FBI Procurement Bias

2-Nov-15 – 09:39 by ToddG

Screen capture from Blue Sheepdog.

ReadĀ this blog post on Blue Sheepdog.

Even when the writing is on the wall, it shouldn’t be this obvious. The FBI procurement specification for its new 9mm pistol(s) isĀ so specific that only one company’s product is even eligible. The staff at Quanitco knows what it wants, and it is bending a whole lot of procurement regulations to make sure the fix is in.

Many of the companies being affected are probably in the midst of planning for the (possible) big Army procurement, so making some changes to their designs probably isn’t the end of the world. For example, Glock could probably make frames without finger grooves (now, according to FBI, finger grooves of any size or shape are intolerable) with just a minor mold change. It wouldn’t cost HK a million dollars to make a VP9 with a button mag release. But why should they have to? Why does the FBI want to prevent the guns as-is from getting a chance to prove themselves in a fair and open competition?

fbiheirI’ve got absolutely nothing against the SIG P320. I know quite a few squared away shooters who really like it. What bothers me is a procurement that doesn’t need to go past the go/no-go stage for testing because only one gun, no matter whether it’s the most reliable or shootable or best choice for thousands of agents, has a chance of winning. Not only is that bad procurement, it’s bad officer safety. If the P320 is the best gun, let it prove itself in fair & open competition.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 23 Responses to “FBI Procurement Bias”

  2. Why waste taxpayer dollars on bogus testing if the FBI folks know what they want? Nice to see Washington NOT throwing away our money for a change.
    I own the Sig P320 compact and in all honesty it blows Glock out of the water in every way. That is from a Glock fan who owns two of them. I concealed carry the G43 every weekday. If my work clothing would allow it the 320c would be my edc over my G23.

    By Brian on Nov 2, 2015

  3. What’s so obviously absurd is the finger groves on the frame disqualifier. Any pistol maker would modify the frames of their pistols to get this contract. This is just typical gov BS from the same people who shoved Obamacare down our throats.

    By Gerard on Nov 2, 2015

  4. How does the BBL length req eliminate Smith? They could submit 5″ Pros for the full-size and 4.25″ standard guns for the compact.

    By Tam on Nov 2, 2015

  5. I carry a Glock 19 and a 26, the reason I don’t have a 43 is it is not cross platform with magazines like the 17,19,26 are. So I trust theese Glocks with mine and my families life. That being said I have seen and shot the Sig 320 and it is (As most SIG pistols) an excellent handgun. So no issue with their choice but remeber they have also ran glocks for quite a while now. I know SA in the Beurau that still rock hand fitted 1911’s as well.

    By Will on Nov 2, 2015

  6. Adding on to Tam’s M&P comment, the S&W Performance Center sear should take care of the trigger pull weight requirement leaving S&W in the hunt.

    By GMSweet on Nov 3, 2015

  7. Why can’t the FBI just test and pick what is already available? I know, it’s the government. There are a lot of proper pistols out there already that would serve an alphabet agency well.

    By Harm Uden on Nov 3, 2015

  8. It does blatantly appear that the specs were written to favor the 320. I didn’t see the suspense date for the samples to be submitted, but I would guess it would not take a major overhaul for Glock & S&W, for example to whip out something that is competitive. It’s too large a contract for the manufacturers to pass on.

    By rt on Nov 3, 2015

  9. This is just as bad as when the FAMS chose the Sig p250 to replace the P229. We see how that went…….
    Who in the FBI got the Pay off from Sig??

    By kittyhawk90 on Nov 3, 2015

  10. Aren’t there a couple of factors that makes it hard for Glock to compete?

    Wasn’t there a requirement for taking the gun down without pull the trigger, and a requirement for a ambi-slide catch?

    Both of those would be hard changes.

    By PPGMD on Nov 3, 2015

  11. A handgun round is a handgun round is a handgun round. Shot placement and penetration leading to CNS shut down or massive bloodloss which leads to CNS shutdown. Get over it. (More energetic 40 cal round – gimme a break).

    Tried to post on the other site but too man hoops to jump through.

    Glad to see you posting Todd.

    By St on Nov 3, 2015

  12. Todd is the frame as strong as the Glock. I understand Glock molds a stainless piece in their frames. This of course makes the frame stronger.

    By David S. Keough on Nov 3, 2015

  13. Well it’s Sig, if they can’t screw this up no one can.

    By Rob E on Nov 5, 2015

  14. Well, that’s great to know. I think I want one in a forty. Full size. It’s hard not to want a 1911.

    By David S. Keough on Nov 5, 2015

  15. This whole Sig-rig is a crock. Some shooting buds and I decided to play the game. I own a 320C. We took it and a Glock 19, (and a Glock 32), to the range to play around. We are big, medium, and smallish. We are all very active handgun shooters with everything from NAA .22’s to S&W 500’s and pretty much everything in between. This is an accounting of our experience.
    1. With any given 9mm load, (Blazer 115 to Ranger +P+), the muzzle rise and felt recoil of the 320 is about twice that of the Glock 19.
    2. The muzzle rise and felt recoil of the Glock 32,(357 Sig), is less than a 320 with 115 9mm ball.
    3. The Glock 32 with a (Glock) 40 barrel firing 155gr 40’s has less perceived recoil and muzzle rise than a 320 firing 115 9mm ball.
    4. From a bench at 15 yds. the 320 is probably twice as accurate as a Glock 19. It also rises twice as high from the cradle. The Glock 32 only rises half as much as the 320. (Aside-the Glock 41 is capable of tighter groups from the bench than any of these other guns.)

