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US Army Issues Draft RFP for XM17 Modular Handgun System

We just received this notice from PEO Soldier. The XM17 Modular Handgun System is meant to replace the current M9 pistol across DoD.

XM17 draft request for proposals released

FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Jun. 17, 2015) – The U.S. Army Program Executive Office Soldier announced today that a draft solicitation for a new military handgun was released on the Federal Business Opportunities website. This announcement follows the agency’s notice that the Army intends to host a fourth industry day July 7-8 at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., to discuss the document and receive feedback from industry.

The draft lays out the latest proposed competition schedule, procedures and requirements for the XM17 Modular Handgun System. These were modified as a result of industry feedback and DoD’s decision to allow use of special purpose ammunition. It gives industry a final opportunity to review and provide feedback on the Army’s refined strategy prior to release of the final RFP.
Program Manager for Soldier Weapons, Colonel Scott Armstrong said the Army will procure the XM17 through full and open competition.

“We expect to release the final solicitation in 2016,” he said. “This will be followed a phased down-select process that will run through 2017.”

“When all is said and done,” Armstrong said, “the XM17 will provide Warfighters with greater accuracy, target acquisition, ergonomic design.” “The new handgun will also be more reliable, durable and easier to maintain.”

“Each vendor may provide up to two separate proposals of handguns with different calibers to the Army for evaluation and testing in early 2016,” he said.

“Our strategy will take full advantage of a world-class industrial base. Vendors must submit mature designs that are production ready. They are free to select a caliber that best meets the XM17 requirements.”

The XM17 is expected to be more effective and lethal than the Army’s current pistol. Current plans call for the Army to purchase more than 280,000 handguns from a single vendor, with full rate production scheduled for 2018. The Army also plans to buy approximately 7,000 compact versions of the handgun. The other military services participating in the XM17 program may order an additional 212,000 systems.

The updated Draft RFP page is www.fbo.gov and the latest version of the draft is now available. 

49 Responses to “US Army Issues Draft RFP for XM17 Modular Handgun System”

  1. majrod says:

    I’ve been told by two vendor reps that one of the requirements is an external safety. While I’d like to know all the requirements it would be much appreciated if SSD could confirm that.

    • JSGlock34 says:

      Looks like an External Safety is required. Page 303 states “Upon receipt of hardware submission, inspections will be conducted to ensure that the MHS candidate has an integrated rail, an external safety mechanism, adjustable for ergonomics by means of grip inserts, grip panels, front or back straps, different triggers, or other means, and be other than single action only. Submissions without these features will not be considered for evaluation.”

      • GMK says:

        ‘External safety’ is sufficently ambiguous to allow a Glock-type safety to compete, as I read it.

        • JSGlock34 says:

          Interesting point. In any case, I’m sure we’ll see Glock entries. Glock has also produced factory pistols with manual safety devices. I’ve seen examples of two such devices – one a push button safety similar to that on a 870 shotgun, and one a traditional 1911 style lever. I understand the former was designed to compete for the British Army contract, but the British ultimately decided the safety was unnecessary.

          • Haji says:

            If I were Glock, one of the submissions I’d offer would be with the G18 selector lever modified to be a safety. I’m no engineer, but I’ve been told by a couple that it would be a very easy modification to do.

          • majrod says:

            JSG – Thanks. The Glock rep told me last yr at the Maneuver Conf that Glock’s entry had a 1911 style safety and that’s what the Army means when it asks for an external safety.

  2. Mike D says:

    “down-select process” Yeah, heard AND seen that before…

  3. CAVstrong says:

    What exactly is a modular handgun system?

    • SSD says:

      Hopefully, the replacement for the M9

      • CAVstrong says:

        But what exactly is going to be modular about it?

        Also what’s wrong with the M9. I like it, I actually want to get a 92F at home. But if the M9 is so bad why not just adopt the PX4 Storm or a Sig or HK?

        Why do we need something brand new unnecessarily over engineered?
        Our BDE Commander had the BDE Captains read the short story “Superiority” by Arthur C. Clarke for an LPD (being a pre career course Captain I managed to avoid the LPD) still it’s a good story with a lesson that I think the Army could learn well.

        http://www.mayofamily.com/RLM/txt_Clarke_Superiority.html

        • Eric B says:

          Well, stating clearly this is my experience and opinion: I found the M-9 to be an unsuitable sidearm for use in field conditions. I don’t think the replacement need be an over-engineered delicate bit of craftsmanship. I believe the new pistol should be, above all “more reliable,durable, and easier to maintain” then the M-9. Improving the ergonomics by moving away from the slide mounted safety would be a plus as well. As far as accuracy goes, its a pistol. None of the current crop of modern quality pistols really suffer from accuracy. I find it very interesting the RFP gives the option of various calibers.

