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.”
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“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.