French forces to receive 74,596 Glock 17 9mm semi-automatic pistols

French Defense Minister Florence Parly welcomes DGA’s order of new semi-automatic pistols to replace the current ones dating back to the 1950s. By 2022, 74,596 Glock 17s will have been delivered, the first units having been actually delivered at the end of 2019. The value of this contract is 44 million euros. This order fits into the 2019-2025 military programming law.

Glock 17
Glock 17 in tan version (Picture source: Glock)

The DGA (Directorate General for Armament) ordered 74,596 semi-automatic pistols (PSA, Pistolet Semi-Automatique). This contract was entrusted to the Glock company (pistol and night sighting aid capacity) which has joined forces with Sellier and Bellot (ammunition) and UTM (kit drive). These new-generation pistols will replace those currently supplied: the PA MAC 50 (Pistolet Automatique, Manufacture d’Armes de Châtellerault) which date from the 1950s, and the PAMAS G1 (Pistolet Automatique, Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Etienne).

The MAC 50 (also known as MAC 1950, MAS 50 or PA modèle 1950) is a standard semi-automatic pistol of the French army and adopted in 1950. It replaced the previous series of French pistols, the Modèle 1935A & Modèle 1935S, and was produced between 1950 and 1970. It uses the Browning system like the FN GP 35 with an integral barrel feed ramp.

The MAS 9 mm G1 is a specific model of the Beretta 92F which it retains its appearance. The major difference with the original Beretta comes from the disarm lever which returns after the maneuver in the firing position. It is also called PAMAS: Automatic Pistol of the Manufacture d'Armes de Saint-Étienne. 100,000 weapons were produced in total. The PAMAS G1 was put into operational service in 1989 as a service weapon in the units of the National Gendarmerie, then in 1992, in the French Air Force and in 1999 in the Army and the Navy. A total of 97,502 weapons are in service in the three services and the gendarmerie.

The three French army services – Land, Air Force and Navy – as well as other services, will benefit from the acquisition of the Glocks. The model is already in service in the GIGN (Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale), du RAID (Police's special force) and some units of the COS (Commandement des Opérations Spéciles). The distribution planned is around 80% of the weapons for the Land Force, 10% for the Air Force and 8% for the Navy. The key factors that have led the Ministry of the Armed Forces to accept this offer are the reliability and robustness demonstrated during tests.

The Glock 17 is a recoil-operated, semi-automatic pistol designed and manufactured by the Austrian company Glock. This pistol uses a modified Browning cam-lock system adapted from the Hi-Power pistol. It uses a linkless, vertically tilting barrel with a rectangular breech that locks into the ejection port cut-out in the slide. The frame of the Glock 17 is made of polymer with hardened steel guides. It features an ideal grip angle and low weight. The slide stop lever and the magazine catch are easily operated with the shooting hand. GLOCK’s revolutionary Safe Action® trigger system provides a consistent trigger pull from the first to the last round. The three automatic independently operating mechanical safeties are built into the fire control system of the pistol.

The Glock 17 feeds from staggered-column or double stack magazines that have a 17-round capacity (which can be extended to 19 with an optional floor plate) or optional 33-round high-capacity magazines. Glock magazines are interchangeable between models of the same caliber, meaning that a compact or subcompact pistol will accept magazines designed for the larger pistols chambered for the same round.

The Glock pistol accessories available from the factory include several devices for tactical illumination, such as a series of front rail-mounted "Glock tactical lights" featuring a white tactical light and an optional visible laser sight.

The adoption of these new semi-automatic pistols is registered in a wider will of new “small equipment” for the French forces, as indicated by some deliveries:
* Arrival of the assault rifle being delivered since 2017: in 2020 12,000 new HK416F rifles will be delivered to various army units.
* Start of deliveries in 2020 of a new sniper rifle FN SCAR-H PR for snipers: more than 2,600 will be delivered by the end of 2021.
* The continuation of deliveries of new camouflaged uniforms in the forces in 2020: 85,000 F3 flame retardant uniforms will be collected within the units, thus enabling to equip all of the soldiers deployed in external operations (OPEX, Opérations Extérieures).
* Delivery of composite helmets protecting against schrapnels and 9 mm bullets: in 2020, 25,000 helmets will be delivered.
* Finally, 37,000 new generation bulletproof vests have already been delivered between 2018 and 2019; the target by 2025 is 96,800.