As a federal buyer I just look at the mess the CHP got themselves into and shake my head in amazement.
CHPs piss poor planning got them into a situation where they had to procure new firearms ASAP. Instead of buying an interim quantity to hold them over until a properly conducted source selection could be completed, they restricted competition by using a half-baked brand name justification to hand pick a more costly and possibly inferior weapon. Folks, we're talking about a difference of $2.2M. And for what? To keep CHP from having to retrain their folks on a new pistol. I hardly think you could assign a cost of anywhere near $2.2M to a dedicated pistol training program.
And the brand name justification is piss poor. If the CHP were going to keep the old model 4006s, then maybe. But the 4006TSW is still a slightly different pistol, isn't it? Are the parts interchangable? They even had to drop an additional $380K on new holster because the old ones wouldn't work.
When you're charged with the stewardship of taxpayer dollars you can't piss away $2.2M because of a complete lack of creativity. If it's a lack of manpower then you hire a someone into a temporary position. And if it's because of a boss that won't take no for an answer, then it's your job to say no and offer alternatives and explain the error of his ways.
There's no excuse for this situation. It makes my blood boil.
Watchdog report: Bidding for CHP pistols faulted
Gunmaker claims procurement process favored rival firm.
By Andrew McIntosh -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:01 am PDT Sunday, June 11, 2006
The California Highway Patrol restricted bids on a $5.3 million gun contract to a single Smith & Wesson pistol, even though a rival manufacturer offered almost identical weapons for $2.2 million less.
SigArms Inc. alleged in April 10 letters to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and CHP Commissioner Mike Brown that the state's decision to favor Smith & Wesson was improper and contrary to state contract regulations, which require competitive bidding for big government purchases.
"Historically, when governments or companies have not used the competitive bidding process, waste and corruption have often been the result," SigArms general counsel Eric Cook wrote.
The CHP confirms it restricted bids to a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol, but it denies that it breached state rules.
In a letter to SigArms, Commissioner Brown said the decision favoring Smith & Wesson was made to save taxpayers' money and prevent CHP officers from being hurt while learning to use new pistols. His letter was obtained by The Bee under the state Public Records Act.
Last month, Smith & Wesson announced the CHP had ordered 9,736 semiautomatic pistols, known as the 4006TSW. The guns will replace 7,718 older Smith & Wesson 4006 pistols that the CHP bought in the 1990s, ensuring a large stock for new recruits.
The contract was signed after what state officials described as a round of competitive bidding overseen by the Department of General Services.
Yet there was nothing competitive about the bidding, according to memos and bid documents obtained under the state Public Records Act.
A rush to quickly fill the holsters of new recruits may have been the reason why the CHP wanted Smith & Wesson.
Assistant CHP Commissioner Kevin Green said his agency was running out of older 4006 duty pistols. The Highway Patrol had fewer than 200 in stock, with more recruits ready to graduate from the academy, Green said.
CHP administrators said they believed they didn't have time to run a formal evaluation process involving several competing guns.
"If we had done a study, it would have taken several months to complete," Green said.
The Department of General Services issued invitations to bid for the CHP gun deal in late March.
General Services invited potential suppliers to deliver 9,736 new pistols over three years, but included a condition: All bids must offer only the Smith & Wesson 4006TSW semiautomatic pistol.
When SigArms, a seller of rival semiautomatic pistols based in Exeter, N.J., learned of the brand and model restrictions, it denounced the process as a sham.
In his letters to Brown and Schwarzenegger, SigArms' Cook said his firm sells two pistols that meet all CHP specifications, except those involving the Smith & Wesson brand and model.
Cook urged Schwarzenegger and Brown to drop the restrictions and hold an open competition.
SigArm pistols are used by the Nevada Highway Patrol, the U.S. Secret Service, federal air marshals and 17 major state police agencies. Police agencies in Sacramento city and county use SigArms Sauer pistols.
Rita Hamilton, a General Services deputy director, answered Cook's letter on April 26 -- after the bid deadline expired. She said the brand and model restrictions did not breach state regulations.
"The CHP has determined that this weapon has unique performance factors that warrant limiting this purchase," wrote Hamilton, without elaborating.
Despite picking a sole brand, Hamilton said General Services had established that its gun purchase could be made using competitive bidding.
