UK Troops Ditch Browning for Glock 17

“The [UK] Ministry of Defence has signed a £9m contract to provide the Armed Forces with more than 25,000 new side-arms and holsters from Austria’s Glock,” bbc.co.uk reports. “It will replace the Browning 9mm pistol which has been in service since 1967. The Glock 17 9mm pistol is lighter than the Browning and can be fired faster, within a second or so.” Yes, well, THERE’S NO EXTERNAL SAFETY. Imagine that. “Colonel Peter Warden, from the MoD team introducing the new weapon, says that after well over four decades in service, the pistol from US manufacturer Browning was no longer the ideal weapon and had become increasingly expensive to maintain. ‘We began to lose a little bit of confidence in its reliability. So we trialled seven different weapons, and got down to the Glock as the best of the bunch.'” Look for the MOD’s weapons selection to stimulate UK civilian sales. Oh wait.

comments

  1. avatar Mick says:

    Anybody know the chances of ex-British service Brownings being introduced to the American market? I’m guessing not very high, given the current administration and the current furor over firearms. A man can dream, though.

    1. avatar AnotherMatt says:

      It’s the UK. 100% chance they’ll be melted down and made into manhole covers.

      I’d love a UK milsurp BHP though.

      1. avatar Thomas Paine says:

        25,000 @ $100 each in bulk?
        that’s $2.5 million vs the $13.5 million they paid for the glocks.

    2. avatar WLCE says:

      no.

      theyll meet the same sad fate as the L1A1s in service.

      how effective was their “treatment”? britain had to buy LMT 308s to cover the 308 rifle niche LOL.

      1. avatar Jason Lynch says:

        The L1A1s had been used hard for a long time and were on their last legs in 1993 (I know, I was one of the last users) – the least worn-out examples went to Sierra Leone, if memory serves.

        Also, while it was a tough and reliable rifle, it didn’t have the accuracy we needed for the L129A1; indeed, it was less accurate than a L85 on the range. I could usually, not always, hit a Figure 11 at 300m with L1A1; with L85 I hit the 400m target every time. (Iron sights on both, shooting APWT with only the timer for a foe)

        1. avatar WLCE says:

          youre right and my comparison is flawed. ill own up to that.

          the LMT 308 is intended as a sharp shooters rifle, the L1A1? a battle rifle. apples and drive screws. 😉

    3. avatar Jason Lynch says:

      Very low – if nothing else, most of them are so old they rattle when shaken. The Defence Disposals Agency will be looking at options for what to do with them, but scrapping is the most likely option just on cost-effectiveness.

      The Brownings are, in general, so old and worn that we bought a batch of SIG P226 under an Urgent Operational Requirement for deployments to Afghanistan, as a placeholder while we ran the full procurement for a proper replacement; the SIG was one of the candidates, but the Glock won on reliability as well as cost grounds. (Both good kit, but the Glock did better).

  2. avatar TTACer says:

    Perfection! Good for them. Most militaries seem to be king FUDs when it comes to “new” stuff.

    1. avatar S.CROCK says:

      why do glocks? the uk is a gun free parricide with no crime according to pierce morgan.

  3. avatar Lance says:

    A Browning HP cannot shoot slower than a Glock 17 they are both semi auto its up to the shooter to make it fire as fast as he wants. Britain might be out but the HP has long life to go Canada, Australia, Argentina, Taiwan, Greece, and more. So sad to see Britain buy into the plastic gun craze but the old HP solders on.

    Bet a lot of British troops will fight command to keep there reliable HPs in there hands.

    1. avatar Mick says:

      I think they were referring to the need for troops with BHPs to hit the safety before commencing firing, not the two guns rates of fire. The Glock has no external safeties, thus it can be deployed and readied faster.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        If their following regulations the safety is a non starter. they’re walking around with loaded mags and empty chambers.

    2. avatar Johnny Mac says:

      Actually, whether it can be fired faster depends on their manual of arms. The HP is a single-action pistol like the 1911, and it requires a cocked hammer to fire. The British troops probably do not carry them cocked-and-locked, so the HP slide must be racked before it is ready to fire, which will take a bit longer to get off that first round…

      1. avatar Ropingdown says:

        Not that I’m an expert… but the manual of arms is a big deal in the other direction too, in looking at the selection of handguns for some of the ‘special’ units. The mission requirements for some users require ‘chamber loaded’ because the need to fire is often preceded by a need to be utterly quiet up to the last instant. That isn’t a common requirement for most branches and missions, for which loading the chamber can wait until some obvious heads-up makes it advisable. Weight and reliability are serious issues for some. Almost every time (for the last three years) that a foreign government drags forth the gear of a detained US S.A.D. guy, he seems to have had a Glock…and a sucking-chest-wound kit. I’m not surprised.