          Don’t take this as a dig CAVStrong. We’ve all got our experiences and mine, with the M-9, is not particularly favorable. I’d love to see it replaced with something better. I like Glock, but that’s just me! Cheers

          • CAVstrong says:

            I guess I’m just an anamonly. I’ve carried the M9 on two different deployments. I’ve had nothing but good experiments with it. It fits my hand perfectly and shoots well in my opinion. I like it better than my Glock. I know most people don’t like it. I just don’t know why.

            That being said I still think we should work on improving the equipment we have not creating a new one.

            • BAP45 says:

              Most issues are with the placement of the safety and small area to rack the slide. I do agree that they are nice shooters though, very comfortable. just too….. Italian. ha

            • Riceball says:

              Well, Beretta did offer the Army their new version of the M9 but they pretty much rejected it out of hand. But, as I said in the article mentioning the new and improved M9, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Modular Handgun Program goes the same way as all of the other Army programs as of late and they just end up adopting Beretta’s new M9.

            • SSD says:

              There’s not much you can do with that pistol.

              • Casey says:

                There have certainly been better developments since the M9 was fielded however i think most of the major complaints about the pistol are software issues. In the brief period i shot competitively on a college team i had very few complaints. This was action and service style upwards of 20k rds for a few years. I welcome alternatives, i just think it doesn’t deserve the hate it gets.

                • Seamus says:

                  YES IS DOES! It is a two pound rock when you get dirt in it and the issued mags are beyond terrible. Sure it works well on the range but after a day humping up and falling down afghan mountains that heavy POS is essentially worthless.

                  However, I still maintain that this competition will go nowhere and after millions spend we will have nothing to show for it.

        • Casey says:

          That was a great read, thank you for sharing.

        • Casey says:

          I learned to shoot on an M9 after thinking for years i was a competent pistol shot. I had the privilege to run through a clinic or two with the AMU and realized the issue was the indian and not the arrows.

        • JM says:

          I beleive the requirement for modularity is based around the ability to adjust grip panels/backstraps to changes ergonomics for different shooters. And possibly, being able to change calibers on the same frame and trigger group with a barrel/mag swap. Pistols that have this capability are already available on the civilian market, and it makes sense for the Army, as different units may need different requirements.

          Also, the biggest problem I have with the M9 is the open slide. It allows to much crud and crap into the pistol in nasty conditions. Being a tanker, my piece gets dirty just being up in the hatch and working around the tank. Also, the pistol was designed and implemented before all the “wonder 9s” and composite pistols came out. Our M9 inventory is getting pretty long in the tooth, if we are going to spend money i’d rather get an updated, modern design than spending it to refurb old, worn out pistols.

          Almost every M9 i’ve ever carried has been junk. It’s a by product of them being passed down and around and the end user not caring for the piece, and unit armorers not really being adequately trained in maintaining them. Just my experience.

        • DonM says:

          The people who work at the picatinny arsenal justify their jobs and promotions based on their ‘inputs’.

          People get paid to decide what kind of dodads guns should have. They get paid to test them, and get paid to rank the various submissions, by the established criterial.

          What is needed is a large pistol (since soldiers must carry their arms openly) that uses 5.56×45 ammunition. That way, soldiers with pistols can use the same ammunition as soldiers with rifles, carbines and light machine guns.

          The compact model is to pick a gun for general officers. After all today’s generals are too stupid and too lacking in contacts to be be trusted to pick out their own pistols.

  4. Duke_39a says:

    What do they mean by “special purpose ammunition”?

    • SSD says:

      That, is the million dollar question and will allow them to use 9mm

    • limeback79 says:

      “Special purpose ammunition” = hollow point
      IE “bullets that “expand or flatten easily” inside the human body.”

  5. Pro Patria says:

    Interesting that they dropped the weaponlight out of the RFP.

  6. Joe says:

    XM-17 = Glock 17 with Safariland, or G-Code Holsters, 3×17 round magazines, cleaning kit, 3 magazine pouches, and a SureFire X400 light, all In FDE………… I hope.

