Handgun manufactures could have a request for proposals (RFP) to mull over in the early New Year. The Department of National Defence intends to move forward with a project to finally replace the nine-millimetre Browning Hi-Power semi-automatic pistol worn by Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members on deployment.

An RFP for the General Service Pistol replacement project will be issued in winter 2021 and a contract should be awarded by next summer, an official with the Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel) branch confirmed.

The intent is to acquire a minimum of 9,000 full-frame, modular automatic pistols in an “initial buy” to support Army requirements. First delivery would be by the summer of 2022. However, the total contract could involve between 15,000 and 20,000 pistols.

“The precise number has not yet been confirmed as it will depend on requirements,” the official said.

A soldier fires the Browning 9mm pistol during the Canadian Armed Forces Small Arms Concentration in September 2019. Photo: AB Camden Scott

ADM (Mat) won’t disclose the project budget details just yet, but the acquisition will be an open, competitive process. Colt Canada is the military’s Small Arms Strategic Source and Centre of Excellence and has been selected under the Munitions Supply Program to provide most of the Army’s small arms in recent years, including the new C6AI FLEX general purpose machine gun and new Canadian Ranger C-19 .308s rifle, based on the SAKO T3 compact tactical rifle.

The pistol replacement, however, is “going to be a competitive process,” the official stated.

The Browning has served the Army well over many decades, but parts are scarce and Colt has often had to cannibalize components from the remaining in-service weapons to provide deploying troops with a working pistol.