On May 2, the U.S. Army Contracting Command-New Jersey issued a Request for Information on behalf of Project Manager Soldier Weapons, asking companies in the firearm industry to submit information on any “Sub Compact Weapons (SCWs)” they produce and associated information on their respective firms’ manufacturing capabilities. To qualify for inclusion the gun must be chambered in 9 mm and digest military-grade fodder.
Other requirements included a Picatinny rail, selective-fire capability and the ability to produce or provide associated accessories including suppressor. Firms were also asked where the guns are manufactured, warranty coverage, whether the firearm is ambidextrous and a variety of other questions before the May 18 deadline.
Soldier Systems is reporting U.S. Army Contracting Command has already sorted through the submissions and is awarding fixed-price contracts to companies to secure samples and get a closer look each firearm’s performance. There are currently 10 candidates for what may become the Army’s first sub-machine gun since World War II.
When the United States entered World War II, a number of M1928A1 Thompson submachine guns—chambered in the same .45 ACP cartridge as the M1911A1—were issued to our troops. The military added an M3 Grease Gun, that digested the same ammo, to its arsenal later. The former was retired, but the latter continued to see limited use through the Gulf War. It was also ultimately phased as shortened versions of the standard-issue M16 variants appeared, including the M4, a more-suitable modern candidate for mechanized and special forces use. Most experts agree the Army isn’t searching for a replacement in those roles, but more likely looking for a smaller and more-discreet firearm for VIP and command and control security details in combat zones.