Lt. Col. Steven Power told the Army News Service this month that feedback from Aberdeen Proving Ground early users of the XM17—the military version of the SIG Sauer P320 that won the service’s $580 million Modular Handgun System (MHS) contract on Jan. 19, 2017—shows full agreement on its suitability for the military.
“That’s an uncommonly positive thing,” he said. “Typically, even in our own households, when you’re buying a new car, there’s things that people like about the old car better than the new one.” Soldiers most often cited increased confidence and comfort after range sessions.
Power noted that soldiers liked a number of aspects about the new XM17 pistol, including its accuracy and ergonomics.
“Ergonomics isn’t just about the comfort of the shooter,” he said. “A big reason why the modular handgun system is such a leap ahead in ergonomics is because of the modular hand grips, instead of just making a one size fits all. The shooter will have a handgrip that fits their hand properly which does a lot to improve accuracy—not only on the first shot but also on subsequent shots.”
The first 2,000 new handguns will arrive in Fort Campbell, KY, in November, where the 101st Airborne will retire their M9s. The tentative schedule calls for roughly one base a month to receive its XM17s, and it could take up to 10 years for the Army to completely replace all the Berettas in service.
The new issue sidearm is a 9 mm and four different types of loads are being produced by Winchester to fulfill the contract; ball, jacketed hollow point, blanks and drilled dummy inert. Power said there was no preference given to the chambering during testing.
“The goal was to pick a system that best met our requirements,” he said.