All Branches Join the MHS Club, Adopting SIG Sidearms

The Marines want SIG pistols for service. (Marine Corps/Juan Madrigal)

The U.S. Marine Corps is following the Army and Air Force in adopting the M17 and M18 for service. These guns won the Modular Handgun System trials last year and are quickly becoming the standard sidearms for the military in general.

This means that to some degree, the bulk of the U.S. military is switching to SIG. Some special units will continue to field other pistols including Glock handguns.

“The other military services, who were involved in the entire acquisition process including source selection, can also procure XM17/XM18 Modular Handgun Systems under the Army contract with Sig Sauer,” said PEO Soldier’s Debra Dawson to

“All services have been involved in MHS since its inception … and they have all committed to ordering guns. The U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Coast Guard all have orders that will be fielded starting later this year and early next year,” said SIG representative Tom Taylor.

Developed by SIG Sauer, the Modular Handgun System or MHS pistols are based on the popular P320 pattern. The design was modified during testing and updated to meet military needs.

Along with the handguns the Marines are also adopting new ammunition as well. The M17 and M18 are built to use new ball ammo and hollow point “special purpose” rounds in addition to blank ammo and dummy cartridges for training.

The M17 is a full-size handgun with extended 21-round magazines while the M18 is a mid-size gun with 17-round mags. Both are chambered for 9mm NATO.

The bulk of the Corps is slated to adopt MHS pistols. These guns will replace older M9-family pistols as well as newer .45-caliber Colt M45A1 pistols. Select units including MARSOC will continue fielding Glock pistols.

An MHS pistol in testing. (Photo: Army/SIG)

Unlike most P320 pistols the MHS guns have ambidextrous thumb safeties and tamper-resistant takedown pins. They also have updated internals for better performance in extreme conditions and enhanced safety.

The decision to adopt SIG pistols for service has lead to some controversy. While the SIG design most closely met the military requirements, many people were surprised to hear that older, more established guns weren’t selected instead.

Glock pistols, in particular, are already in service with select users military-wide. Glocks have been the go-to replacement for units and services replacing their aging M9 and M1911 pistols prior to the MHS competition.

Just last year the Marines adopted the improved Glock 19M for service as the M007. Although it is limited to the Criminal Investigation Division, the M007’s career will be momentary as the Corps transitions to SIG guns.

Like the commercial P320, the M17 and M18 pistols are totally modular and can be converted back and forth as needed. All the components are interchangeable and easy to replace. The guns can even be rechambered for other cartridges if necessary.

See Also: SIG Releasing Limited Run of Commercial MHS Pistols

These features — in addition to the guns’ solid performance — pushed SIG to the front throughout the MHS trials. Additionally, SIG deeply undercut the competition at the bottom line by practically giving the guns away.

Still, not everyone is happy with the continued adoption of SIG’s MHS by the military. Third-party testing showed that the original P320 design had a deep flaw and was not drop-safe.

SIG issued a voluntary recall of all P320 pistols in August to address the issue. Several of the MHS improvements, which made the platform drop safe, were carried over to the commercial models as part of the redesign.

***Shop for a SIG P320 on GunsAmerica***

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Glenn61 March 25, 2018, 2:15 pm

    So S&W or Colt or Ruger or Remington or Browning or Springfield are no longer able to make a gun for our military,,,,, just sad.
    Politics plays a major role in every bit of government spending. Add to that the fact that we elect whores to represent us in Congress and it’s no wonder they’re selling out America…!

  • Grant Stevens March 23, 2018, 5:53 pm

    The guns are made in the US, but the profits still fill foreign pockets. Just another poorly tested POS our servicemen will have to vet with their blood. More payola for Deep State bureaucrats who have never stepped foot on a battlefield.

    • John March 25, 2018, 1:59 pm

      Which American company that stood a chance in the running would you have liked to see win the contract?


      Yeah, that’s right, these were the top contending companies, and none of them are American. Colt and S&W barely gave it a shot. There S no way they would have won this contract.

    • Area 52 April 27, 2018, 3:21 pm

      I am not a big fan of the SIG p320. I just don’t care for its appearance. However when Military and police agencies shop for a new handgun there is certain characteristics the handgun must have due to there own policies. The may not want the trigger guard mag release so H&K is eliminated. The U.S. army wanted a gun that was modular, that narrows the selection and that’s probably why SIG won the contract.

      The bottom line is if gun companies want government military contracts they better find out and anticipate what features the military and police want in a handgun and build a model based on that. With females being a bigger part of those agencies, whether one likes it or not the handgun better be able to be operated by the average female or it will be eliminated very quickly thats to political correctness.

  • Brian March 23, 2018, 12:11 pm

    MAGA! Buy foreign designed and made sidearms for AMERICAN fighting men. Right. Oh and by the way are American taxpayers going to have to pay a tariff for buying imported arms?!? The Democrats continue to destroy America’s arms making capacity in their never ending quest for total disarmament of their American subjects!

    • shrugger March 23, 2018, 2:42 pm

      They aren’t imported. Sig has been manufacturing in the US for some time now.

      • MP March 23, 2018, 4:07 pm

        Don’t confuse the lil’ fella with facts, man.

