Training begins on new pistols at Raleigh
The new pistol replaced the Browning as the pistol of choice in all three Services earlier this year.
During the first Glock course held at HMS Raleigh, a group of 17 sailors were taught how to safely fire and maintain the pistol over three days. The course culminated in a formal assessment to ensure that each sailor could use the weapon competently and accurately.
Royal Marine Colour Sergeant (CSgt) Kevin McBain, one of the instructors, said:
“The Glock 17 is a more modern combat weapon. It’s lighter than its predecessor and has a higher magazine capacity.
“It’s a very nice pistol and a very comfortable weapon to fire. The hand grip is good and there’s not too much recoil.
“With the students a lot of emphasis is placed on coaching and pistol marksmanship, so that they can gain confidence in their own abilities and produce the goods when required.”
While the Royal Marines typically use the pistol in close-quarters fighting, Royal Navy aircrew, divers and sailors involved in boarding operations carry the pistol.
All Royal Marines and Royal Navy personnel deployed to Afghanistan are pistol-qualified.
PO Alex Tilbury, who is currently serving onboard HMS Westminster, said:
“The course has been really good. It’s the first time I’ve fired a 9m pistol. The Glock seems to be relatively easy to use. The instructors were good too and helped us with every aspect of the course.”
The Glock 17 Gen 4 – to give the new pistol its full title- is part a wide range of weaponry available to front line troops. Pistols are vital in a close combat situation. CSgt McBain said:
“The pistol is a short-barrelled weapon, so it’s a complementary sidearm to the primary weapon system, which could possibly be the rifle. There is still a need for a very good Service pistol and that’s where the Glocks come in.
“The Browning has served us well throughout the years. It was first brought into service in 1967, but it’s now proving difficult to maintain so it’s time for a replacement.
“The Glock came out trumps on the trial, so that’s the pistol the Armed Forces have adopted. ”
The Glock carries 17 bullets compared with its predecessor’s 13.
It is the first new pistol to be introduced into the military for more than 40 years and has being supplied under a £9m deal with Viking Arms in Harrogate In total 25,000 Glock 17s have been ordered and troops deployed to Afghanistan were among the first to use the new weapon.
The contract with Viking also includes more than 25,000 holsters.
The Military Training Unit at HMS Raleigh provides cutting edge weapons training for Naval Service personnel at all levels, ensuring that they are fully prepared to protect themselves or their units on operations at sea and ashore.
The unit is currently training over 1,000 people a year to deploy in support of land operations, principally in Afghanistan. The MTU has the most up to date facilities available to the Royal Navy, including computer simulators, outside ranges and multimedia classroom.