Belgian Police adopt S&W M&P 9mm

This is a blog post I never thought I would write! Despite having the home field advantage, FN Herstal lost out on a contract to supply the Belgian Federal Police with pistols. Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm won the competition to replace the aging FN/Browning GP-35 (Hi-Power).

A Federale with his Steyr AUG

FNH, who have been laying off workers after losing contacts, are not happy. reports (Translated Using Google) …

Guy Francis, Senior Associate FGTB Metal. Which shows bitter: “It’s a bit sad not to be a benchmark in our own country. The policy we already puts a spoke in the wheels for export licenses, if even now does not favor federal police in Belgium, where are we going to sell weapons? “

Gabriel SmaI, principal secretary to the CSC Metal Liège-Huy-Ware, “it is regrettable that the police do not equips a company owned 100% by the Walloon Region. This will particularly impact in terms of image. A bit like the Italian police were driving in a Renault Fiat rather than … “

Misplaced nationalism? This is the view of Vincent Gilles, national president of the SLFP-Police, for whom he had to choose the best weapon.

[ Many thanks to Famas for emailing me the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • 4Cammer

    Can surplus Hi-Powers be far behind?

  • Pete

    Wow on a number of fronts.

    As the article translation indicates, there is a tremendous political and cultural division in Belgium at this time. I’ve got to wonder if the political issues may have had something to do with the S&W win.

    My assumption is Herstal (as in FN-Herstal) is French speaking and the National Police may have a strong Dutch speaking Flemish leadership.

    Basically, no one is in charge… It is like Somalia in reverse. The country is relatively good economic shape but instead of fighting to lead the country, people are fighting not to lead (and potentially divide).

  • Massoud

    Odd. I had a M&P 9 and hated it. Sold it, bought a FNP45, love it.

  • counsel

    well, i certainly chose the fnx-9 over the m&p. can’t see why anyone 😉 would pick the m&p over the fnx… just my 2¢

  • Matt G

    4cammer: I hope so!

  • Vitor

    Pete, I’m a radical libertarian, and I’m glad that Belgians realized they don’t need “wise and great leaders” in charge to control their lives.

  • Sean

    Hopefully they won’t rust like the M&Ps S&W sold to the Detroit Police.

  • Jason

    Yeah, odd. The FN handguns are sadly underrated. You’d think they’d at least get more appreciation in their native country. Especially since they can be operated the same way as a Browning Hi Power, which would ease the transition. Well, sorry Belgian cops. More for me, I guess. I love a rugged polymer firearm with all the modern convenience features, that can still be carried cocked & locked like an old school Hi Power or a 1911. Best of all worlds, really.

  • m4shooter

    No real surprise if you are actually picking the handgun based on merit. It’s no coincidence that there are umpteen times more people competing with M&Ps compared to FNP/FXPs. I can’t remember the last time I saw someone competing with an FNP who is not sponsored by FN.

    I own both an FNP and multiple M&Ps. If you are just bullseye shooting on a static range, I guess an FNP could be considered “better” for some people based on it’s better trigger. But the M&P’s trigger can be easily improved, and the M&P’s better ergonomics and lower bore axis are the reason why it is so much more popular in competitions and more “practical” shooting.

  • Doug


    You gathered all that from the little bit of translation?

  • Aurelien

    I actually was at a Federal Academy in Belgium a few month back for work, and had a talk about the sidearm chage with the guys there.

    First, they already had a mix of old GPs (a few), gen2/3 Glock 17/19 (a lot) and HP-DA (you yanks know them as BDA). So going for a new handgun for everyone is a good idea. Thats in the same optic as the French Police going for the Sig 2022.

    Second, the M&P9 was already chosen by the time i was there, but the Police Unions weren’t cool with the fact that it had been chosen by “pencil pushers” up in the food chain, so the guns went back on the testing range with the “frontline” guys. If the M&P9 prevailed again, that must mean it is the weapon for the job.

