Tactical Tailor

The CBP Pistol Program Was A Close Race

Last week, US Customs and Border Protection announced an $85,000,000* contract award to Glock for a family of three handguns.

Based on information received by Soldier Systems Daily, firearms from two manufacturers were neck in neck during performance testing conducted by an industry leading, independent lab. Both competitors received the same score in what DoD would refer to as Developmental Testing, which is objective in nature.

Where the two began diverge was during hands-on testing with field agents. Those familiar with DoD testing would refer to this as Operational Testing. The data collection is subjective and in this case was based on a 1-10 scoring system of how the officer felt about the firearm throughout a variety of tasks.

In this phase of testing Glock was assessed just 3% higher than competitor SIG with their P320 family of firearms.

What finally knocked it out of the park for Glock was that they came in quite a bit cheaper than SIG, $7.5 million less.

For quite awhile, word on the street was that this was going to be SIG’s win. Based on testing, either offerer’s handguns would have more than done the job, but Glock developed a great strategy and brought home a solid win.

Based on their performance here, Glock paid attention to the results of the Army’s Modular Handgun System program. Glock not only priced to win, but they rolled out an entirely new handgun to satisfy CBP requirements.

* That $85 million is the contract ceiling, meaning the total amount government may spend. It isn’t necessarily the amount of money an awardee will receive. In this case, bids were less than half of that amount. What the higher ceiling allows for is other government agencies to use the contract as well.

24 Responses to “The CBP Pistol Program Was A Close Race”

  1. BillC says:

    “What finally knocked it out of the park for Glock was that they came in quite a bit cheaper than SIG, $7.5 million less.”

    So Glock learned from the MHS competition where the manufactures’ pistols were all but the same.

  2. mike says:

    Their entry for the MHS didn’t have a manual safety, a stated requirement.

    With the huge amount of aftermarket support and COTS options for any conceivable accessory or part to support the guns Glock made the most sense, but SIG actually provided what the contract asked for in addition to what was likely a pretty good deal for the pistols and support they were offering in the contract.

    • SVGC says:

      The Glock MHS had an ambidextrous manual safety. The Glock 19X released for public sales didn’t.

    • tcba_joe says:

      Have you seen the MHS Glocks? They had manual thumb safeties that looked a lot like the Cominolli safety.

      These guns seem to bounce back and forth, basically performing the same from a performance standpoint while one squeaks by to win. FBI (Glock), MHS (SIG), ICE/HSI (SIG), CBP (Glock)… I think FAMS is the next contract on the table.

      Honestly, it seems if you’re looking to buy or consolidate on a high quality poly striker (9mm) gun you can’t go wrong with either the Glock Gen 5 or the P320 in your size flavor.

      • jbgleason says:

        Listen up Mister! That kind of sensible talk has no place on the internet. You stop that right now or else.

    • Seans says:

      You really think Glock would ignore not putting a safety on the gun when it was a requirement.

  3. Amer-Rican says:

    So Glock and Sig p320 were tied on the OBJECTIVE (evidence based) portion of the Border Patrol’s testing, while Glock barely beat Sig by three percent on the SUBJECTIVE (preference based) testing… Proving all the Glock fanbois WRONG for arguing the Glock was vastly superior and should’ve been chosen for the Army-Marines MHS pistol!

    So in the BP testing, Glock came in cheaper and won on PRICE. It’s a very plausible someone at BP let Glock know what Sig’s pricing was so Glock could undercut, or Glock paid off the right people.

    I’d also like to see HK land some contracts with their vp9-B, which has the American style button mag release.

    • CA24 says:

      No. That is actually not possible at all. Every submission had the same deadline, which included providing a price at the time of submission. It’s not like CBP could open one, then call someone and have them change what they already submitted.

      Further… just because the guns “received the same score” (if that is even true), it does not mean that they earned points equally in each category. The CBP requirements were very public, and there were a lot of requirements. Each category affords the opportunity to gain or lose points.

      The tests were, however, done in an independent lab. Any company that submitted owns and has rights to their test results. It will be interesting to see if those who competed want to release those results so we can see how they actually performed.

      • Jeff S says:

        There were three phases of “testing”.”

