FBI Awards Glock with $85 Million Contract for 9mm Pistols

Send to Kindle
fbi swat

The FBI awarded Glock with an $85 million contract for new 9mm pistols. (Photo: Facebook/FBI)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has awarded Glock an $85 million contract for new handguns and parts. The purchase is part of the FBI’s move to adopt 9mm Luger as their primary cartridge, replacing .40 S&W.

Last year the FBI made the earth-shaking announcement that the agency was going back to 9mm. The FBI adopted .40 S&W in 1990 and since then, thousands of law enforcement agencies followed in kind.

Currently, the FBI issues Glock 22 and Glock 23 pistols to the majority of its agents. Agents who fail to qualify with the 40-caliber pistols receive 9mm Glock 17 or 19 pistols instead. With this new announcement, it’s likely that the FBI is going to adopt the same or similar 9mm Glock pistols agency-wide.

Of course, Glock manufactures a wide range of 9mm pistols, including the easy-to-conceal Glock 26 and Glock 43, both of which may also be useful to agents in the field — the Glock 26 is already permitted as a backup pistol. The award notice doesn’t specify which models the FBI is looking to purchase. In addition to the aforementioned models, certain FBI agents are allowed to carry Glock 21 pistols chambered for .45 ACP as well as the .40-caliber Glock 27.

While it’s true that many — even a majority — of American law enforcement agencies issue or require .40-caliber pistols for duty, in the past few years 9mm has started to become more popular for service.

There are four major factors contributing to the rise of 9mm over .40 S&W for law enforcement use. Increased magazine capacity is one of the main reasons.

The FBI determined that one of the most important elements of winning a gunfight is getting multiple rounds on target after studying shootings across the country. Because 9mm pistols hold more ammunition than .40-caliber handguns, agents stand a better chance of landing a stopping shot before needing to stop and reload. In the FBI’s investigation, they found that shooters miss between 70 and 80 percent of shots taken in self-defense. That alone makes a compelling argument to switch to 9mm, since most 9mm pistols hold between 2 to 4 more rounds of ammunition per magazine.

See Also: .40 is Dead. Long live .40!

Handguns chambered for 9mm have less recoil than those chambered for .40. That means shorter split times — getting rounds on target in less time. Since shootings can start and stop in a matter of seconds, anything that makes agents faster is a great help.

Of course, all of that hinges on 9mm being adequately effective in the first place. The FBI rejected 9mm Luger over .40 S&W in 1990. What changed?

For starters, bullet design has improved. Hollow point technology has come a long way these past few decades. Today, ammo manufacturers can consistently produce 9mm projectiles that expand even after passing through some barriers. In 1990, it took a wider bullet going fast to guarantee that kind of performance.

Modern 9mm pistols are built to withstand a solid amount of over-pressure ammunition — high-test loads that exceed standard specs. Over-pressure +P and +P+ ammo is standard for most law enforcement agencies. At the same time, to help shooters handle .40 S&W, many manufacturers down-load their ammo to soften the recoil. The end result is that over-pressure 9mm performs about the same as common low-recoil .40 ammo — plus you get more shots per mag.

And lastly, 9mm is a hair less expensive than .40 S&W. Large or small, all law enforcement agencies benefit from getting the most out of their budgets.

In addition to these reasons, the FBI won’t have to re-train its armed agents. Glocks are Glocks, with the same manual of arms and controls. Their new Glocks just hold a bit more ammo.

{ 51 comments… add one }
  • John Rizer March 3, 2017, 4:14 pm

    The majority of people hired for Law Enforcement are not firearm enthusiasts and had never laid a hand on a real gun until going through the Police Academy. I was introduced to the safe handling of firearms and Marksmanship at the age of four by my grandfather who served in WWII as a Marine. Everyone I grew up with was good with a firearm, so it was quite a shock to me when I was sent off to boot camp and very few recruits could safely and accurately handle a weapon. Then I experienced the same thing again when I entered Law Enforcement and went to the Police Academy. There are Law Enforcement Officers that have trouble hitting the standard FBI target at seven yards! At the twenty five yard line you’ll see bullets skipping off the ground or going over the target! When you grow up shooting cans and spent shot shells for targets, that FBI target is real easy to hit. Law Enforcement needs more Country Boys and less College Grads!

  • John Rizer March 3, 2017, 3:38 pm

    FBI awarding Glock 85 million contract! That’s enough to purchase 200,000 yes 200,000 Glock 19 pistols!!! How many FBI agents do we have? Just saying!

