SOFIC 2018: Submachine guns for the Army?

The U.S. Army could be buying submachine guns for conventional forces. Get a look at a couple of possibilities. (Jeff Martin/Staff) Jeff Martin

The Army’s subcompact weapon efforts are still alive, and one company’s submission has already surfaced.

Back in May, the Army’s Program Manager for Soldier Weapons, Individual Weapons asked industry to provide a fully automatic, 9mm subcompact weapon in a Request for Information. The weapon would also need a Picatinny rail for mounting devices.

The program aimed to meet the needs of personal protection. At the time, 10 weapons were submitted for consideration. Competitors included Colt, Sig Sauer, Zenith Firearms and a smattering of other, smaller firearms manufacturers.

The types of weapons ranged from combat M4-style carbines to updated versions of the venerable Heckler & Koch MP5 sub gun.

But that RFI was later canceled so that officials could modify the requirements.

The new notice, posted this summer, asked gun makers for a “highly concealable SCW system capable of engaging threat personnel with a high volume of lethal force while accurately firing at close range with minimal collateral damage.”

This is the Handl Defense submission for the Army's latest efforts at finding a 9 mm sub compact weapon for personal defense. (soldiersystems.net)
This is the Handl Defense submission for the Army's latest efforts at finding a 9 mm sub compact weapon for personal defense. (soldiersystems.net)

To meet that need, RFI authors tailored the weapon requirements to be optimized to fire a 147-grain 9mm and include 20- and 30-round magazines.

It must fire 60 rounds per minute for five minutes without a cookoff.

This is the Handl Defense submission for the Army's latest efforts at finding a 9 mm sub compact weapon for personal defense. (soldiersystems.net)
This is the Handl Defense submission for the Army's latest efforts at finding a 9 mm sub compact weapon for personal defense. (soldiersystems.net)

Up to six companies will be able to submit their prototypes. If selected, the companies could be asked to manufacture up to 350 initially, and possibly as many as 1,000 of the sub guns, depending on Army requirements.

The military equipment-focused website solderysystems.net recently posted photographs of one of the submissions, made by Handl Defense.

This is the Handl Defense submission for the Army's latest efforts at finding a 9 mm sub compact weapon for personal defense. (soldiersystems.net)
This is the Handl Defense submission for the Army's latest efforts at finding a 9 mm sub compact weapon for personal defense. (soldiersystems.net)

The Handl Sub Compact Weapon measures less than 15 inches when folded, according to the site. It weighs less than 7 pounds and can fit in a briefcase.

The weapon could fire pistol magazines common to the Army’s newest sidearm, the M17 pistol, part of the Modular Handgun System.