FBI Releases RFP For New Pistols, Full Size, Compact, Simunition and Inert Trainers

The FBI has released a request for proposal for new 9mm semiautomatic handguns, in four categories. The RFP lists these as full-size, compact, Simunition trainers, and inert but articulated “red gun” trainers:


The Government has a need for the following 9mm semi-automatic pistols, along with all associated replacement parts, in accordance with Part 12 – Commercial Items of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR):

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”, minimum magazine capacity of 14 rounds, night sights, six (6) magazines, FBI approved gun lock (lock approval shall be post award), operator’s manual written in English, stackable hard plastic container.

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” , minimum magazine capacity of 16 rounds, night sights, six (6) magazines, FBI approved gun lock (lock approval shall be post award), operator’s manual written in English, stackable hard plastic container.

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, FBI approved gun lock (lock approval shall be post award), operator’s manual written in English, stackable hard plastic container.

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, FBI approved gun lock (lock approval shall be post award), operator’s manual written in English, stackable hard plastic container.

Class I & Class II Pistol Replacement Parts: Replacement parts which comprise Class I & Class II Pistols to include standard and non-standard parts manufactured or provided by the Contractor of the pistols.

The FBI currently issues .40 S&W caliber Glock 22 (full size) and 23 (compact) handguns, but recently the Bureau’s Training Division asserted that the larger and more powerful caliber offered no significant benefit versus the smaller, lighter, cheaper, and softer-recoiling 9mm Luger caliber. This decision, in addition to the likely high degree of wear on the Bureau’s existing firearms, appears to have prompted this RFP.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • JumpIf NotZero

    Since they already have Glock accessories in 40, a 9mm Glock seems like the most logical choice.

    But I could see the Sig P320 sneaking in there.

    • Brett

      Maybe all they want is a glock just without finger grooves.

    • PaulLibertarian

      I agree fourth generation, finger grooves thing is a red herring.

  • Stephen

    I hope someone submits a 4.25″ Class I and a 4.26″ Class II. It would make great dinner conversation.

    • Eric S

      The barrel lengths must be at least a half inch different from each other to qualify.

      • Stephen

        Daaaang it. I was hoping that had just overlooked that possibility.

  • Not_a_Federal_Agent

    “FBI Approved Trigger Lock”, including one for an inert red gun.

    What a great use of our tax dollars.

    • noob

      well I guess you’d want to practice tactical trigger lock removal or something maybe?

    • Brett

      This is hardly even dents their budget. Heck, their servers and tech upkeep is 4 times as much as their armory cost

      • Not_a_Federal_Agent

        Thanks, I am glad you pointed out to me that a server farm is more expensive than trigger locks. Very valuable insight.

        • Brett

          You are welcome.

  • kalashnikev

    It’s wired for the P320.

    “No finger grooves” = Sorry, Glock.
    “No Mag release lever” = Sorry, HK.

    • kalashnikev

      Sorry, XD. (LOL! As if…)

      “C.4.11 GRIP SAFETY – None allowed.”

      • Yimmy

        I’m a previous owner of two XD’s. Previous is the key word. Sorry XD fans, but they’re a mickey mouse look the part gun, not a good duty weapon.

    • kalashnikev


      “C.4.15.d – It is required the size of a frame or insert be marked on an exterior surface (e.g., “M” for medium, “L” large) for rapid identification without disassembly.”

    • Heretical Politik

      Honestly though, how hard would it be for Glock to reconfigure their molds for a no-finger-groove frame?

      • Darkpr0

        Expensive. Polymer molding for mass production is a difficult, complicated business to ensure that the resulting part comes out exactly the way you want it. Polymer is molded hot, and it cools which means that the part and the mold design both have to be done very carefully to avoid warpage. The contract would need to be quite substantial to make such a venture financially feasible.

        • Some Guy

          have you seen the dustcover of a glock lately? glock clearly doesn’t worry about avoiding warping.

        • Stephen

          Maybe Glock could resurrect a mold from their gen1 or 2 (whichever had no finger grooves). 😉

          • Holdfast_II

            Even early Gen3 was grooveless.

        • Bob

          Actually no. Polymer is allot less expensive to produce than similar steel/aluminum frames. Yes, plastic changes dimensions in the cooling process (as it cures to use polymer industry terminology) but in the molding business they know how to predict how the finished product will “cure”. To other’s points, the molds can be built with inserts so that we build the next 500 pc. without finger-grooves, the next 500 with this dimension of grooves, and the next with another option. Not a big deal.