  • BKYoung December 3, 2016, 9:35 am

    “For starters, bullet design has improved. Hollow point technology has come a long way these past few decades. Today, ammo manufacturers can consistently produce 9mm projectiles that expand even after passing through some barriers.” Spoiler Alert: The ammo manufacturers didn’t just make the 9mm better. They made the whole line of ammo better…including the .40 S&W and the .45 ACP. This is the same old tired argument they made when they went to the 9mm (with Silver Tips) back in the ’80s. Less recoil, more shots. That was until April of 1986 with the FBI getting in a shootout in Miami with Michael Platt & William Matix. Some of the agents had .357s loaded with .38 +P, and the others had 9mm S&W. The agents with the 9s had good shot placement, but sorry penetration. Again its the same old tired argument. Even if none of the rounds in any caliber expands, a larger entry wound is still better than a smaller one.

    • Lee Martin February 3, 2017, 11:01 am

      That’s actually false. The Loads those FBI agents were using scored the lowest in terminal ballistics in all calibers regardless. If you’d actually educate yourself the FBI readily admitted it was poor ammunition not caliber used that caused those deaths. But you know facts and all

  • Eric Holder October 22, 2016, 3:03 pm

    Who cares? The FBI only needs to be issued a pack of matches so they can burn suspects out. Maybe they should be issued balls so they do not need to shoot woman in the back. Meow.

  • Robert July 15, 2016, 10:14 pm

    Meanwhile, the Army is spending 17 million dollars just to decide what pistol they want to buy….

  • Ron July 12, 2016, 12:14 pm

    If it is so damn difficult to control the recoil why haven’t they gone to using ported guns or using compensators like any competitive shooter does? I know maybe the comp would add some size, but porting the barrel and opening the slide like the 34&35 would help reduce weight and mitigate recoil. I don’t know if there is some law or reason why they wouldn’t be allowed to do such things but as a competitive shooter I know it helps follow up shots a lot. just saying.

    • Dirt farmer September 28, 2016, 10:48 am

      Ported guns have massive muzzle flash, which will cause temporary night blindness. Undesirable for a low light fire fight.

  • Bri July 9, 2016, 11:52 am

    Wikipedia states that as of 2009, there were 13,412 special agents in the FBI. $85 Million dollars divided by 13,412 agents equals $6,337 per weapon. Granted there would be additional costs such as extra magazines and possibly some additional training and tools for armorers and such, but does this seem outrageously high to anyone else but me? What am I missing here?

    • Glock17 August 21, 2016, 12:04 pm

      Concur with that. Perhaps 1 prime and 1 secondary, accessories, spare parts, and a subcontractor to supply ammo? Government contracts are always layer upon layer of fees.

    • Glock 19 October 15, 2016, 4:17 am

      Each agent will be receiving four weapons: a G17M, a G19M, a “Red” Training (not capable of firing live ammo), and a “Blue” gun (shoots simunition rounds).
      A quick google search indicated nearly 14,000 Special Agents; multiply that by 4 custom weapons each (these are not standard Glocks).
      If priced at the standard LE price of about $500 each, it would be $28,000,000.
      If priced at $750 each, it would be $42,000,000.
      If priced at $1,000 each, it would be $70,000,000.
      Given this math $1,000 per weapon is a logical price, plus add another $15,000,000 for spare guns, parts, tools, etc. would complete the $85,000,000 contract.
      However, I do recall that the contract made these weapons available to the rest of DOJ, along with multiple other Federal Agencies. Therefore, the cost per weapon is likely lower in order to accommodate the mystery number of guns allocated to these other agencies.

      • waldo t December 5, 2016, 5:40 pm

        Except it would not be 4 custom guns per agent. The red gun doesn’t cost $1000. One (ASP) cost $40. They already make them in a variety of models.

        • Glock 19 January 14, 2017, 8:03 pm

          Actually it would be of similar cost; educate yourself before responding!
          Their “Red Gun” is nothing like the ASP training models.
          https://us.glock.com/products/model/g22p
          “Loading magazines, sight alignment, trigger squeeze, and disassembling are all part of a shooter’s training routine. The GLOCK Practice Pistol was developed to eliminate dangerous scenarios during training exercises. Identical to a GLOCK pistol in handling, weight, size, and balance, it puts the real thing in your hand, without any firing capability.”
          Let me see you do all that with an ASP red gun!

      • John Rizer March 3, 2017, 3:45 pm

        At bulk Law Enforcement rate, $ 500.00 is too high, I know because I’m in Law Enforcement. An $ 85 million dollar contract should yield much better results than that. There’s a SKUNK in the woodpile!

