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Browning gets the bullet! Army replaces trusty pistol with Glock handgun after 50 years25,000 Glock handguns are being purchased by Ministry of Defence First time since 1967 that British troops have been issued new sidearmMoD said more traditional Browning guns became too expensive to maintainExtensive testing and 40,000 rounds fired before the Glock was chosen
00:00 GMT, 11 January 2013
14:42 GMT, 11 January 2013
It is the handgun of choice for the good guys in countless Hollywood movies, from Die Hard to Mission Impossible.
Now the Glock has been chosen by the Ministry of Defence to replace the trusty old Cold War-era Browning pistol after almost 50 years.
More than 25,000 are being purchased for Britain’s Armed Forces under a 9million contract.
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Kitted out: The Ministry of Defence has purchased 25,000 Glock 17 9mm handguns to be used by troops
Testing: Royal Marine Sergeant Steve Lord tests a Glock 17 9mm pistol. The gun has become the first new sidearm to be issued to UK troops since 1967
First choice: The Mod undertook rigorous testing before choosing the new firearm, firing 40,000 over the testing period
It is the first time since 1967 – before the Troubles in Northern Ireland – that UK troops have been issued with a new sidearm.
Defence chiefs say the Austrian-made Glock 17 Gen 4 is lighter, carries more bullets, fires more quickly and accurately, and is safer to handle than the Browning.
While the replacement was not ordered in response to any specific threat, military commanders are clear that it will make it easier for troops in Afghanistan to respond to ‘green on blue’ attacks.
Replacement: A Glock 17 9mm pistol, top, and its predecessor, a Browning 9mm, below. The MoD said the Browning was becoming too expensive to maintain
On Monday, Sapper Richard Walker, 23, became the 24th British serviceman shot dead by an Afghan army or police turncoat.
The Glock takes less than a second to draw and fire, compared to the Browning which even for an expert often takes four or five seconds to remove from its holster, load the chamber and shoot.
Colonel Peter Warden, head of the light weapons team at the Defence Equipment and Support organisation, said: ‘It won’t specifically address that [green on blue attacks] but overall it does improve the ability of guys to shoot back.’
Sergeant Steve Lord, 35, a Royal Marine based at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon, said: ‘If I can pick it up quicker, the faster I can shoot.
‘The faster I can shoot, the more chance I have of winning a fight.’
The Glock 17s will be delivered within weeks and troops deployed to Afghanistan will be among the first to carry them.
The MoD began searching for a new sidearm in 2010 because the Browning was becoming increasingly expensive to maintain.
Col Warden said: ‘It’s like a car. There is a point where it becomes more effective to buy a new model rather than continue to maintain the old one.’
He said that pistols were also increasingly useful during counter-insurgency operations, such as in Helmand, where soldiers mingle among the population.
Lightweight: The Glock 17 is made from plastic and weighs 650g, around two-thirds of the Browning
Efficient: Defence chiefs say the Austrian-made
Glock 17 Gen 4 is lighter, carries more bullets, fires more quickly and
accurately, and is safer to handle than the Browning
‘In the 1970s and 1980s the infantry was trained for long-range engagements with the enemy,’ he said.
‘Since Iraq, the role has changed. Now it is much more about compound clearance, getting closer to where the threat and enemy is. Rifles are less useful.’
Defence chiefs conducted extensive laboratory tests and field trials in jungle, desert and Arctic environments, firing 40,000 rounds before choosing the Glock.
FROM A RADIATOR FACTORY TO THE BIG SCREEN
Designed in 1982 by Austrian radiator factory manager Gaston Glock after country's military put out a tender.More than 2,500,000 manufactured.Used by two-thirds of U.S. police departments, including the specialist FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration, and Firearms Command of the Metropolitan Police.Featured in Hollywood blockbusters including The Fugitive, The Bourne Ultimatum, Die Hard 2 and Skyfall; and TV shows including Miami Vice, The Wire, 24 and The Bill.James Eagan Holmes is on trial accused of using a Glock handgun to kill 12 people and injure 58 in a rampage during a midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, in July.
Made of plastic instead of metal, the gun weighs 650g – around two-thirds of the Browning.
It is semi-automatic allowing a large number of rounds to be fired off quickly. Each magazine carries up to 33 9mm bullets, compared to 13 in the Browning.
It also has three safety mechanisms to prevent accidental discharge, including a ‘mini-trigger’ built into the main trigger so it is unlikely to fire if pressed unintentionally.
‘You can drop it on the floor and it won’t go off, or kick it around and it won’t go off,’ said Col Warden.
The Glock was designed in 1982 by Austrian radiator factory manager Gaston Glock, responding to a tender put out by the country’s military.
The firearm was first introduced to police in the U.S. after they found themselves outgunned by violent criminal gangs.
It is now used by two-thirds of all U.S. police departments, including the specialist FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration.
Glocks are also issued by the Firearms Command of the Metropolitan Police Service and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
The pistol has featured in Hollwood blockbusters including The Fugitive, the Bourne Ultimatum and Skyfall and numerous TV shows, such as Miami Vice and The Wire.
But the Glock has also made headlines for more sombre reasons
Norwegian far-Right extremist Anders Behring Breivik used one to kill most of the 67 people he shot dead during his massacre in Norway in July 2011.
And Jared Lee Loughner, used a Glock to shoot US Senator Gabrielle Giffords and kill six others in a grocery store shootings in Tuscon, Arizona, in January 2011.
Small beginnings: The Glock was designed in 1982 by Austrian radiator factory manager Gaston Glock, responding to a tender put out by the country's military.
VIDEO Browning 9mm pistol test fired and reviewed…
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Watch the full video here