The Army's XM-17 Modular Handgun competition seeks to replace current sidearms with something newer.
They invited 20 vendors to join in their XM-17 Modular Handgun competition to showcase what they have to offer. Due to Federal regulations, the vendors identities must be kept secret until all deals are final. We do know they are all known manufacturers that make firearms for the everyday Joe.
Their goal is to find a weapon that can be tailored to individual soldiers and missions. They are specifically looking for weapons that are lightweight and able to reliably fire high capacity rounds.
Weapons with accessory rails, grips that can be altered to various hand sizes, striker-fired actions, and ambidextrous controls are also required of the winner.
"Handgun technology has advanced significantly thanks to lighter-weight materials, ergonomics and accessory rails since 1986 when the M9 entered the Army's inventory," said PEO Soldier's Debi Dawson.
Upon selecting a new successor, the Army plans to purchase upwards of 280,000 of the new guns and 7,000 compact versions. Other branches could possibly order upwards of 212,000 to replace other dated firearms.
A new sidearm isn't the only thing they are after, but a complete package. They are looking into new types of ammunition, accessories, holsters, and more.
They are specifically looking to replace the ball ammo they currently use with something that is more accurate and effective. They are also looking into various calibers to go along with that new style of round, including .357 SIG, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.
Richard Jackson, Special Assistant to the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General for Law of War said, "Expanding the XM-17 Modular Handgun competition to include special purpose ammunition will provide the war fighter with a more accurate and lethal handgun."
Only time will tell which manufacturer and model the Army will go with. Whoever they chose will have a lot to live up to fill the shoes the Beretta M9 have stood in for so long.