French LE Want More 9mm Subguns, Solicitation Posted

The French National Police and Gendarmerie Nationale law enforcement branches have recently posted a solicitation for a submachine gun chambered for a 9x19mm Parabellum round. The solicitation was placed on, a French government run contract posting website. Specifically (as much as Google Translate will tell), the solicitation is for an entire suite of carbines, specifying 2000 submachine guns, 600 “training” replicas, blank firing adaptors, training devices, and interestingly enough, suppressors.

For those unaware, France has two national law enforcement branches that cover the majority of the country, similar to the FBI but much more extensive. The National Police force falls under the Ministry of the Interior, while the Gendarmerie Nationale falls under the Armed Forces. Both have roughly similar duties but have completely different areas of operation within the country. Combined, the forces are around 250,000 strong for policing a country of 66 million people.

According to the solicitation-

These weapons shall use all 9 × 19mm caliber ammunition in current service within the MI. They will be accompanied by accessories that promote ergonomics, grip, sighting and shooting. As an indication, the estimated needs for the duration of the framework agreement are in the order of: – 2000 PM Of “operational service” equipped with their peripheral equipment  [2000 subguns] – 600 MPs of “theory and manipulation” equipped with their peripheral equipment – 200 solutions for reduced firing – 600 blanking plugs – 50 empty chamber indicators – 50 individual packs of maintenance – 75 batches of 10 chargers – 50 transport bags – 30 tactical braces – 50 tactical handles – 30 picatinny rails – 100 sound reducers – 2500 racks – 30 kits Armourers – 2 training sessions “maintenance of the submachine gun”.

Bids will be accepted until later this year, while the entire duration of the contract bidding and selection process will last approximately 48 months unless there is a delay.

We’ve earlier reported on the MRX by Fitelite Industries, a 9x19mm pistol caliber carbine which was created in response to backdoor French LE needs for up gunning Law Enforcement with ammunition commonality with a service handgun. This solicitation appears to be the public fruition of that rumor mill. Why the French aren’t pushing for an intermediate or larger rifle round when many of these attacks have utilized 7.62x39mm Kalashnikov pattern rifles, is interesting, especially when there is much to go against the ammunition commonality argument.


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • Surfgun

    If a rifle round is not desired, one would figure that the French may still like to have some capability to penetrate some body armor. Meaning something in 5.7 or 4.8mm. But, nope back to old 9mm.

    • Surfgun

      5.7 or 4.6mm

    • PK

      You’d think that would be a thought, but since plenty of SMGs in 9x19mm can use AP ammo which is more common in European armories than US military armories, it’s at least doable. Problem is that some bright bulb might feed the effectively +P+ ammo to their duty handgun.

      • James Young

        9mm AP rounds still lack the velocity of 5.56 rounds to incapacitate their targets quickly through increased temporary wound cavities and hydrostatic shock.

  • Big Daddy

    I’m curious as to exactly what ammo do they use? 9mm is so varied and in the USA we do not really know what is available in Europe and France specifically. That might explain why they want 9mm. I know what I can get here but not in Europe. I’m just trying to understand why they would want these type of weapons when there are better alternatives in 2017.

  • Mitchell

    I’m guessing this will be the ‘jihadi hunter’ gun that will be used to defend national monuments. Avoiding over-penetration and all that.

    • CommonSense23

      5.56 is better if you are really looking to reduce overpenetration.

      • Anonymoose

        Not if you’re using NATO-standard M855. They need something that will go through windshields and vests but also not through walls…hmm…

        • CommonSense23

          Which considering they are apparently not held to NATO standards on what ammo to buy. The world is open to them. Beating vest is easy. The wind shield is a little harder. But still easy. But beating vest, windshield, and not penetrating multiple walls is the hard part. Personally I’m a fan of having multiple rounds carried for different tasks. Or loading up a mag 20 frangible 10 barrier blind.

          • Bradley

            So, what, if you need barrier penetration you just fire your 20 frangible rounds as quickly as possible to get to what you need?

          • CommonSense23

            Pretty much. It’s pretty easy to dump a mag a quickly with 5.56.

          • Anonymoose

            I’m thinking .308 Safety Slugs (assuming those will function in a semi-auto that cops will want to lug around with them all day).

        • James Young

          I have to assume they aren’t using NATO rounds. If they are it makes the choice of 9mm ball even worse for their 9mm sub guns

    • James Young

      Testing from 9mm pistols and .223 AR15s show the penetration on drywall is equal. There is absolutely no benefit on penetration when using 9mm.

