SIG M18s Go 36K Rounds in Army Testing With Zero Failures

(Photo: SIG Sauer)

There are few examples of flawless performance in the gun world. In recent U.S. Army testing, however, three SIG Sauer M18 pistols fired 12,000 rounds each with zero stoppages. Zero! That got my attention.

After one of the most rigorous and highly competitive selection processes in the history of military firearms, SIG Sauer was awarded the Modular Handgun System (MHS) contract for the full-size M17 and its compact variant the M18.  Both pistols are based on SIG’s highly adaptable and modular P320 platform.


The M17 and M18 have been adopted by the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The MHS contract calls for delivery of 480,000 pistols over a period of ten years. To date, SIG has delivered over 20,000 pistols.


Under the Modular Handgun System (MHS) contract, the M17 and the M18, are required to undergo MHS Material Reliability Testing at certain intervals. Lot Acceptance Testing normally tests handguns to 5,000 rounds and allows up to 12 stoppages to achieve a passing grade.

In the latest MHS Material Reliability Test, the Army, as mentioned, fired 12,000 rounds through three M18 pistols and each passed with flying colors.  There were no stoppages.  If that wasn’t enough, after this strenuous testing those same poor M18s passed a parts interchange test, met all of the stringent accuracy and dispersion requirements, were tested for firing pin indent and trigger pull measurements to ensure consistency and conformed to all workmanship standards.

This was not a SIG Sauer test! It was conducted by the U.S. Army with soldiers shooting military ammo. There is no spin here, just tedious performance.

Director of Operation Testing and Evaluation (DOT&E) is an independent review and analysis of the U.S. Department of Defense weapons systems. Their recently published Annual Report states that “the MHS meets or exceeds requirements for accuracy, lethality, ergonomics, and safety” claiming that, “both the XM17 and the XM18 are operationally effective and suitable.”

SEE ALSO: If You Could Only Own One – P320 X-Carry

“The results of this testing for the M18 pistol is truly impressive. The M18 withstood the harsh testing and performance requirements set forth in the MHS contract and has set a new standard for reliability in service pistols,” said Ron Cohen, President and CEO of SIG Sauer.

“For this testing the U.S. Army set very high standards for quality and performance, and at SIG we relish the opportunity to meet a challenge and exceed expectations. The performance of the M18 not only surpassed the U.S. Army’s testing requirements, its performance was simply outstanding and nothing short of perfection,” he added.

I have been to the factory and seen the M17 and M18 assembled. I have fired several thousand rounds through variations of the P320 including the P320-M17. The test results are amazing, but they don’t surprise anyone who has time with this gun. It is an incredible design which is coming into its own.

As with all new guns, the P320 family of pistols had some initial problems. Testing shows those problems are in the past and the future of the P320 and its offspring is bright, indeed.

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About the author: Mark Miller is a former Customs Agent and a Green Beret who served in Afghanistan and a number of other live fire locations. A student of firearms and shooting, he is an FFL and a SOT. The guiding philosophy of his life is that terrain and situation dictate tactics and the enemy always gets a vote on any plan.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • I Love Liberty April 24, 2019, 3:06 pm

    If a pistol or a firearm can fire over 98% reliable that is good enough for me for self defense. I have a .300 AAC Blackout AR-15, a .40 carbine, and a 45 Auto handgun and a .40 Smith & Wesson pistol that are over 99% reliable in the tests I have done with them.

    I hope others have experienced the reliability I have with my firearms.

  • Rob Thomason February 15, 2019, 5:24 pm

    Congratulations to Sig on building a pistol capable of 36K rounds without a failure.

    • scott woo February 21, 2019, 11:15 am

      You must not be familiar with the Kel Tec PMR-30. Wont shoot anything but CCI .40gr round nose.

    • Mike August 29, 2020, 2:52 am

      Definite congrats, and welcome to the H&K USP Club doing the same thing for decades. Also the usp 45 was one of the only guns to pass the complete Military Arms Channel Gauntlet torture test where it was covered in so much sand, dirt, sloppy mud, and first submerged in water that it looked like a clump of mud with no gun showing. Picked it up (and this is an exposed hammer strikes gun, and it emptied the entire mag.
      I just had to rib, it’s all well intended and SIg has jumped off the charts. But one flaw I see in so many of these pistols is the upper matching to the lower, meaning you either see through it or see a seam with a gap for dirt. H&K’s design there has their uppers reaching barely over the lower creating nearly an air tight but definitely one of the best ways to not get degree of any sort from the elements outside to cause problems when shooting 30k rounds isn’t in a clean factory or range.

  • David February 15, 2019, 1:24 pm

    I was misled by the 36,000 rounds too, thought that would be impressive in one gun. I own a German Sig p226 that I have put many thousand rounds, at least 10,000 rounds through and have never had a failure to feed and fire. I do not know what the other people are complaining about, but I do not buy it. I have a P938, and a P229 legion, again have fired them a fair amount without any problems. I have not been as impressed with fit and finish of the newer guns, they are more loosely fitted compared to the old German Sig. I like the construction of the hammer forged slide around the hardened breech block. I think the Glock owners are posing as Sig owners as Sig reports no out of the ordinary problems with the P365 yet the commenters report all sorts of issues, non of which ever are mentioned in extensive magazine reports. I think cheap people buy cheap guns.

  • Dave February 15, 2019, 8:59 am

    Not really. The title is “Sig M18s” (plural) go 36K rds”.
    Might even more impressive that three different Sigs in a row can go 12k rds each without a single stoppage,.
    I would’ve expected more than that due to ammo issues alone. Kudos to the ammo manufacturer also.
    They should share credit for this amazing accomplishment.

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