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SIG Sauer Modular Handgun System being integrated within the U.S. Military
As much as I love my M-9/Beretta 92FS, it's officially a tried and true retired weapons system.
The Air Force Security Forces Center, in partnership with the Air Force Small Arms Program Office, has begun fielding the new M18 SIG Sauer Modular Handgun System to security forces units as part of the Reconstitute Defender Initiative and its effort to modernize weapon systems and increase warfighter lethality. The M18 replaces the M9 Beretta, which has been in use for more than 30 years. This new weapons system is also projected to replace the M11-A1 Compact used by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the U.S. Army M15 General Officer pistol used for military working dog training.
The Army's model is likely based on Sig Sauer's P320 pistol, with modifications that are not being made public.
The M9 is essentially a military specification 92FS, according to Forbes. Bruce Willis’ character in “Die Hard” used the Beretta 92FS. The selection of the Sig P320, Forbes reported, will likely mean more police departments will give it a look — and many more American gun owners, too. The P320 boasts advances in pistol design, according to Forbes. It is the first modular pistol that can easily be modified with interchangeable grip modules. Its caliber can even be changed. These pistols will be made at Sig Sauer’s facilities in New Hampshire, according to Forbes.
Barbara Hamby, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Systems Command, told Marine Corps Times that the Marines will stick with the M9 Beretta for the foreseeable future. "That said," she added, "the Marine Corps is collaborating with the Army to shape the modular handgun requirements." The bureaucracy of purchasing new weapons is notoriously slow – the Army’s search took more than five years. And the Corps has not officially begun the process. "The Marine Corps currently has no active requirement to move to the modular handgun system, Hamby said on Jan. 20. Sig Sauer beat out Smith & Wesson, Beretta and Glock for the Army contract worth up to $580 million, which includes firearms, accessories and ammunition.
- The P320, released by Sig Sauer in 2014, is a polymer striker-fired pistol, according to a statement from the gunmaker.
- The P320 is the first modular pistol with interchangeable grip modules that can also be adjusted in frame size and caliber by the user. It can be adapted to shoot 9mm, .357 SIG and .40 S&W ammunition, according to Sig Sauer.
- Although neither the Army nor Sig Sauer announced which caliber the Army chose, media reports say the Army chose the 9mm version.
- The Army is buying both the full-size and compact P320.
- All pistols will be configurable to receive silencers. They also will have standard and extended capacity magazines.
- Soldiers should start getting the new handguns this year, with all of the contract’s weapons delivered over a period of 10 years.
- The gun boasts a stainless steel frame that allows users to "change caliber, size and fit at will," according to promotional material from Sig Sauer. It also has a "cleaner, crisper trigger reset, safe takedown and unprecedented modularity," the company said.
- The pistols will be produced at Sig Sauer facilities in New Hampshire, the company said.
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