lighter than its predecessor, as well as more accurate and capable of carrying more bullets – with a magazine capacity of 17 9mm rounds, compared with 13 for the Browning.
Service personnel will start receiving the new Glock 17s in the coming weeks and troops deployed to Afghanistan will be among the first to use them.
The MoD said 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.
Royal Marines Warrant Officer 1 Mark Anderson, who trialled the new weapon, said: “Reliable, light and easy to carry, the Glock inspires confidence and performs exceptionally well.”
Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne said: “These new Glock 17s will give our troops greater firepower and accuracy.”