DGS identified four companies "capable of bidding" to supply Smith & Wesson 4006TSW pistols, in addition to manufacturer Smith & Wesson itself, she said.
The General Services' rules for the gun contract required that all bidders be factory-authorized distributors or the manufacturer.
Smith & Wesson, based in Springfield, Mass., almost never directly bids for state deals to avoid angering its distributors, said the company's marketing director, Paul Pluff. Smith & Wesson's Web site lists just one distributor for law enforcement weapons in California -- All State Police Equipment of Pomona. All State was the only bidder to meet CHP terms.
The remaining three firms on the state's list of "capable bidders" could not and did not bid.
The first was Pro Force Law Enforcement in Orange County. President Bryan Tucker said he's a dealer, not a distributor, and cannot bid on deals involving more than 25 guns in California.
The second, Adamson Police Products of Hayward, was not a factory-authorized distributor in April. The third was American Shooters Supply of Las Vegas. It is a Smith & Wesson distributor, but only for Nevada.
SigArms submitted a $3.1 million bid offering its semiautomatic pistols despite the CHP restrictions, but it was disqualified.
All State general manager Anthony Taylor denied his firm was guaranteed to win the CHP contract.
"There's other people who could have bid on this," Taylor said. When pressed, he could not name them.
Department of General Services spokesman Bill Branch said the state is not required to do an "an exhaustive pre-bid investigation" to identify which companies meet requirements. "That would be putting the cart before the horse," he said.
Paul F. Dauer, a Sacramento attorney who specializes in government procurement cases, said state law prohibits bureaucrats from drafting restrictive requirements to limit contract competitions.
The SigArms offer quoted guns at $599 each, while Smith & Wesson's quoted $683 each.
SigArms also offered a $349 per gun trade-in for the old CHP Smith & Wesson 4006 pistols -- a total credit of $2.7 million. Smith & Wesson offered a trade-in credit of $170 per gun.
In an April 6 letter responding to SigArms' offer to sell the CHP guns, Commissioner Brown said that his agency had 15 years of training invested in the Smith & Wesson 4006 pistol and that the CHP was unwilling to change its weapon, even though the newer 4006TSW is not identical.
"The dependability and performance of the currently issued pistol has been proven in the field, allows for the use of existing training magazines and magazine pouches, and does not require additional training for personnel," Brown wrote. "Converting to a different weapons system will require a learning curve that could jeopardize officer safety."
Brown's letter suggested it would also be "very costly" to switch weapons, but didn't estimate the extra costs.
Branch said General Services officials never asked for details or challenged the CHP's cost claims.
Assistant CHP Commissioner Green said he made "a business decision" favoring the S&W 4006TSW.
Green said training employees on a different pistol would cost $780,000, requiring more than 7 million rounds of ammunition or 1,000 rounds per officer.
He said it would cost an additional $200,000 to buy holster pouches for magazines, which hold cartridges for extra bullets.
CHP weapons inspection officers would need training to disassemble and inspect the new guns, Green said.
Steve Griffin, a director of the California Highway Patrolmen's Association, a labor group that represents nonmanagement CHP officers, disagreed that a different gun would risk safety and boost costs.
"My concern is that members get the best weapon. Different semiautomatics are familiar enough so that safety really wouldn't be an issue if you switch," he said. "As for concerns about retraining, I'm unfamiliar with that line of thinking."
The new Smith & Wesson pistols don't fit the old holsters, so more money will be spent buying new holsters, boosting costs, Griffin said.
CHP spokeswoman Fran Clader confirmed the new holsters have been ordered for an extra $380,518.59.
John Martin, a gunsmith instructor at Lassen Community College in Susanville, said he understands why the CHP wants to stay with a familiar weapon. "It's a very functional, proven firearm," Martin said. "But I would give the Sig a little higher marks on the reliability front."
In Nevada, neither cost nor safety concerns deterred officials from considering six pistols when shopping for guns for the Nevada Highway Patrol in 2005.
California and Nevada decided to replace their existing Smith & Wesson 4006s because of age-related problems and malfunctions. Green and Griffin said CHP gun barrels had some hairline fractures.
The Nevada selection process for a new pistol stands in sharp contrast to the CHP's approach.
Nevada issued a formal request for proposals and invited a half-dozen manufacturers to pitch their products, said Kimberly Evans, a Nevada Department of Public Safety spokeswoman.
