Massif Rocks!

Modular Handgun System – Things Aren’t As Bad As The DOT&E Report Implies

A recently issued report from the Department Of Defense’s Director, Operational Test and Evaluation Office (DOT&E), on the Modular Handgun System has been picked up by bloggers and the headlines have been sensational. They’re being shared online at face value, with few people taking time to read the source document. You can read the whole thing here, and I encourage you to do so, but I’ll use extracts throughout this article.

img_5740.jpg

I’ve spent the past few days going back and forth with DOT&E and PEO Soldier, who manages the program, to clarify information in the report.

From the received responses, apparently the situation is not as dire as the authors of other stories would like their audience to believe.

Background

Each year, the Department Of Defense Operational Test and Evaluation Office (DOT&E) submits an annual report of test and evaluation activities to Congress.

The 2017 report was published on 26 January, 2018 and includes details on numerous test activities in support of Army procurement, including those of the joint Modular Handgun System. MHS consists of militarized versions of a standard (M17) and compact (M18) pistol, manufactured by SIG SAUER and based on their commercial P320 9mm model. the weapon has a common trigger pack and swappable frames to make the switch from M17 to M18.

img_5739.jpg

The weapon was selected for procurement just a year ago on January 19, 2017. Since then, it has served as a model for fast track acquisition reform.

The procurement announcement was met with displeasure from fans of fellow contender GLOCK who pointed to G19 use by USSOCOM as ample reason to broaden its issues within DoD. The SIG contract award was formally protested by GLOCK, but their effort was not sustained by the Government Accountability Office.

Drop Misfires Background

In August of last year, a blogger demonstrated that the commercially available SIG P320, which the MHS is derived from, would unintentionally discharge if dropped at a certain angle. Almost immediately, the internet began to call into question the safety of the Army’s version of the handgun. SIG analyzed the problem and quickly issued an interesting fix for their commercial gun; a new trigger pack based on the MHS trigger. SIG stated that the Army’s handgun already had a different, lighter trigger than the civilian model and had not demonstrated the same issue. SIG offered a voluntary upgrade to the new trigger for P320 users.

In November, I attended a media round table hosted by PEO Soldier to provide an update on fielding of MHS. One of the topics was unintentional misfires caused by dropping. LTC Steven Power, Product Manager Individual Weapons, Project Manager Soldier Weapons, assured everyone that MHS has not experienced such a failure.

Naturally, when I ran across this statement in the DOT&E report, I wanted clarification, because it went against everything I’d been told.

“During drop testing in which an empty primed cartridge was inserted, the striker struck the primer causing a discharge. SIG SAUER implemented an Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) to correct this deficiency by implementing lightweight components in the trigger group mechanism. This fix may have contributed to the splintering of two triggers during the IOT&E”

DOT&E Report

DoD Drop Testing

Before I get into what I learned about this statement I need to explain how DoD conducts drop testing. The procedure is contained in 4-10 of Test Operations Procedure 03-2-504A “Safety Evaluation of Small Arms and Medium Caliber Weapons” . The actual test is called the 1.5 m (5 foot) drop test which requires that a firearm loaded with a primed, empty, cartridge case be dropped from the height of 1.5 m unto a clean, dry, and level concrete surface at six different angles. The goal is to see if the firearm discharges or if the drop affects the function of the weapon.

img_5738.jpg

SIG SAUER’s Position

Since I had discussed the drop misfire issue with SIG in the past, I thought I should check with them. They responded by telling me that it was DoD’s report and they’d be the best place to seek out my answers.

Requesting Clarification From DOT&E

Initially, I contacted DOT&E with a list of technical questions. In particular, I wanted to know when and how they identified this malfunction. After some deliberation, DOT&E spokesperson, LTC Michelle L Baldanza offered this statement regarding the technical questions I had posed, “I will have to let the report stand for itself. You are welcome to contact the Army about this.”

What she was telling me was that the information had originated with the Army and all they had done, was collate it into their report. I’d need to go to PEO Soldier for the answers I was seeking.

PEO Soldier Responds

I approached PEO Soldier about this statement, asking how and when it had occurred. They did not provide details on any test failures but rather provided the statement below, which seems to refute the DOT&E report.

When tested in accordance with the TOP 03-2-504A, the weapon passed in all drop orientations.

PEO Soldier

Even then, despite several requests, they refused to provide a date when the 1.5 m TOP drop test protocol was accomplished. It should have initially been accomplished during source selection, while the Army evaluated the vendors’ candidate pistols and I was able to verify this information from other Army sources who were not authorized to speak publicly about the topic.

