As described in a previous post, the Dutch Army had been issuing the FN Browning High Power since 1946.
Still satisfying the operational requirements, it was decided as early as 1989
to replace the Browning (across the entire military) for economic and technical reasons: spare parts specific to the Dutch model(s) were difficult to acquire, leading to non-standard and more expensive parts,
as well as certain safety and logistical issues.
In August of 1991, four potential replacements were trialled at the Infanterie Schietkamp in Harskamp, being shot by male and female soldiers, both right and left-handed, in different types of uniform and equipment. Those four pistols were the Beretta 92FS, Glock 17, SIG 226, and Walther P88.
Technical specification were as follows:
|Beretta 92FS||Glock 17||SIG P226||Walther P88||FN Browning||Length, mm||217||188||196||195||197||Heigth, mm||137||131||139||142||132||Width||38||30||37||38||36||Weight, without magazine, g||960||620||790||895||882||Weight, with magazine||1252||900||1050||1085||942||Magazine capacity||15||17||15||15||13|
Technical characteristics of the Glock aside, the weapon had already been selected by the Marechaussee (perhaps as early as 1987), making it an obvious choice.
The exact timeline of introduction is somewhat fuzzy: In addition to the 1988 Gen 1 parts list (with drawings dated to 1987), multiple editions of the Materieellijst (1996, 1997 and 2003) speak of a 1987 introduction date for the Glock 17. Yet the FN Browning was only gradually replaced: first by the Marechaussee, which selected the Glock in May of 1990. There is a possibility the 1987 date relates to a small batch purchased for special purposes.
Deliveries for the Marechaussee were however delayed, as the other services sought a new handgun as well. By February of 1992, the Ministry of Defence had signed a contract for some 31250 Glock 17s for all services, with an option for a further 7800 pistols.
This latter option was quite possibly intended for the Royal Netherlands Air Force: it is noted that the Air Force intended to keep its Browning High Powers somewhat longer.
As late as 1997, some FN pistols remained in inventory, intended for mobilisational units of the Army.
The 1st and 2nd Generation Glocks were replaced by 4th Gen Glock 17s, improving the grip and allowing for weapon lights to be mounted.
The technical manual can be downloaded here, with the parts lists for 1988 and 1996 available by clicking on their respective years.
The archive of manuals can be found here.