The Army's New 9mm Handgun is Finally Approved for Full Material Release

The Army recently approved Full Material Release on Sig Sauer’s M18 (front) and M17 (rear) Modular Handgun System. (Photo: Sig Sauer Inc.)
The Army recently approved Full Material Release on Sig Sauer’s M18 (front) and M17 (rear) Modular Handgun System. (Photo: Sig Sauer Inc.)

The U.S. Army recently approved Full Material Release (FMR) of its new Modular Handgun System that will replace its Cold War-era M9 9mm pistol.

Since the service adopted the handgun in 2017, Sig Sauer Inc. has delivered 59,000 M17 and M18 MHSs and plans to supply an additional 350,000 of the new 9mm pistols over the next five to seven years. The weapons will be used by all of the services, according to a recent Sig Sauer news release.

Winchester Ammunition, which was selected to make the ammo for MHS, has so far delivered 44,000 rounds for the new pistol.

"We are enthused by this announcement and honored to have all the branches of the U.S. military participating in the MHS program," Ron Cohen, president and CEO of Sig Sauer, said in the release.

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The FMR milestone is the "official determination that the U.S. Army has rigorously tested and evaluated the M17 and M18 handguns, and associated ammunition" and found that the product "meets all operational performance requirements," the release states.

"The Army's announcement of Full Material Release is the final stamp of approval for the MHS Program, and a true testament to the successful collaboration of the U.S. Army, Sig Sauer and Winchester Ammunition to deliver the highest-quality MHS program to our soldiers in the field," Cohen said.

MHS is made up of the M17 full-size and M18 compact handguns, as well as Winchester Ammunition's M1152 Ball ammo and M1153 Special Purpose, a 147-grain jacketed hollow-point bullet.

In a significant break from the military's devotion to ball ammunition, Army officials revealed in 2015 that a new Defense Department policy would allow the service to use "special-purpose ammunition" for the MHS program.

Gunmakers participating in the MHS competition were required to submit their gun, along with a single type of special-purpose ammunition, so each vendor's gun and ammo could be tested as a system.

The M17 and M18 are striker-fired handguns featuring coyote-tan PVD-coated stainless steel slides, according to the release. The FMR versions feature black controls, a slight change from tan controls on the original MHS.

Both pistols come with 17-round and 21-round magazines and are equipped with SIGLITE front night sights, removable night sight rear plates, and manual safeties, the release states.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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