What with our Armed Forces being asked to fight pretty damn hard all over the Middle East, you'd think that they have high-tech cutting-edge weapons to do the dirty with, right? Ha, you joker. Actually, up until today, the issue Army sidearm was a Belgian-made thing designed in the 1920s.
Thankfully, the new issue pistol -- an Austrian-made Glock 17 -- is a bit more like it. It beat out a few other high-tech pistols in a 2-year competition (likely because it was the cheapest, but let's not be cynical here); it fires the same round as the Browning, but with an increased magazine capacity and in a lighter body. Being made in this century, it also features nice mod-cons like an actual working safety mechanism (the safety catch on the old Brownings were so shagged out that they never functioned properly) and custom-tailored holsters.
Though I'm slightly relieved that the Ministry of Defence are finally replacing the Browning, it's slightly bemusing that they've chosen the Glock; since 2003, Sig Sauer pistols have been bought as an emergency precaution for front-line troops, so by now the soldiers (and armourers who have to repair the damn things) are familiar with the Sig. Still, I guess the clever folks at the MoD know what they're doing -- after all, this is the same crack team that brought you the Nimrod never-actually-flew-but-still-cost £3.4 billion spy plane. We're in safe hands, then. [Gov.uk]
Images courtesy Defence Image Database