ADF to buy Glock only if a ‘real’ safety catch is retrofitted

The Australian Defence Force has decided to buy a new Glock service pistol for general issue – but the project is delayed because Army, in its wisdom, is insisting that Glock “retrofit the weapon with a ‘real’ safety catch”.

For decades, the ADF has used the 9mm Browning Mark 3 self-loading pistol – a short-recoil, magazine-fed semi-automatic weapon with fixed open sights and a 13-round magazine.

The weapon is ideally used for quick, instinctive firing at very short-range targets (less than 5m) or more deliberate fire up to 25m.

It is probably the most widely used military/police pistol in the world with more than 1,000,000 units manufactured, after being first introduced into Belgian military service in 1935.

The Glock, on the other hand, is a modern pistol, most noted for having its safety catch incorporated in the trigger – allowing for much-quicker, emergency engagements.

For soldiers in particular, who are issued with an assault rifle, any pistol is a weapon of last resort, so not having a separate safety catch to slow down engagement is a key safety feature in terms of speed in emergency, close-quarter situations.

Many police forces around the world use Glock, including here in Australia.

Even RAAF pilots are trusted to carry the weapon in cockpits.

But the Australian Army insists that Glock must retrofit ‘a proper’ safety catch before it will trust its soldiers to carry this ever-popular weapon.

The Glock 19 is a 9mm striker-fired polymer-framed pistol and is essentially a more compact version of the Glock 17, one of the most widely used pistols in military and police service in the world today.

The Glock 19 is the standard issue of RAAF pilots, especially those who fly aircraft that use ejection seats.

It’s a recoil-operated semi-automatic pistol with a 15-round magazine.

Similar descriptions of all the ADF’s small arms are included in CONTACT’s viewee-twoee-sized “Weapons of the ADF” reference guide, available free when you subscribe to our newsletter (below) – or by asking nicely via if you are already a subscriber.

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Brian Hartigan

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6 thoughts on “ADF to buy Glock only if a ‘real’ safety catch is retrofitted

  • 05/04/2020 at 2:13 am

    Safety ‘is’ what’s between the ears – soft wear = proper training
    as opposed to what’s on any gun. No safety’s, 12 safety’s – the shooter makes a gun safe or un safe


  • 29/07/2018 at 3:07 pm

    Easy solution is get G18 but with the slide selector switch set to ‘Safe’ & ‘Semi’- this is what the NYPD did.

  • 02/08/2016 at 2:28 am

    It’s been done. 20 years ago Tas Pol and another customer (Ireland?) were interested in G 17’s but only with extrrnal safety catches. Glock built some. G 17S I think they were called? But in the end the customer was wrong…and just bought the standard G 17.

    • 07/09/2016 at 7:16 am

      Re: Glock 17 S – Yes but they were only manufactured in extremely minute numbers…. And that was the very early Gen 2 model (manufactured up until ’97)…. in terms of a widescale production, Glock even refused the US Military’s request back in the mid 80s when the top brass wanted the same current request as the idiot brass in Australia are chasing now…. quite simply the cost and time in retooling and redesigning the systems from scratch are beyond question.

  • 05/04/2016 at 2:17 pm

    In addition to my previous. According to a reliable source (a weapons author and professional shooter from the States), Australia isn’t the only ones to have come up with this idea. According to ‘internet lore’, a number of other countries have thought of it too.

    Besides that, onto a more serious note. Seriously if the Glock is out of the option, there are other equally competitive polymer handguns out on the market the military should strongly consider. Both the SA & Victorian Police agencies use the Smith and Wesson M&P pistol…. for those of you unfamiliar, that stands for Military and Police. And it is fitted with an ‘external safety’. A very ergonomic and sturdy pistol. Another is the FN-S 9mm pistol which again is fitted with an external safety and comes in 9mm. FN obviously manufacture our light and medium machine guns, as well as the ubiquitous HP. Both pistols are striker fired, which means there is no external hammer. This means the chances of the weapon accidentally discharging whilst loaded is extremely minimal compared to a conventional hammer fired pistol. Also it decreases the risk of ‘snagging’ whilst drawing, which is equally as important considering the sidearm is there as an ‘instinctive’ reaction weapon should there be need to engage a target quickly should their primary weapon fail.

    I won’t go into further detail about these pistols, just a thought to consider.

  • 03/04/2016 at 3:36 pm

    Could only imagine the millions wasted implementing this ‘idea’, before they scrap it altogether and select another pistol that already has the features they’re looking for in the first place.

    Just look at the millions wasted in trial and error with the US Military when they implemented the M9A3 service pistol… something our brains trust pollies and service chiefs should look into.

    Wait a minute…. why don’t we just modify and retrofit the existing HP 9mm with all the bells and whistles, give it a pretty cerakote finish and call it done deal?

    Nevertheless, I thought Glocks with external safety catches are something you see and hear in those stupid tv shows and movies. Is this where they got the idea from!? Lol


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