The main change will involve replacing the FBI service pistols GLOCK G22 and G23 in .40 S&W with GLOCK 17 and GLOCK 19 models in 9 mm Luger. GLOCK also has subcompact 9x19 polymer pistols in its programme, the models G26 (double stack) and G43 (single stack). FBI agents are already permitted to carry the GLOCK G26 as a second ‘backup’ firearm.
Four factors will most likely have prompted the FBI to switch calibres from .40 S&W to 9 mm Luger:
- Georg Luger’s undisputed world leadership in pistol ammunition offers better cost of ownership.
- Compared with .40 S&W, improved recoil and muzzle deflection make pistols in 9 mm Luger easier to control during discharge, enabling better split times and increasing the probability of accurate hits.
- The 9 mm has acquired greater terminal ballistic capability owing to continuous developments in hollow point bullet engineering. Modern 9x19 projectiles can still expand effectively in their target medium, even after passing through barriers. Just 25 years ago, a bigger bullet diameter would have been needed to achieve this performance as reliably as possible.
- The new 9x19 service pistols have the tactical advantage of a larger magazine capacity. Assessments and analyses from actual gunfights during FBI missions show that 70 to 80 % of shots discharged miss their target entirely. So every additional round in the magazine is desirable.
What’s more, modern 9 mm Luger +P and +P+ factory ammunition deliver the same performance as .40 S&W factory ammunition, which the manufacturers frequently load moderately to avoid placing too much strain on the marksman.
The switch from .40 S&W to 9x19 will not cost anything in terms of firearms training, as FBI agents are already trained to handle GLOCK pistols with their partially pretensioned Safe Action trigger system.
FBI switches to the GLOCK 17 and GLOCK19 in 9 mm Luger – conclusion
We believe this is a clear win/win situation for everyone involved. The FBI will receive a handgun with cheaper ammunition but the same performance. Additionally, each magazine will hold more rounds. GLOCK has every reason to be delighted at winning the contract.