SIG Sauer is not quite out of the woods yet regarding their recent Modular Handgun System contract win. Finalist Glock – who for many was the favorite to win – has protested the XM17 contract award. SIG won the MHS contract earlier this year with a variant of their P320 handgun based on the Compact frame. The news of SIG’s win was announced on January 19th, the day before the inauguration of the new US President and his administration.
In all honesty, a protest of the $580 million dollar MHS contract was likely inevitable. Contracts of this type are too large and too important for companies to let them go without a fight, and the nature of the GAO protest system is such that contracts can be protested relatively easily. However, the MHS contract was structured slightly differently than previous ones. Three contracts were awarded during the finalist phase, all three being indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ), to SIG, Glock, and Beretta. There was some speculation that because these contracts were accepted by the three finalists, that a protest of the final contract award would not be possible, but with Glock’s protest that is evidently not the case.
More information on the history of the MHS program can be found in a podcast I did with Daniel Watters for Handgun Radio, available here.