    3. avatar Anon in CT says:

      The Canadian Army was starting to issue SIGs to MPs, pilots and others who actually use pistols when I got out 10 years ago. I think one of the HPs I shot still had sand from Normandy in it.

    4. avatar WLCE says:

      the glock has a more consistent trigger than the HP though. that is why it can fire faster with more consistency on target.

      1. avatar Lance says:

        Not really a safety is a none starter and rate of fire is not important. Both pistol are very accurate. And will see use for many years to come.

        1. avatar WLCE says:

          rate of fire is very important, namely follow up shots. consistent trigger pull is essential for accurate follow up.

          that goes without saying that the browning HP can be upgraded relatively inexpensive to be modernized. they are also old and worn down and require more maintenance than glocks because they too were developed in a era of human machining rather than machine CNC.

          im curious though as to why they didnt just standardize the P226 already in service with various units in the british military.

        2. avatar Lance says:

          I just thin the Glock isn’t far superior to the HP lie the BBC was saying they are close same caliber same accuracy.

        3. avatar WLCE says:

          ill agree with you there. theyre both pistols. the glock is just more ideal for modern TTPs.

      2. avatar APBTFan says:

        “the glock has a more consistent trigger than the HP though”

        Really? How do you define consistent? You’re using an ambiguous term to compare two completely different trigger systems.

        I’ve owned a Hi-Power for 15 years and the trigger is extremely consistent for an S/A pistol. On the flip side I have a G20 with the trigger worked over by Glock Meister and it’s damn consistent for a good Glock trigger.

  4. avatar Joe Sixpack says:

    Huge hi-power fan. I’d love to get my hands on some of that surplus.

  5. avatar TangledThorns says:

    The first pistol I shot was a my step dad’s Browning Hi-Power. It was issued to him when he was an officer in the New Zealand SAS several decades ago and was able to keep it and bring it with him to the States. I wish he passed it on to me before he passed away

    1. avatar Lolinski says:

      What happened to it? Smelted down 🙁 ?

  6. avatar Hal says:

    I had the pleasure of trading a Ruger Blackhawk for a Chinese-marked Inglis Hi-Power 25 years ago.

    Hey, he was happy and so was I… 🙂

    1. avatar Hal says:

      This whole two Hals thing on here is not going to work out. Can someone pick a number between 1 and 10 and he and I can decide who has to change their name?

      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        “Hal in [insert state here]”

        Alternately, sign up with Gravatar, and put a cool picture next to your name (it’s tied to your email, not your screen name).

        1. avatar Hal says:

          But I was here first:)

          You’re right.

        2. avatar Hal J. says:

          Fair is fair…Hal (the other one) was here first. I just changed my name slightly, and signed up with Gravatar. Let’s see if it works…

        3. avatar Hal says:

          Hal J, you are a classy guy and your avatar is AWESOME. I would add my initial but then it would kind of spell a word. Much obliged good buddy!

  7. avatar Kvjavs says:

    I thought the Brits used Sigs. Oh well, new to me.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      I think their Sigs were purchased in small lots for people like the SAS. Operators have different requirements from us mortals.

    2. avatar NorthernBrit says:

      You’re right kvjavs. They were introduced a few years back as a UOR (urgent operational requirement) and are in use alongside the Browning. I think the Glock procurement has come as a bit of a surprise.

  8. avatar HarryTonto says:

    “Look for the MOD’s weapons selection to stimulate UK civilian sales. Oh wait.” PRICELESS!

  9. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    I have a feeling the Brit’s didnt test the Smith M & P line, just saying

    1. avatar Hal says:

      Dude give it a rest. M&P is a good gun with better ergonomics but having owned both the smith is a high maintenance gf in comparison to the Glock.

      1. avatar WLCE says:

        i own a M&P 9 VTAC and my experience is far different.

        i think the M&P 9 is plenty reliable http://pistol-training.com/archives/6837

        1. avatar Hal says:

          Hmm. Maybe my experience was not typical. Allow me to share my particular experiences:

          – Set out to buy one after shooting a friend’s. Love that beavertail!

          – At the store between 60 and 70 % had rust. New guns. One or two had it on the exterior but more often it was on the bottom of the slide once taken apart. Purchased one without rust.

          – multiple stovepipes, I would say one about every fifty rounds. Malfunction not dependent on ammo type. This problem never went away and I went about 800 rounds before selling it. The buyer was receptive to sendong it to SW for repair so I let him deal with it. I never followed up.