Splintered Triggers

The DOT&E report mentioned two “splintered” triggers. Of course, this became a central theme to call the program into question. I asked about the issue. The triggers still worked. PEO Soldier related that they “did not remain smooth and comfortable to fire,” saying it was an isolated issue, and not the result of a design flaw or on-going manufacturing problem. To put it into perspective, they’ve only encountered this issue in two pistols, out of approximately 10,000 purchased to date. It’s so rare, it shouldn’t have found its way into a report intended to discuss major issues.

img_5719.jpg

Ammunition / Reliability Issues

MHS includes four 9mm cartridges, manufactured by Winchester, but there are two primary rounds. The XM1153 Jacketed Hollow Point (referenced above) also referred to as a “special purpose”‘and the XM1152 Ball.

Additionally, there are two reliability factors, Mean Rounds Between Failure and Mean Rounds Between Stoppage. Both MRBF and MRBS were measured during Product Verification Testing as well as Initial Operational Test & Evaluation.

MHS was tested for MRBF and MRBS in both M17 and M18 configurations with JHP as well as Ball ammunition.

According to the DOT&E report, the MRBF reliability requirement for MHS is 5,000 MRBF for a 98 percent probability of completing a 96-hour mission without a failure. The MRBS reliability requirement is 2,000 MRBS for a 95 percent probability of completing a 96-hour mission without a stoppage.

During PVT which is an early test, the XM17 and XM18, with special purpose munition, met its requirement for both MRBF and MRBS:

– The XM17 demonstrated 8,929 MRBF (99 percent probability)
– The XM18 demonstrated 8,333 MRBF (99 percent probability)
– The XM17 demonstrated 1,923 MRBS (95 percent probability)
– The XM18 demonstrated 2,155 MRBS (96 percent probability)

During PVT, the XM17 with ball ammunition met its requirement for MRBF but not its requirement for MRBS. The XM18 with ball ammunition did not meet its MRBF or MRBS requirement.

– The XM17 demonstrated 6,944 MRBF (99 percent probability)
– The XM18 demonstrated 3,906 MRBF (98 percent probability)
– The XM17 demonstrated 343 MRBS (75 percent probability)
– The XM18 demonstrated 197 MRBS (61 percent probability)

Obviously, there’s a difference in how reliable the weapon is, based on the ammo used, and pistol configuration. Consequently, the Army decided to investigate the Ball ammo issues and moved to the next phase of testing solely with the JHP cartridge, which they consider is their “go-to-war” ammunition.

During IOT&E, 60 of 120 stoppages for the XM17 and 63 of 85 stoppages for the XM18 were failure of the slide lock to the rear at the last round. At least some of these stoppages were the result of poor grip. Additionally, 60% of these stoppages (75 of 123) were experienced by just eight shooters out of the 132 who participated in the IOT&E. Based on information from the Army Marksmanship Unit which is cited in the DOT&E report, it appears that the majority of those stoppages were caused by shooters disengaging the slide catch with their thumbs.

Once the Army understood it’s a software and not a hardware problem, they began to modify Marksmanship Training to ensure that Soldiers do not unintentionally engage the slide catch lever when firing the MHS. It’s a simpler solution than redesigning weapon parts.

In fact, the MRBS demonstrated during IOT&E is significantly increased if this stoppage is eliminated:

– The XM17 demonstrated 708 MRBS (87 percent probability).
– The XM18 demonstrated 950 MRBS (90 percent probability).

The weapon is capable of meeting the standard, given the right shooters.

Although they have a Conditional Material Release for both types of ammo and have been firing them since November, PEO reminded me that MHS meets, or exceeds, all operational requirements, including MRBS, with the XM1153 jacketed hollow point ammunition for which it is optimized.

While I take issue with how some things are presented, overall, the Army agrees with the findings in the report.

“The DOT&E report accurately conveys the test results.  It is normal and expected during testing to find opportunities to improve a system.  The testing determined that the MHS had a lower Mean Rounds Between Stoppage (MRBS) with ball ammunition than it has with the “go-to-war” jacketed hollow point round for which the system is optimized.  In July 2017, the Army formed a Tiger Team to perform a detailed root cause analysis of the ball ammunition issues.   Their analysis has resulted in a number of modifications expected to enhance MHS performance and reliability with ball ammunition.”

PEO Soldier

Much has been made on other websites about the pistol’s performance with the XM1152 Ball ammunition. Which, by the way, is a new cartridge, unique to this weapon. The truth is, it is safe to operate with both.

However, this isn’t good enough for the Army as they continue to consider performance improvements. PEO Soldier spokeswoman Ms Dawson explained, “It is simply not meeting its reliability requirements with the ball ammunition and has experienced stoppages and issues with “double ejections”.  Double ejections? I’m intrigued.

Double Ejections

Aside from the drop testing issue, I had hoped to get to the heart of “double ejections”. It’s referenced early in the DOT&E report.

“Both the XM17 and XM18 pistols experienced double-ejections where an unspent ball round was ejected along with a spent round.”

DOT&E Report

Until this week, I’d never heard the term used. PEO Soldier echoed the DOT&E definition.

“A double ejection is when a live unfired round is ejected along with the casing from the round that was just fired.”

