Goodbye to the Browning 9mm SLP

The new Glock 17, bottom, to be issued to British armed forces alongside its predecessor, the Browning L9A1. Photograph: Guardian

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[quote=“Richard Norton-Taylor, Friday 11 January 2013 00.01 GMT”]
British forces to be equipped with Glock pistols for protection in Afghanistan
New weapons will replace venerable Browning sidearms that MoD says are too slow to fire in case of close-quarter attack

British troops in Afghanistan – and on future operations anywhere else – will be better able to defend themselves with the help of the first new standard pistol issued to the armed forces in more than 40 years.

Faced with the threat of attacks at close quarters – not least from members of the Afghan security forces turned by the Taliban or bearing individual grievances – the new weapons will enable them to shoot faster and more effectively, troops say.

More than 25,000 Austrian-made Glock pistols will finally replace the clunky Browning sidearm that squaddies and commandos have had to cope with for decades, the Ministry of Defence announced on Wednesday.

An £8.5m contract has been awarded to Glock after a tendering contest and trials stretching over two years. No British company competed; even the new pistol’s holster is made abroad, in Italy.

The MoD recently urgently ordered a consignment of Swiss Sig Sauer pistols to enable British troops to protect themselves better in Afghanistan.

The new pistol, a variant of the Glock 17, will make it easier for British soldiers “to shoot back”, said Colonel Peter Warden, head of the MoD defence equipment organisation’s light weapons team.

The 9mm Glock is lighter and tougher than the Browning but above all much easier to fire – advantages that have already attracted US law enforcement agencies, including police forces, to the weapon. It can be removed from its holster and fired within a second. With the Browning it would take four seconds or more.

“If I’m getting it out in under a second, I’m going to win it,” said Marine Sergeant Steve Long, who has been deployed twice to Afghanistan as well as to Iraq and Sierra Leone. He tested the Glock in the heat of Brunei.

Speaking at Woolwich Arsenal in south-east London, where journalists and officials were invited to test the pistol, he described the decision to equip British troops with the weapon as a “massive step forward”. He explained that with the Browning, a soldier had to undo the holster flap, flick the safety catch and draw a bullet from the magazine before firing a shot.

The Glock has built-in safety catches, and the pistol can be kept fully loaded with a round in the chamber even when it is in the holster. Its magazine can hold 17 rounds, compared with 13 in the Browning. “Pistols are vital in close combat and are a key part of a soldier’s armoury,” said Warrant Officer Mark Anderson of the Royal Marines. Personal sidearms were described by soldiers on Wednesday as “lifesavers”.

Warden said a Glock pistol would be available to every British soldier in Afghanistan later this year. Whether they will be issued with the new model will be up to their commanding officer.

The announcement was a significant moment in the long history of the ubiquitous Browning pistol – a personal weapon whichthat Saddam Hussein frequently had at his side. Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi also had one – gold-plated, and with his image on its handle. Libyan rebels waved it in the air when he was captured during the 2011 revolution.[/quote]

Also covered in the current RAF News, where the total contract value for MoD is listed as being the impossibly-cheap investment of £9m instead of £8.5m (perhaps we just found-out the cost of the Italian holsters).

The SLP’s the only pistol I’ve properly had a chance to fire (just on the range, I hasten to add!!), and I think its departure will be a great shame. However, the Glock appears to be a great weapon, I know the Police think very highly of it.


ps BBC IPlayer footage

pps [size=4]1005-25-133-6775[/size]

Long overdue.

I know of someone who had been issued the Sig P226 instead of the Browning and thought it was a great improvement. The Glock 17 is even better and has a very good reputation.

This was a good decision and appears to have been well managed and not somehow complicated by the DE&S, though there is still an opportunity to make a dog’s dinner of it when they look at distribution.

I’m probably just being nostalgic without having wider personal experience with other pistols, I do accept that the Glock has no critics in the civil Police.