          – The same guy who let me shoot his initially later broke his striker dry firing.

          – later, my pistol also developed rust.

          So you’ll undetstand why I walked away from the M&P platform. Except the beavertail it did nothing my Glock doesn’t do as well or better.

        2. avatar Azman says:

          Owned 3 m&pc so far, two compact one full size, only issues I’ve had was a nasty gritty trigger on the full size but seems to be working out-worth it for a $350 dollar nib gun to me.

    2. avatar GoldiGlocks says:

      Your right they didn’t. They likely only tested pistols that meet NATO standardization requirements and are already in use by other NATO member nation armed forces. The Glock was likely the least expensive option that met the minimum requirements of the UK MoD, which coincidentally is facing huge budget cuts this year. The selection process is likely too simple, logical and unencumbered by emotion for some readers of this blog to comprehend.

      1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

        I have both the full size and compact in 40 s&w, 4500 rounds through them combined never a single issue even when using crappy steel cased ammo. I do understand how a military chooses new firearms. I DO have my own personal preferance of the M&P over the glock’s ergonomics and have no positive experiences shooting the first two generations of the Austrian…

        1. avatar Hal says:

          I can’t argue with you on the ergonomics. They got that right in a big way.

  10. avatar Greg Camp says:

    But will they have New York triggers?

    1. avatar Hasdrubal says:

      Probably not… but maybe they will have York triggers?

      Lame joke, but I couldn’t resist.

    2. avatar Hasdrubal says:

      It’s England, not New England. Properly speaking, they might end up with York triggers.

    3. avatar Hasdrubal says:

      It’s England, not New England. Properly speaking, they might end up with York triggers.

    4. avatar Hasdrubal says:

      Well the site gave me an error message several times, but looks like it posted each time regardless. Sorry.

      1. avatar AlphaGeek says:

        If you’re on a mobile device, posting errors are false positives over 90% of the time. If you get a posting error, open up TTAG in another tab and check to see if your comment is there before reposting.

        And yes, they should fix this…

  11. avatar ctay says:

    A FN HiPower was my first handgun and I’ll still defend my life with it today without hesitation, but I understand their move to a more modern handgun. I wonder if they considered one of the newer FNH models, which seem every bit as good as a Glock.

    1. avatar APBTFan says:

      Comes down to bucks (or pounds in this case). Glock could easily undersell Browning and I wouldn’t be surprised if they took a hit to undersell anyone else that was being considered.

  12. avatar Jonathan says:

    As the owner of a Belgian Hi Power Mk II, I can tell you that they are more expensive than a Glock with a move complicated trigger mechanism. However, a $50 trigger job, and a C&S extended safety gave the gun much improve ergos. Surplus mags can match the capacity of the G17 as well. Yet, a stock Hi Power is much more than a stock Glock. Either would be a fine duty weapon, and the service life of the Hi Power is a testament to the design.

  13. avatar Hoth says:

    They’ll switch again once their soldiers start shooting themselves in the leg.

      1. avatar Air Force TSgt says:

        Agreed.

    1. avatar TTACer says:

      Or the hand when they are disassembling for cleaning. If they are perfect, why do you have to pull the trigger to take it apart?

  14. avatar Randy Drescher says:

    I shot competition with a guy that had a 9mm glock, it ftf or fte all the time. I wonder if they got some ringers for the trials, Randy

  15. avatar Jan says:

    Always had light strikes with the cheaper range ammo when I had glocks. Sold them all and got a hi-power. Never had that problem ever since. But then again, I don’t have any problems with my m&p too.

  16. avatar Ralph says:

    Call me cynical, but something tells me that importance difference between a Browning Hi-Power and a Glock 17 is that the Glock is half the price.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Also probably the reason they didn’t go with the SIG.

      1. avatar GoldiGlocks says:

        Especially when you take into account the total ownership cost over the life of the program. Fewer parts overall means fewer things that can break and need replacement. Plastic frame and some plastic internal parts means less potential corrosion. When those parts do break they are much cheaper to replace. If you are only going to fire NATO standard FMJ factory ammunition, as the UK Armed Forces are, the polygonal rifling of the Glock barrel will last longer than the rifling of a conventionally barreled SIG. The costing out of the maintenance and support requirements has at least an equal influence on the decision of government acquisitions than the design and performance of the end item itself. My guess is the Glock will cost the UK MoD significantly less than half what the SIG would cost.

        1. avatar APBTFan says:

          Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

  17. avatar O.E says:

    I could swear the UK has the laziest people on earth.

