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Submachine Guns, Body Armor on the List
By Harold Hutchison

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

Do submachine guns and body armor strike you as things the Department of Agriculture needs to buy? If not, you may be surprised and shocked at the fact that in the last week, both items turned up on their shopping list.

According to government contract solicitations, the Department of Agriculture is seeking “the commercial acquisition of submachine guns, .40 Cal. S&W, ambidextrous safety, semi-automatic or 2 shot burst trigger group, Tritium night sights for front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore grip) and scope (top rear), stock-collapsible or folding, magazine - 30 rd. capacity, sling, light weight, and oversized trigger guard for gloved operation.”

The .40 Smith & Wesson round is a popular round on the commercial market, being used in pistols like the Springfield Armory XD and XDM, the Glock 22 and Glock 23. Hi-Point also sells pistols in .40 S&W.

The same department also is seeking “the commercial acquisition of ballistic vests, compliant with NIJ 0101.06 for Level IIIA Ballistic Resistance of body armor. Body armor is gender specific, lightweight, trauma plate/pad (hard or soft), concealable carrier, tactical vest, undergarment (white), identification patches, accessories (6 pouches), body armor carry bag, and professional measurements.”

The National Institute of Justice states that “Type IIIA armor that is new and unworn shall be tested with .357 SIG FMJ Flat Nose (FN) bullets with a specified mass of 8.1 g (125 gr) and a velocity of 448 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1470 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .44 Magnum Semi Jacketed Hollow Point (SJHP) bullets with a specified mass of 15.6 g (240 gr) and a velocity of 436 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1430 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).”

So what does the Agriculture Department intend to do with the submachine guns and body armor?