I wonder if the PPK will end-up being replaced by the Glock 17 too, since it’s lighter than the Browning? Or has that been swapped for something else years ago?


incubus wrote:

Yes, been using the Sig since at least 2009 (possibly earlier for some units). Vast improvement over the browning, much nicer to fire and easier to handle, though for some reason we still do pistol competitions with the browning, possibly not everyone has Sigs yet.

There were rumours of the Glock quite a way back, but when they gave us Sigs I thought maybe that was it.

It was news to me that the Browning (well FN) was still in service!

I also thought the SIG had replaced it. Could be mistaken, but I seem to remember reading that ‘Tornado Down’ John Peters and John Nichol had their P226s taken off them when they were captured on Op Granby in Iraq 1991?!

Glock 17s have been around for over 20 years (appear in the 1990 movie Die Hard 2!) so what’s taken MOD so long?

Next, someone’s going to tell me the L2A3 Sterling sub-machine gun is still in service!

Sigs were an Afghanistan/Herrick only Urgent Operational Requirement. Hence them not being used for comps, etc.

[quote=“Hendon Chipmunk” post=3318]Next, someone’s going to tell me the L2A3 Sterling sub-machine gun is still in service![/quote]Or the L7A1 GPMG. That thing dates from 1961!

tango_lima wrote:

Far as I remember we always had a small stash of sigs in the armoury, we always got a load more just prior to PDT but always had some on sqn.

PPKs haven’t been used for a number of years.

It’s been updated by HK since to the L7A2, so it’s not entirely original!

Sigs are indeed a UOR and have been used for some years by specialist units, but this competition was to find the new general service pistol.

Ah, but neither have I (operationally, that is)!

So is the standard aircrew pistol now the Sig P226, as per Hendon Chipmonk’s comments re the Peters+Nichol episode?

Or I wonder if they’ll now get something like the ‘girly Glock’ instead, now that the rest of HM Armed Forces are going Glock 17?


There is no standard aircrew pistol ATM. FJs and some of JHC use Sigs, Herc, Tri*, VC10 use brownings. Total mish-mash.

[quote=“Hendon Chipmunk” post=3318] Could be mistaken, but I seem to remember reading that ‘Tornado Down’ John Peters and John Nichol had their P226s taken off them when they were captured on Op Granby in Iraq 1991?!

You are, they had walthers.

I’m sure H&K could have done us a nice deal on some USPs. I wonder what the price difference was?

Close Protection Units in the RMP use SiG’s as standard.
My CP course were the first to use them, replacing the Browning Hi-Power. The G is a nice side arm but not as robust as the SiG and it’s ejection port is badly angled which can cause jamming.

On what basis do you say it is more robust? The Glock outperformed everything in trials - including in robustness in a wide range of conditions.

The biggest problem with the P226 is that it’s a steel slide on an aluminium frame.
One is a far harder metal than the other which invariably causes wear.

Certainly any armourer I’ve spoken to has a poor impression of the Sig.

Good bye to a pistol that’s over a 100 years old! Hello to a pistol that hopefully will live a long time! :?

SIGG was still a good interim!

The Browning was very nice to shoot, especially with slightly fatter grips, & wider foresight (with white dot) & matching wider rear sight. The advantage of the Glock is the “instant action” capability of being able to draw/fire (an aimed shot!) within a second or 2. Not so easy with the Browning.

Of course, allegedly, if you loaded a Browning, released the hammer very slowly, & removed/replaced the magazine after adding one more round, you had a loaded pistol that was as safe as you could make it in the holster. To draw/fire, you just had to pullback the hammer (when the pistol was out of the holster of course!).

A long story, to be told over a beer, but I whilst in RAFG, I did a draw with a Browning, then rack/load, & came very, very close to giving a newspaper reporter some 9mm ventilation. Seemed like a one second process to me at the time! The subsequent paperwork took a little longer.

Shot all 3 pistols under discussion, the Sig was a bit petite, the Browning was solid (& accurate), but the Glock is a good winner.