  • cisco kid July 8, 2016, 11:22 pm

    As long ago as 1900 it was known that bullet diameter was not a factor in stopping power. Shot placement and penetration were the killing factors and that has not changed to this very day. Many elephant hunters were killed precisely because they used slow moving bullets of large diameter that had inadequate penetration while people like W.D.M. Bell killed well over 1,000 elephants with the 6.5mm and 7×57 mm and since he lived to tell about it that was irrefutable proof he knew what he was doing and knew what he was talking about. Ditto for the Col. Thompson tests of 1900 that despite his outright lies to the Ordinance Department, his own testing showed that the .30 Luger and 9mm Luger killed 1200 lb steers every bit as well as the slow moving .45 caliber revolvers he tested even when he cheated and substituted expanding bullets in the .45 caliber revolvers. Pistolero Magazine in the 1980’s tested the .38 special .357 magnum 9×19 and .45acp and found in no case was the .45 acp superior to the other rounds when shooting pigs at point blank range. There were supposedly some tests in Europe in Strasburg on live goats that also resulted in the same conclusions.

    • Dirt farmer September 28, 2016, 10:42 am

      Killing animals on the farm is typically done with a .22 pistol using solid bullets that are standard velocity.

  • Kerry Murdock Sr. July 8, 2016, 10:55 pm

    I carry the FNP-45, 16 rounds of 45acp +p federal HST. now in my thinking I would rather half 16 rounds of 45+p than the same in 9mm. It is big and heavy, but if my ass is maybe on the line.

  • KLYPH July 8, 2016, 10:20 pm

    I like how they say 9mm is cheaper than the standard .40 ammo but just as powerfull…
    It’s not going to be any cheaper if they have to Buy top shelf self defense 9mm to match low load .40!

  • air vet July 8, 2016, 4:43 pm

    More tax payer money

  • Roscoe July 8, 2016, 2:55 pm

    If they spend $1000 per pistol, that should be enough for 85,000 agents. How many agents do they have?

  • BRASS July 8, 2016, 1:17 pm

    This is essentially the same reasoning the FBI used when switching from the 10MM to the .40 S&W; that agents found the recoil (and muzzle flash) harsh enough to slow down their shot to shot times and lower their acceptable hits on target. If it is, it is and it’s difficult to find fault with tested results. These results also seem to mirror many other police and federal agencies as well who are and have been making the same transition.
    Due to advances in terminal effectiveness of 9MM ammunition over the last decade and even five years, it seems 9MM is the new .40 S&W and .45 ACP. Based on my own experience, I must admit I find it true for me as well. I shoot both my 45 1911 and my 9MM handguns more effectively than I shoot my .40 S&W. Not necessarily more accurately unless practicing timed fire exercises, but with faster shot to shot times and less difficulty getting my front sight back on target. With larger full frame and heavier handguns the problem is manageable but with the compact and subcompact and lighter weight pistols I use, it is evident.

  • Ken July 8, 2016, 12:06 pm

    Pleaseeeeee Stop the BS.
    I read the original study conducted by the FBI concluding the 40 was the way to go.
    I read the new study that concludes the 9 mm is a better choice. The only difference I can see is
    they conclude the size of the wound channel is not of any great value for stopping power.. Then why bother with hollow points?
    Somehow I suspect the fact that hey have hired many small people with little hands may be a factor.
    Cheers!

    • Glock 19 January 14, 2017, 9:05 pm

      Only the permanent wound channel is dependent on the caliber of the projectile. The temporary wound channel, which is created by hydrostatic shock, is virtually identical among all common duty calibers.

      Why bother with hollow points you ask? The answer is simple; The FMJ projectile only transfers a minimal amount of energy to the target while continuing to penetrate all the way through, creating a liability for the shooter & agency because of anyone or anything else the projectile eventually impacts. Conversely hollow points are designed to transfer energy to the target, via controlled expansion, thus minimizing the chance of over-penetration and subsequent liability.

      Your comment indicating the agency must have “hired many small people with little hands” is ignorant, as there are only two diameters of Glock frame for double stack pistols:
      1. GSM (Glock Small Frame), which includes all 9mm, .40, .357 Sig, .45 GAP and .380 models
      2. GLM (Glock Large Frame), which includes the .45 ACP & 10mm models
      Because they are changing from .40 to 9mm, there is absolutely no difference in how the pistol will fit the hand. There is now, however, interchangeable/add-on backstraps for the Gen 4 and new “M” models. If they were sticking with their Gen 3’s instead of upgrading to the “M” it would be a simple change of slide assembly in order to convert to 9mm.