        1 – NIJ independent testing (companies decided if they wanted to submit their pistols to CBP after this round)
        2 – CBP Harpers Ferry testing – these tests (not the results) can be found open source
        3 – CBP Field testing… this is where things probably fell apart. Subjectivity vs. Objectivity. :/

        • CA24 says:

          Fell apart? How so? The solicitation stated that the field testing would be completely subjective in nature, and even lists every category in which agents and officers will rate the guns. So you’re suggesting that things “fell apart” because CBP followed the solicitation? The vendors all agreed to the process when the guns were submitted.

          You’re right that CBP cannot release the results of the testing. But the vendors also own the rights to their own performance testing. It would be interesting to see if any of them put it out there.

          • Jeff S says:

            I’m suggesting the subjectivity of the field testing was a little silly to take into account for the solicitation. I’m assuming you’re in a component of CBP… Look to your left and your right – do you really want the average officer/agent/zipper suited sun god making a subjective decision on what firearm you’re going to carry?

            “Muh Glock” should only be taken into account so far.

  4. Mark says:

    So what’s up with those base plates sticking out so far past the front straps?

    Are they actually longer on the front edge than the commercial Gen 5 mag plates, or is it just bad photo editing?

    • Kango says:

      They are longer so they can be used to strip stuck magazines instead of having the front cutout.

    • Amer-Rican says:

      Those mag baseplates will be a PITA for big handed guys and our pinky fingers. Glock should’ve scalloped the sides of the magwell like the p320, vp9, p10c, M&P 2.0- because it just works.

      • Jeff S says:

        That wasn’t in the solicitation from CBP… Glock built the pistol exactly to CBP’s specs.

        • Amer-Rican says:

          Jeff, that doesn’t change the fact that Glock has never done proper magwell scalloping like most if not all of the other top pistol makers- Glock always seems to produce something less than ideal in that area. EX: gen5 front cutout.

          And can you provide a link that shows specifically that the BP stipulated that exact configuration for the mag baseplates? Perhaps the BP just stipulated the mag bases had to be designed for easy extraction of mags, without specifying the exact design… AN example of this would be how Glock interpreted the MHS pistol specs to mean they could just submit the one pistol, while SIg submitted both the m17 and m18.

          • Jeff S says:

            CBP’s requirements can be found in Statement of Work (SOW) 70B06C18R00000037

            Magwell, Page 6:

   Entire front edge of magazine well shall be equal in height from left to right corners.
   An integrated permanent magazine well flare is preferred but not required. If a permanent flared magazine well is included, it may extend no more than 0.15” beyond the outside of the grip on each side.

            Mag Baseplate, Page 10:

   Magazine floor plate shall:
   Toe of the magazine shall extend past the firearm grip to enable positive gripping and rapid manual extraction of the magazine if the magazine is locked in place as a result of a malfunction (e.g. double feed) or if the shooter wears gloves.

  5. Nate says:

    About 95% of this article is made up. Almost none of this is how it went. Please check your sources.

    • SSD says:

      Documents…but nice try. Comments like this are precisely how I know it’s true. Now, I’ve got to go figure out what was done improperly, that you’re trying to cover up.

      • Nate says:

        Fair point normally. But do to an NDA, I can’t go into any details. But time will tell that this isn’t accurate at all.

    • CA24 says:

      And about 95% of percentages are made up, and there is a difference between an untruth and partial information. The process of soliciting and selecting on a large scale and/or high profile contract is long, and very well documented. It is hard to sum up the entire selection in a few words, but SSD does a good job of putting out the information that they have available and researching what they can to fill in the blanks. Unfortunately information that provides more detail is often Source Selection Sensitive and sealed, which prevents the “whole story” from being known.

      The publicly posted Solicitation listed the Basis for Award on this contract. I can quote it as saying that “non-price factors when combined are significantly more important than price.” Based on that, and the information posted in this article, no one is disputing the performance of the winning gun. Just that others may have also performed well.

      There are a LOT of gun manufacturers out there, and just because Glock won this contract, that does not mean that others are inferior. It means Glock performed favorably when considering all of CBP’s requirements. The others may have performed almost as well, or they may not have wanted to invest in the changes required to meet CBP’s needs, and they may have not even submitted on the contract. None of that means other options make a bad product, it just means that they didn’t win this contract.

  6. BPFI says:

    You guys are way off on what pistol was the runner up. This is a great piece of gossip and I got a Kick out of it.