Smith & Wesson in final running for Army handgun contract, CEO says

Smith & Wesson’s first quarter results exceeded expectations for both revenue and longterm growth, but investors showed keen interest on the company’s bid for a Army handgun contract.

During the call on Friday investors wanted updates on the company’s progress from when it announced a bid with defense giant General Dynamics in November 2014.

“We believe we pretty much know that it’s in its final, final review stage, so that’s a good thing,” said James Debney, the company’s president and chief executive officer.

“With waiting the [request for proposal], our expectation is that that will be released very soon. It’s certainly in its final stages of review. We know that for sure, but for the exact timing we don’t know,” he said and added that he sees other possible projects where Smith & Wesson could collaborate with General Dynamics.

The Army’s competition to replace the M9 has been slowly developing for the better part of a year since it was delayed. However, the Army issued an official solicitation on Aug. 28, which details desired features and values the contract at more than $580 million.

To compete, participating companies must submit a design equipped with specific features and meet certain performance requirements. Par for course, the Army is looking for a handgun that can be adjusted to fit all hand sizes and is optimized for improved overall performance. The deadline to submit is Jan. 28.

Smith & Wesson and General Dynamics submitted an improved Smith & Wesson Military & Police pistol, a design that has been in production since 2005.