A Nidderdale firm has won a £9million Ministry of Defence contract to supply British troops with 25,000 new pistols.
The MoD has announced a deal with Viking Arms of Summerbridge to supply the Armed Forces with Glock 17 Gen4 pistols, replacing the Browning pistols British troops have used for more than 40 years.
All three services – Army, Navy and Air Force – will begin to receive the new guns in coming weeks and troops in Afghanistan will be among the first to use the new weapon. Viking Arms’ contract also includes more than 25,000 holsters.
Warrant Officer 1 Mark Anderson, Royal Marines, trialled the new weapon before the contract was awarded. He said: “Pistols are vital in close combat and are a key part of a soldier’s armoury. Reliable, light and easy to carry, the Glock inspires confidence and performs exceptionally well.”
The Glock is much lighter than the current Browning pistol, and more accurate and has capacity of 17 9mm rounds, compared to 13 rounds for the Browning.
Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne said: “We are determined to provide our troops with the best possible personal kit available and these new Glock 17’s will give them greater firepower and accuracy on operations.
“Now that we have balanced the budget we can invest with confidence in the equipment our Armed Forces need for the future. I have seen this pistol demonstrated in target ranges and am impressed that this new lighter, safer generation of pistol provides both better value for money for the MoD and will complement the wide range of weapons already available to front line troops
The Glock pistols will replace the Browning which after being used by the Armed Forces for more than 40 years and, an MoD spokesman said, has become increasingly expensive to maintain.