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The Canadian Armed Forces will destroy 11,000 of its Second World War-era pistols after receiving new 9-mm pistols to replace its outdated weaponry. 

After receiving the final delivery of the new pistols as part of a $19.4 million project, the old pistols will be sent to supply depots in Alberta and Quebec for disposal, which will be carried out before the end of the year. 

The Browning Hi-Power pistols, which has been used by CAF members for decades,  were becoming increasingly difficult to find replacement parts for.

Distribution of the newly purchased Sig Sauer P320 to units is already underway.

“The pistols have not yet been destroyed,” said National Defence spokesperson Cheryl Forrest in an email to the Ottawa Citizen. “We anticipate the pistols will be disposed of by the end of 2024.”

According to Forrest, about 150 Browning Hi-Power handguns will be preserved for distribution to museums throughout Canada, however, none have been shipped out yet. 

Some Brownings may also be kept within the CAF for specific training or special purposes. 

“The Canadian Army keeps a small stock of older small arms and small arms in service in other countries to assist with training for emergency situations and for recognition,” wrote Forrest. “The Browning may also retain some training value as a simulation/training tool.”

The CAF has yet to make a final decision on keeping some Brownings within the force. 

Since the Second World War, over a million Browning Hi-Power pistols were manufactured as the gun was also distributed to other militaries and used by police forces as well. 

The change-out of pistols follows a similar move made by the CAF regarding its standard rifle for Canadian Rangers, which was the Lee Enfield, also in use since the Second World War. 

The Lee Enfield was replaced with the C19 rifle in 2018. 

Approximately 9,500 Lee Enfields, now non-functional, were transferred to the military cadets to be used for training and drills.

Another 5,000 Enfields were given as gifts to certain serving Canadian Rangers. 

According to National Defence, an additional 50 rifles were offered to museums affiliated with the CAF to be displayed as artifacts with the remaining 1,500 rifles destroyed.  

The new P320s pistols were received on March 6, along with a separate delivery of 16,500 C22 pistols to be used by the army, navy and airforce. 

Military police units also received a delivery of 3,200 new C24 pistols. 

M.D. Charlton Co. Ltd., based in Victoria, B.C. was awarded the contract for providing the CAF with the Sig Sauer P320 in October 2022. 

The P320 is a common model for military use, also utilized by militaries in the U.S., France and Denmark. 

The Pentagon ordered 420,000 P320s for the U.S. military in 2017.