U.S. Army weapons officials recently unveiled the holster that will be issued with the service's new Modular Handgun System.
The Army chose a commercial holster, made by The Safariland Group, to issue with the XM17 full-size MHS, according to Sequana Robinson, product officer at Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment.
The tan-colored holster features a dual locking system that can be released with the shooter's firing hand thumb. It comes with multiple mounting options so soldiers can tailor their load, Army weapons officials maintain.
The holster was available at the Defense Logistics Agency tailored logistics program and Safariland was able to meet the characteristics for MHS as well as the timeline, Robinson said.
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The Army awarded Sig Sauer the MHS contract worth up to $580 million Jan. 19. Sig Sauer beat out Glock Inc., FN America and Beretta USA, maker of the current M9 9mm service pistol, in the competition for the Modular Handgun System, or MHS, program.
The service launched its long-awaited MHS competition in late August 2015 to replace its Cold War-era M9 9mm pistol. The selection of Sig Sauer in January formally ended the Beretta's 30-year hold on the Army's sidearm market.
The 10-year agreement calls for Sig to supply the Army with full-size XM17 and compact XM18 versions of its 9mm pistol. The XM18 compact-size MHS pistol is designed to be carried in a concealed holster, Army officials maintain.
The Army is also working on a follow-on holster design to coincide with a program to equip the XM17 with a white light/aiming laser.
"We are working a soldier enhancement program to look at a pistol aiming laser which is a white light, infrared laser, so they have that night shooting capability, according to Daryl Eastlick, the deputy of the Lethality Branch at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia.
The Army recently closed a request for proposal for the follow-on holster design which would hold the XM17 with an aiming laser/white light already mounted to the pistol.
"The last thing I want them to be able to have to do is draw a loaded weapon and put a light or a laser on it while it's loaded under fire," Eastlick said. "Probably not the best idea, so we need a holster that will hold the weapon system that is enabled and already ready to use."
Currently the Army intends to field about 238,000 MHS pistols. The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, became the first unit to receive MHS on Nov. 28.
The base configuration of the full-size XM17 pistol comes with three different grip sizes, Tritium night sights and three magazines -- one standard 17-round magazine and two extended 21-round magazines.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at email@example.com.