U.S. ARMY NEW SIDEARM – SIG Sauer P320 M17 9mm Pistol

The XM17 Modular Gun System as a program, originally initiated by the US Air Force in 2008. The program was carried out in conjunction with the US Army. It called for a new military pistol which would replace the M9, that was adopted back in the mid 1980s. The main reason for the program was that the M9 pistols were worn-out and approaching the end of their service life. Also today the M9 is an out-dated platform, outclassed by most modern pistols. The XM17 program called for commercial off-the-shelf pistol with modular features, which would be more effective, accurate and reliable than the M9, and would have Picatinny-type accessory rails.
A competition was first announced in 2011. In 2014 the SIG Sauer submitted for the XM17 program a P320 pistol. In 2017 their design won against 8 other competitors, including Glock 17 Gen4, Beretta APX, CZ P09, Smith & Wesson Military & Police, Detonics Defense STX, and some other designs. Interestingly Beretta designed an updated version of the M9 with some improvements, the M9A3. However this pistol was not submitted for the competition. Instead the Beretta competed with their new APX striker-fired pistol, which eventually was not selected.
The SIG Sauer P320 will enter service with the US Air Force and the US Army as the M17. Also a compact version of this pistol was selected for procurement. It is planned that the first M17 pistols will be fielded by the end of 2017. It is planned that full-rate production will begin in 2018. It is expected that a contract for roughly 280 000 full-size pistols will be awarded for the US Army, plus additional pistols by the US Air Force. It is going to be the largest pistol contract since 1985, when the US Army adopted the Beretta 92FS as the M9. Within the next 10 years the new M17 pistols will be gradually replace the M9s.

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