    Third, last time the Belgian Federales bought anything from FN was when they got P90s and Five seveNs in the very early 90s.
    I think the guys at FN are just pissed off because they keep losing contracts to other manufacturers, or to no real reason at all (SCAR, IAR…)

  • Clairon

    Pete gives us a perfect summary of the actual situation in Belgium, and indeed probably a “flemish” decision (the current minister responsible for the federal police is flemish) against the FN Herstal, 100 % owned by the French speaking region Wallonia.

  • Peter

    Sounds a bit like the same story as their neighbors in Holland with the Sig Sauer.


    This maybe explains why the former chief of Police from Belgium gets away with spending 92.000 Euro (!!) on a week trip to a Qatar conference, maybe he got some more bonuses.


    Head of Belgian Police Mr. Koekelberg resigned recently after all the comments he received.

    Does someone know if S&W was present at the Qatar conference?

    PS The Steyr AUG they use (picture) is a 9mm Conversion, you could see this from the magazine.

  • Aurelien

    Oh and for those waiting for suplus hi-power : first of all, the ones the federal police have are pretty used up. They’ve had them for a long time (they are mostly surplus and rebuilds that came frome the former federal police, the Gendarmerie) and they will be used as spare parts for the local and regional services that are still using the BHP as their main sidearm.

  • Peter

    Why did you remove my comments these are facts?

  • Doug

    Let the agencies choose the best gun for the task and let it be. Politics do not belong in the gun procurement business. Anyone remember WWI, WWII, Vietnam, present day wars? Politics + buying guns = the soldier/cop gets jipped out of a functional weapon.

    Who ever meets the most requirements for the lowest price should get the contract. Save national pride for other political agendas.

    @ FNH,

    Instead of whining like a bunch of preschoolers why dont you guys make better guns and win more contracts? That philosophy has been working for all your competitors. Man the heck up, fix your design (if the design is the problem) and move on. But stop whining that nobody likes you anymore.

  • Chris

    Seems they (FNH) are a little bitter about a US weapon be used by their government, they better be careful how much they complain, as it is a lot like the US government buying a whole lot of military small arms from a certain Belgian firm…FNH.

  • Nathan

    Can’t wait for the glut of surplus Hi-Powers.

  • nosreme

    I have several Hi-Powers (both 9mm and .40 S&Ws) and a S&W M&P-9. I never thought anything could displace my HP-9 in my affections, but the S&W is on its way to doing just that. Both have lousy triggers out of the box (the HP being the worst) and both can be easily fixed but if the Belgian litigation climate is anything like the one here in the US, they’re probably loathe to remove the HP’s intrusive and annoying mag disconnect. All the S&W requires is essentially a drop-in Apex or similar trigger. The S&W is slightly easier to field strip and clean, and its mags hold marginally more rounds than the HP’s. I’ll certainly never get rid of my HPs but suspect that, over time, I’ll be shooting them more for nostalgia purposes than for sheer fun.

  • counsel

    To each their own, but there isn’t anything wrong with my trigger or the bore axis on my fnx… I tried both, and the fnx felt much better in my hand 🙂

  • mlk18

    While I also prefer to own guns made in my own country (in this case the USA) I am not surprised that the M&P was selected. It is a very ergonomic, accurate and reliable handgun. It’s eating up the police market here and will surely get more than one contract abroad.

  • Lance

    Well at least the Belgian military will carry HPs for years longer. Im surprised we beat out the Belgians themselves with FN being a Belgian company go USA.

  • Pedro C.P.

    This is not such a big surprise to me. FN really don’t make interesting handguns other than the Five-seveN, but it’s a too specialized weapon and I suppose the Belgian police was looking for something more conventional (and probably cheaper).

    But talking about the Five-seveN, it’s time to FN to update it and the P-90… maybe the F2000 too. Yeah, FN really should stick to their oddballs they really show their creativity.