      • John Rizer March 3, 2017, 4:20 pm

        You are correct on the size of a 9mm Glock and a .40 being the same size. But there are wusses that can handle the 9mm but the .40 stings their little cat paws!

  • Robert Smith July 8, 2016, 11:37 am

    “Agents who fail to qualify with the 40-caliber pistols receive 9mm Glock 17 or 19 pistols instead.”
    Really? I think they should get more instruction and practice time instead. The 40 kicks a little more, but not that much more. If you can’t qualify with a 40 you probably can’t qualify with a 9 either.

  • Bryan July 8, 2016, 11:17 am

    They said that they were going back to the 9mm because it has been improved since 1990. I’m sure that’s a valid statement, however all calibers have been improved sine 1990. The 40 S&W, 45 ACP etc. haven’t been in a time capsule since then.

  • SuperG July 8, 2016, 11:17 am

    So basically, in order to get more agents to qualify, they reduced the caliber. I remember when the Oakland Fire Department was ordered to hire more female firefighters. They had to relax the standards of carrying a 200lb man down a ladder, to carrying a 150lb man down a ladder, so females could qualify. As a 200lb man, I wasn’t pleased to learn this had happened.

    I’m never pleased when standards are relaxed to be politically correct. The standards were created for a reason. Am I a Green Beret now that I can run a half mile under 12 minutes?

    • BR549 July 8, 2016, 6:26 pm

      @ SuperG:
      Speaking of “lowering standards”, what about having to make a pistol simple enough that 104 I.Q. LEO recruits wouldn’t forget to turn their safeties off before trying to fire?

      The first thing I’d be concerned with why are we even allowing supposedly “trained professionals” to fire a firearm in public when they can’t remember, at every given moment that they carry, what the working status of their weapon is. I mean, isn’t that like remembering whether one is right-handed or left-handed or what your mother’s name is? If they can’t seem to grasp THAT level of working discipline, how is it that they are then expected to be cognizant of firing a weapon in ANY public space? So, what Glock has effectively done is lower the standard for safety to accommodate a raft of users (professional(?) and otherwise) who might be safer with a cap gun. Whether you are a back-hoe operator or a surgeon, you have to KNOW what your working environment is and who is around you AT ALL TIMES. When we are “off the clock”, so to speak, the success of doing anything else like firing a weapon for a citizen, or doing anything outside of our normal work routine, depends on how successfully we employ our discipline into endeavors where we might be less practiced. Practice, practice, practice.

      There is NO REASON why anyone reaching for a weapon cannot first throw a safety off as the piece is coming out of the holster. NONE. If they can’t DO that, they haven’t practiced enough. If they can’t REMEMBER to do it, perhaps they shouldn’t be trusted with using a firearm in the first place, whether one is in law enforcement or not. In the 2nd Amendment, this is part of that part with respect to being “well-regulated”.

      • Tim August 18, 2016, 1:44 am

        Everything you wrote is wrong.

      • Greg October 8, 2016, 2:09 am

        Yep, all wrong. Must be a 1911 guy.

      • Geezer December 2, 2016, 8:59 am

        BR549
        Wow! There is so much wrong with what you posted I don’t know where to start. Let’s keep it simple Why should anyone spend endless hours learning how to work a safety? Is your gun that dangerous that you need a safety? I spent 30 + years carrying a Colt Python and then a Sig P226 and did not have a safety—Did not need it.So does that make me a “low IQ” recruit? What about the Thousands that have worn a badge before us? My partner with a PHD had a S&W model 66 that I’m betting he could beat you to the “draw and fire” every time–Why? Because he knew that when the shit hit it was going to be fast and close and that is what he spent his training time on–not working a safety. But, then again, I shouldn’t be “trusted with using a firearm in the first place”

  • Steve July 8, 2016, 9:23 am

    Allow me to be venting a bit in a political sense. Glocks REALLY? Glocks are bad, bad, bad, bad. So bad in fact that even though they are on my state’s approved weapons roster, a series of our esteemed state Attorney Generals including E. Warren (rising Dem star) and current AG M. Healey have protected the people from these bad guns by using consumer product regulations and forbidding them to be sold by FFLs. I am so happy that I am safe from bad products. Not sure about the code of ethics or oath of office that these folks violate but that for another day …

    • Bamp July 8, 2016, 11:34 am

      You must live in California, the world’s largest open air insane asylum, or maybe Russia!