    Our conclusion: If the switch is being made for easier shooting and more control by the shooter, then it’s a total crock. We all agreed, (and with this group that’s a miracle), that a Glock 32 with a 40 barrel is much more controllable and easier to shoot than a 320 in 9mm. Maybe this whole thing is just to punish Gaston for being a POS.

    By Jeff on Nov 10, 2015

  16. Ya know,

    There is a process in federal contracting that allows an agency to specify exactly what it wants. You can “sole-source” a procurement as long as you provide the necessary justification. This is obviously a sole-source procurement. It is very protestable, if anybody cares to deal with the contracting officers and tech representatives that came up with this stunt.

    By Davey on Nov 11, 2015

  17. Davey-my aim is to point out that the “selected”
    weapon does not do what the situation came to in the first place. The 320 does not remedy the problem of difficulty with agents having a hard time being proficient with the Glock 22’s and 23’s. The 320 will be a larger challenge than the 22’s and 23’s. The 320 is a wonderful piece of firearm machinery………but, the really high bore axis and grip make it really difficult for non-firearm folks to readily master. The whole thing of finger groove grips is just old guys in positions of power being full of poopie. As I said it’s a crock! Going to 9mm makes all the sense in the world ’cause there’s no “real world” difference in modern 9’s and 40’s. But to go to a handgun which is harder to become proficient with is a crock.

    By Jeff on Nov 11, 2015

  18. Lot’s of ignorant statements here and at the linked thread.

    The comments at the bottom of the linked thread by “Independent Thinker” and “Inside Source” were closest to the truth.

    Several pistols currently meet the specs, not just the P320; also don’t forget that the FBI RFP and the Army MHS are fairly large contracts and vendors may be submitting handguns that have not been released to the public yet.

    The reasons for the switch are quite valid and were years in the making. No one is getting “paid off”, such comments are balderdash…

    By DocGKR on Nov 17, 2015

  19. I tend to agree with DocGKR. I also think people are way to quick to bash anything remotely related to government. Many people are working hard and trying to get the best tool for the job. I’m also happy about some of the requirements for both this and the MHS. If it takes the FBI and Army to get Glock to offer a G17 with no finger grooves, and an M&P9 that can consistently shoot good groups, and pistols in general with decent trigger pulls…..lets all be happy, because they haven’t and probably wouldn’t ever do those things for the general shooting public.

    By Mark on Nov 21, 2015

  20. This is very far from a “sole-source” procurement. IN fact, it is probably going to be very competitive. I suspect that many potential vendors will produce models that meet the criteria, even if they have to cobble from current market offerings to do it.

    My thinking, as a BD guy in the contract world, is that this is RIPE for a pre-award protest based on the rigid specifications, and some models may get into the test based on successful protests. For example, the M&P on barrel length. The trigger pull can be fixed pretty quickly.

    Now, they COULD have done this as an RFI, and then made a sole-source on the results of the RFI, but that would be a very different beast.


    By Dan-O on Nov 23, 2015

  21. The whole sig-rig is a crock? Have you actually fired a P320 @Jeff? I took my P320C out to qualify with my lead firearms instructor who jokingly bad mouthed the Sig from the second I bought it. After putting numerous rounds through it he said it was one of the softest shooting most accurate handguns he had ever fired (he carries a Gen4 G19). Neither of us found any discernable difference in recoil or flip between the G19 and 320C. The G19 is a little smaller and 320C has a better trigger, both are top tier guns. Me thinks a Glock fanboy can’t set the koolaid down.

    By mlk18 on Nov 23, 2015

  22. Dan-O, agree 100%. The only way this won’t get protested is if the gun companies don’t have people who know how to make the process work. In my experience, though, most of them don’t.

    mlk18 — How the gun works for you isn’t the point. It’s a matter of how the procurement butts up against federal acquisition rules. The P320 may be the greatest gun ever made, hands down. But it needs to be proved under fair competition rather than pre-determined by unknown people with no proof.

    By ToddG on Nov 23, 2015

  23. To mik18-our little group of shooters are not Glock fan boys. We knew what was coming. We went out again. We shot a Glock 32 with Gold Dot Sig 357. We shot a Sig 226 with Ranger +P+. Then we shot a 320 with generic (Remington 115gr. hardball.) We are all LE or former LE and all are veterans. As I said before we are big, medium, and small. We were all quicker and more accurate with the 226. Next, we were more accurate and quicker with the Glock 32. We were all less accurate and less quick with the 320. The 320 has a much better trigger than the Glock and is so very accurate from the bench, The 226 is slightly more accurate from our testing. BUT, the 320 has much more “jump” than either of the other pieces. It simply doesn’t “come back on” as quickly. If the desire is to have a handgun easier for non- gunners to become more proficient with then go with the 226 or G 17 or 19. Just to point out I’m not a “Glock boy” I carry a P250 I can cover it. I’m a long time S&W double action shooter and the 250 is the closest DA semi-period.

    By Jeff on Nov 23, 2015

  24. ToddG,

    It makes me think that that there is room for a boutique consulting firm consulting to firearms companies ;).


    By Dan-O on Nov 25, 2015

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