  • The_Champ

    While I wouldn’t argue that it is a bad thing to have the ability to defeat body armor, it is worth asking the question of how many of the “active shooter” type terrorist attacks in western countries since 9/11 have involved the bad guys wearing body armor? I don’t know the answer to the question, but I suspect it is pretty rare that they are clad in Kevlar.

    For some reason Euro police forces do seem to quite like sub-guns. Predictions of the sub-machinegun’s demise seem to have been a tad premature.

    • The_Champ

      And I should add, this post got me looking into speciality 9mm AP ammo, and I just watched a vid on the MAC where he shot some 9mm armor piercing stuff out of a pistol and it punched clean through IIIa armor and a bunch of ballistic gel. Pretty impressive for a pistol round. Shows 9mm subguns can be quite potent, along with the usual benefits of compactness, low recoil, etc.

    • Some Guy

      In (Central)Europe there are less guns and also less shootings(in Germany 50 shots total were fired by the police, 10 of them killed) and most of the time the criminal just have a pistol or a bolt action(and most of them panic when a a lot of 9mm is shot at them). In these situation a weapon you have quick access(the subguns are often stored in the door of the police car) to and is easy to use is the most useful.
      Most of the shootings are however carried out by special units armed with rifles, pdws, smgs or sniper rifles depending on the situation.

    • Big Daddy

      You try to be ahead of the curve. It’s not what you are facing now as an adversary it’s what you might or will be facing 5-10 years down the road.

      • The_Champ

        Nothing wrong with that. It’s just interesting to point out that people have been predicting the demise of the sub gun from all military and police applications since the 90’s, or 80’s, or even 70’s. And yet they refuse to go away entirerly.

        • Big Daddy

          The one size fits all concept doesn’t work. Every job needs a specific tool yet they keep trying to go away from that simple fact. That goes for weapons and their ammunition as well.

          Sub-guns are important on a smaller level than before but still important.

    • James Young

      If the French “FBI” isn’t worried about body armor they should realize what might happen when you have a situation where law enforcement is outgunned by two individuals with relatively normal guns (see North Hollywood Bank Robbery and the 1986 Miami Shootout). The goal here isn’t just to stop body armor, but to defeat cover, stop the attacker faster, and maintain full effectiveness at range above 50 yards.

      • Malthrak

        They probably fully realize the implications of those two example situations. They seemingly realized however that such engagements are rare to the point of being effectively nonexistent, and specialized forces with dedicated equipment have been developed and would be deployed if faced with such a threat. Not everyone needs to be equipped to deal with that at all times (because most arent properly trained to anyway), and that’s not the intended role of these weapons.

        Theyll probably never be shot at anything over 50m away and rarely shot at anything more than 15-25m away, and people being armed with these weapons probably have little business trading gunfire with combatants in cover or taking blind shots through walls. The typical Gendarme isn’t refighting Stalingrad.

        • James Young

          Refighting Stalingrad?? AR15s are the most popular rifle in America right now for ordinary citizens. How do you get to cops having AR15s as fighting Stalingrad. They are the most effective weapon for these jobs all round, not the full auto sub guns they are requesting, which I might add, were actually used in Stalingrad lol

          • Malthrak

            Yeah, AR15’s are popular in the US, but there’s also a grip of cultural and economic reasons for that beyond just the capabilities, which we need to be real about.

            Even here in the US, most people arent shooting even out to 100m or even over 25m in most cases (as many if not most ranges dont have anything farther than that, self defense ranges are much closer, and most action sport shooting is under 50m or 25m as well).

            Likewise, with respect to US law enforcement use of AR15’s, the US is rather unique among developed nations in issuing weapons like that as widely as they are, most nations only equip specially trained units with long guns in a larger than pistol sized cartridge. More to the point, most cops will never have to legitimately use theirs, and of those that do, theyre not engaging armored targets from several hundred feet, and in most cases arent seeing any meaningful difference being armed with a .223 over a PCC.

            Thats not to say there arent differences, there very obviously are, or that there arent situations where the .223 is clearly required, there absolutely are, but these are uncommon enough that a move to .223 for a general issue police weapon isnt seen as necessary everywhere around the world.

            SMG’s likewise in most cases in European law enforcement are standing basically as enhanced sidearms in these forces frequently, the users have more oomph than a pistol, but arent intended to be dealing with something a proper rifle would be necessary for.

          • James Young

            Ugh, wall of text…look, here’s what I’m saying: 9mm rounds lack the velocity of 5.56 rounds to incapacitate their targets QUICKLY through increased temporary wound cavities and hydrostatic shock. Note the word in all caps. Cops go through this over and over in their training as to how often people are shot with pistol caliber rounds and run down the street, keep fighting, or even get away. This is also the reason why ARs are always recommended as the best home defense weapons. Pistols are handy, but shotguns and rifles are far more effective at stopping the bad guy(s). Also, longer range needs are not necessarily common, but when range is a factor shooting a 9mm at 100 yards plus is almost guaranteed NOT to stop the person from shooting back.