    • Jay July 8, 2016, 11:58 am

      I can tell by the responses on this topic that 75% of you people have never been in a gun fight, or have actually beaten the dog shit out of a Glock, in any caliber. They are not the prettiest looking things ill give ya that but that fucker will always go bang. Ergonomically (or most users mind you), reliability, wide variety of ammo available in 9mm, the 15 or 17 rds capacity with a G19 or G17 for example, holster and gear options, etc…ok my rant is done but a challenge for you Nay Sayers….go to a rent-a-range, take 1000rds of white box, and have at it! (If your low and left, it’s not the gun ; )

      • Glock17 August 21, 2016, 12:13 pm

        Agreed Glocks are made to function; a Beretta Elite II is darn pretty, but also temperamental. Dealer’s choice I suppose.

    • S. Velez July 8, 2016, 10:37 pm

      What frivolous comments. What the heck you smoked. I think you don’t have any kind of weapons knowledge or training.

  • Ray Doan July 8, 2016, 9:15 am

    If the glock does not work trade it in let the dealer , get it up to dated , don’t just give up Ray

  • Richard Weber July 8, 2016, 8:58 am

    More rounds needed is a bad way to tell the shooter that you are a terrible shot missing 70 to 80 percent of the time. More practice time is a much better way to improve you percentage of hits. Personally I have carried old slabsides with 7 rounds for 50 years plus and it always gets the job done. pumping out more rounds just increases the chance of a civilian getting hit.

    • MK July 8, 2016, 9:55 pm

      Well said. Shot placement is King. Period. More rounds alone won’t make you better….just more liable. MK

    • Glock17 August 21, 2016, 12:16 pm

      Concur, spraying more bullets down range should never be the conclusion of any intelligent review or firearms investigation.

  • Ron Sullivan July 8, 2016, 7:08 am

    I thank the glock is the best gun for combat. If it jams it is the person using it, that person must have a limp wrist . I carried a glock for 10 yrs as a duty weapon and it never had a jam.

  • Brian July 8, 2016, 6:34 am

    Had multiple Glock Pistols, all in 9mm. The Worlds Police forces carry that caliber, good enough for them, good enough for me.

    The only problem I have had, the Gen 4, with the disaster of a main spring! Glock finally fixed it! My carry pistol.

  • Ross Walters July 8, 2016, 4:59 am

    Hope they have better luck with their 9mm Glocks than I have.
    Mine is a ‘Made in USA’ Glock.
    Jammed practically every-other shot 1st time at the range. Tediously put 120 rounds through it – didn’t get better.
    2nd time at the range it still jammed 4-5 times out of ever magazine using a variety of different ammo.
    Sent it to the factory (cost me $72.) They sent it back stating it ‘Meets Specs’.
    Took it to the range. Every other shot jammed.
    Bought a weaker recoil spring assembly. Took it to the range. It still frequently jammed.
    Put the factory spring back in and shot a steady diet of +P = jam after jam after jam
    Back to the range – jam after jam after jam. Four different magazines, Four kinds of ammo = all had jams.
    It now resides in a gun safe in the basement. My reliable never-failed Kahr is now my home defense pistol.
    I know, I know…YOUR Glocks are fabulous. Well mine is not. It’s my Smucker’s gun.

    • Rick July 8, 2016, 7:47 am

      Don’t settle for “it meet mill spec’s” …..keep calling, get to the right person even the CEO….

    • fritz bousigschouer July 8, 2016, 9:45 am

      now that is amazing! I use glock’s of all calibers and the only problem i had was that some aftermarket barrel/slide needed fitting cause they where to tight from start, as they where designed to be like that. but a regular glock gen 3 should never have much fail if it fail at all. that make me wonder, did you let a friend test shoot your glock? maybe its a operator error of some kind, as glock did test it out and sayd its ok. good luck with the wonderful glock.

    • Tim August 18, 2016, 1:46 am

      USA ones are garbage. Lazy union workers.

  • William July 8, 2016, 4:34 am

    FBI? Sounds like FEMA, IS gearing up! 85 million will buy a lot of pistols!

  • Chris July 4, 2016, 5:36 pm

    I prefer 9mm because I’m cheap and like to go to the range

    • USN VET July 8, 2016, 10:43 am

      Sig 226 9 MM never failed and if your looking for “cheap” get a 22 conversion kit

    • USNVET July 8, 2016, 10:45 am

      Sig 226 9 MM never fails and if you want to fire cheap ammo get the conversion kit to fire 22 LR

  • Elizabeth Hanson June 30, 2016, 6:55 pm

    Interesting article. My husband will be happy. He just converted his .40 Glock to 9mm. Personally I prefer my .40 Springfield Armory.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend