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How Much Did the Army Pay for New Service Pistols?

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By Debbie Gregory.

A recent report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) concluded that the U.S. Army got a good deal on its new Modular Handgun System (MHS), but the actual cost is not really known.

CRS, the public policy research arm of Congress,  provides vital analytical support to address the most complex public policy issues facing the nation.

The Army MHS is a weapon system produced by Sig Sauer that is set to replace the Beretta M9/11 pistol, used by the Army since 1986.

The 10-year, firm-fixed-price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract has a cap of $580 million. A firm-fixed-price contract provides a unit price that is not subject to any adjustments based on the contractor’s costs in meeting the contract requirements. Indefinite quantity means the Army can order as many or as few units as it requires, up to the $580 million contract cap. To date, the Army has obligated approximately $8 million.

While cost data for the Army contract is not publicly available, the cost of similar weapons, accessories, and ammunition can be found at major firearm sellers. For example, CRS compared the MHS contract to a similar purchase at Cabela’s, a gun retailer mentioned by Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley in a March 10, 2015, address. The comment was in regards to Milley’s frustration with the extended length of time the procurement of the handgun had required.

With that said, based on the final cost of the weapon program, the CRS report concluded that the Army appears to be procuring the weapon at a competitive cost, particularly if the value of the intellectual property is included.

CRS did not examine the capability of the weapon system or whether it fulfilled Army requirements.

Marines Award M27 IAR Contract

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By Debbie Gregory.

The Marine Corps has awarded a five-year, firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contract with a maximum ceiling of $29.4 million for the procurement of up to 15,000 M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles (IAR) and spare parts. The contract reflects a savings of more than 50 percent compared with what it has paid in the past for the weapon.

The contract was awarded to Heckler & Koch (H&K) in Ashburn, Virginia. For more than 50 years, H&K has been a leading designer and manufacturer of small arms and light weapons for law enforcement and military forces worldwide. In addition to operations in the U.S., H&K has operations in Germany, the United Kingdom and France

The price tag for the first 5,650 units is $7.4 million, which works out to $1,309 each. Given that the service branch previous paid approximately $3,000/unit, these rifles are a substantially better buy.

The additional M27’s will replace the M4 carbine. Unlike the M4, the M27 IAR is fully automatic to provide a higher volume of fire. It also features a free-floating barrel design for better accuracy.

“Since the M27 has been fielded, it has proven to be extremely reliable, durable, and accurate,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Joel Schwendinger, Combat Development and Integration Gunner.

The Marine Corps Operating Concept identifies the need for “increased lethality in Marine rifle platoons and squads,” he said.

“The M27 provides the Corps with the necessary increase in lethality,” Schwendinger said. “Unlike other infantry specialties that primarily fight with crew-served weapons, such as mortars and machine guns, rifle platoons primarily fight with rifles, and the M27 has proven to be the best overall fighting rifle.”

Although the infantry is fully enamored with the IAR, Marine special operators don’t want it because it isn’t compatible with SOCOM’s low receivers. Adopting the rifle would mean Marine operators would lose the flexibility of changing out various rifle barrels and configurations for a multitude of diverse mission sets carried out by the elite commando force.

The Marine Corps will field the additional M27 rifles to active and reserve infantry platoons beginning in early 2019.

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