An NHP committee tested and evaluated the pistols. In late 2005, the NHP picked and bought 455 SigArms Sigauer 229 pistols. Officers retrained on the new gun using between 300 and 400 rounds of ammunition, Evans said.
"Our evaluation was thorough and complete," Evans said. "You can't be arbitrary about important decisions."
Man, Nevada sure as hell got the better pistol. Amazing also that the Sig was by far cheaper. When you can get a better gun for less but won't, what does that say about those in charge of the acquisition?
Ugh, they picked a S&W over a Sig 229 and had to pay MORE?!
Like they know shit about guns..
Are they not professional enough for Glocks?
That... is just... so retarded.
Pick a 4006 over a 229, not in this lifetime, and the Smiths cost more?
Unbelievable, even for Kalifornia.
Wait, I'm confused.
Why do the police need guns in a paradise like California anyway, where evil guns are already outlawed?
It's making my head hurt.
I figured it out.
The S&W says "TACTICAL" on the side. That makes it the better choice.
Is that a bolt on rail on the Smith?
Yes. That's where you hang your soul after the shitty S&W malfunctions during a gun battle.
The S&W 4006 40SW pistols have held up extremely well in CHP use. Better than any other 40SW service pistol with the possible exception of the steel framed 40SW version of the Browning HP.
Alloy frame 40SW just dont last in LE use unless your in some podunk PD that only shoots a few times a year.
I'm not fan of the design of the 3rd Gen S&W autos, but the 4006 works and lasts.
Not really. The Sigs only go about 26K before the frames crack. The steel frame 3rd gen S&W go 50K.
There's a lot more to being a good gun than just how many rounds you can fire through one. In every other regard the Sig is hands down a better weapon IMO. It is more reliable, it is more accurate, it fits most hands better, it has excellent sights and it has a trigger as smooth as a baby's bottom. The S&W has one of the shittiest triggers I've ever seen on a pistol. I have had and used both. I wouldn't trade a Sig for 10 S&W pistols.
I clean my guns religiously, thus, I personally haven't had many malfunctions with S&W pistols. But a lot of people do and it seems there have been lots of cases (police shootouts) where their S&W's went down on them at the moment of truth. I have heard far fewer problems with Sigs.
The only fault I can find with the Sig is the finish on some models is prone to rusting if not cared for properly.
You dont like the Novak sights on S&W 3rd gen auto's? I have always shot very well with then. the sights really draw your focus to the front sight where it belongs.
Yes the Sigs are sexier for sure. But the steel frame 3rd Gen S&W's are durable reliable guns.
Don't get me wrong, I'd much rather have a S&W than some guns. In fact, I still own a 5906 and I consider it a decent gun. I also own a Ruger P-89 and consider it a decent gun. Both are durable mechanically. Both are durable as far as finish. But I have noticed that both the S&W and the Ruger just don't have that "refined" feel and attention to detail that the Sigs have. The craftmanship of the Sig is very nice.
As far as the sights on the S&W, they are ok. I won't complain about them. But that horrible trigger on the 5906/4006/4506 model weapons takes away whatever advantage the sights offer. I have never been able to shoot tight groups with my S&W. To be honest, my Ruger outshoots it from 7 out to 25 yards. And a Ruger is suppose to be a weapon that at best averages 4" groups.
Maybe it's just personal preference, but I just find the Sig far more suited to me than the S&W 3rd generation autos. It feels like trading in a Chevy Cavalier for a Mercedes in comparison. Both will and can get the job done. But the Sig is just so superior in craftmanship than there's no way I can favorably compare the S&W with it. Therefore I just can't understand how the CHP could justify paying much more for a gun that isn't even in the same class as gun they could obtain much cheaper. Maybe total round count is something they are looking at. But even so, if the Sig makes it to 26k rounds, that's still a lot of rounds and lot of years use for the average officer.
Muscle memory of all the officers. Similar pistol to what they had. Makes some sense to me from that aspect. It could be justified in my thinking on officer safety. Maybe.
We used S&W 4046s for 12 years with no major malfunctions before moving on to another pistol. I'd be more than willing to take a 4046 on patrol (or a warrant service) with me any day. I think Smith seems to get overlooked all too often as a serious duty pistol (though this looks to change with the M&P series).
