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

The Canadian military is trying to buy new pistols, again

Here we go again. After years with no success, the Canadian military has re-booted its pistol procurement program. Now, the Department of Defense plans to buy as many as 20,000 pistols.

Newspapers (the Chronicle-Herald, the Ottawa Citizen, etc.) say the feds plan to request bids on the supply contract in 2021. Fulfilment should start in summer of 2022. The plan is to buy a minimum of 9,000 pistols, and possibly as many as 15,000-20,000 as the procurement program progresses.

Many readers will remember we’ve been here before. The Canadian military has needed new pistols for many years. Earlier in the 2000s, the government asked firearms manufacturers for pricing on 10,000 new pistols. Oh yes—and regardless of who got the contract, the pistols themselves would actually have to be assembled at Kitchener, Ontario’s Colt Canada plant. Some manufacturers didn’t like the sound of that, fearing they’d lose proprietary manufacturing information to a potential competitor. The Canadian government went back to the drawing board, and started working on another procurement plan that kicked the purchase even further down the road, with fulfilment as late as 2026.

It seems the government, for some reason, has a renewed urgency now, and wants to get this deal done in the next few months. At this point, the Department of Defense hasn’t said how much it’s willing to spend on the new pistols. However, back in 2016, the feds told reporters they expected to spend $50 million on 15,000-20,000 pistols and spare parts.

The current issue pistol

Currently, the Canadian military is using Browning Hi-Power pistols chambered in 9mmx19. The Hi-Power design dates back to the 1920s. Various militaries adopted it in the 1930s, and used it during World War II. While Canada’s pistols may not all have that many years of use on them, the military’s handguns are still well-known to be worn-out and unreliable, and have long been due for replacement.