S&W Belgium Federal Police Pistol Contract

In March I reported that S&W won the contact to supply the Belgian Federal Police with 9mm pistols to replace their aging arsenal of FN/Browning GP-35 (Hi-Power) pistols. Not getting this contract was a big blow to FN Herstal, who have been laying off workers because of poor sales. Smith & Wesson’s press release follows …

Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: SWHC), parent company of Smith & Wesson Corp., the legendary 159-year old company in the global business of safety, security, protection, and sport, announced today that it has recently received a contract from the Belgium Federal Police calling for 20,000 Smith & Wesson® Military & Police (M&P) 9mm polymer pistols over a ten-year period. The police agency, a force with 12,500 officers, has received an initial shipment of 2,500 pistols as part of the full department conversion to Smith & Wesson duty firearms.

After an open evaluation process that included numerous competitors, the Smith & Wesson M&P9 was selected for its performance and for the support services provided by the Company. A thorough test and evaluation process by the Belgium Federal Police indicated that the firearm’s reliability, interchangeable grips sizes and low perceived recoil were among the key drivers in the decision. In addition to duty pistols, the Belgium Federal Police also placed orders for simunition and dedicated training firearms based on the M&P platform. The firearms offered by Smith & Wesson were supported with a full range of services, including armorer’s training. The Company also provided the agency with product manuals in multiple languages in order to ease the transition process.

The pistols ordered by the Belgium Federal Police were based upon the well established M&P platform, which has been adopted by hundreds of police agencies and has achieved popularity with consumers as well. The M&P9 pistols were built to meet the exact specifications set forth by the police agency. Enhanced features included luminescent sights, a manual thumb safety with on/off red dot indicator, and a raised loaded chamber indicator on top of the slide that could be felt by hand. The M&P9 pistols retained the original design features and were supplied with two 17-round magazines along with cleaning materials.

Mario Pasantes, Smith & Wesson’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Global Professional Sales, said, “We are pleased to support the long-term needs of the Belgium Federal Police with our M&P pistols, which have become a sidearm of choice for law enforcement agencies in both the United States and around the globe. Our M&P line includes a full range of calibers and is designed to meet the exacting standards and tough test criteria used by professionals, such as the Belgium Federal Police. At the same time, our M&P firearms have become popular with consumers who have come to appreciate the pistol’s professional-grade performance and features.”

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.


  • John

    Irony that Glock, a european company, goes over to USA
    and now S&W does the same opposite direction-wise.
    Sign of the times?

    • sdog

      uh glock is from Austria, and has been in the us since the late 80’s

  • Reverend Clint

    S&W has a long history of selling guns to the Europeans and it’s nice to see national pride take a back seat.

  • Eric Villanueva

    Does this mean we might get some surplus police Hi Powers?

    • Lance

      Probably NOT they use double actions and since Belgium is ruled by do gooders that are liberal party they’ll have the guns destroyed to prevent violence in there worlds a waste in history is mine.

      • Aurelien

        Belgium is not ruled by anyone at the moment.

      • deimos

        “Do gooders that are liberal party”? Hahahaha. Seriously though, you should stick to commenting on guns, Lance, because your knowledge of the Belgian political landscape amounts to jack shit.

    • dominique

      its possible that cheap HP will be sold at local gun stores
      leo weaponry has been sold to civilians in the past
      when the “rijkswacht” was converted to regular police they wheren’t alloud anymore to use full auto guns so all there uzi where bought by local retailers converted to semi auto and then sold to civilian users

      but most likely they will be sold to the black market
      an estimated 80% of all confiscated guns are being sold on the black market

    • Lance


      You just don’t know about the European Union and how anti gun it is and I bet they make sure that any arms sales to US importers will never happen. Don’t forget that they support UN’s IANSA global gun ban. And cussing at me is no way to act on a professional gun comment board.

      • Aurelien

        Lance, i think you are the one that does not know.

        Belgium is a country where you can get any weapon you want, from a pistol to a howitzer, without paperwork. Owning as much guns as you can is a right you have in belgium. Only ammo is regulated.

        Plus, Belgium has some of the largest civilian gun markets in Europe.
        And i mean : a market, where you get guns. Where you get anything from russian Nagants to light machine guns.

        Your preconceptions about Europe are just wrong.

        Plus, as i already said, the Belgian government cant do shit, because it does not exist.

