Earlier today, the Federal Bureau of Investigation awarded a contract to Glock for new 9mm duty pistols. The new contract has a potential value of $85 million over 10 years.
The FBI amplified a conversation regarding the relative effectiveness of different handgun cartridges when its training division published a paper in 2014 justifying the use of the 9mm cartridge for law enforcement use. A year later, the agency published a request for proposal (RFP) for new 9mm duty pistols.
FBI Drops the .40 S&W
Currently, the FBI issues Glock handguns in .40 S&W – a cartridge that was developed largely because of the FBI’s condemnation of the 9mm in the wake of the infamous Miami shootout. The FBI transitioned to the 10mm, but had problems with full power loads.
Subsequently, the .40 S&W was introduced: a 10mm bullet at lower velocities. Many departments saw the .40 S&W as the ideal compromise of power and capacity. During the 1990s many departments moved from both the 9mm and .45 ACP to the .40 S&W.
What Are the New Guns?
At the time of this writing, neither Glock nor the FBI have released specific details on the guns chosen. However, we know what the FBI was looking for in the new pistols:
- a compact 9mm pistol with a barrel length of 3.75 – 4.25″ and a minimum magazine capacity of 14 rounds
- a full size 9mm pistol with a barrel length of 4.26 – 5.20″ and a minimum magazine capacity of 16 rounds
Under normal circumstances, that would be a Glock 19 and Glock 17 respectively. However – and this is a big one for the current and previous generation of Glock pistols – the FBI stated:
Finger grooves on the frame are not permitted. (emphasis theirs)
The first and second generation of Glock pistols did not have finger grooves. Those were added in the third generation guns and were carried over to the Gen4 pistols. I’ve carried second, third and fourth generation Glock pistols, and I dislike the finger grooves.
For me, the ideal Glock grip matches the Gen4 texture with the second generation’s lack of grooves. Perhaps the FBI feels the same way.
It will be interesting to see if Glock releases grooveless frames to the general market. I would happily pick one up if they did.
Additional Contract Information
In addition to the two pistols, the RFP had requirements for training and Simunition pistols along with parts for everything.
While the deletion of finger grooves mentioned above is one of the most obvious changes to the Gen4 guns that the FBI wanted, there were several other items in the RFP that are worth mentioning:
- magazine floor plates with a front ledge or tow to assist in stripping them from the magazine well
- a slight (no more than 0.10″) flaring of the magazine well
- use of Trijicon HD sights was listed as preferred
- the slide stop must be “easily manipulated by both left and right handed shooters” – this is subjective, but the FBI further indicated that ambidextrous slide stop levers were permitted and both standard and extended slide stop levers must be provided
In addition to the FBI, other federal agencies may purchase these pistols under the same contract. These agencies include, but are not limited to:
- Department of State
- US Marshals Service
- US Capitol Police
- US Park Police
I’ve reached out to both the FBI and Glock for additional information. Neither have replied back. When I get more, I will update this article.
Last Update: October 23, 2022