Glock is protesting the military’s decision to replace its current sidearm with the relatively new SIG P320-based XM17. The military selected the SIG design to replace the aging Beretta M9 series pistols in service late last year.
The protest, filed with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, needs a response from the U.S. Army Materiel Command by June 5th of 2017.
Until the Army responds to the protest the switch from Beretta pistols to SIG pistols will not move forward. Time will tell if this is a business formality or if it will alter the course of the Army’s hunt for their next sidearm.
The search for a new military sidearm began in 2015 with the Modular Handgun System competition, or MHS (It was originally announced in 2011, but after multiple delays, the official “Request for Proposals” didn’t happen until Sept. 2015). The MHS sought out a replacement for the M9 family of handguns in service throughout the military with a more modern design.
While the M9 design has its fans and critics, there’s no denying that the actual pistols in service are reaching their end-of-life. Facing replacement, the military decided to use this as an opportunity to seek out a fresh design.
And 2015 was a great time for the MHS. In recent years many prominent firearm manufacturers have released solid next-generation service pistols with advanced features and improved controls.
The Army’s requirements for a replacement polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol included a closed-slide design with frame-mounted controls, a modular grip system, and ambidextrous features. Combined with a prohibition against finger grooves on the pistol grip, these requirements neatly framed the P320 from the beginning.
Still, there are good reasons for the Army to consider Glock for the role. For one, Glock already supplies pistols to select units in service with the U.S. military. This means that parts and training are already in place. And there’s no denying that Glock pistols have a longer track record than SIG and their P320, and have a much larger aftermarket.
There’s also no doubting that current Glock models didn’t meet the exacting requirements of the MHS program. Glock addressed this with their updated and largely unreleased fifth-generation M-series, and that could be the grounds for the company’s protest.
Leaked photos of the Glock 17M and 19M indicate that the new series sports an ambidextrous slide stop, reversible magazine release and critically, no finger grooves. Like the Gen 4 series, the M-series uses interchangeable backstraps to suit different hand sizes.