The US Army has started fielding new modular handgun systems (MHS) to the US Army Military Police School (USAMPS) at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Manufactured by Sig Sauer, the new M17 and M18 handgun systems will replace the existing ageing Beretta M9 weapon system.
Fielded in the mid-1980s, the M9 systems used at the military school have fired on average about 20,000 to 30,000 rounds and are set to reach serviceability limits.
USAMPS deputy commandant Mark Farley said: “The (Beretta M9s) we currently have are breaking more often, which causes readiness issues.”
Each MHS is put through extensive testing where the gun is required to meet the accuracy level of ten out of ten at 25m in a smaller than 3in group.
USAMPS instructor Gary Homer added: “With these 17 and 18s, you won’t get degradation of the barrel until after 25,000 rounds. The new MHS has an exponentially longer lifespan or life expectancy.”
These modernised 9mm M17 and M18 pistols feature an integrated rail system, a polymer grip module and self-illuminating sights, as well as a consistent trigger.
The weapon’s small, medium and large grips allow modification to suit the needs of the individual shooter.
Farley added: “The military police corps, is about 16% female soldiers, so this is a big deal when you’re talking about soldier lethality and accuracy.
“For all soldiers to be able to hold that weapon with a proper grip and use the right fundamentals of firing, it’s very important in order for them to be able to engage the target and thereafter. One size does not fit all.”
Nearly 1,400 weapon units are expected to be delivered to the military police school, which has already taken delivery of only a few hundred pistols.
Farley noted: “The sooner we can get it fully fielded to the operational units and the full training base then operational readiness will be enhanced.”
Recently, the M18 compact variant pistol completed the Lot Acceptance Test (LAT).