PEO Soldier

Semi-Auto pistol’s don’t work that way, it’s a physical impossibility. So, I asked both DOT&E and PEO Soldier to further describe the malfunction in case it has a more commonly used name. Neither organization would. And yet, they’ve used it; over and over. PEO Soldier even set up a Tiger Team to get to the root cause of it. Reporters have parroted it as it were a common term. I even approached several individuals with extensive experience in Army pistol marksmanship and they were also unfamiliar with the term. Since nobody knows what it is, I’m not sure how they’re going to fix it. But whatever it is, the weapon is performing while using the JHP ammo.

In Summary

What we’ve learned:
-MHS is safe and passes drop standards
-MHS is reliable
-The trigger works
-Stoppages can be mitigated with training
-It introduces a jacketed hollow point ammunition capability
-The Army is working to improve its performance with Ball ammunition
-No one knows what a “double ejection” is except PEO Soldier, and they’re not telling

But this is the most important at part of this whole story. The Army is very confidant in MHS. In fact, PEO Soldier spokeswoman, Ms Debi Dawson released this statement:

Testing was conducted with warfighters from all Services, and their feedback about the MHS has been overwhelmingly positive.  The MHS meets, or exceeds, all safety and operational requirements with XM1153 jacketed hollow point ammunition for which it is optimized. The test results published in the Director of Operational Testing and Evaluation (DOT&E) report are being used to make the MHS even better.

PEO Soldier

Unfortunately, there are some pieces of data in the report which seem to be given greater importance than they should be, once put into perspective. In another case, testing which is claimed to have taken place hasn’t been accounted for, and refuted in other statements.

Greater care should be taken when providing input to these annual reports. They are used by Congress to monitor key programs. Additionally, the data has been used to undermine confidence in a program that is doing very well, as new unit after new unit is equipped with this improved capability.

Conclusion 

There’s a reason DoD tests. Every program finds unanticipated issues which must be fixed in order to field the piece of equipment across the force. Some come up years after a system enters service. If you read through the entire 2017 DOT&E Annual Report, you’ll find issues of every type, arising for every program showcased in the document. While much has been made online about MHS, when you break it down, it’s not as bad as it’s been made out to be, if you know what questions to ask.

97 Responses to “Modular Handgun System – Things Aren’t As Bad As The DOT&E Report Implies”

  1. Jack says:

    You mean people read headlines, rarely the contents, and only pick the stuff that confirms their pre-existing ideas?

    Color me shocked! In nothing in the current public climate would make me think that’s even remotely possible.

    I’m glad it’s not as bad for servicemembers as it has been made out to be.

  2. Steve says:

    Another GREAT review by Soldier Systems…solid, clear, to the point and pulls out the BS of the internet hacks.

  3. Sean says:

    When did JHP become the “go to war” round? Every OIF/OEF deployment I’ve been on we were given ball rounds for pistols.

    • SSD says:

      That’s one of the upgrades that comes with MHS.

      • Sean says:

        I must have missed that part. Thanks for the heads up SSD.

      • Will Rodriguez says:

        SSD I’d really be interested in this “go to war” round comment.

        Is PEO Soldier rewriting a century of US law of warfare policy?

        OR is “go to war” specific combat operations against supranational or terrorist organizations which is no change at all.

        There’s been tons of wishful thinking about a general adoption of hollow points by the US typically revolving about some logic like “we never signed the agreement”. The problem with that is it just ignores how international law, precedent and the legal jeopardy we’d expose every serviceman to by having them use “illegal” munitions. A charge “friendly” and unfriendly countries would use to charge US troops as war criminals.

        Don’t get me wrong. I’m pro JHP’s use in combat. I’m just not a fan of o over simplifying solutions to really complicated situations. If that were the case we’d have adopted MC over a decade ago.

        • SSD says:

          Actually, Jose is quite well versed in the philosophical discussions had at DoD to make this happen.

          • Will Rodriguez says:

            Jose?

            If you would please share my email with him. Would love to have the discussion. If it’s true the Army has adopted HP for general warfare , it would be a HUGE shift in policy.

    • Bill Brandon says:

      The US was never a signatory to the part of the Geneva Convention that banned ammunition that “caused excess bodily harm”. Even if the US did sign it would only be applicable when fighting against another signatory.

      • Will Rodriguez says:

        True but we have acted IAW with it for a century and have cited it repeatedly in our policy throughout the period. While I agree with the move it’s a reversal and I can see a counter argument. (Try kicking a family off one’s property that one has allowed to live there for almost a century with no legal repercussions.)

        We might not see this become an issue until it is and I doubt while fighting irregular forces it will be but we won’t always be fighting irregulars.

        Our position would be much stronger if more countries had similar policies.

        BTW, we aren’t a signatory of the anti-mine treaty yet are following many of its provisions.

        • Bill Brandon says:

          We are following the anti-mine and hollow point (dum dum) provisions but since we aren’t signatories it gives us an out for if/when we do use them.

          Squatters rights is a creative argument but it’s not really applicable to these circumstances.

  4. Dave says:

    SSD,

    Thanks for the BS filter. Great article.

    Maybe “double ejection” can be the new “shoulder thing goes up,” of the gun-loving internet!

  5. Vic Toree says:

    Just kind of wondering aloud here – is it possible the “double ejection” is a result of someone mistakenly relaying double-feeds or failure to eject stovepipes? I saw the report and how many times it was repeated but not all reports are compiled by subject matter experts.

    Having a double feed on one round and not another is not at all unheard of. When I use 115gr ball at the range I have a higher likelihood of issues than when I use 124+P or 147 carry ammo (due to a comp’d gun with stock spring weights and I’m ok with it). If you have a gun optimized around a 147gr round, malfunctions with 115gr don’t seem shocking.

    • SSD says:

      We can conjecture all day, but they’ve got something in mind. They just need to translate it into a term we can understand.

    • straps says:

      My guess for posterity:

      1. Third party, out-of-spec magazines (like that Beretta caper that everyone blamed on the flaws inherent in the M9 platform).

      2. A bulk mag loading trick that joe discovered.

    • JW 2017 says:

      What happened to the M822 9mm NATO 124gr FMJ that had been in used for years?

    • Chris Miller says:

      I have experienced what they are calling a “double ejection” before. The culprit is weak mag springs or feed lips widening. I had it happen on my 1911 and it would routinely eject the last round in the mag with the spent casing from the 2nd to last round. The recoil impulse was jarring the round out of the mag and it would fly out. Once I replaced the mag spring (and the recoil spring to dampen recoil impulse) the problem went away.

  6. Rob says:

    People on Sig Talk have said that they have had the double ejection issue with some Sig Handguns. It is as described, a live round ejects with the casing while cycling. So uh, Sig, Finds a way…

    • PPGMD says:

      Preface: Yes I was on the Team SIG, but I am no friend to SIG anymore.

      I shot over 30,000 rounds through SIG P320s, and I’ve never seen that issue. Other than the feed lips being horribly out of spec I can’t see how that would even happen.

      • Adun says:

        I am just spit balling here, but I have had instances where I have ejected a magazine from a pistol and the top round has been pushed forward during normal shooting. It rarely is enough to make a round come all the way out of the magazine, but it has happened at least once. Usually it is just a sign of a bad mag though.

        Maybe the double eject is being caused by something similar, but it is bad enough that it happens during operation?

        • SSD says:

          This is the point, two rounds actually ejecting during operation and one isn’t stove piping.

    • Todd says:

      I have experienced the above on a well worn issued P229 in 357sig. Armorers pulled it and replaced worn springs and parts. Hasn’t happened ever since. The FI’s didn’t believe me when I said it happened multiple times. It wasn’t until they physically watched me on the line and saw it with their own eyes that they acknowledged the problem.

  7. TheFull9 says:

    I’m sure I’m not the only one here who’s seen old/worn Magpul mags with splits down the spine spit out one or more live rounds when knocked? If the sig mags have feed lip issues a double ejection sounds entirely plausible, I think I’ve even seen that before with really old BHP mags just before the pistol went out of service.

    Anyway, great read, brilliant article. Glad to see the US finally getting on with using HPs, certainly makes sense in sidearms in particular.

    • tremis says:

      Apples and Oranges. Those old Pmags are designed to feed from the right and then the left and back and forth and on and on. The rounds are stored side by side and fed that way. That pistol mag feeds from the center of the mag. The rounds are stored side by side and fed after they’ve been funneled into a single point. If the feed lips opened enough to let a second round out they should be so wide they would never hold anything in.

      • TheFull9 says:

        I’m fully aware how a double stack. double feed mag works let me reassure you, but thanks anyway for the refresh.

        I disagree entirely because if the central position/single feed lips are only just tight enough to hold the top round then happen to be momentarily flexing open wider than they should for whatever, maybe under recoil, then a live round could well fly out the top of the gun at the time the fired brass held by the extractor also gets ejected.

        • tremis says:

          I’ve heard wilder theories than steel stretching out under recoil to let one extra one out but timed to snap back to original shape to prevent the one below that from coming out with it.

          It’s still a bit more than I’m willing to believe based off of some random dudes description of a problem that he invented a name for and nobody in the industry can understand what he’s describing from his self titled malfunction type.

          When an SME replicates it, I’ll start believing.

  8. Horshack says:

    My TL rocks a SigSour pistol on ops. Its from the 70’s and has a ton of knock down power! He said he bought it in Germany when he was on an assignment. It cuts threw phone books at the range! He needs a new holseter for it tho. Any one know a good holser for a Sig?

  9. Bradkaf308 says:

    Slightly off topic, new P250. Does anyone have experience with it? Saw it at a good price, thinking of getting it.

