It was almost two years ago when the U.S. Army decided to ditch the Beretta M9 for a more modern, more versatile side arm. Speculation was the Glock, the leading producer of law enforcement handguns, would be a frontrunner, but it was Sig Sauer who came out on top. Now Glock has been dealt what is most likely the final blow in an almost 6-month battle to overturn that award.
When the U.S. Army announced its plans to replace the M9 after 3 decades as the standard side arm everyone knew the competition would be tough. Beretta is no longer the firearms giant they were in the 1980’s and has even experienced problems fulfilling the current military contract while still meeting numerous worldwide law enforcement obligations. Today’s leading contenders were thought to be Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer and Glock – all three of who are also leaders in the law enforcement market.
In Jan 2017, it was Sig Sauer’s P320 which won out and earned its markers the estimated $530 million contract (valued based on estimated 10-year period). But Glock was not about to go quietly into the sunset. No, the makers of one of the world’s most popular firearms did not like the Army’s decision and appealed to the Government Office of Accountability.
Glock’s appeal challenged several issues:
A. Number of contracts awarded- Glock claims the solicitation did not call for a single provider but instead required the Army to select “up to three” suppliers and likely three different firearms. The GOA disagreed stating the RFP allowed up to three awards but did not set a minimum number either.
B. Claimed the Army improperly evaluated their proposal, although they failed to provide specifics as to how the evaluation was improperly conducted. Again, GOA dismissed the challenge and stated simply that Glock was not prejudiced by any such mistakes.
Now Glock has decided to publicly challenge the testing process itself. In a July 6th edition of “Business Insider” Josh Dorsey, Glock Inc. V.P>, claimed the testing was incomplete AND that those tests that were completed favored the Glock proposal.
1. The Sig Sauer was selected without the Army conducting the commonly accepted “heavy endurance testing”, which Dorsey claims was identified in the original solicitation.
2. According to the GAO answer to Glock’s challenge, the P320 experienced a higher failure rate than the G19 as well as reduced accuracy.
3. Had the additional testing been performed Dorsey is confident the Glock submission would have continued to outperform the other entries- including the P320.
So why would the Army go with the P320 if it is inferior to the other models submitted for testing? Of course, the Army disputes this claim altogether and GOA claims the government received “the best value”. Glock see it differently, claiming the fact that the Sig bid was $169.5 million compared to their own bid of $272.2 million, is the real reason for the final selection. While this may seem like a good thing – the government finally thinking about the bottom line- Dorsey claims the point of the testing was performance not price and picking an inferior product will place service members in danger.
Guess only time will tell who is correct and whether or not the is truly up to the task.
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