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U.S. Army Takes Sig Sauer M17/M18 For Test Drive

Written by Jacki Billings

Sig Sauer’s M17 and M18 Modular Handgun System got its first field test Wednesday as soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division took to the range to test out the new pistols.

The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st ABN DIV (AASLT), did the honors of breaking in the MHS guns at Fort Cambell, Kentucky under the supervision of Col. Derek K. Thomson.

“What a great day,” Thomson said. “To witness modernization firsthand as my soldiers became the first in the Army and this storied division to fire the new pistol is an absolute honor.”

The M17 and M18 are both variants on Sig’s P320 but with a few upgrades. The MHS pistols come with an external safety, integrated Picatinny rail for lights and lasers, as well as self-illuminating night sights. Topping off the aesthetics, the M17 and M18 both readily accept suppressors.

The differences between the M17 and M18 are the barrel and slide lengths. The M17 is purposed as a full-sized pistol, while the M18 is the compact version. Soldier Systems Daily gives a rundown of what's in the box, including three frames for each handgun.

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The Army will roll out Sig Sauer handguns over the next 10 years, eventually phasing out the Army’s past MHS model the M9 pistol. The Beretta M9 served as the Army’s sidearm of choice for over 30 years.

“That's pretty dated technology,” said Lt. Col. Steven Power, Project Manager Soldier Weapons, individual weapons product manager.  “The specific performance improvements of the MHS over the M9 include better accuracy, tighter dispersion, and better ergonomics, which when combined, result in a far more lethal pistol.”

Sig Sauer faced stiff competition during the MHS selection process, battling heavy hitters Glock, Beretta, and Smith & Wesson for the contract.

“We are both humbled and proud that the P320 was selected by the U.S. Army as its weapon of choice,” Sig Sauer’s President and CEO Rob Cohen said. “Securing this contract is a testimony to Sig Sauer's employees and their commitment to innovation, quality and manufacturing the most accurate and reliable firearms in the world.”


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