ICE Pistol Decision: SIG 320

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.

Is this what they want? The SIG P320 family. The compact is the “Goldilocks” midsize — about the same size as a G19.

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:

  1. OFTP has selected a new weapon.
  2. 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).
  3. 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).
  4. No caliber other than 9mm will be approved for the 320, for on- or off-duty carry.
  5. In fact, all .40 cal pistols are going off the approved list. No idea whether current carriers are grandfathered or when this happens.
  6. 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.

Additional Information

Back in 2014, we were bemused by the short list of approved off-duty weapons for HSI (it has changed since).

16 thoughts on “ICE Pistol Decision: SIG 320

  1. Brad

    Typo Alert

    “When we first saw the ICE Pistol solicitation, we confidently said it had been written for the S&S M&P.”

    I’m certain you meant S&W, right?

    S&S kind of looks like SOS (which sounds like a fun name for a gun company!)

  2. jim h

    ive never understand the .gov infatuation with SIG. yeah, it’s good. they make decent stuff….but it’s also very, very pricey when you can get the same thing cheaper in other makes. I liken it to an analog of the larry correia HK lovefest. I can think of no other way to frame it, other than somebody seeing NSW types with SIGs and trying to be – and make all of their agents be – exactly as cool. as to the MPX…..meh. not impressed by pistol caliber not-quite-carbines.

    you hit the nail on the head with the agency dislike. im a 287(g) type, and my own agency issues a glock 21, which is a very large, very capable handgun in .45…..just like God and JMB intended. my ICE partner carries a SIG, and hates it. she admits it’s a decently good pistol, but it doesn’t “fit” her correctly, and she wants something else other than .40 as well. as to the “fitting” concept, I understand that; I don’t buy a weapon unless I pick it up and it sorta talks to me. anyhow, the last several ICE DOs we’ve had partnered here were of the same mindset. interestingly though, the higher up the food chain you go, they *don’t* carry at all, although they still wear their badge or raid jackets. and when they do, it’s rarely a SIG.

    “good for thee but not for me,” I suppose.

  3. Boat Guy

    NSW apparently came very close to dumping the SIG in the mid-late 90’s. SIG was bending us over the bollard on spares and repair parts and somebody “in a position to do so” apparently said “Fine, we’ll just go to the M9 like everybody else” – or perhaps some saltier version and apparently SIG caved. I had already purchased a personal 226 and was frankly hoping there’d be a reconciliation – which there was until recently.
    I don’t know the P320, but it appears to be a good piece. I’d much prefer it over the DAK if that were my choice.

    1. poobie

      I’ve got the full-size 9mm, and I’m happy with it. I’m a crappy pistol shot, due to lack of practice or much innate ability, but I shoot it better than anything else I own. Trigger is _really_ nice for a striker fired gun. I can’t really speak to reliability, with a sample size of 1, and that one only having maybe 300 rounds through it, but it’s been flawless so far.

  4. John M.

    I like the concept of the 320, but I wouldn’t prefer one myself because it’s untried. I’m looking forward to some large agencies getting experience with the 320 and wringing it out.

    -John M.

  5. BAP45

    So a little bit of a tangent but the mention of alternatives reminded me of my local pd. I’m pretty sure the standard issue is a glock but I’m not sure since about halt the officers I see have a semi custom 1911 on their belts. Now whatever your feelings towards that particular model aside it is nice to see that one the officers take enough of an interest in their side arm to get their own and that the department is flexible enough to let so many of them use it.

    Sorry, not sig related but made me think.

  6. Bill Robbins

    Just curious: Why would anyone want to shoot an immigrant? I thought all immigrants were just nice folks, trying to re-unite with their families.

  7. Dienekes

    INS agent and firearms instructor, pulled the pin in ’94. Happily carried a 4″ .357 right up to the last day. Personally owned Glocks (including 19s!) and SIGs became ok around 1985. There were still old school pistoleros around, Thank God…

    I wouldn’t give a pitcher of warm spit for all the weapons frottage since. As Jeff Cooper one observed, most people know as much about fighting as marmosets do about football. Goes double for managers.


  8. Cap'n Mike

    I like Sigs, but I have never shot or even held a P320.
    That aside, the innovative thing about the P320 seems to be the 3 different grip sizes.
    Not the Full size, compact and sub compact, though that is cool also.
    But the small , medium and large grip sizes, available on each of the Full size, compact and sub compact models.
    If you are standardizing a weapon in an agency that has officers ranging in size from 4’9 females to 6’7 knuckle-dragger’s, being able to fit the gun to the size of the officers hand would appear to be a benefit.

    1. Hognose Post author

      SIG did this in the P250, which was a similar polymer frame but the trad SIG SA/DA/Safety/Decocker arrangement. FAMS tried them in .357. It was a thunderous disaster. They too are playing with the 320 for possible adoption. I’m not well wired there anymore — their turnover has been pretty high between retirements and laterals to other agencies. It seems like a great job until a guy gets sick of missing birthdays, first steps, first day of school, etc.

      1. Cap'n Mike

        You mean its not all partying with the beautiful stewardesses?

        Because of what you and others have said about the P320, I have been looking really hard at the P320 RX with the factory installed Red dot sight and the suppressor height night sights that co-witness with it.
        It seems like a real bargain for $799.
        The lack of holsters, specifically level 3 holsters, seem to be the only thing holding this back from being the ideal Cops duty weapon.
        Any gun that I stare at as long as I have that one, usually ends up in the safe.

        1. Hognose Post author

          Next time I’m at the Pro Shop I’ll ask about holsters. I asked them this time, “What’s the best-kept secret here? What do you wish people knew more about?” And to my surprise he didn’t recommend one of the polymer guns, but put a Legion P229 in my hand, and had me A/B the trigger (especially the reset) with the regular 22x. The Legion has most of the things people have smiths do to SIGs, already done. Also, in the shop there is a 25% military discount, active, RC or retired. (Dunno if it applies to vets, and dunno what their LE deal is). The students only get a 20% break. Of course, that just brings a SIG down from “stratospheric” to “high.”

          1. Cap'n Mike

            I didn’t know that about the 25%.
            I first thought the Legion thing was all marketing hype, good to know its more.
            I keep promising myself I’m going to take a class up there and check out the pro shop.

            A Level 3 retention duty holster for pistols with reflex sights will be a game changer. Hopefully someone is working on it.

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