Tag Archives: SIG Sauer

Modular Handgun

The Air Force Security Forces Center, in partnership with the Air Force Small Arms Program Office, has begun fielding the new M18 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 Air Force Security Forces Center, in partnership with the Air Force Small Arms Program Office, has begun fielding the new M18 Modular Handgun System to Security Forces units (U.S. Air Force photo by Vicki Stein/Released)
The Air Force Security Forces Center, in partnership with the Air Force Small Arms Program Office, has begun fielding the new M18 Modular Handgun System to Security Forces units (U.S. Air Force photo by Vicki Stein/Released)

The M18 replaces the M9, which has been in use for more than 30 years. This new weapons system is also projected to replace the M11 used by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the M15 used for Military Working Dog training.

The modular design of the M18 provides improved ergonomics, target acquisition, reliability, and durability to increase shooter lethality.

A key benefit of the M18 is that it can be customized to individual shooters with small, medium or large handgrips.

«This is going to help shooters with smaller hands. It also has a much smoother trigger pull, leading to a more accurate, lethal shooter», said Staff Sergeant Richard Maner, Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the Armory at the 37th Training Support Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA)-Lackland, who had an opportunity to test the weapon. «The M18 is a smaller platform weapon, but it gives the shooter more capabilities over the bulkier, larger M9 pistol».

«The M18 is a leap forward in the right direction for modernizing such a critical piece of personal defense and feels great in the hand. It reinforces the muscle memory instilled through consistent shooting», said Master Sergeant Casey Ouellette, 341st Military Working Dog Flight Chief JBSA-Lackland. «It’s more accurate and, with a great set of night sights and with their high profile, follow-up shots have become easier than ever before».

So far, more than 2,000 M18s have been delivered to Joint Base Andrews, the Air Force Gunsmith Shop, Air Education and Training Command Combat Arms Apprentice Course at JBSA-Lackland, two Regional Training Centers (Guam and Fort Bliss), Malmstrom AFB and F.E. Warren Air Force Base (AFB). All Security Forces units are expected to have their full authorization of M18s by 2020 with the remainder of the Air Force to follow.

«Once all Security Forces units have been supplied the new weapon, we will supply special warfare Airmen, Guardian Angel/Office of Special Projects (PJ) communities, Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and other high-level users», said Master Sergeant Shaun Ferguson, Air Force Security Forces Center (AFSFC) Small Arms and Light Weapons Requirements Program Manager. «Aircrew communities and other installation personnel will be issued the handgun as well based on requirements».

Modular Handgun System

On January 20, SIG Sauer, Inc. announced that the U.S. Army has selected the SIG Sauer Model P320 to replace the M9 service pistol currently in use since the mid-1980’s. Released in 2014, the P320 is a polymer striker-fired pistol that has proven itself in both the United States and worldwide markets. The P320 is the first modular pistol with interchangeable grip modules that can also be adjusted in frame size and caliber by the operator. All pistols will be produced at the SIG Sauer facilities in New Hampshire.

SIG Sauer, Inc. Awarded the U.S. Army Contract for its New Modular Handgun System (MHS)
SIG Sauer, Inc. Awarded the U.S. Army Contract for its New Modular Handgun System (MHS)

The Modular Handgun System (MHS) Program provides for the delivery of both full size and compact P320’s, over a period of ten (10) years. All pistols will be configurable to receive silencers and will also include both standard and extended capacity magazines.

«I am tremendously proud of the Modular Handgun System Team», said Army Acquisition Executive, Steffanie Easter in the release. «By maximizing full and open competition across our industry partners, we truly have optimized the private sector advancements in handguns, ammunition and magazines and the end result will ensure a decidedly superior weapon system for our warfighters».

Ron Cohen, President and CEO of SIG Sauer, said «We are both humbled and proud that the P320 was selected by the U.S. Army as its weapon of choice. Securing this contract is a testimony to SIG Sauer employees and their commitment to innovation, quality and manufacturing the most reliable firearms in the world».

According to Jane’s International Defence Review, the long-running XM17 Modular Handgun System contract, intended to replace legacy 9-mm M9 Beretta pistols, was awarded on 19 January with a total USD580.217 million maximum ceiling.

It is understood that SIG Sauer bested bids from Beretta, FN Herstal, and Glock, after Smith & Wesson and partner General Dynamics Ordnance Tactical Systems (GDOTS) had earlier been dropped from the programme. A total of nine bids were submitted, according to a separate Pentagon statement. The U.S. Army declined to reveal the other bids.

The MHS programme, which is expected to reach full-rate production in 2018, could result in buying between 280,000 and 500,000 weapons for the army, navy, air force, marines, and U.S. Special Operations Command (SOC). The army has said it wants more than 280,000 handguns, including potentially about 7,000 compact versions of the handgun.

In the statement, the army said the USD580 million potential contract was «sufficient to procure army requirements, other service requirements, and potential Foreign Military Sales requirements», and allows for the procurement of handguns and ancillary components for up to 10 years and ammunition for up to 5 years.

Army officials expect the first handguns to be will be provided to units in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017 to participate in initial operational testing.