The French special police force GIGN — Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale — is adopting CZ’s newest BREN carbine for service. What’s really interesting is that the department is not embracing 5.56 NATO. Instead GIGN is gearing up with CZ rifles chambered for 7.62x39mm, the time-tested Russian cartridge.
This is a stand-out contract with a foreign agency. The BREN series has been a real success for CZ, with widespread domestic adoption as well as strong commercial acceptance. This is the first contract CZ’s landed with a major power, earning the BREN 2 official high marks.
GIGN was looking for a compact package to deal with armored attackers. The special police force is tasked with counter-terrorism and other high-profile duties including protection details and hostage rescue.
In the aftermath of the 2015 terror attacks in Paris GIGN decided to re-evaluate their equipment. GIGN issues a wide variety of pistols and submachine guns chambered for 9mm Luger as well as full-size and compact carbines in 5.56 NATO.
The department was looking for a .30-caliber carbine from the start. However 7.62 NATO proved too unwieldy for close-quarters combat. GIGN wanted a cartridge that could be optimized for a short-barreled carbine. CZ developed the BREN series from the ground up around both 5.56 NATO and 7.62x39mm.
The BREN 2 carbines will replace the GIGN’s HK 416 carbines in service today. GIGN started with a small order of 68 rifles but will eventually transition entirely to CZ BREN 2s as they complete future procurements. The guns are configured with 9-inch barrels and short, modular Picatinny handguards.
Another option for GIGN would have been a carbine chambered for 300 AAC Blackout. Like 300 BLK, 7.62x39mm performs very well out of short-barreled rifles. The agency is also weighing subsonic loads for suppressed rifles. But 7.62x39mm is an in-place option with this series and more affordable still.
The BREN 2 is the updated version of the original 805 developed for Czech military and police users. CZ modified the design in 2015. The BREN 2 has improved ambidextrous controls and simplified components for easy field stripping. The updated carbines also have lighter receivers.
The changes to the design have the benefit of lowering the cost of manufacturing as well. BREN users frequently compare the carbine to FN’s highly-successful SCAR at a lower price point.
The BREN 2 was originally intended to compete for the French future infantry carbine competition. Unfortunately, CZ was too late to enter the trials. French forces instead selected the HK 416 for general service — the exact gun GIGN is replacing with the BREN 2.
GIGN requested one change to CZ’s package which is a suppressor-ready flash hider mount. In turn, CZ is angling to get their newest P-10 striker-fired service pistol adopted in place of GIGN’s Glock pistols.