Well, it’s official. The U.S. Army has given Glock it’s MHS mix tape back. At least for Glock, the MHS—the big Modular Handgun System trial to determine the next 9 mm service pistol of the U.S. military—is over.
A variant of SIG Sauer’sP320 pistol was awarded the XM17 contract on Jan. 19, 2017, and Glock filed a protest with the Government Accounting Office (GAO) in late February. As part of the U.S. government procurement system, such protests are very common. Now that the protest, which the GAO had until June 5 either to accept or reject, has been denied, at least the bare bones of what Glock was protesting have been announced.
This was released by the GAO and reported on soldiersystems.net: “On June 5, 2017, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied a protest filed by Glock, Inc. … The protester challenged the Army’s interpretation of the solicitation regarding the minimum number of contract awards required by the RFP. The protester also alleged that the Army improperly evaluated its proposal. The maximum contract value, including all options, is approximately $170 million.
“GAO denied the challenge to the interpretation of the solicitation, finding that the RFP allowed the Army to make only one award, although up to three awards were permitted by the RFP’s terms. GAO also denied the challenge to the Army’s evaluation of Glock’s proposal on the basis that any errors did not prejudice Glock in the competition.
“GAO’s decision expresses no view as to the merits of the protester’s proposal. Judgments about which offeror will most successfully meet the government’s needs are reserved for the procuring agencies, subject only to statutory and regulatory requirements, such as full and open competition, and fairness to potential offerors.”
Will Glock stand outside in the rain on the lawn of Project Manager Soldier Weapons with its boom box blaring like something out of a John Cusack movie from the 1980s? No. While surely disappointed, it’s not like Glock is on the brink of insolvency. It was worth a try. This protest was as natural as dirt and as expected as dawn. Glock, of course, still has an open contract with SOCOM and just landed a big, fat FBI contract.
“By not completing the testing on both proposals on a competitive basis, the Army never determined which pistol would better meet the warfighter's needs,” said Glock’s Vice President Josh Dorsey in a June 7 press release. “We are confident had the Army completed the testing, the GLOCK 19 would have outperformed the Sig P320, as it had in recent testing conducted by a leading federal law enforcement agency which resulted in GLOCK, Inc. being awarded that contract. GLOCK pistols have been battle proven by select units of the U.S. military forces for the past 10 years. GLOCK, Inc. stands with the men and women serving in the Armed Forces and will continue to give them its full support.”
Dorsey added, “We thank our technical team for submitting a pistol that met or exceeded all of the Army's requirements. We also extend our appreciation to our MHS partner, Vista Outdoor's Federal Cartridge, for creating the most effective and innovative pistol round we have ever tested, which performed flawlessly in the GLOCK 19 MHS model.” That Vista was Glock’s MHS partner has not widely been reported.
There is a very big story when it comes to the MHS ammunition side. The new ball XM1152 is said to fulfill the Army’s requirement for “increased performance.” Too, there is a new “Special Purpose” (meaning “hollow-point”) round, the XM1153, waiting for a legal interpretation on its use on the battlefront.
The Army, SIG Sauer and Winchester Ammunition, have all been very tight lipped. Now that the Glock protest has been resolved, it is my hope that the Army and the companies involved will be more forthcoming with information. This is the biggest military handgun story in a generation.
The good news for consumers is that Glock’s MHS, entrant—the G19 MHS—may join two other outstanding handguns that did not win the contract—the FN America 509 and the Beretta APX—on the commercial market.