Shootout Over the Army’s New $580 Million Handgun
Policy + Politics

Shootout Over the Army’s New $580 Million Handgun

Sig Sauer P320

Since the first Glock was designed and built by an Austrian curtain-rod manufacturer, Gaston Glock, in 1982, the sleek weapon has become the most popular handgun in America among both cops and criminals. In fact, the company claims that some 65 percent of U.S. police departments use Glocks, often the lightweight Glock 19 with its 15-round magazine.

Related: The Army’s New State-of-the-Art $580 Million Handgun

But when the Army decided to replace the M9 Beretta, the sidearm that’s been on the hips of soldiers for the past 30 years, it bypassed Smith & Wesson and Glock and handed a potential $580 million contract for its Modular Handgun System (MHS) to Sig Sauer. The German-controlled company will manufacture the Sig Sauer P320 in New Hampshire.

However, as Bloomberg Businessweek writer Paul Barrett made clear in his 2012 book Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun, Glock doesn’t like to lose. It has filed a protest with the General Accounting Office, contesting the awarding of the contract to Sig Sauer.

The basis for contesting the contract is not clear from the filing, but by law, the GAO has 100 days from a bid protest filing to render a decision on whether the procurement process was flawed, so a judgment is due by early June.

Related: The Army Is Developing Its Most Lethal Gun Yet

The attorney for Glock was not immediately available for comment. But the website Bearing Arms says, “The fact Glock is protesting the decision strongly suggests that the company developed a ‘modular mystery Glock’ that has not yet been seen by the public. None of Glock’s existing handgun designs come close to being ‘modular.’”

The Sig Sauer P320 is designed to be adapted to the needs of the shooter and the mission: For example, the grip can be adjusted, it can be configured for silencers and it can be converted to fire three different types of ammunition.

The Army plans to phase in the P320 over the next decade, and the contract includes weapons, accessories and ammo. The Marines may make it the sidearm of choice, too.