FN protect over Colt M240B contract overuled

A while back the government awarded Colt a contract to manufacture the FN designed M240B machine. FN was none to happy about this! They filed a protest which has just been overruled by the US Government Accountability office. From the ruling …

As a final matter, FN challenges the SSA’s best value tradeoff decision. In this regard, FN argues that the SSA’s decision to select Colt’s lower-priced proposal was unreasonable because it did not afford any weight to the superiority of FN’s proposal under the technical and past performance factors as compared to the proposal submitted by Colt.

It is well-settled that an agency properly may select a lower-rated, lower-priced proposal, even where price is a less important evaluation factor than technical merit, where it reasonably concludes that the price premium involved in selecting the higher-rated proposal is not justified in light of the acceptable level of technical competence available at a lower price. The extent of such tradeoffs is governed only by the test of rationality and consistency with the evaluation criteria. Thus, a protester’s disagreement with the agency’s determinations as to the relative merits of competing proposals, or disagreement with its judgment as to which proposal offers the best value to the agency, do not establish that the evaluation or source selection was unreasonable. General Dynamics–Ordnance & Tactical Sys., B-401658, B‑401658.2, Oct. 26, 2009, 2009 CPD para. 217 at 8.


[ Many thanks to Daniel E. Watters for the info ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • SpudGun

    This does seem somewhat underhand, I could understand if we were in a WW2 type situation with a genuine shortage of available production, but this has a whiff of under the table dealing.

    Having said all that, FN have been manufacturing M4’s and that’s basically a Colt owned design – so it looks like what goes around comes around.

  • Lance

    Good all cpanies need to be able to produce weapons for the military.

  • vereceleritas

    Correct me if I’m wrong but the way I understood it Colt had the inferior proposal in terms of technical merit but since its cheaper, its OK. Does that mean Colt-made M240B aren’t up to par with FN-made ones? 240’s are some of the most reliable and durable weapons I’ve used in the Marine Corps. I hope they’re not going to build them to lower standards just to save some pennies.

  • Overload in CO

    So, Colt makes the FN M240B, and FN makes the Colt M-16?

  • Lance

    Yep Overloard in CO

    Not only do we have FN and Colt makeing the weapons each other company has been made famous for but H&K my also soon win contracts for Army weapons.

  • subase

    Well FN is making the SCAR now so maybe they decided Colt needed some love too. I’m sure they’ll kiss and makeup.

  • Lance

    Yeah but the SCAR isnt that good, many mixed reviews of it. And not too many are made since SOCOM is not very large anyway. So I doubt that Its due that FN is getting alot of contracts for more M-240s, M-249s, and M-16s for the army is letting others relive FN on some work

  • UGH!! Tech Proposals

    Being involved in Government contract work where tech proposals are a way of life, having the Government say that the Colt proposal was less technical than FN is really has nothing to do with price or inferior manufacturing but is the subjective opinion of a reviewer. It could be lack of information and generalized assumptions. Remember that FN has all the information and Colt only has basic information. Regardless Tech Proposals are very subjective and unless written to the specific readers are usually just a lot of wasted paper.

  • Noah

    Vereceleritas, I understand and respect your opinion although I believe that with all the political tension of where our tax dollars are going (a large percentage to our armed forces), it is important to always remember that sometimes you do have to make sacrifices. I have read a lot about this topic and the differences between FN Herstal’s and Colt’s version of the M240 seem to be quite minor.

  • Travis

    The military should have the right to outsource ALL weapons in our inventory to multiple venders. We shouldn’t be enslaved to a single company and/or foreign country for the weapons we use to maintain our sovereignty. Although unlikely, there’s no telling if or when there could be some kind of falling out between the US and Italy, Germany, Belgium, etc. that could threaten the availability of spare parts and replacement weapons.

    FN is just as wrong now as Colt was for preventing other manufacturers from supplying M4s to the military for all those years. Maybe someone should remind FN that there’s been a lot of updates and improvements to the M60 family that make it a dependable and reliable base of firepower.