ZEV OZ9 Chosen to Protect Nuclear Convoys

The ZEV Technologies OZ9 pistol will soon protect National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) convoys carrying nuclear weapons. ZEV appears to be the only company in the running for the contract, though other hopefuls can submit a bid through July 9, 2022. The announcement does say, however, that the NNSA plans to acquire the OZ9s “by means other than full and open competition.”

ZEV OZ9c X-Grip pistol
The ZEV OZ9 will soon protect nuclear convoys. (Zev Technologies)

The NNSA says that “based on the testing criteria, the ZEV OZ-9 Handgun not only scored the highest overall technical score among six (6) 9mm gun manufacturers, but the ZEV OZ-9 handgun received the highest individual scores when it came to weight, damage resistance, low light operations, point ability, ergonomics, malfunctions, recoil management, and overall impression. Field testing occurred between January 25-27, 2022.”

NNSA OST guards
OST heavily arms their agents. Looks like they’re training with no mags in their sidearms here. (NNSA)

The other firearms tested are unknown. The new sidearms will be the OZ9c X Grip configuration. The guns will replace Office of Secure Transportation’s (OST) current pistols. The NNSA contracting notice, posted on June 24, 2022, says that “OST has an operational need to replace its current secondary duty weapon with a 9mm handgun that is not only concealable but provides OST FAs [Federal Agents] with short-range day and night defensive capabilities when their primary weapon is not being utilized.”

Heavily Armed

The OST is the latest iteration of the Energy Research and Development Administration’s Transportation Safeguards Division, established in 1975. They provide security for nuclear weapons, components, and “special nuclear materials” as they move from place to place. The agents and their cargo move in special armored tractor-trailer convoys equipped with countermeasures like immobilizing foam and self-destruct capabilities.

NNSA OST Convoy graphic
The OST transports nuclear cargo in heavily armed convoys. (NNSA)

The trucks have a self-braking mechanism and explosive bolts to sheer off the axles. Potential thieves can’t just hijack the truck and drive it away. The storage compartment can also be filled with tear gas.

NNSA OST tractor trailer
The trucks and trailers are armored and filled with active defenses. (US Dept. of Energy)

The OST heavily arms their agents. It looks like the ZEV OZ9 will soon be part of that.

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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