Portugal, a founding member of NATO, fields a 35,000-strong professional army with a history that goes back to the 12th Century. Since the 1960s, the country has relied on a variant of the Walther P38 to fill its needs as a 9mm sidearm. This era is set to close as the Lisbon has selected a Coyote Tan G17 to replace the legacy pistol.
“We are proud to be selected to support the missions of the Portuguese military with the latest generation of Glock pistols,” said Richard Flür, director of international sales at Glock GmbH. “The Portuguese Army is among multiple military and law enforcement entities which Glock strongly supports in the region and we are excited to welcome them to the Glock family.”
According to a press release from Glock, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) launched a tender earlier this year for the Walther replacement. Glock reportedly competed against several manufacturers and was awarded in the tender in late July.
The P-38 has been augmented by more modern designs in recent years, such as small buys of HK USP and P30 pistols as well as some Sig P228s, but remains the standard handgun before the Glock deal. Portugal has a long tradition of fielding European-made 9mm semi-autos, as the P-38s, termed the M1961 in Portuguese service, replaced DWM Luger models which in some cases predated World War I.
The country is amidst a modernization program where it comes to small arms, having only recently approved the purchase of FN-made SCAR rifles to replace 1960s-era HK G3 battle rifles, some of which had seen extensive service in colonial wars in Africa.
The G17 was originally designed as a replacement for the Austrian Army’s pistol in 1980 and has since been adopted in later generations by the militaries of Finland, Great Britain, Norway, and others. The Gen 5 model, introduced in 2017, features a reversible magazine catch and ambidextrous slide stop lever, Glock’s new Marksman Barrel (GMB), an enhanced trigger system, as well as front slide serrations.