I have both plus a Glock.
The Sig I've been issued sometimes fails to hold the slide back after the last round is fired but it shoots very well and feels good.
The Smith shoots very well, unless it's really dirty, but has the ergonomics of a 2 x 4 and could double as a boat anchor. The trigger on mine is smooth and crisp.
The Glock shoots very well, feels good and I can only make it malfunction when prone and resting the bottom of the magazine on hard ground.
The Glock is the easiest to carry because it's the lightest and doesn't have an exposed hammer.
That said, I would feel fine relying on either one for personal defense or LE.
Why do they need a pistol at all??
John and Ponch never shot anyone or even unholstered their pistols, ever.
You don't need a gun to write a traffic citation.
When was the last time the vast majority of Police officers in a Department each shot that amount of ammunition, for either pistol? Most Policemen I know are lucky if they shoot 100 rounds a year (US and Canada) Hell I shoot 5 times that every weekend
The sad thing is that for most Officers thepistol is just there to hang off their belt as another tool, it does not get used often, and training with it is secondary (don't want to appear as a gun nut now do they?)
I still would have rather had the Sig, although .40 kind of sucks
Okay, given your point you may be correct about the cost of the training.
However, when this goes to court, as I'm sure that it will, the issue will not be the difference in the overall cost. The issues will be whether or not the State of California followed their own procedures and whether or not their brand name justification is legit. At least that's how it would go if it were a federal court.
I looked at their procurement regulations. Buying regulations are typically very interconnected and it takes years to understand how to flip around through the book for an answer. That being said, if you know what to look for it isn't that hard to make sense of the intent. The Kali regs were vague regarding justifying acquisitions that restrict competition to brand name items.
In this case, at a fundamental level (and not according to the Kali acq regs), they should have been required to demonstrate that the S&W 4006TSW pistol has certain salient (i.e. specific and essential) features that cannot be found on or modified onto any other handgun. Without the unique salient features there cannot be a legitimate brand name justification. Because even if you do restrict competition to that brand name, another manufacturer can step in with an "or equal" that does have those features and it becomes competetive again.
The bottom line with public money is that you have to have a damn good reason to restrict competition. I'd sure like to know what the stated reason was in this case. Because if the reason is that the S&W is a better gun, that's not the right answer. If that's the answer then they needed to do a full blown source selection like their counterparts in Nevada did. If they found they didn't have the time to do one, then they should have gotten more creative and made time.
Their end goal should have been to get the right gun for their cops, at the right price, at the right time, and done so legally. I'm pretty sure they failed 3 of the 4 goals I would have made for the buy.
Okay, I think I'm done now.
Every agency will have different requirements for service life of a weapon. Some agencies expect to scrap all the old guns and buy new guns every 5,7,10 years. other agencies hope to issue a recruit his service weapon and have it last a 30 year career.
In my agency the number of rounds fired in training will depend on assignment. We are required to fire 432rnds in formal range qualification per year. That is the minimum. You are allowed to fire up to 26,280 Rnds per year in range qualification or training. In addition to that you are allowed to take as many 1-3 day training classess as you want. The round count in those classess is about 500rnd a day. Most of our officers take one of those classess a year.
Every agency is different. A friend of mine is a swat cop for a large agency. in 1993 they were issued the Sig P226. By 2000 they all had cracked frames. They did a open bid and tested a bunch of guns. the Swat officers all prefered a S&W 3rd 45acp limited edition performance center pistol. Ity was simply the one every single officer shot the best. unfortunately it also cost over $1,000.00 per unit so the bean counters selected the P220 instead. Its uniformly hated by the SWAT cops because its a 8 shot boat anchor.
The CHP is a huge agency that gets into a lot of shootings. When you do nothing but stop cars on the freeway all day every day the law of averages catches up to you and you find a ton of stolen cars, wanted persons, bank robbers, gang bangers and fugatives by accident.
The biggest expense in switching duty weapons is always training. a 4-8 hour transition course means alot of overttime and alot of ammo. Either you have to pay the officers OT to take the course, or you send them during their normal work day and pay someone else OT to backfill their position. The cost of the OT and the ammo is usually more than the cost of the new guns. In my agency 8hrs OT is $444.00, add ammo to that and its more than the LE price for most service weapons.