    I suppose this is part of the typical English fetish in regards to anything authoritative and potentially deadly connected with Germanic peoples. The police have long since used the German shepherd breed of dog in K9 duty not because they lack a working animal of its proportion but simply because its an image thing.

  18. avatar mdc says:

    The UK.Screw em.

    1. avatar APBTFan says:

      If it’s just Keira Knightly then sign me up.

      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        To each his own.

        Kelly Brook

        (Unlike most things named “.tumblr.com”, this one is safe for work.)

  19. avatar Ropingdown says:

    After our Detachment Delta has gone to Glocks simply due to the expense of maintaining 1911’s in utterly reliable shape (X-ray of small parts, etc), who could blame the Brits? There are special-purpose sidearms and that’s a different issue, the suppressed .22 or .45ACP. Isn’t the main requirement of a handgun utter reliability at a reasonable price? Isn’t light weight a leading issue, given all the new equipment that’s entered the soldiers’ packs in the last 20 years? The main assault weapon, and even more the machine guns and grenade launchers and shoulder-fired missiles…are much more important. A Glock’s a Glock. Who doesn’t have one? How come?

    1. avatar Hal says:

      I agree compketely. Someone who had been issued a 1911 for Afghanistan said they eventually had Glock 21s shipped over. These were custom 1911s with fitted slides. He said they were AMAZING… until you get on a bird. That micro-fine dust kicked up by the rotors on one particular mission that had multiple landings and takeoffs became an issue. When they got back, the had to use a mallet and a dowl to pound the slide off the frame. Went to Glocks as a result.

  20. avatar WLCE says:

    not a bad choice. chalk that up as another european army switching to glock.

    i hate serpa holsters however. junk them all.

  21. avatar In Memphis says:

    Good. Now take Peirce Moron back so he can tell you all what a bad idea that is.

  22. avatar Hal says:

    After a dark past, I really want to high five the Brits for whoever revamped their acquisitions process. LMT MWSs from America and Glocks from Austria. No BS politics (probably because there’s almost nothing left of their firearms industry) and fast selection processes. Not like our Army who fvcks around so much that the selection process probably costs more than the final acquisition. For all the things the UK is doing wrong, it seems lately their military acquisitions are not one if them.

    1. avatar FredC says:

      The UK has very little industry left.

  23. avatar OldLawman says:

    I have owned HPs for many years, and have two superb ones right now done right by Novak’s. Have carried one for years and love them. But…
    For an agency, or the military, it is a service nightmare compared to a Glock. Additionally, I am sure that most of the ones the Brits have in service now are a bit long in the tooth, and near the end of their service life. All in all, not the worst choice they could have made. I am sure that their SOP is to carry either with the chamber empty, so the debate about which is faster into action is probably moot.

    1. avatar Jim B says:

      Nope, they intend to carry with a round up the spout, at least for now.

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/11/browning_9mm_finally_replaced/

      I don’t know how many ADs it will take before they go back to empty chamber; either that or go with a Cominolli manual safety such as the Israelis use, the Glock 17S.

  24. avatar Aharon says:

    An online White House petition could be started requesting that those Brownings be brought to America for re-sale.

    1. avatar In Memphis says:

      I am getting FOAD responses left and right regarding petitions I sign. Mostly regarding the AWB with the standard response that, “most gun owners agree on common sense blah blah blah.” The response to the Benghazi petition, well if the petition itself were on real paper Obama may as well have wiped his @&& with it.

  25. avatar Joseph says:

    Hummmm…I’ve owned a Browning 9mm for decades which has thousands of rounds without a hitch….I wonder where they are getting theirs.

  26. avatar The_Rapscallion says:

    Mmmm appears GLOCK have trumped SIG once again with this new contract!!! Previously, in 2008, the British MoD ordered 4000 variants of the P226 SIG Sauer pistol as a replacement for the old Browning L9A1 pistol as a UOR (Urgent Operational Requirement) for use in Afghanistan. The P226 was designated the L105A1, the railed version as the L105A2 and the L106A1 was one with an improved protective finish. But after 6 yrs of use, SIG appears to have lost out with another major military contract this time to GLOCK, whereas before it was to BERETTA in 1985 with the US Military contract for their model 92F. The “moon dust” in Afghanistan gets into everything and can ruin weapon reliability, even with those with previously high records of excellent service but know that the GLOCK survives better than most in these conditions!

  27. avatar john o'leary says:

    The problem with the Browning HPs issued in the Canadian Forces has almost always been the ancient John Inglis (JI stamped) magazines. All that is really required to rectify the stoppage problems is to get new magazines. The CF purchased a number of FN magazines a few years ago and presto!….stoppages remidied. The problem is getting rid of the old JI mags. Trust me on this one.

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