Handl Defense’s Rejected Sub Compact Weapon Entry

    Handle Defense SCW

    Handl Defense's SCW submission (Handl Defense)

    Last week we reported that the US Army had selected six entries from vendors for its Sub Compact Weapon programme to find a new compact, concealable 9x19mm submachine gun for issue to personal protection details. One other manufacturer we spoke to, Handl Defense, confirmed that their submission had been rejected on what they believed to be a procedural basis. Handl Defense’s entry is specifically interesting because it offers a number of options for future upgrades not only to the SCW but also the US Army’s wider M4 inventory.

    The company now plans to protest their rejection from the programme as they believe they have the most innovative, flexible and cost effective entry, Handl Defense have shared some details on their submission. Handl say they have worked with a number of companies to bring their SCW concept together, using parts from several companies including Law Tactical (the folding stock), Blue Teal (the bolt catch) and New Frontier (the 9x19mm upper).

    Handl Defense SCW

    Handl Defense’s SCW kit, with 5.56 lower, 5.56 & 9mm uppers. Note the magazine adaptor inserts (Handl Defense)

    The Handl Defense SCW consists of an ambidextrous M4 lower receiver combined with a 9mm upper with a 4 inch barrel. The 9mm upper receiver has an MLOK forend and a full length top picatinny rail. The lower has a telescoping, folding stock and uses a pair of magazine adaptors which fit into the standard magazine well. The prototype weighs 5 lbs 7 ounces unloaded. Photos of the entry show a ubiquitous Glock magazine but Handl have recruited TorkMag Inc. to develop a magazine adaptor design which can feed from the M17 Modular Handgun System’s extended magazines. This is one of the methods the company claims they can maximise economy of scale.

    Handl SIG mag insert

    Exclusive: Handl Defense’s prototype P320/M17 magazine adaptor developed by TorkMag Inc. (Handl Defense)

    According to Handl Defense their SCW pitch was the only submission that offered 5.56x45mm capability and actively addressed armoured threats. Their pitch includes the option of a calibre variable conversion kit (including 5.56x45mm, 6.8 SPC and .300BLK uppers) which allows users to engage threats at ranges up to 300 metres but retains much of the 9mm SCW’s compactness and concealability. Another key factor which Handl Defense believes their SCW submission has been overlooked on is cost. The company confirmed that their submission was costed at $424,800, a full $20,000 cheaper than the cheapest of the six entries selected.

    Handl 556 scw

    Handl Defense’ 5.56x45mm SCW (Handl Defense)

    Handl Defense also proposed an M4 refit programme which they believe would have cut costs by up to 25%, arguing that “with the enhancements to the M4 platform, those program funds could offset the costs of the folding stock and ambidextrous controls. Surplus M4 rifles could provide the base of the program at no new cost.”

    Handl Defense state that they were disqualified due to a procedural issue regarding stating the weapon’s weight and availability, which they say was provided, but was not stated explicitly in their video submission (which was a requirement of the original PON). The Army reportedly requested clarification of these points, which Handl provided. TFB will continue to follow the progress of the Army’s SCW programme.

    Matthew Moss


    TheFirearmBlog.com – Managing Editor
    OvertDefense.com – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]