  10. jose gordon says:

    My view…after having received and read the report last week. Simply because the term “double ejections” is not generally known – “I even approached several individuals with extensive experience in Army pistol marksmanship and they were also unfamiliar with the term.” – it does not mean the problem doesn’t exist or isn’t clearly defined. Further, this statement: “Semi-Auto pistol’s don’t work that way, it’s a physical impossibility.” – is not an accurate statement. Mechanical things work ways that are unexpected because they are man-made. A more appropriate statement might be “Semi-Auto pistol’s AREN’T DESIGNED to work that way, therefore, it’s hard to understand the problem.” That being said, as long as I’ve been involved in weapons shooting/RDT&E, unless the problem directly relates to Newton’s 3 laws of physics there are no physical impossibilities. In addition, this isn’t a safety issue so PEO-S saying that the weapon is safe to use is irrelevant. This is a mechanical reliability issue…just my thoughts…

  11. jose gordon says:

    OK…stop…DOT&E says it happened…does it matter whether or not I personally observed it? So please…if you haven’t personally seen, does that mean the problem DOESN’T exist??? How much formal testing have you observed or been involved with regarding firearms. I’ve seen everything you think can’t happen happen and things that were previous “physical impossibilities” defy the laws of physics. in fact everything I’ve seen happen may not have pre-existed or had a “problem” associated with it. Gun malfunctions are monikered by so called “experts” and therefore only a type 1,2 or 3 malfunction exists…right??? The comment regarding physical impossibilities needs to have a “physical” law it is violating associated with it…please cite me the ‘PHYSICAL it is violating with this specific problem…IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I ain’t a scientist or engineer so please keep that in mind!

    • SSD says:

      Actually, DOT&E punted and referred me to the Army because they just put in their report what Army told them. The Army observed something.

      You can’t prove something doesn’t exist. To eject a spent case as well as a live round and not experience a stovepipe is extremely improbable. But, odds are very high that they are actually observing a common malfunction but doing a poor job of describing it. You can, and should, eliminate made up terminology. This is made up. It is not in use prior to this report.

      If the Army has an issue with the weapon it should do a better job of characterizing it.

  12. Ron Taylor says:

    Who complains about 1923 shots between a stoppage with the combat bullets and 343 shots between a stoppage with the training bullets? I can’t wait for them to replace my M9 with one of these. I get about two stoppages per magazine when I’m lucky.

  13. I’ve seen something along the lines of a “double-ejection” occur in a M1911 with a weak magazine spring. During recoil, the last round in the magazine slipped forward due to inertia. The slide would lock open and the loose round would be found sitting on top of the magazine feed lips. On occasion, it would even be flipped backwards.

  14. jose gordon says:

    “To eject a spent case as well as a live round and not experience a stovepipe is extremely improbable.” You just described an incident which has no physical law limitations. On the surface, if the magazine spring tension was imbalanced and the magazine feed lip tension were out of spec, and not properly timed with the slide unlocking and returning into battery, I could envision a situation where the incoming round might follow a spent case – why? Because the incoming round isn’t chambered yet and is using momentum (Newton’s 1st Law – an object in motion tends to stay in motion until acted upon by another force: in this case acted upon the feed shoulder of the slide) created by spring tension to enter the chamber. But in this case, because the feed lips may be out of spec and the spring tension is off, the incoming round continues on the path of least resistance (no action upon it’s momentum by the slide feed shoulder) and leaves through the ejection port…I say again…I’m not an engineer or a scientist…

  15. CT Yank says:

    As always, a great job reporting and a

  16. CT Yank says:

    An informed comments. Unfortunately as someone watching the litigation in CT and having first hand experience with the firearm, I do not believe it was properly tested ahead of time. We also saw serious design flaws ahead of time and brought it to their attention. Sig did nothing to alter the design to make the firearm function properly and safely for both civilians, le, and military. Not to go into much detail, peruse the issues outlined in the litigation and you will see Sig went out to market with a pistol they knew had issues. Shame on Sig. And no, I do not have an account to grind against Sig. Been a big fan and owner of many of their pistols until now.

    • Pete says:

      Spot on.
      The P320/XM17 is full of innovation and may be a worthy design in time. In the specific case here, the Army-led procurement is deploying an undertested and inadequate weapon system. Not the first time.

      SIG seems to be presenting a case that we knew we were dangerously defective but since we didn’t get caught big enough, we’re going to keep half-assing until we get job offer from VW or GM. I am not fighting the capitalist system here, just a craptacular, underbid pistol procurement where this did not need to happen. The Services wanted a COTS solution and they picked an R&D project instead.

      On the civil side of the P320, the evidence points to tabbed triggers being advertised and then quietly never shipped. That reeks of a reasonable safety engineering decision sidelined to a poor marketing decision. Handguns are a safety sensitive system that needs weigh engineering risk. A company that misses that memo is going to needlessly compromise their product, often with serious downrange results.

      Like CT Yankee, I unloaded my last SIG recently. The legacy designs weren’t that great and the market for SIGs has peaked. Loss of user confidence is the price of a corporate culture out of touch with the end user.

