For a while now we’ve seen a number of Ruger 9x19mm NATO P95 handguns flourishing among the social media groups within Iraq. This isn’t a recent phenomena but still, the question remains over where they originated from. Daniel Watters, a noted small arms historian has provided us with some excellent context on the issue, even detailing the specific contracts that pushed 5,000 Ruger P95s, and 5,000 Sig Sauer SP2022s into Iraq.
Back in December 2004, the US Army’s Tank-Automotive & Armament Command (TACOM) posted solicitation W52H09-05-R-0067. They basically wanted 10,000 9x19mm pistols in a hurry, and were willing to place multiple contracts to fill it. Vendors were allowed to bid for as few as 100 pistols up to the full total of 10,000. The most telling portion of the solicitation was that they requested a price for the pistols to be shipped directly to Baghdad.
Before the end of the month. Ruger received contract W52H09-05-C-0058 for 5,000 P95, and SIG-Sauer received contract W52H09-05-C-0059 for 5,000 SP2022.
When outsiders saw the name Tank-Automotive & Armament Command, they assumed the pistols must be for tankers. Nothing could be further from the truth. A subordinate command of the Army Materiel Command, TACOM-Rock Island was responsible for all Army small arms procurement. It also handled orders from other US military service branches, and managed foreign military sales (FMS).
It turns out that the rush order was meant to arm Iraqi security forces ahead of the country’s first post-Saddam parliamentary elections in January 2005. Confirmation can be found in the government report “Iraqi Security Forces: Weapons Provided by the U.S. Department of Defense Using the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund.
The report listed can be accessed here and lists the 5,000 P95s as being purchased for $1,271,700, and the 5,000 SP2022s being purchased for $1,756,550, both on December 12 2004. Both of these appeared to have been designated for the Ministery of Interior and the Ministery of Defense although it doesn’t specify which. We should also note that these 10,000 handguns were only a third of the 38,053 “Generic 9mm Pistols” that were on contract. What those other thirty-something thousand odd handguns were would have to take some researching.
Although very similar in appearance to a Sig Sauer handgun, our sources tell us that this is in fact a blank firing copy.