Tag Archives: SIG Sauer

Modular Handgun System

Combat arms units across the Air Force are getting new and improved 9-mm caliber handguns to replace the M9 pistols that have been in service since 1985.

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. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Small Arms Program Office acquired approximately 125,000 M18s from Sig Sauer for $22.1 million (U.S. Air Force photo by Vicki Stein)

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Small Arms Program Office acquired approximately 125,000 M18s from Sig Sauer for $22.1 million, and is making them available to Air Force organizations that have a handgun requirement.

The purchase includes test ammunition as well as engineering services.

«The Air Force bought the M9s back in the 1980s, and the design has not really changed since then», said Merrill Adkison, Small Arms Program Office senior logistics manager. «M9s are larger, heavier, all-metal pistols; whereas M18s are lighter polymer pistols with a more consistent trigger pull and adjustable grips for large and small hands».

Adkison added that providing a modern handgun to Airmen was important in part due to the increasing difficulty of replacing and sustaining older technology in M9s.

In response to issues with the age and sustainment of M9s, the Air Force Security Forces Center developed the Capability Production Document for the Modular Handgun System that the Army later adopted, resulting in procurement of the M17 and M18 Modular Handgun System.

The new M18 costs the Air Force about one-third of what it would cost to buy an M9 today.

«It is important for the U.S. Air Force to move forward with improvement and replacement of weapon systems to keep pace with potential adversaries and field the best technology and equipment available for our warfighters», said Brian Lautzenheiser, lead program manager in the office. «The USAF Small Arms Program Office has worked with the Army to get these new weapons on contract and in the hands of the warfighters. We are a small team with a lot going on as we work to procure and sustain all small arms from pistols to .50 caliber ground-mounted machine guns. We have a great professional team that understands the importance of assisting the field to meet their needs».

The program office anticipates that M18 delivery will be complete by August 2022.

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.