      • jose gordon says:

        Very well put…the design might be nice but the it is “unseasoned”. I’m not even a Glock fan but I can firmly say that the design has survived the crucible and enjoys the benefit of longevity and the endorsement of the most elite Service End Users…the M17 program flies in the face of common sense (as does almost every Army W&TCV program) and is suffering from the arrogance of PM-IW who seems to make every same mistake through the hubris of their own engorged lack of expertise and inability to place the right people in the right job…they are plagued with the wrong people in the right job…until they solve that problem, PM-SW and consequently POE-S will forever suffer the consequences of their hubris…

        • Bill Brandon says:

          I like Glock, I’ve carried a 22, they are solid but there is ZERO innovation. Slapping an ambi thumb safety on something that really hasn’t changed since 1982 to meet the MHS testing requirements is like my daughter would say, lame.

          The MHS was looking for certain criteria and Glock didn’t have it.

          • Surly Old Sergeant says:

            The purpose of a military procurement of a weapon is NOT to be “innovative.” Do that on your own dime.

            The Army is supposed to be buying weapons that can — reliably — make holes in our enemies.

    • Tim Baker says:

      SIG MET all applicable safety standards. It became an issue when some YouTubers decided to run the gun through insane torture testing that would set any striker fired pistol off.

      Drop a Glock from higher and higher elevations and see what happens.

  17. CT Yank says:

    It’s no surprise NSW/SEALs moved onto to GLocks for a multitude of reasons…size, weight, operability in harsh conditions, etc. But what the hell do I know, my go to carry gun is still Browning’s venerable 100+ year old 1911.

  18. Tcba_joe says:

    More like they were already in the system and cheap to free. They also filed the role of 2 different pistols at half the price of 1.

    When the P320 can be provided “free” to SOCOM elements from their patent service you’ll see “units who use glock” become units that use P320s. Just like happened with the M4 and the SCAR.

    • jose gordon says:

      No…sorry…you’re mis-informed. That’s not how the acquisition system works even/especially on the SOF side. So regardless of what you think you know, the M17 may make it into the SOF menu but but the way you think it will or the reason you think it might…

    • SSD says:

      All USASOC units will be issued MHS to replace their M9s on the MTOE. However, I doubt that will displace the Glocks anytime soon. The command is very happy with their performance.

      • jose gordon says:

        USASOC is the Army component of SOCOM. The individual Tcba_joe cited: “provided “free” to SOCOM elements from their patent service”, i took that to mean NSW, AFSOC, USMC and USASOC as well. That’s why I said “it’s not how the acquisition system works.” The army is exchanging the M17/18 one for one for every M9 in the system. The other Services have expressed an interest but haven’t signed up for a 1 for 1 exchange of their requisite M9’s. In addition, as was stated by SSD, although USASOC will replace their M9 with the M17/18, that won’t have an effect on their G19 program. I spoke to USASOC G-8 at SHOT specifically about this and was told by their NCOIC this exact thing…

  19. Bill Brandon says:

    Great article, well thought out and well presented.

    Almost every, if not every, weapons system has had teething problems. Some more than others. Look at the M1 Garand, M14, M9, M249, etc, etc. They all had problems and they eventually got worked out.

    What most people don’t realize in a military weapons contract is that it allows for changes to be made on the fly. If difficulties arise during the actual field use of a weapon the military can go back to the manufacturer and demand changes. Also if something can be improved upon the military can tell the manufacturer to make the change.

    The big bugs get worked out during the testing phase. The smaller bugs, or the ones visible only in the long term, get ironed out in the field.

  20. it s alive says:

    Of course tbe army would stand behind this pos hand gun. The political clout and the army leadership wanted this pos over the glock.

    • SSD says:

      So the Army leadership wanted the Glock, but the Army bought the SIG?

      • jose gordon says:

        It’s alive: you’re mistaken…in addition, the M17 ISN’T A POS!!! So lets keep things in perspective. Bottom line: There are issues. This one may be serious. It can be fixed…that being said, it could have been avoided with a program conducting due diligence, and properly and professionally inviting people to the program to offer “operational advice’ who are professional, have a wealth of knowledge and experience and continue to provide operational insight to the Army and Joint Forces. That was offered and the response was…”we have all the help we need”…

    • Bill Brandon says:

      Soooo, why exactly would the Army pick the P320 if it’s, in your words, a POS?

      Looking at all the test data that is publicly available the Glock failed to meet the requirements and the P320 met them. So why wouldn’t the Army go with the P320?

      Is your butthurt due to you being a Glock fanboy and you didn’t get your way? I owned and carried a Glock 22 for over 15 years. I thought it was the most awesome gun ever until I got a P320 full size last year. Now the Glock is in my safe.

      So yes, I own both, I like both, but I think the P320 is much better.

    • Tim Baker says:

      You got any FACTS to put behind that whining??