    • Hodge175 says:

      The Sig P320 is a strong candidate, I thought it was designed kinda to meet these requirements. It’s modular as the grip size and caliber can be changed using the same fire control group, plus a thumb safety can be add to it. I would thing SIG/Glock/M&P’s will be your major players in this.

  7. JB says:

    Replace the M9 with the Glock 17 and the M11 with the Glock 19.

    Problem solved, problem staying solved.

    • Brando says:

      I’d be fine with that, but the procurement folks love to spend money…

      • Haji says:

        Well, there’s still spare parts to buy. Spare parts for every Glock they would order could total as much as multiple hundreds of dollars. 😉

        • Jon, OPT says:

          It could even reach a thousand for the whole force if the USMC and AF jump in, that’s like the cost of a whole set of body armor…

          Jon, OPT

    • limeback79 says:

      I know the opinions of shooters vary greatly so just my 2 cents I personally hate glock. When I first started shooting I heard all the hype so I tried out a flock and hated it. Didn’t like the feel didn’t like it’s recoil and most of all any firearm that has a phrase named after its downfall is a bad thing for me. “Limp wristing” However I never had this issue personally the simple fact that it is well known for that is a big problem for me. I want a firearm that will fire every single time no matter if I shoot it strong hand, weak hand, upside down, laying down, or my grandmother is shooting it. That’s why I carry an XDM.

  8. Disco says:

    Yeah it’s 2015.

    Everybody needs Glocks, iPads, and SR-25s.

  9. Chuck B says:

    What’s interesting to me, and I’m a RFP noob, is the request for suppressor kits. As well as the ammo request breakdown, “2,000 rounds of Ball, 62,000 rounds of Special Purpose (SP), and fifty (50) Dummy rounds.”

    Seems like the ammo reqs are more along the lines of SP ammo than ball.

  10. DB says:

    When all is said and done, far more will be said, than done.

  11. DT says:

    More lethal…pistol? That’s an oxymoron. That sort of thing is in the training and the person holding the weapon. I am sure the M9 was perfectly lethal, just as the M1911 was before it. This is a waste of money. The Army is talking about a pistol like it’s going to win a war.

  12. David says:

    H&K P30 and VP system could also be a player….

  13. Seamus says:

    As badly as this is needed, after a decade of pointless camouflage, carbine, and ammo competitions I am not holding my breathe that anything meaningful will come out of this latest one.

    My prediction is that 4 years from now and countless delays and changes big army will say something to the effect of “Due to budget issues and the relative limited use of pistols in combat…blah blah blah….yadda yadda yadda…we are opting to stay with the M9…Merica!”

    • majrod says:

      These events don’t have to result in change to be successful. A security patrol doesn’t need to make contact to be successful. Sometimes just doing the patrol keeps the bad guy away from hitting you or hitting you on his terms.

      These events allow the military to see what’s available. Collect data to reject the BFF solution in some Congresscritter’s district and give industry an idea of where the military wants to go next.

  14. T Stolinski says:

    Why would the US government pick a foreign made Glock over a US made handgun? Its pretty bad that we even out source our defensive weapons! I know the M9 is not a US product but we would rather see Colt fail or Smith and Wesson that already makes a gun that fits the order, lose it? My M&P9 or M&P40 have interchangeable grip, thumb safety, interchangeable caliber 40/357 (just a barrel and magazine swap) and compact versions also!

    • TCBA_Joe says:

      Um.. the M9 IS a US product. Glock also produces handguns in the US.
      SIG, S&W, H&K, Glock and Beretta (the guns with the best chance of winning) all have major production facilities and US divisions in the US.

      What would colt bring to the table? All the other above companies are working on (or have in development) products to fill this role. Do you realy think it’s any coincidence that in the past 1.5 years the P320, VP9, and APX have all been debuted?

      As for S&W and Glock, they’ll upgrade their guns for the specific requirements laid out. Gun companies do this every day.

    • Riceball says:

      I’d rather the Army choose a gun based on solid testing and what best meets their requirements and not by what country the manufacturer is based because that’s completely irrelevant to gun’s performance and reliability. In the end, no matter what manufacturer wins the competition, if it actually goes that far, the final products will be made in the US as are all of our weapons, the US military does not outsource anything, at least not entire weapons systems. Every gun in our regular inventory is made here in the US, regardless of what the manufacturer’s country of origin is, all of our Berettas, Sig, FNs, & probably H&Ks are made here in the US. Look up Berry Amendment.