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To update their agencies’ aging arsenals, the Police Nationale and the Gendarmerie Nationale have decided to upgrade to the Heckler & Koch UMP9. This move was following a request for information made by the two agencies in 2017. The contract, worth 3.2 million Euros ($3,736,672) will replace thousands of older weapons that are currently in use; one of the weapons they’ll be replacing is the Beretta M12, an SMG also chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum.

The Heckler & Koch UMP9 has been chosen to replace the Beretta M12. Note the curved 9mm magazine and the two-shot burst setting on the fire select lever. While this is an example of a “bare” UMP9, the French National Police and Gendarmerie specifically ordered their UMP9’s with all the tactical accessories; attaching optics, lights, lasers and grips were simply impossible with the Beretta M12 (IMFDB.org/wiki/File:Hk_ump9.jpg).

While the contract award doesn’t specifically mention the UMP9, the model fits the contract’s specification. The selection of the H&K UMP9 was probably more an eventuality than a surprise, since the French Police have expressed interest in the weapon for a number of years; in fact, small quantities of UMPs have been issued to French policemen and gendarmes since 2008, gradually replacing the Beretta M12. This is simply in accordance with the French government’s request for new SMGs for the Gendarmerie Nationale and the National Police, which was issued in July of 2017. The contract contains a short abstract of their request, and states the contract’s estimated value (translated from French):

“The present consultation concerns the acquisition of 9 x 19 mm machine guns and their peripheral equipment for the benefit of the Gendarmerie Nationale and the National Police. These weapons will allow the operational services to have a collective weapon to ensure a specific response capability, day and night, at engagement distances greater than that of the handgun.

Section II.1.5)  Estimated total value: Value excluding VAT: 3,850,000 Euros”

It is worth noting that the contract also stipulates that the new SMGs must be compatible with the current 9x19mm ammo in use and require the necessary accessories. A section of the contract stipulates this in some detail:

“Description of the services: This project aims to renew the shoulder armament of the internal security forces. These weapons will be required to use all 9 × 19mm ammunition in current service within the MI. They will be accompanied by accessories promoting ergonomics, grip, sighting and shooting. As an indication, the estimated needs for the duration of the framework agreement are of the order of: – 2000 PM “Operational service” with their peripheral equipment – 600 MP of “theory and manipulation” with their peripheral equipment – 200 solutions for reduced fire – 600 blank firing caps – 50 empty chamber testers – 50 individual maintenance kits – 75 packs of 10 magazines – 50 carrying cases – 30 tactical shoulder straps – 50 tactical grips”

French Policemen are seen deployed in full kit, with the Beretta M12; photo was taken as they responded to the terror threat in Paris after the Charlie Hebdo incident (QZ.com/323964/france-has-mobilized-90000-police-officers-as-two-hostage-situations-unfold-in-and-around-paris/).

The order for 2,600 SMGs in total, will be comprised of 2000 “operational service” weapons, and 600 “theory and manipulation” units or training weapons. Other details of the contract translate to 600 blank-firing adaptors, presumably 200 semiauto-only conversion kits or the limited-run semiauto-only Universal Self-Loading Carbine (USC), 50 maintenance kits, 50 chamber flags, 50 carrying cases, 50 tactical grips, along with other accessories such as suppressors, tactical slings and extra magazines. No specific mention as to which optics for sighting will be used on the units. The actual contract can be viewed here, and is being handled by HK France SAS.

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The new contract will replace the antiquated Beretta M12, a staple of the French police and home defense forces, was first designed in 1959 (WeaponSystems.net/weaponsystem/AA02%20-%20M12.html).