Bid request for 357 SIG ammo for DHS & TSA

The “statement for work” (link to download found in the 2nd big light green box at the bottom of the page), may be of interest?

I thought the statement “Primers shall not be lead-free” on page 5, 3.7.6 was interesting. Our green government at work, sometimes… maybe if…

Often, clever folks write the requests for proposals or bid solicitations in such a way that a preferred supplier is the only one who happens to have that exact product.

Of course, there may be other nefarious factors in play as well, especially with DHS and TSA involved. But, the “lead free for thee, but not for me” idea is very possible.

Yes John, you probably also noticed the brass had to be nickel plated.

May as well get the good stuff, while were spending the taxpayer’s money.

Does anyone else find it odd that an agency which operates mostly in the very crowded environments of airports, train stations, and ferry terminals would be using a caliber with such relatively high penetrative values as the .357sig? One would think .40S&W would be more desirable since it would offer the same magazine capacity as .357sig, but greater stopping power with a larger diameter / heavier projectile potential.

DK - last time I was in Europe in the 1980s, a lot of the police were walking around the corridors of the airport with SMGs. I personally thought that was insanity, as crowded as they were. One of the airports, I foget which but it might have been Brussels, even had a non-public catwalk above a public area with a couple of policemen with Uzi SMGs looking over things. I don’t know what the choice of ammunition then for most of the Airport police agencies was, but in Europe, all the SMGs I saw were 9 mm types, mostly Uzi and MP5.

That was thirty years ago, so maybe things have been changed. There are many more tools in the police arsenal today than there were even then.

John, Today they have more cameras, detectors, RFID chipped documents, and scanners and less SMGs. Not to mention that names are run through databases after you are booking a ticket.

When I was younger I would see police carrying MP5s every time I went through Heathrow airport. However in recent years I have only ever seen them with Glock pistols.

I believe that most UK police were actually armed with semi-auto only MP5s.

As far as I know, only the MoD Police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary actually have fully-automatic weapons. However, I could be wrong.

Falcon - You could well be correct. I know that at one time, the FBI here had semi-auto MP5-type carbines, but with the short, SMG-like barrels, in 10mm Auto (not .40 S&W. At the time, they had adopted a 10 mm auto pistol of S&W manufacture, but their use of it was pretty short-lived, I think). In that caliber, what would have been a difficult to control SMG made a very efficient carbon in a realtively powerful short-range cartridge. I never got to fire one, but I did handle it.

–re: no lead-free…many lead-free primers have higher failure rates than standard primers, and it’s been suggested that lead-free primers have been to blame in failures of a very widespread service sidearm. ATK does not offer lead-free primers in any standard LE duty cartridge as far as I know for this reason.

–re: .357SIG penetration…the Secret Service used this caliber for a long while, so to me that helps address concerns of ‘overpenetration’ from the cartridge, or as a CQC concern in general. I’m no physicist, but cartridges like the 9mmP +p+, .357SIG, etc. have a higher envelope of ‘piercing’ power in a few instances, whereas heavier projectiles from popular service cartridges like the .40SW and .45ACP have more consistently deep tissue/simulant penetration in FBI protocol tests. If an agency wanted reduced penetration, Speer has offered such products in the past. They could also load a standard (non-bonded) lightweight pill and get very shallow penetration by modern standards.

Anecdotally, in my own testing for my agency, even the relatively small weight difference of 25gr made a noticeable difference in penetration in the ‘car door’ sheet metal test event, and was born out in further shots on actual car doors (165 Federal Bonded Tactical vs 180gr HST; the cheaper heavier non-bonded pill actually won in this instance).

If memory serves, the first USSS .357SIG pill was the Ranger Partition, followed by the Gold Dot (both ‘deep’ penetrators). I also recall part of the initial cartridge justification from US FAMs was the ability to penetrate the headrests/seats in airliners and still do the job terminally. The fine print on the terminal effect test performance requirements definitely toe the line for FBI standards (12-16" ideal, 10-20" on both far ends). My main prob with .357SIG in LE is platform longevity, perceived recoil/blast, and cost, esp. since a good 9mm will do all or most of the LE .357SIGs job.

–re: SMGs…the 10mm Mp5 was/is a thing of beauty in my opinion. I’ve only shot one a few times, but the cartridge kinda comes into it’s own in the carbine/SMG platform. Last time I was in Brussels I recall drooling over the UZIs carried by the folks at the airport…and hearing how our heavy LE use of shotguns was considered odd OCONUS.

I’d assumed that the reason for the “not be lead-free” requirement was as you state. Thanks for confirmation.

Still I had to take a poke.

Pete, a proper poke it was.

Kinda like the ‘go-green’ USMIL 5.56x45mm; a supposedly great idea at the expense of $ and platform reliability/longevity, with no commensurate gain in terminal effect.

As for what John posted, spot on. The FBI’s docs on the mags for their HRT pistol had a very specific list of requirements, and something to the effect of “an example of a product meeting requirements would be the Wilson Combat 47D”.

Re: SMGs again…the SMG in various flavors was the stick of choice for hostage-rescue outfits and other crowd-conscious groups of merrymen (CAG, LAPD SWAT, USSS) for a good bit, so I think it’s down to training. That said, I doubt the average cop or guard gets the training you’d wanna see for guys making those sorts of shots.

Re: OP…a long while back, USSS had a req for M16-pattern shorties chambered in .357SIG. It’s been a long while and my brain is clogged, but I recall that Olympics Arms was among the manufacturers and that the whole thing was dropped partly due to inability of the guns to meet the specs. I’d imagine that currently an HK UMP with a diff barrel and buffer would fit the bill.

mwinter: You’ll note that SIG-Sauer now offers their MPX-series in .357 SIG.

Winter - the American Rifleman just published an article on the new “Green” 5.56 x 45 ammo. I have not had time to read it yet, but the final paragraph says “Despite all the “spin”-as testing revealed - the M885A1 is more accurate, more lethal and offers better barrier penetration thans its predecessor. That’s what’s important to the soldiers and Marines whole lives are on the line. There was not need to exaggerate.”

This would seem to intimate that the cartridge is, aside from being “green,” is superior in most ways to the older types.

I’ll have to try to get this read. I don’t read every article I file anymore, but rather just glance at them and file them for future reference, unless, of course, they have to do with my own field of Self-Loading Pistol and SMG case types.

Daniel – that might be a rare but interesting bird. Since common .40SW cartridges can actually get lower MV through some carbine/SMG-length barrels, the .357SIG might shine. That, and LE .357SIG pills like the Gold Dot tend to be tough outside their recommended MV envelope so you’d see the desired terminal effect well outside common pistol ranges. What might be objectionable muzzle blast from the average beatcop’s service handgun would be lessened in the MPX.

John, I read that article (and an even better earlier opposing opinion from the same publication). For now, I’ll summarize data from several vetted end-users: the M855A1 does exhibit better accuracy than the M855, and better terminal effect on some barriers…however it does so with a 10-15% increase in overall wear and tear on the m4 carbine (barrel replacements at 4k rds) and many optics attached to the M4. With the more accurate Mk318 and Mk262 series of cartridges in the system (plus the 70gr BTO and M995), the M855A1 was a problematic choice.

However, the Mk-stuff is not ‘green’…

To the best of my knowledge, USMC and USN Crane have good data suggesting the M855A1 was not the best option; USMC does not issue it as far as I know (Mk-series). I may dig on the Marines occasionally, but they know their riflery.