          • Darkpr0

            Polymer is only cheaper if you are producing large numbers of a part from a mold. For small numbers you will find that metallic frames are cheaper because the cost of designing and creating a an effective mold is phenomenally expensive. Metal can be sent to a machine shop and billeted cost-effectively, or even come up with a set of forging dies. The cost goes up substantially as the complexity of the mold increases, and that includes holes, cavities, asymmetries, and particularly with changes in section width. Behind that, you have to route cooling through the mold to uniformly cool the part (curing only happens in Thermoset polymers, whereas everyone’s favourite material Nylon is a Thermoplastic; it doesn’t cure, it cools and solidifies) and that is its own design problem. Once the mold is created, each part costs a tiny amount but you still have to work off the tooling cost. That gets spread around however many guns you make, so if you make a ton of guns for a ton of people, the cost gets spread around and the guns get cheap. If you are making a smaller number that’s fine, but the cost is less spread around, so each individual gun costs more. Depending on how many guns the FBI wants, retooling to make them a specific molded part may or may not be financially feasible.

          • Bob

            Yes. You are correct. If you are only making one gun it is cheaper to grind it out of a block of steel. I don’t have a dog in this hunt, I don’t work for Glock, Smith, or any other competitor in this game. If it were up to me I’d not send the contract to Glock on the basis of their dubious business dealings. Not my call though.

            I am aware of how to manage the cooling/annealing/curing of these types of polymers. I’ve been responsible for a battleship’s worth of injection molding tooling, including a ton of over-molding and insert molding for top tier industrial and consumer manufacturers.

            Based upon my experience, if the FBI wanted 1500 pistols with a different profile it would not be a problem for Glock.

            I’m happy to disagree with you though.

          • Patrick Comfort

            Dead on – “Amortization” – its a key factor in any mass production involving expensive tooling…

    • hking

      Excludes M&P based on barrel lengths.

    • Yimmy

      Sounds like a sig 320 is a fine choice in a firearm. I’ve yet to really warm to them personally, but haven’t had any trigger time. They do look like a quality bit of kit and of course the reviews of owners testers and shooters all have glowing reviews on it. All in all if they do pick the p320, it should serve well.

    • J.T.

      “No grip safety” = Sorry, Springfield.
      “No external safeties or decockers” = Sorry, CZ.
      Smith and Wesson is out since the M&P compact doesn’t meet the requirements.

      SIG is literally the only company who can meet all the requirements. I can see other companies raising a big stink over the requirements they set.

      • Rick5555

        FNH could be a contender. The 5″ long slide and the regular size as the compact. Or they could just length the FNS 4″ barrel and the subcompact too.

        • john huscio

          I don’t think their playdoh polymer frames would pass muster.

      • nester7929

        The Walther PPQ M2 also comes to mind.

      • PaulLibertarian

        Haven’t they previously issued the P228 in 9mm? Great firearm.

        • The Brigadier

          Yes, and the P229 in .357Sig. I sold mine.

      • The Brigadier

        Or maybe its time to for all of them to add one like Sig,

    • floppyscience

      Yeah, I really don’t see this going to anyone but the SIG P320. The requirements are written in such a specific fashion as to disqualify everything else. Sounds like someone in the FBI really wants the P320 and doesn’t want a real competition.

  • J.T.

    I guess they weren’t allowed to just write “We want Sigs” in the RFP.

    • kalashnikev

      They do not want Glocks. Read the RFP:

      “C.4.15.a – Finger grooves on the frame are not permitted.”

    • Ben

      Hope not SiGs suck! M&P maybe looking good to them. Who knows for a full sized the M-9A3 by Beretta??

      • CommonSense23

        Is that you Lance?

    • milesfortis

      In Uncle’s world, writing a sole source contract is fraught with problems.
      It’s much easier to write the specification so precise that only one item fits.
      But you must be able to back stop why a particular spec is written in if someone has a problem with it.

      • Bill

        Yeah, it’s asking for a company to file a protest, which they have done on the past and will do anyway.

  • John

    Colt should submit a 1911 with a double stack magazine just to screw with them.

  • StylishFever

    ” … no significant benefit versus the smaller, lighter, cheaper, and softer-recoiling 9mm Luger caliber.” Cheaper, now we’re at the heart of the matter.

    • Nicks87

      Nothing wrong with cheaper, especially when it comes to the feds.

      • StylishFever

        Nothing wrong at all, especially since the US is broke. I wasn’t criticizing. Will buying brand new guns and ammunition along with everything that goes with that be cheaper than keeping their current equipment that seems to be working fine? I’m genuinely asking.

        • Blake

          “…in addition to the likely high degree of wear on the Bureau’s existing firearms, appears to have prompted this RFP.”

        • Swarf

          Their current equipment is getting rattled to crap by the .40 cal rounds.

          Or rather, they are either being rattled to destruction by standard pressure .40 cal or are being fed down-loaded rounds that might as well be 9mm, except that they cost more.

