Procurement Costs of Ammunition Used for Practice and Training Can Be Reduced

GGD-82-87: Published: Sep 16, 1982. Publicly Released: Sep 16, 1982.

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GAO reported on the District of Columbia's Department of General Services formally advertised, fixed-price, small arms ammunition contracts which fulfill the police and corrections departments' ammunition requirements.

The Department of General Services is currently purchasing only new ammunition. However, GAO stated that it could save about $43,000 each year if it purchased quality reloaded ammunition for training and practice. These savings would be realized without any adverse effect on the training program standards and, at the same time, the District would be using safe, reliable, and accurate ammunition. Reloaded ammunition is produced on the same machines using the same process and, except for the cartridge case, with the same new components as new ammunition. Firearms and ammunition experts disagree on the use of reloaded ammunition. Some experts feel that there are potential problems and dangers associated with reloaded ammunition. Others believe that it is safe to use for practice and training, does not present any more problems than new ammunition, and offers substantial savings. Many law enforcement agencies have used reloaded ammunition without any injury to personnel or damage to weapons. The key to successful use of reloaded ammunition is quality control. If the same standards are required for reloaded ammunition as are required for new ammunition, there is no reason for there to be more problems with reloaded ammunition than with new ammunition. The District can specify the type of bullet, powder, and primer to be used in reloaded ammunition. This would ensure quality performance without restricting competition or incurring excessive costs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The potential savings on buying reloaded ammunition is small, and the agency does not feel this is a realistic tradeoff against the small increase in potential misfires and negative reception by city policemen.

    Recommendation: The District of Columbia's Department of General Services should procure reloaded ammunition for training and practice. The Department should work with the firearms technical staffs at the Police Department and the Department of Corrections to develop specifications for reloaded ammunition.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia: Department of General Services

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The District of Columbia's Department of General Services should combine the ammunition requirements of the Police Department and the Department of Corrections under one solicitation rather than buy separately for each District agency.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia: Department of General Services

 

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