  21. Gary Roberts says:

    Interesting title: “Modular Handgun System – Things Aren’t As Bad As The DOT&E Report Implies”.

    Actually they are far worse than reported.

    I would strongly listen to Jose Gordon. The MHS program was fraught with problems caused by the Army–especially when contrasted with comprehensive, correctly conducted FBI pistol and ammunition testing.

    • SSD says:

      So what your saying is that Jose Gordon is going to go on record to blow the lid of this thing and tell the world how the Army cheated in favor of SIG during testing?

      • jose gordon says:

        I think Gary is suggesting that the MHS program was not well run…I would have to agree. I will say that what I said above about PEO-S/PM-SW and IW holds true. I’ve seen this movie so many times before and lived their adventure. It’s the same players and actors, making the same bad acquisition strategies which results in a less than proven design…nothing more…the question you – SSD – have to ask is why?

        • SSD says:

          I have yet to see a text book procurement. The problem with this one is that so many are emotionally tied to the weapon that lost that they are grasping at straws to undermine the MHS program.

          We’ve seen what Glock put forward and it was hardly their best work. From the beginning, SIG worked to offer a solution which answered the requirement.

          I long ago stopped wringing my hands over the Acquisition of brand names by DoD. Rarely do they choose the item which I believe is best.

          Instead, I am concerned that the item meets the requirement, the Govt follows the FAR, the Govt doesn’t steal IP, the Govt doesn’t waste taxpayer money.

          So far, MHS meets these guidelines.

          • jose gordon says:

            SSD…seriously…are you trying to keep your good standing with PEO-S? If you are to be an honest broker, your own statement above – “I have yet to see a text book procurement.” – is incongruent with your thesis for this website. After your years involved in this industry I can’t believe you’d betray your own principles and imply your own bias. In addition, when you say ;”We’ve seen what Glock put forward and it was hardly their best work.” What exactly do you mean by that? The Glock 9mm 17/19/26/34 family of weapons has a long standing and well built and founded reputation. I myself, am not a Glock fan. I historically have issues mechanically manipulating the gun and don’t shoot it as well as I do other pistols. That being said, my comments refer to the program, not the product selected. You’re inferring the MHS program selected the best offering. I am arguing that we don’t know that because the program was flawed. Your implication that you have yet to see a perfectly run acquisition program is a non-argument. Programs can be well run without being perfect…this one lacks that. Remember, I was involved from the beginning (starting with the requirement) and then reviewing the “user evaluation”. This program was left wanting…

            • SSD says:

              I just call them like I see them. If you have actual evidence of malfeasance or other improper behavior on the part of the acquisition community then you’re going to have to spell it out. So far, you’ve implied misconduct. Now, tell us what it is, if it’s there.

              On several occasions I’ve been quite vocal about impropriety on the part of the government, but I haven’t seen any here.

              I’ll tell you exactly what I mean by my statement regarding the G19X, they dialed it in. They could have done a better job of answering the solicitation but they didn’t, for whatever reason. In fact, the Source Selection Decision Document shows that the government evaluated the SIG proposal as a better value.

              IMG_6398

              Furthermore, the GAO report puts these arguments to bed. https://www.gao.gov/assets/690/685461.pdf

              Whether any of us like it or not, the Army is fielding the SIG pistol. The Army isn’t going to drop everything and start buying Glocks, as so many would like to see. No complaints online are going to change that. It’s the gun equivalent of Clinton supporters believing that President Trump will be impeached and miraculously she will become President in his place.

              • jose gordon says:

                SSD…please enlighten me…I cited you…tell me where I’ve “implied misconduct”…quotes please.

                • SSD says:

                  Here:

                  It’s the same players and actors, making the same bad acquisition strategies which results in a less than proven design…nothing more…the question you – SSD – have to ask is why?

                  • jose gordon says:

                    “It’s the same players and actors, making the same bad acquisition strategies which results in a less than proven design…nothing more…the question you – SSD – have to ask is why?” WHAT INFERENCE OF MALFEASANCE IS IN THAT STATEMENT??? INCOMPETENCE MAYBE…but not malfeasance…Eric…I call that really bad form and irresponsible. You know better than to do that. This blog enjoys a certain credibility. Please don’t fall prey to the “headiness of access” and taint this site with main stream press like inaccuracies or inventions…

                    • SSD says:

                      Don’t ever accuse me of not holding the government accountable. I’ve said nothing about this program that isn’t based on the government’s own information.

                      If you’re saying they’re incompetent then say it, but don’t play word games because when you do, you open your words up to interpretation.

  22. Gary Roberts says:

    Concur with Jose. Look closely at the FBI vs. the Army pistol acquisition–both done under FAR. It is not the vendors; it is the Army Program management and implementation that was grossly flawed…

  23. jose gordon says:

    SSD…the SSDD you provide above reinforces my point. The overall deference in all Soldier programs is to go to the “Soldier”. The only class Sig won over on was – license rights, production and manufacturing and price…ALL BOTTOM of the acquisition decision strategy and devoid of “Soldier Input”…in this source selection, the deference was paid to the subjective, not the objective…this SSDD fully illustrates that point!

