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After a virtually decade-long effort to select a brand new pistol for the US navy, the Military’s Program Govt Workplace‑Soldier awarded its Modular Handgun System (MHS) contract to SIG Sauer on January 19, 2017. Greater than two years later, the Military says that this system remains to be on monitor for deliberate purchases—however the Military’s funds requests for 2020 point out that the service is slowing its draw for no less than the following yr.

The MHS program is the Military’s effort to switch the pistol that has been the usual navy sidearm since 1986—the Beretta M9, which had been the Military’s first service-wide pistol for the reason that venerable Colt M1911 .45 caliber pistol. SIG Sauer’s pistols for the MHS program are based mostly on SIG Sauer’s P320 pistol—a favourite of legislation enforcement. Just like the Beretta M9, each the full-size XM-17 and compact XM-18 are chambered for 9-millimeter bullets. However the MHS pistols are primarily designed to fireplace a “particular function” bullet—a jacketed hole level spherical supposed, because the Military’s necessities paperwork said, to “create a bigger wound channel.”

It took greater than a decade for the MHS program’s managers to select a winner. In October of 2015, Senator John McCain—then chair of the Senate Armed Providers Committee, known as the MHS program a “expensive misfire during which it has taken 10 years and wasted probably tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} with a view to buy easy handguns.” And even after the Military lastly chosen SIG Sauer’s design, the issues continued—beginning with a lawsuit for patent infringement within the design of the pistol.

The issues continued in testing. In its annual report for fiscal yr 2017, the Division of Protection’s Workplace of the Director of Operational Take a look at and Analysis (DOTE) cited a number of critical points. First there was the pistol’s drawback with unintended discharge: “throughout drop testing during which an empty primed cartridge was inserted, the striker struck the primer inflicting a discharge.” This drawback was additionally found by exterior testers, who confirmed that the weapon would go off if it landed at an angle not often coated by drop checks. SIG Sauer carried out a repair within the set off mechanism of the pistols, however DOTE famous that “this repair might have contributed to the splintering of two triggers in the course of the IOT&E [initial operational testing and evaluation].” The “splintering” did not stop the pistols from firing, however it affected the smoothness of the set off pull.

Drop checks by Omaha Open air in 2017 confirmed that SIG Sauer’s pistol would hearth when dropped—possible due to the mass of the set off mechanism and inertia.

Each pistols had one other drawback—”double-ejections,” the place unspent ammunition was spit out together with the cartridge of a fired spherical. This occurred with rising frequency in the course of the Military’s Product Verification Take a look at (PVT), resulting in an ongoing Military effort to seek out the foundation trigger. There hasn’t been a press release on the findings of that investigation. And the smaller XM18 suffered an unacceptable variety of jams and stoppages throughout firing with commonplace ball ammunition, although it was deemed dependable sufficient for fight utilizing the hollow-point rounds designed for MHS.

The Military plans to buy 233,429 pistols over the lifetime of the MHS program—largely the full-size XM17—whereas the opposite companies will buy the extra compact XM18 off the Military’s contract, however it’s solely projecting supply of about 19,000 of them in 2019. And whereas the Military says it’s on course for deliberate purchases in 2020, the service is asking for under $6 million for MHS purchases in fiscal 2020, down from $48 million in 2019. That’s a drop within the Military’s total procurement bucket, however the service is shuffling round a number of its funds to gasoline new modernization objectives.

Itemizing picture by Employees Sgt. Taresha Hill 3d Cavalry Regiment Public Affairs Workplace

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After a number of misfires, Military’s latest pistol program is gradual on the draw 1

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