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SOFINS: French GIGN gets new rifle

30th March 2017 - 10:38 by Erwan de Cherisey in Souge, France

SOFINS: French GIGN gets new rifle

The French National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN) has ordered a new standard issue weapon.

It has selected the Bren 2 assault rifle from Czech company CZ. The company told Shephard at the SOFINS exhibition that the GIGN has selected the 7.62 x 39 mm version of the rifle and placed an initial order for 68 units earlier in 2017.

Additional procurements are slated to take place in the near future with the aim of replacing the majority of the H&K 416s currently in service.

The decision to adopt the Bren 2 was the result of a process that began in 2015 after the Paris attacks in January that year. Faced with terrorists equipped with bullet-proof vests, French gendarmerie and police intervention units found that 9 mm weapons had little efficiency in such situations and that 5.56 mm ammo lacked the necessary stopping power.

The CZ spokesperson said that the GIGN identified a need for a new weapon able to fire a heavier bullet. The 7.62 x 51 mm calibre had the suitable characteristics but the weapons for this calibre were considered too heavy and bulky for efficient close-quarter combat.

Thus, GIGN decided to evaluate assault rifles chambered in the 7.62 x 39 mm calibre instead and undertook trials throughout 2015 with a variety of weapons.

CZ's offering was only proposed in the latter stages of the evaluation program. Throughout the better part of 2016, the rifle was intensively tested in a variety of situations and was found to be the most reliable and efficient weapon within the panel of rifles tried by the GIGN.

The CZ Bren 2 was developed from the CZ 805 Bren S1 to take part in the French Army Future Infantry Weapon (AIF) programme (which saw the selection of the H&K 416). However CZ was unable to participate in the process as it came in too late. Development on the Bren 2 continued nevertheless and the weapon has now been selected in its 5.56 mm version by the Czech military which will use it as its standard rifle instead of the original CZ 805.

The Bren 2 7.62 x 39 mm version selected by the GIGN is a compact assault rifle with a nine inch barrel. It comprises a handguard with Picatinny rails which allows for the fitting of a variety of accessories and aiming aides as well as collapsible telescopic stock.

The GIGN has requested some modifications for its own rifles which comprise a new flash hider designed to be fitted with a sound suppressor. Some of the rifles procured by the GIGN also include a modified gas regulation system allowing for subsonic shooting. The weapon is fully ambidextrous and despite its short barrel, retains its full precision at a range of 400m as confirmed during the GIGN trials.

CZ is now pitching its P-10 pistol to the GIGN. The company has also offered its Bren 2 7.62 x 39 mm rifle to the French Special Operations Command (COS), arguing that equipping Special Forces with such a rifle would allow for easier interoperability in the field with local forces in Africa or the Middle East however it has not managed to generate the expected interest so far.

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