B5 Systems

US Government Accountability Office – Decision Documentation Regarding Glock’s Protest Of The MHS


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With the recent reveal of Glock’s entry to the US Army’s Modular Handgun Competition, the 19MHS, we felt it prudent to feature the US Government Accountability Office’s denial of Glock’s protest of the competition results. You can read through all 17 pages of the document by clicking the image above, which goes over Glock’s list of complaints from their protest, including claims of favoritism towards SIG, the contest being ended too early, and the supposed obligation for the US Army to award multiple contracts. Regardless, the following passage details the main reason that SIG won over Glock (emphasis ours):

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 given that their proposal was rated higher in Factor 1, Bid Sample Test – Technical which is the most important factor. The advantage of the Sig Sauer proposal is increased when the license rights and production manufacturing factors are brought into consideration. [. . .] The price analysis shows that the Sig Sauer total evaluated price is $102,705,394 less than the Glock total evaluated price, making the Sig Sauer proposal overall the Best Value to the Government.

Sig Sauer’s proposal was slightly superior technically and clearly superior in factors 4 and 5 [SSD note: License Rights – Ammunition and License Rights – Handgun & Accessories]. Since there were so few other discriminators between the two proposals in most aspects, the least important factor, price, became a significant discriminator. Simply put, when taking the price premium into account, there is no correlating superior performance factor for Glock, as compared to Sig Sauer, to support paying that premium.

Consequently, I cannot justify paying a price premium of over 37% for the Glock submission, even as a second award. One (1) award to Sig Sauer on Solicitation Number W15QKNR-0002 represents the overall best value to the Government.

Ultimately, SIG’s victory came down to them severely underbidding Glock, to the tune of approximately $100 million. That’s not to say price was the only factor; the P320 did perform slightly better in the Technical Bid Sample Test than the Glock equivalent. Not to mention that SIG was able to offer better license rights for the chosen ammunition, handgun, and accessories. Regardless, in the Government’s eyes, the Glock wasn’t worth $100 million more than the SIG.

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32 Responses to “US Government Accountability Office – Decision Documentation Regarding Glock’s Protest Of The MHS”

  1. PTMcCain says:

    “The price analysis shows that the Sig Sauer total evaluated price is $102,705,394 less”


    A million here, a million there, pretty soon you are talking real money.

  2. Mick says:

    “SSD reads the bureaucratic fine print, so you don’t have to.”

    This is why I come to SSD; great article!


    • Joshua says:

      Except he left out that in the seven nonmonetary categories, The Sig offering, was found to be “acceptable” in one category, “good” in three, and “outstanding” in three while the Glock, by comparison, was found “acceptable” in one, “good” in five, and “marginal” in one.

      • SSD says:

        We wrote a summary, mentioned that SIG performed slightly better than the GLOCK and also offered you the opportunity to read the complete report.

        Not sure what you’re complaining about.

  3. Ed says:

    I find this interesting and personally have no dog in the fight; hear me out:

    I think the Army actually made a smart decision going for a lower bid/deal. Sounds economics only if they could keep doing that across the spectrum for foreseeable future equipment. Second, How much are “side-arms” actually used, and the amount of training on them?? This is again a practical way of looking at it. I know a lot of on here have our favorites and things we agree on and dislike. Third, marketing for this newer Sig 320 now has the rep/cred that it is the US Army’s issued side-arm. Good for you Sig! The contrast is funny though, when you go back to the program in the early 80’s it’s the Sig that lost out to the Beretta. Sure they we’re hoping they could win the contract but Big Army was never going to adopt pistol without an external trigger. I also read somewhere there were some politics involved to keep US Forces in Italy and a leak by US Army to Beretta about Sig’s CPU, then Beretta under cot by $1 per unit. I don’t really know if that is true but oh well! Sig went on to get contracts with other Govt’s, US-PD/LEO, US Army for the M11 (P228) and other branches for pilot sidearm and of course NSW, aka Navy SEAL Teams. They may not of made as much with the smaller contracts but they sure as hell had one of the best endorsements coming from NSW! Now I don’t have any research or data on private sales but I tend to think a lot of Sig’s were sold throughout the 90’s, 2000’s up to this day because of that NSW stamp of approval.

    Enter Glock and you have a company who was fairly new and brought an innovative product to market albeit most of it was done before in pieces here and there. Glock brought a lot of good ideas together and made a great product. Their first contracts unless I’m mistaken were European LE and some Mil units in smaller batches. Then our own LE took notice and adopted them as well. It seems the 90’s was fairly profitable as well to the civilian market here in USA. The Glock already has/had a great reputation going for it, even being used by SOF and contractors. SOCOM finally officially adopted in 2015, again if I’m not mistaken so they get a pretty good chunck, not as big as “Big Army” but a reputation non-the less that is second to none. Now most of know, SOF actually “uses” their pistols, especially in training!

    My bottom line ramble here is, isn’t better to have your product endorsed by the “hard-use” force, and all the LEO’s alike then get the US Army signed off, who most will barely shoot more than 50 rounds a year anyway?

    Just my $0.02, no hard feelings!

    • Ed says:

      typo above, “safety” instead of “trigger”, first paragraph.

      slow fingers, fast brain!

      • SG says:

        The MHS-submission Glock had an external safety…

        • Ed says:

          I never said the “Glock” didn’t have a safety. I was referring to the Sig 226 in original 1980’s competition w/ Beretta. The Sig did not have/or has an external safety as compared to the 92F/M9.

          • Another Ed says:

            The SIG P228 / M11 does not have an external safety, nor does the .40 S&W SIG P229 used by the USCG, nor the .40 S&W SIG P239 used by NCIS and the 9mm SIG 239 used by NSW.

