Meet the Army’s New Handgun

Posted by Jack

The civilian version is called the SIG P320, but it’s essentially the same as the Army’s full size pistol the M17.  A slightly smaller version is offered called the M18.

On January 19, 2017, the United States Army announced that the SIG Sauer P320 MHS variant had won the military’s Modular Handgun System trials. The P320 is known as the M17 (Full-Size) and M18 (Carry) in U.S. Military service. Though the pistol will remain chambered in 9 x 19mm NATO rather than a larger caliber, the contract allows the Army and other services to procure SIG Sauer’s proposed XM1152 Full Metal Jacket and XM1153 Special Purpose ammunition.

Some shooting enthusiasts might argue the Army is not really gaining anything over their previous pistol made by Berretta.  Both the SIG Saur and Berretta (shown left) are semi-auto and chambered for a 9mm round.  However, the Army says the winning difference is the modular system that allows all sorts of goodies to be hung from the SIG, such as a suppressor, flashlight, laser sight or an extended capacity magazine.

For us old school types (boomers mostly) either weapon is good in its basic form.   We would say, if you can’t hit your target with iron sights, you need more practice, not a laser.   We’re not thrilled about the caliber, but it’s ok.  Old schoolers would suggest at least go with a .40 cal and preferably a .45 cal, but that’s not an option in today’s Army.

GLOCK sued the Army and said the bidding was rigged to favor the SIG, but they have since backed off.  A GLOCK contract would have saved the taxpayers about 30% over the cost of a SIG.

Speaking of SIG’s  A NORCAL police department recently sold all 40 of their semi-auto SIG .45’s (only 7 years old, barely used) for the bargain basement price of $320 each!  Why?  They scaled back to a whimpy 9 mm… pfffffft.  Go figure?  Yeah, I bought one of the .45’s.  I probably should have bought more, but CA being the costly state that it is, the transfer cost would have made my profit margin a little too slim.

Did I ever mention that CA is not a business friendly state?  I think I have, maybe once or twice.

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3 Responses to Meet the Army’s New Handgun

  1. RHT447 says:


    I think you left out the biggest feature of the modularity, which is, like the AR-15, the ability to buy just the serial numbered part–the FCU (fire control unit) around which a nearly endless combination of parts may be assembled. Explained here–

    About 10 years ago, I bought a factory re-manufactured Sig 220 (45 ACP) from a private party in Chico. At the Oroville range, I could hit a one gallon paint can at 50 yards with it. SIG makes good stuff and yeah, I’m old school and all about 45 ACP.

    That said, bullet technology has come a long way, and you can buy more 9mm than 45 for your dollar. Hopefully, this allows LEO agencies to be able to afford to supply their officers with ammunition for regular practice on the range.

  2. Joe says:

    Jack, what was wrong with the Colt M1911 45? They should have never gotten rid of it. Instead they did and wasted a lot of taxpayer money, as usual.

    Jack, when are they going to let you go out to the airport?

    • Post Scripts says:

      Joe, I think RHT hit on the reason. It’s about modularity, the ability to hang a laser or flashlight on it. An easy fix, I grant you. Just put a rail somewhere on it and you’re good to go. Not much has changed in weaponry since Colt created that 1911, so if they just offered a few tweaks here and there… it would be perfect. .45 ACP was already a near perfect round for its intended purpose, which was a man stopper. So, in answer to your question Joe, I really don’t know why? I can see no reason why they had to buy from SIG, GLOCK, Berretta, H&K, S&W or anybody else, the Colt 1911 was and is a fine gun. For a modest charge per piece, they could have made it look as modern as anything out here today. Some improvements might have even had brought the cost down, like a polymer frame. Yes, I believe Colt could have made it with upgrades/options, like a double stack magazine, poly frame, better grips, modern adjustable sights, accessory rail, Teflon coatings, etc. and still come in way under the competition price. The big parts didn’t need changing. I bet that 50 years from now folks will still be having the same conversation about the venerable old 1911 Colt.

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