Sig Sauer P320 (M17) vs Beretta M9

U.S. Army upgrades to a more modern sidearm

The Sig Sauer P320 will replace the Beretta M9 as the Army’s standard-issue pistol. The decision was made through a lengthy and controversial Modular Handgun System competition. Out of 12 handguns entered into the contest, the P320 won because of its lightweight, modular design. To get acquainted with the new pistol and understand why the Army made the change, we compared the performance and construction of the P320 and M9.

Sig Sauer P320 vs Beretta M9

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Why Modularity Matters:

  • It’s easier to replace broken parts
  • Smaller grips are important as more women enter the military
  • The firearm can adapt to special assignments

5 things you should know about the Modular Handgun System competition:

  1. The Army held the contest after pressure to replace aging weapons and concerns about the weight and reliability of the M9.
  2. The competition started in 2011 and received criticism for taking almost a decade to pick a winner.
  3. In addition to the pistol, entrants were required to submit a regular and a special-purpose round, which suggests the Army is considering using more powerful rounds. This would address complaints about the 9mm NATO being ineffective in combat.
  4. The Army ordered the full-size and compact pistols chambered for 9mm NATO rounds and excluded the other part options Sig Sauer offers with the P320 model.
  5. Beretta submitted the M9A3, an updated version of the M9, before the MHS competition to try to maintain its contract, but it was rejected. Beretta submitted a new APX striker-fire pistol in the competition instead.

Contract Details:

  • 10-year contract (through 1/19/2027)
  • Estimated cost is $580,217,000
  • Manufactured in New Hampshire
  • Included in the contract: pistols, cleaning kits, magazines and training equipment
Beretta M9 Sig Sauer P320
Firing Mechanism Hammer-fired Striker-fired
Magazine capacity 15 rounds 17 or 21 rounds (optional extended magazine)
Sights Fixed Blade Sights Removable Iron Sights. Red Dot compatible
Frame Aluminum. Not attachment compatible Polymer. Integrated rail system
Barrel 4.9 in. Not suppressor compatible 5.4 in. Threaded for suppressor attachment
Price $263/unit $207/unit
Overall Length 8.5 in 8.7 in
Effective Firing Range 50 m 50 m
Trigger Pull Double / Single Action (12.3 lb / 5.5 lb) Double Action Only (6.5 lb)
Weight unloaded 33.3 oz 29.4 oz