When we first saw the ICE Pistol solicitation, we confidently said it had been written for the S&W M&P. On 30 Mar 15 our headline was: How To Sole-Source a Contract: ICE’s Next Pistol, S&W M&P. This produced an indignant response from an individual we believe to be associated with the ICE firearms office, the Office of Firearms and Tactical Programs (OFTP):
Read the draft SOW. Carefully this time. Words have meaning.
By this he probably meant that some of the characteristics that we believed would be used to exclude Glocks and SIGs, were OFTP’s “nice to have” preferences, not “must have” requirements. Further responding to our post, he wrote:
This is absolute nonsense and hype. Just about all the big names in military grade handguns now have at least one model that can meet the requirements of the SOW.
We followed up that post the same day with a correction: CORRECTION: ICE Bosses Deny Shooting for S&W, in which we said:
[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.
A third post in October, 2015, ICE New Pistol Solicitation Proceeds, noted that OFTP was seen, rightly or wrongly, by the rank and file as an outpost of SIG fanboys (this may have been largely a function of unhappiness with the issue SIG P229 DAK):
Despite the fact that new rumors are being stirred up, there isn’t a whole lot to add here to the post we wrote in March and the correction that ICE OFTP asked of us at the time (although it’s embarrassing to see the incomplete sentences and paragraphs on those hasty posts. Ow).
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).
Since that date, there have been a number of changes in the approved off-duty pistol list.
The latest rumor in the ranks is that the decision is in, and it’s the SIG P320. The P320 is SIG’s polymer-framed, striker-fired modular pistol.
Specifics we have been told by One Who Should Know:
- OFTP has selected a new weapon.
- Weapon selected is the Sig P320 in 9mm (not clear what form factor(s) or interchangeable frames will be involved. Probably the mid-sized version).
- The 320s will come on line, starting with issue to new agents in initial entry training, in the current fiscal year (FY 2017 runs from 1 Oct 16 to 30 Sep 17).
- No caliber other than 9mm will be approved for the 320, for on- or off-duty carry.
- In fact, all .40 cal pistols are going off the approved list. No idea whether current carriers are grandfathered or when this happens.
- Sig MPX to be issued as a warrant-service gun, g-ride carbine, etc., in FY 2018. This will also be in 9mm. Presumably this was a sweetener in the handgun package.
Given ICE’s thousands of armed plainclothes agents, this a very large win for SIG.
Assuming that this information is better than our original certainty that the fix was in for S&W. We were wrong about that.
Back in 2014, we were bemused by the short list of approved off-duty weapons for HSI (it has changed since).