      • Lance

        I submit to you Aueulien I submit that you may be right on domestic firearms laws there BUT most West European government are very hostel to set arms sales to US arm makers. Might not be antigun just anti US but I doubt all the HPs well be available from Century Arms any time soon.

      • TATim

        Lance, you speak as if the EU is a homogeneous entity with no variation between member states. This rather peculiar view of the EU doesn’t exist in the real world.

      • Ted

        Lance your seriously wrong on this one, Finland, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Czech republic all have much better gun laws than California for example. Keep in mind our U.S. State Department has to sign off on any civilian small arms imports and exports. If Hillery Clinton doesn’t sign off on importation of the High-Powers for example it wont happen. It’s way easier to for the Belgians to sell into the European civilian market any surplus HP’s. Importing surplus small arms into the U.S. takes years for the right approvals. I actually talked at length with one of the century arms account managers at a local NH NRA dinner fundraiser who explained the issue at length and the various approvals involved along the chain. The Belgians/Germans/Italians would gladly export to us as much as they could in small arms if it wasn’t for our own laws. We are the biggest fish in small arms consumption on the planet both civilian and Govt, FN, Hk, CZ, Glock, Beretta all depend on U.S. civilian sales for survival that’s why we sometimes pay up to 2/3 less for some guns than European civilian gun-owners.

      • Lance

        I agree im just stating though that private business do more deal with the US than state arms from a government. I haven’t seen Police and Military high powers sold to the US in years. factory ones yes.

  • Lance

    Belgium Police didn’t use Hi Powers They used BDA double action pistol based on the Hi Power pistol. Doesn’t matter British, Canadian, militaries still use Hi Powers and so Dose Bulgaria which uses there own updated version the Arcus 98. I think the Belgian military will stick with HPs too. The BDA didn’t do too well in sales to Police and Military units in and out of Europe.

    Wow though US gun makers making a killing in sales to European law enforcement and Glock and Beretta hold most US law enforcement contracts.

    • Aurelien

      No, they did not widely use the BDA. The main pistol for the local-level cops were still the FN GP35, and it was also in use at the federal level. The only other gun i saw that was in use was the Glock 17 Gen3.

      • Lance

        It be true of Police but alot of NATO militaries still use HPs.

  • Nater

    I own an FNP-45 Tactical and I really like what FN was trying to do. It hasn’t been particularly reliable in my experience, but it’s so damn cool that I don’t want to get rid of it. Most of the issues, as with any semi-automatic firearm, stem from poor magazines.

    • sdog

      i have one too, the FDE model and it runs like a champ once i broke the mag springs in.

      • Nater

        I have one magazine that simply refuses to reliably feed and accounts for all but one of the issues I’ve had with it. I really wish FN would do a more compact variant of it, because it’s a huge gun.

  • Aurelien

    My contacts in the Belgian Police have one issue with the M&P : the contracts mandated the 1911-style safety, which is “not that good” according to local and federal police services.

    Other than that, they just love it.

    • Sian

      The M&P optional thumb safety is a pretty big paddle, and a bit too easy to toggle on and off, like you could do it on accident way too easily.

  • counsel

    politics… language had moreto do with the decision than quality of arms… thrfnx line has worked very well…

  • Brian

    M&P has been stealing sales from Glock in the US, both for LEOs and for recreational and sport shooters. The introduction of Gen 4 only made it worse.

  • Chase

    It’s great news for Smith & Wesson, but I can’t help feel sorry for Fabrique Nationale. What’s the world coming to when FN can’t get a contract in Belgium?

  • elk hunter

    Hey S&W make the M&P series in 38 Super, 10mm Auto.

    • nazgulnarsil

      M&P10 would be amazing.

  • 543

    This is completely off topic but if their are any Belgians on here I was wondering if you guys can own as Civilians, the FN Five-Seven and FN P90. I own both here in the U.S. and they are blast to shoot. The only thing that sucks is the ammo which retails at $20 a box for fifty rounds of 5.7x28mm(non AP variety).

    • dominique

      @ 543

      there is only 1 caliber that isn’t legal in belgium and its the 5.7X28

      don’t expect the belgium government to make rational decisions
      when fn released it they advertised their armour piercing capability
      which led to people seeing it as a cop killing bullet (not knowing that ap rounds exist in every caliber) and banning it

      • 543

        @ dominique

        Thanks Dominique for answering my question! I find it irrational that such an intelligent product invented by Belgians, made by a legendary Belgian company couldn’t be made legally available to Belgian civilians even though only two production FN 5.7x28mm ammo varieties are classified AP with the rest not having any armor piercing capability what so ever. But FNH can export for U.S. civilian use even though both weapons are now partially made in Belgium/USA. The ATF here, approved booth the Five-Seven/PS90 for civilian use and the non-armor piercing SS197(U.S. made) and SS195LF (Belgian made) rounds, can be used legally both in the Five-Seven and PS90. Hopefully someday you guys as civilians will be free to use the non-AP 5.7x28mm ammo varieties and the Five-Seven/PS90.

