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How to buy patrol rifles

Here are some considerations for the purchasing process


I previously wrote on what specs are important for a patrol rifle. Now, here are some considerations for the purchasing process. 

If you go out to buy one on your own, you’ll get the exact make and model number that has the features that you want. However, if your agency is buying them, your local, regional, or federal government rules may force you to go through a “full and open” bid process, write a sole source justification document, accept at least three open or sealed bids, or ride on the coattails of an existing government contract. 

No matter which method you use, your procurement office probably is required to source from the lowest bidder. So while you may want a high-end $3,000 Daniel Defense 5.56 with an M-LOK handrail, the low bid could come back with a $500 Del-Ton DT Sport Lite.

To get exactly what you want for a first-time acquisition, you need to write a solid specification that details exactly what features are required. If you have a specific model in mind, ask the manufacturer for a bid specification document. If you have a general idea which can be fulfilled by a handful of models, you can use the words, “16-inch LaRue Tactical OBR Complete 7.62 Rifle or equal.” Now the bid responders either need to quote that exact model, or they need to do their research to come up with an exact equivalent in terms of features and reliability. 

If you already have patrol rifles and just need more of them, you can go two ways. When you bought the first batch, you could have specified that the contract was open-ended or was for a specific number of additional rifles. If you didn’t do this, then you need to state, “16-inch LaRue Tactical OBR Complete 7.62 Rifle with no substitution.” You can justify this because you need continuity of operations with existing inventory.

To lower your budget impact, ask for free armorers training, a longer warranty, or spare parts such as magazines.  You might also be able to trade in old duty or confiscated firearms. Some firearms may be worth more on the open market — such as NFA firearms — if you or the ATF can trace the registration to ensure that you can sell it. If it isn’t legally registered, then it has to stay in inventory or be destroyed. 

In some cases, your trade-ins may be worth more than what you are buying and you should ask for an order credit rather than a cash refund because a refund will just go back into your general fund.

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