  • Karel

    @Clairon. If the French government would have had the same mentality as the unions of FN when they ordered 10.000 MAG machine guns FN would have been dissapeared long time ago. But hey they probably ordered Belgian weapons because French minister of defence is a Walloon!!!! The idea that the decision not to buy the FNP (a weapon designed and made in the USA by the way) is some sort of Flemish “complot” against a Walloon owned company is rediculous. Its a fact that the FNP is at the moment not a succes among police forces, compared to Glocks, S&W etc…. Belgium is not the only country not choosing for the FNP. So. FN lost a competition today. I am sure it will win a competition tomorrow. A company like FN who exports 99% of what it produces has everything to loose from protectionism or nationalistic nonsense.

    Complaining when FN loses countries in other countries because of protectionism and few days later asking for protectionism is well inconsequent. I ‘ve had it with Flemish idiots that say we are controlled by Walloon socialists and I’ve had with French speakers who say we are controlled by Flemish.


    I agree with Nathan, and can’t wait to buy a few more Hi-Power pistols. The M&P is an OK pistol, albeit more modern than the HP. I wonder which companies other than FNH were in the running.

  • uzim16

    I really enjoy FN’s Machine gun, but handgun…………noway, I want a FN. SW ,Glock or P99 will be my choice.

  • coyote

    So how come the USA military uses Beretta pistols?
    Why not S&W, Colt, Ruger, or Kimber?

    • sadmercenary

      Because Ruger is one of the worst firearm companies, Colt and Kimber are both extremely expensive companies and would most likely mean they were switching back to a 45 ACP if they switched to them. And S&W d\probably didnt pass there test for some reason.

      • Derrick W.

        S&w m&p models are being carried by troops whom have the option. Know a few guys and have saw articles about troops carrying the m&p by choice.. at their own expense of course.

  • PCME

    coyote: So how come the USA military uses Beretta pistols?
    Why not S&W, Colt, Ruger, or Kimber?

    Good question. My friend bought a new Beretta 92FS last year, I liked shooting it but liked my XDM9 much better though. I did read that with aftermarket stuff you can make the 92FS into a really nice gun. Well you should be able to with most guns, but I digress.
    I am planning on selling my XDM9 for a M&P9L or regular FS version.

    Last weekend had mfg representatives at local range and shot the M&P9 full size and compact and loved them both. Started reading up on the M&P last June or so and kept a word doc with notes. After shooting last weekend, I am excited to get a M&P9, eventually with the Apex Forward Set Sear (FSS) that’s coming out in May 2011.
    From Randy Lee (owner of Apex): As it stands at the moment, the FSS kit will include the sear, a new striker block and the Aluminum trigger. I don’t know yet if their New Forward Set Trigger (FST) is the same though, have to look at dates posted more clearly and figure that out.

  • Rijoenpial

    Hi guys…

    Ok, I need to adress some misconception here:

    Nowhere in the post above, does FN say ANYTHING about losing the contract…The entities that were quoted were metal industries from the Wallonian region, NOT FNH!

    So, to those who are saying FNH are sore losers, read the post carefully: the FGTB is a syndicate of metallurgists from the Wallonian region and the CSC Metal is, I believe, another syndicate that looks after the workers rights!

    So, nowhere is FNH quoted or is even being mentioned saying anything!

    Just thought this needed clarification!

    I like to put blame where blame is due, not the other way around!

    I am sure they are not happy, but who would be?


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  • Its to bad that the polymere handguns are the rave in LE circles. I can see most do not want cocked and locked carry with old school auto’s like the HP . I cannot see the logic,but the modern design’s are winning. The HP has been around a very long time and is still in service in many countrys for now. It is a fine gracefull design that shoots&points very well. We may see a infux of imports soon intill the doors close on them. Every dog has his day and the Hi-power is a grand dog at that.

  • good guns ,but hand pick it.