  • Yoda

    M&P VTAC in 10mm auto. I can only dream.

  • dominique


    where do you get your information? do you live in belgium?
    you do need paperwork to buy a gun and to buy ammunition
    you need to be a member of a shooting club and need the gorverners approval for every gun you buy (even .22 and blackpowder guns)
    the only working guns that you can legaly buy without paperwork are guns that are patented before 1890 and build before 1945
    or if you have a collectors licence you can buy anything that fits in your collection

    • Aurelien

      I live in France but i have a whole lot of friends in Belgium, both on the Police force and civilians.

      Come to think of it, most people i know that own guns that were made before 1945.

  • Rijoenpial

    Hi guys

    THere are two things seriously bugging me:

    First of all, the new FNH FNS striker-fired pistol is coming out just months after the FNH lost the contract…!

    I wonder if this gun was entered in the competition instead of the double-action, hammer-fired FNP-9 or FNX-9 or whatever, whether or not it would have had a better shot at winning the contract…!

    I think this is the first striker-fired pistol FN makes, so it begs to question…

    This leads me to issue number 2: what if FNH had won, wouldn’t people accuse the Belgian Govt. of rigging the competition? I know it is quite common for national companies to win the contracts in those countries, like H&K winning the German Army Rifle contracts (can’t recall if there actually was one!) with the G36, for instance! That doesn’t make it right, though! One thing is a public entity on State funding, like IMbel in Brazil, or MAS in France, another is the Govt. favoring private companies!

    I like FNH sidearms and rifles, past and present, but this was a lose-lose situation: if they had won, a lot of backlash and accusations of favoritism would rain from the competitors and, well, by losing, they have created not only financial troubles, but also a self-esteem thing: if they cannot win in their own country, what does that tell the potential buyers?!

    I personally think that these competitions ought to be truly democratic and open to all contenders… And politics aside, the most reliable one should win… because a gun is not about shooting people, but saving lives, cops lives, soldiers lives!

    I don’t think S&W were the best choice, especially in terms of continuing production of spare parts and most of all, shipping them! We know, from the following blog entry, that S&W has given up the new US Rifle Competition because they do not have the financial backing to await three years of prototyping and prototype improving! What does that tell ya?

    Also, it is quite questionable the politics behind this choice: the cultural backlask between the French and the Flamand halfs is getting ridiculous, to say the least!

    As I said before in previous posts, the Govt. first priority is to ensure and secure jobs domestically, in national companies, not risk putting them under!

    Only for this reason alone, I think they should have chosen FNH, but also due to the generalised financial and economical crisis in Europe…

    I know I should not get politics involved, but this is purely a POLITICALLY-MOTIVATED decision!

    A decision that may well cost jobs in Belgium in the future!


    • 543

      I don’t think this was a politically motivated choice but actually a smart decision by the Belgian Federal Police, Smith & Wesson has created a highly ergonomic and reliable firearm and coupled it low cost production that enables the company to sell the M&P at less cost to both LE and civilian markets for less than its competitors. My local gunshops sell M&P 9’s for around $450 for example, which is less than what a Glock/Sig/CZ/HK goes for and your still getting a great gun. I own both the SW M&P9 and 45 and never had any issues with either one. In fact a lot of the Law Enforcement agencies in the U.S. are replacing their Glocks/SiGs with the M&P(same reliability/less cost per unit). FN Herstal will survive beyond this contract as they do plenty of military business and are kept plenty busy with demand from the U.S. Civilian market.

  • Aurelien

    One small precision :
    The S&W MP9 was officially adopted in january 2011, after some kind of closed competition. The boots on the ground then told the administration they would not accept not being part of the process, and the competition started again, with this time input from low-rank officiers.

    And the MP9 won again.

  • O/T I know, sorry. The thing is, I carry a CZ 82. A fine and efficient weapon, if there ever was one. I guess my point is, will any of those worn out HPs make their way stateside. You know, the way my 82 did.