          • Malthrak

            Im not arguing that .223 isnt a dramatically more powerful round with its own benefits. I accept that.

            But these weapons are employed far less often in general than in the US, and are intended to fulfill the role of an enhanced sidearm primarily (not that of a rifle), and to be realistic, most people dont continue fighting after being hit with 9mm looking, yeah the .223 is more powerful but the 9mm is as effective as it needs to be for the people this is going to be issued to. A short, light .223 indoors is also something of a beast to deal with, as muzzle flash and sonic blast can be extreme (hell, my local range wont even allow these without a suppressor on them, and the M4 uses a 14.5″ barrel instead on an 11″ barrel partly for that reason), controllability drops, and thats a concern for some agencies.

            Meanwhile, 100m (even 50m) shots are essentially impossible under the rules of engagement the people carrying these weapons would be under. 100m effectiveness is a non-issue for this use case.

            Should they perhaps be looking at 300 Blackout instead? Possibly, I think that is the much better answer here (at least compared to .223) but logistics concerns are probably overriding that.

    • Cal S.

      The Aurora theater shooter used body armor and a helmet. Living just to the south in Colorado Springs, I’ve carried Liberty Civil Defense in .40 S&W ever since so I don’t need to worry about it.

      One never knows what the future holds. Body armor IS becoming increasingly prolific.

      • RazorHawk

        All the more reason to repeal the ban on armor piercing handgun rounds.

    • Anon. E Maus

      Well, on top of functioning as a machinegun, you also have a light shoulder fired weapon with some more range and punch than your pistol, and that I think would probably be the best primary application of a subgun in a police force, at least in my opinion.

      H&K MP5 makes for a pretty excellent carbine, even if it’s a variant which can’t even shoot full auto, good range, light recoil and easy handling, on top of good capacity.

  • Gun Fu Guru

    I wonder why they want something as anemic as the 9x19MM.

    • James Young

      Great point. Let’s say there’s a group of four Jihadis in building A. You need to storm it to stop them, but they know you’re coming. They have AK47s. How does that 9mm sub gun make you feel now?

      • Gun Fu Guru

        There is a reason why 9MM submachine guns have gone by the wayside. Rifle rounds have more “stopping power” (particularly at distance), armor penetration, and barrier penetration. All of that comes with a negligible increase in the potential of over penetration.

        • CommonSense23

          While still being capable of using rounds that offer better terminal ballistics, able to penetrate soft armor with ease, and less over penetration than rifle calibers.

      • int19h

        Are they wearing armor? If not, I’ll take the sub gun for more controllable fully automatic fire.

      • iksnilol

        By that logic they’d be better armed with Barrett M82 rifles.

      • John

        I rush B instead, come behind them, bounce a frag and aim for the head. Counter-terrorists win. I feel great.

        • James Young

          Funny lol

  • Longrange

    Gendarmerie already has FAMAS in 5.56 and National Police has had Ruger Mini-14s in 5.56 for decades. I dare to say the French police had semiauto 5.56 rifles in their inventory long before many American Police Departments. Besides France has soldiers carrying FAMAS 5.56 assault rifles on the city streets as we speak. I saw four men formations patrolling in Nice city centre carrying Eotech sights on top of the rifles just yesterday.

    A hammer is not the best tool for car engine maintenance and 5.56 might not be the best caliber for shootouts in pressurized airplane cabins 30000 feet up or in nuclear reactor sites in which France has over 50 reactors. One does not want to puncture the nuclear reactor walls with 5.56.

    French police and Gendarmerie have 250 000 officers. 2000 subguns are meant for some special use and I would not make too bold speculations from that. If they jad ordered 200 000 units then that could prove something. But they didn’t.

    • James Young

      A 9mm won’t penetrate an airplane cabin? Of course it will. And 5.56 penetration has been compared to 9mm over and over in home and drywall penetration tests and is shown to be nearly equal. The French are much more likely to be incapacitated by one 7.62x39mm round from Jihadists while French will shoot 9mm rounds into their targets idk 5, 10, 15 times before the Jihadi gets incapacitated. That’s ignoring if they use drugs or make-shift armor to keep themselves going.

    • Blake

      Just a guess but I’d offer that while many units of the National Police & Gendarmerie have a 5.56 supply chain, the vast majority of them use 9mm exclusively, especially in smaller cities & rural areas.

