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Sig Sauer vs. Glock: Why the U.S. Army Passed on the Glock 19X

Glock 17
Glock 17. Image Credit: Vitaly V. Kuzmin

Back in 2018, a winner in the cutthroat fight between firearms behemoths Sig Sauer and Glock was declared in the U.S. Army’s program to replace more than half a million M9 Beretta handguns.

While Glock lost the big contract–but turned its submission into a big retail success in the Glock 19X–how did Sig Sauer come out on top?

Government investigators finally made the decision to side “with Sig over a protest that claimed the company was selected unfairly,” according to reporting a few years back in  We Are the Mighty.

It continued: “In a June 5 report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied the protest by Glock of the January award of a massive contract to replace nearly five hundred fifty thousand handguns in the Army and other services with a militarized version of the Sig P320 striker-fired pistol. While the GAO said each was very close in performance and other factors that evaluators looked into, Sig came in with a program price nearly $130 million less than Glock.”

In its final report, the Government Accountability Office noted that “based upon the technical evaluation and my comparative analysis of the proposals, the Sig Sauer proposal has a slight technical advantage over the Glock proposal.”

It further added that the “advantage of the Sig Sauer proposal is increased when the license rights and production manufacturing factors are brought into consideration … making the Sig Sauer proposal overall the best value to the government.”

“I am tremendously proud of the Modular Handgun System team,” Army Acquisition Executive Steffanie Easter said in a press announcement.

“By maximizing full and open competition across our industry partners, we have optimized private sector advancements in handguns, ammunition and magazines, and the end result will ensure a decidedly superior weapon system for our warfighters,” she added.

Running Neck and Neck

According to We Are the Mighty, the evaluators admitted that it was a tight race between the Sig and Glock as they analyzed the guns for reliability, accuracy, and ergonomics.

“But the Army hit Glock on its safety during the ‘warfighter evaluation’ phase of testing, giving Sig an edge and prompting Glock to factor that into its protest,” it said.

Reports also suggested that soldiers at Fort Campbell will be the first recipients of the new Sig-made M17 later this year.

Beretta Denied had previously reported that “Beretta has fought hard to remain to remain the Army’s pistol maker.”

In fact, “in December 2014, Beretta USA submitted its modernized M9A3 as a possible alternative to the Army’s Modular Handgun System program. But the Army rejected the improved M9A3 which featured new sights, a rail for mounting lights and accessories, better ergonomics and improved reliability. Beretta was not finished yet. It developed a new striker-fired pistol, the APX and entered it into the APX,” it continued.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Written By

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV.

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