Is SIG about to win a major contract – likely worth more than ten million dollars – to supply pistols for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency? That is the scuttlebutt on the street, as part of a wider theory that the agency’s Office of Firearms and Tactical Programs is in the pocket of SIG’s sales department. Whether this is true or not is unknown, but according to WeaponsMan’s Hognose, that’s the perception among the agency’s rank-and-file:
Many ICE agents prefer the Glock platform, and retain a deep distrust of an agency firearms bureaucracy, the Office of Firearms and Tactical Programs (OFTP). OFTP is perceived — rightly or not — as so biased towards SIG as to practically be in the pocket of the firm. The current issue weapon is the SIG P229 DAK, but it is broadly disliked and many agents carry one of the approved personally owned models instead, most often Glocks. (That the G19 — Glock’s 9mm in the general form factor of the P229 — has never been approved for personal or off-duty carry by OFTP is seen by agents as more evidence of SIG boosterism).
Hognose’s original theory from back in March 2015 was that ICE’s solicitation for a new pistol was written with a conspicuous lean towards the feature set of the Smith & Wesson M&P, but his readers in the know quickly mailed to tell him he was wrong:
[I]nsiders say that we were totally wrong — not about whether they had written the contract with one particular gun in mind a cursory read of the specs makes it pretty clear they did just that. Nope, we were wrong about exactly what handgun they were trying to buy.
OFTP wrote they spec, so they thought, to explicitly exclude everything but the SIG P320 Compact.
I highly recommend clicking through and reading Hognose’s whole piece, as I have omitted quite a lot here.
All this could be just speculation or feeling from within the agency, or without. Similar rumors flew with the FBI’s solicitation which had a conspicuous requirement for no finger grooves – something that didn’t prevent home team Glock from running off with the contract anyway.
Like the FBI, too, ICE wants a 9mm pistol. Judging by the wind as it is now, the sun may be setting on the .40 S&W, although it will surely maintain a core of dedicated followers for many years to come. Still, for right now, 9mm is king.