    • SSD says:

      I go back to my earlier points.

      Did the weapon meet the requirement?
      Did the Govt waste money?
      Did the Govt follow the FAR?
      Did the Govt steal IP?

      If the answers are yes, no, yes, no, then it doesn’t matter what brand it is. Compared to the armor and helmet programs stalled right now due to FAT issues, this program is a paragon of success.

      You might not like the program, but it’s an improvement over the M9.

      • jose gordon says:

        Eric…my answer to your questions:

        1) Both Weapons met the requirement
        2) Do you honestly know what the gov’t spent their acquisition strategy on
        3) Yes
        4) What does that have to do with anything?

        • SSD says:

          So the Army didn’t spend money on purchasing MHS? What did they spend it on? You keep insinuating that something untoward is going on.

          What difference does question four make? In this case, none, but we both know of several programs where industry’s IP has been appropriated.

  24. HeliosRisk says:

    Could the double ejection be caused by premature failure of the magazine feed lips? The resultant double ejection would then be explainable by the magazine spring tension being enough to throw the second round or during the ejection sequence. Might also explain why they don’t seem overly concerned ass new magazines could fix the issue Just a thought….

    • SSD says:

      It could be except that the guns and magazine lbs are brand new.

    • jose gordon says:

      HeliosRisk: Please read my comment in specific I entered on 3 Feb – I already described that in detail here: “On the surface, if the magazine spring tension was imbalanced and the magazine feed lip tension were out of spec, and not properly timed with the slide unlocking and returning into battery, I could envision a situation where the incoming round might follow a spent case – why? Because the incoming round isn’t chambered yet and is using momentum (Newton’s 1st Law – an object in motion tends to stay in motion until acted upon by another force: in this case acted upon the feed shoulder of the slide) created by spring tension to enter the chamber. But in this case, because the feed lips may be out of spec and the spring tension is off, the incoming round continues on the path of least resistance (no action upon it’s momentum by the slide feed shoulder) and leaves through the ejection port…I say again…I’m not an engineer or a scientist…

  25. Stickman says:

    E,

    The only time I’ve personally seen a malfunction as described is with a damaged magazine. ALL instructors present immediately recognized the issue and the mag was pulled. This is not a weapon issue, it is a magazine issue.

    My apologies if other instructors or SMEs have already brought this up, I did not read through the above comments.

    Missed you at SHOT, we will have to grab a drink or coffee next year and catch up.

  26. Petro says:

    I keep hearing that the testing program was flawed. Without evidence how do you know that? Unless you were involved in the testing or have a “inside” guy.
    Frankly what the FBI did on their pistol testing is irrelevant to this solicitation. If you have evidence break the story on SSD it will be a good read!

    • jose gordon says:

      The results betray your accusation….period…the end! You don’t need to be “involved in the testing” to read the DOT&E assessment to see there are fleas in the “program”. The “evidence” is in DOT&E’s own words…

      • Petro says:

        I haven’t made any accusations? You seem to have some based on your opinion of the report. Unfortunately opinions don’t prove anything…period…the end!

        • jose gordon says:

          I see your point…you didn’t accuse anyone. Sorry…I do have an opinion regarding the report…as do others on this thread. So I guess opinions don’t matter unless they prove something?

          • Petro says:

            My opinion is that they should have just continued to buy glocks

            • jose gordon says:

              My opinion is they should have obligated funds into en existing program which was funded by USASOC and had money on the contract to continue their initiatives…now we have 2 different pistol programs with different fund lines all going to the same conclusion…IT’S A PISTOL…this whole program flies in the face of being good stewards of the governments money…thats my opinion!!!

              • Masculinist says:

                Eric and Jose,
                Both of you make some great points about the m17 mhs, and this was a good thread…
                As Jose said, the m17 isn’t a POS, and I think we’ll see significantly fewer stoppages with training on the proper grip technique for the m17/m18. I also think the magazine issues will be worked out if they haven’t already, and the ball ammo problems may be ammo spec related, no?
                I wouldn’t be surprised if a year from now the m17 is well respected, and I’m guessing that in 3-5 years half of CAG/Delta, SF, Devgru/NSW, and Marsoc are using the platform by choice.
                Call me an optimist!
                Thoughts? Thanks.

  27. jose gordon says:

    Who’s that hiding behind the “Baker Squadron”moniker…be a man and just voice up…

  28. jose gordon says:

    Masculinist…I have to agree with you. The M17 Pistol is a great offering. It is young and therefore a nightmare for a “program”. That being said, the issues – if there are some -can be worked out I think and then will overshadow any fleas. My problem has always been with how MCoE and PEO-S ran this…they had an opportunity to rapidly arrive at a proven system, but they opted instead to go down another bumpy road…and I’m not even a Glock fan!!!