          I want the Feds to spend as little as possible, just like the rest of us, but switching to 9mm is the right thing to do.

          • Bill

            I’m not sure the average agent’s gun get shot enough to get rattled to crap.

  • Let’s see the Candidates on the Podium here…P320, FNX, and the M&P.
    Now for the debate…

    • J.T.

      FNX is out for having an external safety and not being striker fired. M&P might work if they do the standard sized gun as the compact and the long slide pro model as the full size.

      • Rick5555

        The FNS is striker fire and comes with or without an external safety. Most likely will go with g17 and g19. Can’t see the finger grooves being such a big deal. Though I don’t like finger grooves on my rifles or pistols. I can still shoot with them on the front strap. FBI is too picky. Maybe they shouldn’t just allow anyone to join them. Becomes elite …Again. if that’s possible.

  • USMC03Vet

    Those are some hilariously stupid requirements, but then again it’s the feds. Whichever manufacturer/model they choose expect to see it in the news when criminals use them because someone left it in their unlocked car.

  • Blake

    Unlike the Army bidding process to replace the M9, this appears to be fairly straightforward.

    Would be interesting to see if Ruger modifies something in order to qualify…

  • AJ187

    Another waste of taxpayer money, but at least it will give gun owners a chance to boast about whatever gun brand they select in the end as the “best of them all.”

  • Bill

    They could do something radical and just replace any worn out SIGs or GLOCKs they already have, but noooooo. Let’s get all new guns, new mags, new spare parts, new leather, a new transition course, new armorers trained…….

  • nadnerbus

    The FBI seems to change calibers like I change underwear. After Taco Bell.

    I know, they should move to 38 special. No wait, 10mm is what they need for penetration. no wait, 40 is better, less recoil. No, no. Turns out 9mm is just what the doctor ordered.

    It’s like freaking Wizard of Oz. You had the right caliber available all along, all you had to do was click your ruby slippers together three times and write a ridiculously specific RFP.

  • heyscooter

    C.4.3.i – “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.”

    Pretty sure that rules out any current Glock.

  • ColonelColt

    So it comes down to SIG or S&W… *throws down broken broomstick* FIGHT!

  • They should’nt change. The SW40 is what they need in dire circumstances.

  • Gregory

    Glock will get the contract and everyone knows it. Regardless of your like or hatred for Glock, it comes down to $$$$$’s.

  • William Taylor

    Probably won’t be, but it had better be a Smith or a Ruger……….

  • Isaac Arnold

    “FBI approved gun lock.” What does that mean? I would expect an FBI Agent to be able to secure their weapon without some silly lock that comes with it. What kind of graduates is the FBI sending out of Quantico these days?

  • The Brigadier

    Here they go again. Another FBI pistol RFP they don’t need to do. The world is filled with as many 9mm models by everybody as it is with ARs. Pick one and save the nation millions of dollars. The last RFP they did was in 1986, took three years and they purchased pistols and then abandoned the 10mm standard within a few years. Whats up FBI? I guess you all are just bored and need something to do. How about arresting Hillary. You will be loved by 70 percent of the nation and it will only cost a $1000 in normal operating costs.

  • Bowserb

    I think it’s time for the military and law enforcement to just use what they have. I can’t afford new toys every few years, and we taxpayers can’t afford to buy new toys for government workers every few years.

    In the beginning, there was the NATO/Euro/Universal 9mm round. But the FBI wanted something more powerful. So we had the 10mm developed for the FBI, but many of the female agents couldn’t handle the recoil.

    Then the 10mm was emasculated and the FBI got the .40S&W round. Now, I guess the FBI is full of sissies, petite women and transgendered who don’t like the recoil of the .40, so we’re going back to the 9mm–which is where the FBI was before the 10mm!

    Attention, government workers: Use what you have. Anyone who can’t handle what is issued can buy their own Taurus Curve 380 and one of those recycled telescoping radio antennas that the Brits use as nightsticks!

    • Mazryonh

      That, or give them a compact SMG in 10mm like a rechambered B&T MP9. Since it has a foregrip and a buttstock I’m sure even those agents with smaller hands could handle more easily.

  • Secundius

    The First time a Gun Store Owner tried to sell me a Glock 17 was in 1983. And said “It’s the Way of the Future”, for $999.99. I left with a Colt M1911A1 for $199.99. It felt CHEAP, like a Water Pistol or a “Man From UNCLE Gun of the 1960’s. Glock, made it’s Name by sell Polymer Guns. I don’t see that changing any time soon. They might add Metallic Powder to the Polymer Compound, But an All Metal Pistol. That IS, and IS NOT “GLOCK”…