Sig Sauer Wins ARMY Contract
September 06, 2017 By Dave Young (YoungBuckDave)
Since 1985 the Beretta M9 has been the US Army's service pistol until recently when they awarded Sig Sauer the new contract for their P320 pistol. This ends Beretta's 30+ year hold on the US Army's sidearm. Along with Sig Sauer fighting for this contract, other companies like Glock Inc, FN America, and again Beretta were in the running to become the US Army's new sidearm. In December, the US Army was able to narrow down the competitors to Glock for their Glock 17 (G17), Glock 19 (G19), and Sig Sauer for their P320 pistol. On January 19th, 2017, during SHOT Show 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sig Sauer was awarded the manufacturing contract for the US Army's new side arm.
Now let's look at the comparison of the Sig Sauer P320 or M17 (as the US Army will designate it due to specific changes to the commercial P320 version) to the Beretta M9 pistol. For starters, the M9 consists of a metal frame and metal slide and weighs 34.2oz unloaded, while the M17 consists of a polymer frame and metal slide and only weighs 29.4oz unloaded. The M17's reinforced polymer grip-frame contains a stainless-steel frame holding the fire control unit that can be removed within seconds to be placed into different size grip frames including, full size, carry, compact, and sub compact. Along with the weight. the M17 has a standard magazine capacity of 17rds and an extended magazine capacity of 21rds of 9MM compared to the Beretta M9's capacity of only 15rds of 9MM. The Beretta M9 was made with an ambidextrous safety lever which doesn't make it truly ambidextrous unlike the M17, which is equipped with an ambi manual safety (unlike the commercial P320), an ambi slide release, and a magazine release that can be swapped over to the right or left side depending on the user's preference. The M17 is equipped with a picatinny rail that can accept either a light or laser and can be equipped with a threaded barrel that can accept a suppressor.
A US Army Weapons Official announced that the famous 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) would be the first unit to receive the new M17 sidearm. This decision to go with Sig Sauer was a difficult one given all the competitors that were in the running to manufacture the new sidearm. Only time will tell though if the US Army made the right choice going with the M17 to replace the Beretta M9 handgun. While this new contract awarded to Sig Sauer is an exciting development in the firearms industry, the true test will come if the soldiers embrace this change in the field.