  • Paul Cole March 23, 2018, 12:05 pm

    You need to look into these guns more closely and check your facts as well. SIG DID NOT issue a “recall”. They called it a “voluntary upgrade”. SIG stressed this very vehemently on the phone that it was not a RECALL. I work for a FFL dealer. I am also a former Marine and law enforcement officer. I have had years of firearms training and experience. There have been multiple issues with the P320. Some had problems with the firing pin safeties not disengaging and not firing, many have had ejection issues, and of course the drop test failures. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol adopted the P320 a few years ago. They have had multiple issues with the firearms. Including ejection issues and apparently some unintended discharges due to the drop test issue. DOD just issued a report stating that the Army had multiple issues as well, including ejection issues and in 2 cases the upgraded trigger assembly came apart. I know that personally, I don’t trust this firearm and would hope that my brother Marines did a lot more research on this firearm before adopting it and trusting their lives to it.

  • Bob March 23, 2018, 11:09 am

    It wasn’t about who was the Lowest Bidder but who was the BEST DONOR to Bureaucrats & Political Funds!

    • Patrick Parnell March 24, 2018, 8:25 am

      Since my retiremt from the USN/ FMF DOC, Ive learned that politics have involvement in EVERY aspect of our lives. Didnt follow politics while active i was to busy deployments and wars. I’ve always considered the USA the greatest country on earth and spent 30 yrs proving my loyalty.
      I’m not so sure anymore for many reasons. Politician of every stripe are top on the list….
      The rule of law is for us little people not the Clintonesque ruling class. Initally,our congress wasa part time job with part time benefits.
      NOW 23 year old admin assistants make more than our commanders in the belly of the beast. And oral sex isn’t “Sex” if you occupy the oral uh.Oval office.

  • Ro Gal March 23, 2018, 8:52 am

    Having a good understanding and use of firearms, as well as direct involvement in DOD acquisition, I cannot fully understand why the Sig MHS won out over the Glock. I would have to assume that the RFP/SOW contained the specifications that aligned closer o the Sig (or vice versa). For mere take down, cleaning and assembly, the Glock is better. My personal experience was that the Sig shot groups closer to the BE than the Glock, but that is subjective to the person firing the weapon. Like many products and service subject to DOD acquisition, I hope the decision didn’t come down to the mantra of “Lowest cost, but technically acceptable”. That has brought in so many lesser parts and weapon systems into DOD that eventually perform poorly or need to be replaced faster than projected at increased costs. I’m not some ardent fan of Glock, and actually own both Sig and Glock pistols. However, if someone knows the answer, please tell me why the Sig was chosen over Glock. Thank you.

    • Winston March 23, 2018, 9:50 am

      Whose portfolios in the Establishment power structure were more greatly enhanced by choosing Sig’s “look we have plastic too” line is the question to ask.

    • Rick March 23, 2018, 10:02 am

      Glock did not submit a pistol the conformed to the specification. It wasn’t until after the Sig was chosen that Glock produced a conforming pistol. My impression was Glock put in a proposal of here’s a Glock it is what it is. The specification called for no finger grooves on the grip frame, Glock submitted their standard finger grooved grip. The Gen5 without finger grooves didn’t come out until after SIG was chosen. Had they read the requirements and submitted a conforming pistol they may have had a better chance.

      • JT March 23, 2018, 11:02 am

        This is false. Glock submitted a conforming pistol. Otherwise it would have been immediately excluded from the trials for not meeting the basic requirements of the RFP. The only two pistols that completed the trails were the Glock and the SIG. See the following, among other references: wonder why the Army\’s most elite units use Glock pistols but that\’s apparently not good enough for the rest of the Army? This entire mess is an half billion…that\’s half a BILLION, $500,000,000…dollar abomination. The Army has a half a billion dollars to throw around on a firearm that they\’re not going to properly train Soldiers to use anyway? And even if they are going to actually provide proper training couldn\’t they have simply done that with M9 or the product improved M9A3 that addressed 86% of Soldier complaints about the M9, that Beretta was willing to sell the Army at LESS than the current M9 was being purchased for?

  • SteveO March 23, 2018, 8:29 am

    I been a SIG guy from the beginning of my LEO career. Did like Glock’s….even had a couple in the past. But lately I’ve really been warming up to the Glock than ever before now. Still LOVE my 226 will not part with it. But in just my honest opinion, they should have went with the Glock vs the 320. I just don’t like the 320.

  • JSK March 23, 2018, 3:04 am

    “Modular pistol” Chosen by Obama Senior hacks strong arming the military to chose it, what could possibly go wrong?

  • Jaque March 20, 2018, 10:41 pm

    I just read a government report that these weapons won’t reliably feed NATO ball ammo. There is something grossly flawed in a costly and long selection and testing process that results in a marginally reliable sidearm that our troops will depend on. Perhaps Gunsamerica can get to the bottom of this.

    • Ton E March 21, 2018, 11:29 am

      The report cited that the guns have issues feeding the new ball ammo that Winchester provided under the MHS contract the XM1152.

      • Ottodog March 23, 2018, 5:52 am

        If the military already spent that much time on the Sig platform they will fix the problem. I trust their judgement and decisions.

    • Fred March 23, 2018, 8:21 am

      I’ve read that it ejects live ball ammo. A very bad thing when you’re at a critical moment in battle.

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