    • Jake0331 says:

      I agree with most of what you said. I think the biggest point in your post is point 2. Line units just don’t use pistols that much. When you look at all the weapons in an infantry battalion, a pistol is the most irrelevant weapon in the inventory second only to a bayonet. So, to dovetail into your first point, I’m glad they saved a couple bucks with this. More money to put into R&D or procurement for weapons that have a bigger effect on the enemy. I just hope the Marine Corps jumps in on this contract. Our M9s are pretty worn out.

      • Joe says:

        Heck, when you look at it hard the case can be made that the pistol is even less relevant to the bayonet.

        • Jake0331 says:

          True, most of my time in country we at least had bayonets (they were kept in a platoon seabag so no one lost them). The same can’t really be said of pistols. Staff and O’s had them to carry to the chow hall. Guys that should have them usually don’t get them issued.

  4. heymanniceshot says:

    Sig wins a big Army contract as NSW drops it for the Glock 19, oh the irony! I’ll miss the P228, that gun could hold up to some saltwater abuse. I also own a G19 and think many will be happy with either, but with the G19 having a built in rail for light and IR laser, that alone is a big plus.

    • Ed says:

      The last so many years, NSW was issuing the P226 Navy w/ a rounded rail then starting in 2011 they received the newer MK25 Navy w/ actual 1913 rail. I thought it was ironic at first too that they bought all th we new Sig’s then less than five years later switch to Glock. I personally think the 19 makes more sense in weight w/ same mag capacity and it has the vetting of tier one units, SF and various foriegn SOF. Maybe some Marines will a Sig hand me down from Big Navy??

      • Another Ed says:

        A few years ago, SIG produced a limited run of P228’s with a rail.

  5. Jon says:

    SSD- Thanks for the update. I think this is good that the GAO released this information as there will always be questions and scrutiny for every decision made. I think it’s good that the GAO is being transparent as possible with this. Thanks again for posting.

  6. Dellis says:

    My father, in WWII, stated that his sidearm, a colt 1911 couldn’t hit the side of a barn at 20 yards. He says it was carried for morale or extreme close combat so when empty it can be thrown at the enemy

    • Ed says:

      Really??? Sounds more like an operator limitation than the pistol. When I first joined the Navy I qual’d on the 1911, expert first time. Maybe guys back then couldn’t handle a light trigger and they overgripped??

      • Adun says:

        Weren’t they still teaching variations of one handed shooting techniques back then as well? I am sure that didn’t help in the slightest.

        • Ed says:

          You might be right, It has been a long time. I have fired off-hand in several matches as well. It really is an important skill if you are injured or do not have the ability to fire w/ your strong hand.

    • AbnMedOps says:

      During WWII, the “Modern Technique” was still 20 years from being developed, and 40 years from widespread training and adoption. There were a relative handful of shooters nationwide who had a combat-effective level of proficiency using the other, nearly pre-historic pistol shooting disciplines, and they would have had basically zero influence on the training plan for mobilizing a mass army of 10 million overnight. Quite simply, they didn’t even know what they didn’t know, so those “broadside of a barn” comments from the aged WWII guys were a heartfelt and honest opinion from a bunch of guys who had that limited perspective. Just imagine if we had a timemachine, and could go back and take over training those guys with TODAYS understanding of training methodology, AAR process, mindset, etc..even with their old-school 1911’s and Garands and Shermans, it would be World War 2.0!

      • Dellis says:

        That’d make a great movie….a team of guys on a training mission get sucked into a wormhole with weapons but only blank ammo smack in the middle of some field in France WWII

  7. Dellis says:

    Unfortunately I no longer have the gun as a family member had a meltdown at his death for it so I caved…but anyway if I remember correctly when I did shoot it it had no adjustable sights. It’s no where near as accurate as my colt commander that’s for sure.

  8. Bolty says:

    So you guys couldnt get the Glock discount? We just got the 17s down here and knowing my company price would have been a big factor! Shot it in April and Im not a gun nut by any means but felt better than the Sig 226s we had and have now replaced.

  9. Mike says:


  10. d says:

    Still waiting for SIG to “underbid” Glock at my local gun shop.

  11. Big Daddy says:

    I shot both, great guns. But for me the Glock is better. I shoot best with the 1911 but they are not practical these days. So I’ll stick with my Glock. Some people cannot shoot one well, some people just cannot shoot well period. So I think the Army made the correct decision, it is exactly what they wanted, the SIG 320 is modular and the Glock is not.

    But we’ll see 20 years down the road when in fact the costs of the 320 will be higher due to parts replacement. I also hope this doesn’t affect the civilian owners of the SIG in trying to get parts. The availability for Glocks replacement parts and upgrades is unsurpassed.

  12. Seamus says:

    $207 was the price Sig charged for the pistols, I have heard of Glock doing similar pricing for large Law Enforcement contracts. How did they get over bid on this? Did they just assume Uncle Sam would pony up $550 a gun? To be honest, with how long Glock has been making basically the same gun for 30 years, I am curious how it hasn’t come down in price, at least for LE/Mil contracts. I mean the machines have got to be paid off by now, efficiencies have to have been discovered at this point and polymer is cheap. So how was Sig able to Under Bid? It isn’t like Glock is a new company that doesn’t have the production capacity or a world wide market to make back any losses. Seems like someone at Glock should get fired over this one.

    • SSD says:

      It’s business. However, remember, there were multiple deliverables that all played into the overall bid. For instance, GLOCK may have had a much bid fir the ammo. You can’t look at the overall bid proposals and divide by the number of pistols to get a true picture of what each actual pistol will cost.