We just received this update from PEO Soldier in the progress of the Modular Handgun System Program which aims to replace the current issue M9 pistol in 9mm which is manufactured by Beretta.
New Army sidearm program advances
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Oct. 31, 2014) – The U.S. Army moved a step closer toward the purchase of a new, modern handgun system for Warfighters when Program Executive Office Soldier hosted a third industry day for interested manufacturers here Oct. 28-29.
Debi Dawson, PEO Soldier spokesperson, said representatives of 20 companies attended the government-industry meeting. Federal procurement restrictions don’t allow the disclosing of the names of firms participating, the spokesperson said.
The Army calls the new sidearm the “Modular Handgun System.”
Attendees discussed the Army’s draft solicitation for the new weapon system, which will replace the current M9 standard Army sidearm, according to Dawson.
Since the M9 entered the Army’s inventory in 1986, handgun technology has advanced significantly with the introduction of lighter weight materials, ergonomics and rails for accessories, Dawson said. Through the competition, the Army intends to replace the M9 with a state-of-the-art handgun.
Current plans call for the Army to purchase more than 280,000 handguns from a single vendor, with delivery of the first new handgun systems scheduled for 2017. The Army also plans to buy approximately 7,000 sub-compact versions of the handgun.
The other military services participating in the MHS program may order an additional 212,000 systems above the Army quantity.
The Army issued the draft solicitation, which identifies design and performance requirements for the new handgun system, Sept. 29 through the government FedBizOps. This Federal Government website posts all procurement opportunities more than $25,000.
The draft includes proposed procedural and schedule details responding vendors must follow to participate in the competition.
The Army held two previous industry days at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., Dec. 18, 2013, and July 29.
The purpose of these industry days was to enhance vendor-government communications by involving likely competitors throughout the planning process. The days also allowed the Army to obtain their feedback on whether the products and proposed strategy are achievable and affordable.
During the Industry Day meetings, Army representatives discussed details about the “more accurate, ergonomic, reliable, durable and maintainable” handgun system the service seeks to buy through full and open competition, Dawson said.
Throughout the process, the Army encouraged Industry attendees to suggest ways in which the Army can improve the plan and process. The Army has adopted a number of suggestions and ideas.
The draft solicitation calls for a commercially available weapon tailored to the unique needs of the military services. The solicitation specified no particular caliber. However, the Army is seeking a handgun system that outperforms its current sidearm. The Army is also seeking a modular weapon, meaning it allows adjustments to fit all hand sizes. Although purchasing a commercially available system, the Army is encouraging Industry to optimize gun, ammunition and magazine for maximum performance.
The competition itself will choose a handgun that performs best in the hands of Warfighters who will play a critical part in the evaluation. More than 550 military personnel from all of the Services will participate and provide feedback on the performance of each of the candidate system after firing them in simulated combat scenarios. This particular Warfighter assessment is an important part of the evaluation process.
The Army expects to begin the competition in early January 2015 with the scheduled release of the final solicitation. The competition will result in the Army beginning a long-term partnership with a single vendor.