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.
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:
- The Army held the contest after pressure to replace aging weapons and concerns about the weight and reliability of the M9.
- The competition started in 2011 and received criticism for taking almost a decade to pick a winner.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
May 5, 2017
- Steyr Arms has filed a patent infringement suit against Sig Sauer over the removable trigger group contained by a polymer housing in the Sig Sauer P320. Steyr Arms claims that the removable trigger group in the P320 is the same as the company's patented design. Steyr Arms is pushing for an injunction to prevent Sig from selling the P320 and similar firearms with this removable trigger group. So far, this hasn't affected Sig Sauer's contract with the Army.
- The 101st Airborne Division will be the first unit to get the new Sig Sauer pistol. The Army will order full-size M17 and compact M18 9mm pistols. All will be compatible with suppressors as well as standard and extended magazines.
- The Air Force, Marines and Navy will also adopt the new Sig Sauer pistol to replace the Beretta M9. The Navy will reportedly receive only the compact M18, not the full-size M17.
February 28, 2017
- Glock protests the Army's selection of the Sig Sauer P320 as the winner of the MHS contract, filing an official protest with the Government Accountability Office February 24. The GAO will likely make its decision in June. If the GAO upholds the contract, then the Army will finish final testing this summer.
||Sig Sauer P320
||17 or 21 rounds (optional extended magazine)
||Fixed Blade Sights
||Removable Iron Sights. Red Dot compatible
||Aluminum. Not attachment compatible
||Polymer. Integrated rail system
||4.9 in. Not suppressor compatible
||5.4 in. Threaded for suppressor attachment
|Effective Firing Range
||Double / Single Action (12.3 lb / 5.5 lb)
||Double Action Only (6.5 lb)
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