The new C22 modular pistol will replace the current-issue Browning Hi-Power, seen here. Photo: DND

DND issues tender for new C22 modular pistol

Months back, we told you the Canadian military was reportedly about to finally, finally, procure its next service pistol. Seems the rumours were right! There’s a DND tender out for the Canadian Armed Forces’ next handgun, available here on the government procurement website. The pistol will be designated as the C22.

Currently, Canadian soldiers are mostly using ancient Browning Hi-Power pistols in 9x19mm, pictured above. The Hi-Power design dates back to the 1920s, and it’s seen military use since the 1930s. Canadian pistols aren’t that old, but they’re still well-used. Reportedly, Canadian soldiers have to carry loads of spare parts with them, when they go to shooting competition, as many of these decades-old semi-autos are basically falling apart.

Even if they were brand-new issue, the Hi-Powers lack many of the features of a modern pistol. They’re a single-action design, with no provision for optics or suppressors.

The DND tender indicates the Canadian military wants to move forward in a big way. There’s a long wish list for the new C22 pistol.

The military is looking for a modular design, chambered in 9x19mm with capability to convert to .40 S&W. Presumably, this is for specialized operators, as the military won’t be converting its entire stockpile of pistols and ammo over to .40 S&W on a whim. The pistol must be striker-fired; overall length must be under 220 mm, and barrel length must be between 105 mm and 125 mm. The tender doesn’t ask for a threaded barrel, but does ask that the pistol be capable of switching over to a threaded barrel for suppressor attachment.

The CAF wants the shooter to “both see and feel the loaded chamber indicator on the top of the slide.” The pistol must have a square-notch iron sight system, with sight radius of at least 155 mm. The CAF specifies the iron sights must be removable, so they can be replaced with commercial “night sights.” Also, the CAF specifies “The C22 FF pistol must have a separately demandable replacement slide configured to mount commercially available reflex/red dot sight (e.g.Leupold DeltaPoint® Pro, Trijicon RMR® or similar) at the rear of the slide in front of the rear sights.” Not every pistol will come set up for optics, but DND wants to have that option, particularly for special forces desiring such capabilities.

The procurement document also calls for “an integral Accessory Mounting Rail IAW Mil-Std 1913 located on the bottom of the pistol forward of the trigger guard …The Accessory Mounting Rail must allow items such as tactical flashlights and laser pointers to be mounted to the pistol.” Again, don’t expect every C22 pistol to come with lights or other accessories.

DND wants an ambidextrous slide lock, and mag release “where the trigger guard meets the grip handle. Must also be ambi, but being swappable from L to R is permitted.” The tender specifies the pistol should not have an “external thumb, finger or grip decocking device or lever.” DND also says the pistol shouldn’t have a manual safety.

Note that the tender also asks for the supplier to provide an appropriate holster for the C22.

For a full run-down of DND’s desired features and specs, visit the procurement page. Scroll towards the bottom, click on the “” file. Once downloaded, find the “PISTOL TECHNICAL AND PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATION” document, and read away.

Every time there’s talk of a new pistol for the Canadian military, there’s much conjecture as to what it might be. The procurement specs narrow the field down considerably. There’s speculation the CAF wants the SIG Sauer M17/M18 platform, which is derived from the P320 series. The US military uses this pistol, and it might make sense for Canada to follow. However, we’re still waiting to see final fallout of this incident, where a Canadian special forces soldier suffered a much-publicized accidental discharge while using a SIG Sauer P320. SIG says the soldier was using a holster intended for the P226 pistol, causing the discharge.


Whatever the outcome of that fracas, the DND tender closes March 12, 2021. Don’t be surprised if this process draws out a while past that, as manufacturers bid for the armament contract. However, the CAF wants these pistols delivered in 2022, so there’s not too much time for dilly-dallying.