The next milestone for the U.S. Army's program to develop a new standard-issue pistol for soldiers is just a few months away, according to a news report.
Gun-makers plan to submit their proposed pistols to the service in January as part of the Modular Handgun System, according to an article by Ray Henry and Russ Bynum, reporters with The Associated Press who apparently interviewed officials at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Here's what the article said about the timeline:
"Under federal rules, the Army is not naming the manufacturers who have expressed interest in offering a gun. Companies will deliver their proposed guns to Army officials in January. The Army will then select up to three finalists and put the weapons through more testing, including evaluations from soldiers. The first soldiers would receive it for official use in 2019."Companies such as Beretta, which makes the current M9 model, and Smith & Wesson Holding Corp., which has partnered with General Dynamics Corp., among others, plan to compete for the contract.
As my colleague Matthew Cox has reported, the Army rejected Beretta's proposal to adopt an upgraded version of the Beretta called the M9A3 (shown above), which featured new sights, a rail for mounting lights and accessories, better ergonomics and improved reliability. Instead, the service opted to search for a new firearm.
Troops are apparently eager for a new design. Here's what the article said about soldiers' satisfaction with their firearms:
"A 2006 survey found that 58 percent of soldiers who returned from combat reported being satisfied with the M9 pistol, a low score compared with the 75 percent satisfaction rating for the M16 rifle and 89 percent for the M4 carbine. Roughly a quarter of soldiers said they wanted a weapon that used a bigger bullet that could more easily stop an enemy."