GAO blows up Sig Sauer’s contract award protest against ATF
The GAO has thrown out a protest from handgun manufacturer, Sig Sauer, Inc., which has supplied the .40 caliber handguns currently used by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), after that agency eliminated Sig Sauer from the most recent procurement competition to supply new handguns to the ATF.
Three gun manufacturers, Sig Sauer, of Exeter, NH; Smith & Wesson Corp., of Springfield, MA; and Glock, Inc., of Smyrna, GA, competed for a contract to supply the ATF with a new “handgun system,” which would consist of two separate weapons of identical function and design, said the GAO, “a standard-size duty weapon for enforcement operations and a compact model for backup and auxiliary needs.”
During phase two of a three-phased evaluation process, the ATF asked 20 of its agents to put all three proposed handguns through identical “live-fire” tests.
“Based on the results of the shooting tests, the [source selection board] recommended to the contracting officer that Sig Sauer’s handgun be excluded from further consideration as unacceptable with respect to reliability,” said the GAO, in a decision document released on August 18. ATF agents had recorded 58 stoppages with Sig Sauer’s full-size and compact pistols, 13 of which were considered to be gun-induced and 45 shooter-induced.
Sig Sauer raised a variety of objections to the manner in which ATF considered various criteria during the evaluation process, but the GAO didn’t buy the company’s arguments.
“In sum, the record shows that ATF reasonably evaluated the firms’ proposals in accordance with the solicitation’s evaluation criteria and concluded Sig Sauer’s offer was not one of the ‘most suitable for performance to the Government’ to continue to phase III,” said the GAO, in a protest denial signed by Acting General Counsel Lynn Gibson.
The decision document did not make clear if the ATF has issued a procurement contract yet to either Smith & Wesson or Glock.
Sig Sauer is an ISO 9001 certified company with over 380 employees. It is the largest member of a worldwide business group of firearms manufacturers that includes J.P. Sauer & Sohn and Blaser, Gmbh. in Germany and Swiss Arms AG in Switzerland.