      & I agree; a request for 2000 subguns is probably just coming from one region or specialization.

  • Jeff Smith
  • James Young

    Buying AR15s would be cheaper and more effective in every way. Just saying…

    • Anonymoose

      Or get them SIG553s.

    • John

      Why not an AR-15 in 9mm?

  • snmp

    For hangun Police Force have 9mx19 Hollow-point ammunition Men QD1 or Speer Gold Dot
    SMG : Old Berretta MP12, & UMP 9mm …. for general purpose (Truc, Police station, patrol car ….)

  • Malthrak

    I think a lot of people have some misunderstandings here. SMG’s are issued much more extensively as basic carry weapons for many European police forces, often in place of a sidearm.

    Likewise, with all the concerns about stopping power, range and body armor, these are misplaced. Having to engage dudes with AK’s is never going to happen for most officers, and for the few that might, caliber is going to be a distant secondary concern. Body armor use in crime and terrorism is extremely rare (effectively unique events) and that doesnt look to change, while controlled bursts from shoulder fired SMG’s are historically very effective at putting people down. Furthermore, shooting with these weapons, for the people they’re likely to be issued to, at more than 50m (probably never more than 25 or even 15m), is probably never going to happen. If circumstances arise that require greater capabilities, appropriately armed backup will arrive, just as happens in the US (the beat cops armed with patrol carbines in their car generally arent doing anything more than enforcing a cordon). Even if used in aggressive SWAT roles, such weapons have performed admirably for many decades, as a full auto SMG burst at close range has the highest hit probability of any weapon aside from a shotgun statistically speaking, and that has its own value.

    The French also likely have gobs of 9mm around.

    For the likely intended users and roles of these weapons, an SMG makes perfect sense.

    • iksnilol

      Besides, a 9×19 with a red dot should be usable to about 100 meters. For man sized standing targets it should be just aim and shoot.

      • James Young

        Drop, velocity loss, ft/lbs loss are all greater in 9mm than 5.56

        • iksnilol

          Yeah, and the ocean is wet.

          Again, 9mm subgun with a red dot. You put dot on guy, pull trigger, hit guy out to 100 meters or so.

    • Blake

      There’s also another factor that hasn’t been mentioned here:


      They’re not looking for “the best most optimized tool for the job”. They’re looking to equip officers with more firepower:

      – with as little additional training as possible
      – for as little money as possible

      There are plenty of really nice options out there, but at the end of the day if you’re a cash-strapped police force that historically hasn’t had much use for your duty weapons since the ’60s & you’re suddenly thrust into a situation of large-scale terror attacks happening on a regular basis, you need to scale up quickly & cheaply, with a minimum of logistical complications. I’d guess their ideal situation would be something with the same controls, magazines, & ammo as their Sig Pro 2022s ( they have a quarter million of them, roughly one for every police officer).

  • Gregoire

    As someone previously wrote only 2000 guns are to be ordered considering the size of French “police” force it s small
    Right now French national police use in addition to the handgun either a beretta S12 smg (mainly to guard police station or other static position from what I have seen) and either mini 14 and hk G36 (ordered a few month back) on patrol duty
    For the gendarmerie it is either MP5 (I have hardly seen any ) UMP (I have seen a lot) G36 and famas ( not widely seen)
    In addition both force use shotgun (but rarely patrol with it)
    I am talking about basic force and not unit like the RAID, GIGN, BRI or other EPIGN that can use more or less what they want (GIGN have ordered BREN2 for example)
    PS contrat to TFB for thé good show

  • USMC03Vet

    Gotta arm up when you occupy your own streets. Gonna need a hell of a lot more than 2,000 9mm guns though to survive the problem they are faced with.

  • John

    The French are in the middle of paying off the HK416 for their military. Nobody in France has the money to pay for brand new guns AND brand new ammo at the same time.

    It’s cost-effective, logistically sensible and tactically efficient just to have the same bullet for two different guns. I wonder what they’ll get.

  • Gol

    I have an dumb/unrelated question. As a guy who has never worn armor before I often seen pictures of guys tucking their hands inside of them like the officer in the picture. Is it to keep your hands warm? or is it just something to do when you don’t know what else to do with your hands?

    • Veteran for Trump

      Maybe his pants don’t have pockets, or they are blocked by all his equipment.

    • The_Champ

      Just somewhere convenient to put idle hands. I find myself often grabbing my vest around the collar.

  • Paul Forel

    Bring back the MAT-49.

    (I had one of these while I served with Eagle Dustoff, I CORPS, RVN. Coolest weapon, ever.)

  • DW

    Why don’t they just get 556 carbines that are subgun sized?

    • Brett baker