Possibly one of the last of the Five Eyes countries to retain a Second World War era handgun, the Canadian Forces announced plans to begin the solicitation and testing process of finding a handgun to replace the currently issued 9x19mm Browning Hi-Powers. According to the National Post, current Hi Power numbers are hovering around 13,000 and are degrading by every year of usage, especially through being carried on deployments to Afghanistan. From the news article-
Last year army procurement officers briefed industry representatives about their quest for a new pistol. Industry officials were told that between 15,000 and 25,000 handguns are needed and the military estimated the project would cost around $50 million, according to documents recently obtained by the Ottawa Citizen.
That price-tag would include extra parts and related equipment.Canadian ForcesThe Canadian military wants to replace its 1940s-era Browning handguns, shown in this 2015 photo being used by Canadian troops in the Middle East, but first will conduct a survey on whether there is still a need for pistols.
Canada’s general service pistol is currently the 9mm Browning Hi-Power, which came into service in the later part of the Second World War, according to the Canadian Army documents prepared for industry. The guns have been refurbished over the years.
A smaller number of SIG P225 pistols were acquired in 1991 and are in the hands of military police and Royal Canadian Navy boarding teams.
Sometime in 2019 or 2020 the requirements for a new gun will be defined and then by 2022 the military will seek approval from the federal government to proceed with a purchase of a new general service pistol or GSP.
“If the project timeline is not delayed, the delivery of the GSP could start in fiscal year 2022-2023 and full operational capability could be reached by 2026,” Lanouette pointed out.
The timeline for the operational requirement definition, solicitation, and testing goes into the 2020s, even including a national wide survey of the Canadian Forces as to what soldiers want to see in a future handgun. Some grumbles appear to have already come out about how long this process appears to be taking, as it looks like Canada will be suffering from the same bureaucratic nightmare that the U.S. Army’s MHS program proceeded through over several years. Judging from the equally agonizingly slow production history of Colt Canada, and the fact that Canada’s largest handgun manufacturer Para-Ordnance moved to the United States, the company awarded will most likely have to be outside of Canada.
Just from the outset, and the length of the competition, I suspect that Sig Sauer, Glock, and Beretta will be eyeing the solicitation to see what can be sent in. Usually Military handgun contracts stipulate a manual safety, but this trend was reversed with the British Army’s adoption of the Glock 17 to also replace Browning Hi-Powers then in service.