The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking to update their 1990s era pistol stocks and could conceivably go Glock to do so.
The FBI has relied on Glocks (in 7 different models) since 1997 to equip most of its agents both as primary and backup use but is now looking to change things up– and the current stable of Austrian polymer seems like it can fit the bill.
In short, the primary issue arm is currently the Glock 22 and 23 “FG&R” (finger groove and rail) with the 9mm 17/19 as an alternative. For backup and deep concealment, special agents as well as those on more administrative taskings (read= supervisors) are authorized “baby Glock” G26 and G27 subcompacts while SWAT-certified agents can carry a G21 in .45ACP. In almost all cases, those guns in service are 3rd Generation models.
Now the Bureau on Oct. 7, 2015 released a 110-page pistol solicitation request, all for 9mm semi-automatic pistols.
These are for four different guns. To make this easy, what I will do is list the guideline in bold and then list what Glock would conceivably fit the bill.
Class I Compact Pistol: One (1) Class I Pistol with a barrel length of no less than 3.75” and no greater than 4.25”, height no less than 4.75” and no greater than 5.6”, flush fit minimum magazine capacity of 14 rounds and witness holes, night sights.
Potential Winner: Glock 19 Gen 4 with 4.01-inch barrel length, 4.99-inch height, 15 shot magazine.
G19, note that it also takes G17 mags– which is important!
Class II Full Size Pistol: One (1) Class II Pistol with a barrel length of no less than 4.26” and no greater than 5.20” , height no greater than 6”, flush fit minimum magazine capacity of 16 rounds and witness holes, night sights. Class I & II pistols shall have the same operating system and control mechanisms with the only difference being the slide, barrel, frame, and grip dimensions. Class II magazines shall fit in Class I pistols and function the pistol as designed.
Potential Winner: Glock 17 Gen 4 at 4.48-inch barrel, 5.43-inch height, 17 round mag that will work in the G19 that shares the same operating system and surface controls.
The Glock 17, seen here with Norwegian army commandos, is pretty much the go-to Western issue military handgun these days, having edged out the venerable Browning Hi-Power in the past generation.
For both Class I and II pistols, the following is required:
All magazines must have a small ledge (“toe”) on the front of the magazine to aid the shooter in rapid extraction of the magazine. This ledge must protrude forward of the grip (nominally 0.10” – 0.15”) to enable the non-shooting hand to strip the magazine from the pistol. Trigger pull weight shall be no less than 4.5 lbs. nor exceed 6 lbs. Pistol must fire with 6 lbs. of pressure and shall not fire with 4.25 lbs. pressure. The slide stop lever shall lock the slide to the rear position upon firing the last round in the magazine. No external manual safety. No magazine safety. No grip safety. 20,000 round endurance firing cycle. A minimum of three different rear sight height options are required (e.g., standard, low, and high).
Class I Inert Training Pistol (a.k.a. Red Handle): One (1) Class I Pistol, deactivated with full articulation, red frame and slide, night sights, four (4) magazines with red floor plates.
Potential Winner: Glock 17 P Practice pistol, which is fully articulated including loadable magazines, trigger squeeze, and disassembling in a completely inert package.
Class I Man Marker Training Pistol (a.k.a. SIMUNITIONTM1): One (1) Class I Man Marker Pistol, blue slide or slide with blue inserts, four (4) magazines with blue floor plates.
Potential Winner: Glock 17T FX it is already blue and uses Simunition man -marker rounds.
While other companies may be able to drop in on the Class I and II pistol categories (such as SIG and S&W with their P320 and M&P lines respectively), they may have a harder time coming up with the articulated red handle and simunitions training guns. I’m not sure they have them on tap. If they do, it could be an interesting run off between the three (or four companies if FN jumps in).
In addition to the guns themselves, there are guidelines for replacement parts enough to last 10 years, lockable and stackable plastic cases (which can be third party), weapon disassembly tools.
The winner being able to begin deliveries within 90 days after receipt of order, and be able to supply as many as 25,000 pistols per year for 10 years (although this will be less than likely as FBI only has some 13,412 special agents). The contract has a maximum of $85 million tied to it.
And here is the kicker. The contract may be extended to other federal agencies to include:
- United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security
- United States Marshals Service
- Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
- United States Postal Service
- United States Treasury Department
- Drug Enforcement Agency
- United States Capitol Police
- United States Park Police
- United States Department of Energy
- Office of Inspector General (all Federal agencies)
- United States Department of Defense
Did you get the last one?
With the Army’s modular pistol program ramping up and Glock (along with SIG, S&W and FN) all in the hunt for that as well, the FBI contract could be a solid warm up to supplying Big Green.
Those companies wishing to submit their guns will have to send a mix of 80 firearms (20 of each class) along with holsters, Ransom rest inserts, lights, cleaning kits etc. to the Bureau who will then put them through five phases of testing (including submitting them to a 10,000 round range test each, salt water corrosion tests, drop tests, etc.) and then a winner will emerge.
Overall, interesting times ahead.