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PEO Soldier Provides Modular Handgun System Program Update

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.

24 Responses to “PEO Soldier Provides Modular Handgun System Program Update”

  1. BAP45 says:

    Really hope this doesn’t turn into another ICC

  2. ninjaben says:

    I am hoping the next pistol, which could be something as awesomely simple as a Glock 22 with an aggressive grip surface, and a 40-9mm KKM barrel (caliber instead of grip modularity), doesn’t end up becoming the next Mk23.

    Our they could do modularity with different textured stipling, optional/adjustable sights, lights, optics, comps?, extra long slides or magwells…

    I hope caliber is preset in the requirement, and its 9mm or something cheap. I would hate to see an exotic caliber win and soldiers not have the rounds they need to train continuously.

    • joe says:

      Big army is loathe to break NATO interoperabily so 9mm is certain. I can’t really believe they’re serious about changing up a standard issue small arm after all the canceled programs. Eventually, you learn to stop trying to kick Lucy’s football…

    • LCSO264 says:

      The MK23 was exactly what the people managing the program asked for. That said, it is a huge beast, and I get what you are saying.

      Even though it is huge, it is damn near indistructable, and it along with the USP line, pioneered the dust cover rail/light interface that is now common on all (nearly all) modern handguns.

      • Toby says:

        I can say from experience that the MK23 is to much stuff wrapped up in one package. It was tip of the spear in its day but as we have found out there is a lot more that can be wrapped up in a smaller package. As for the NATO standard on ammo, my beloved Marine Corps did exactly what they needed to do and went with a purpose built fire arm. GOD bless them for doing the right thing NATO be damned. It still boils down to what you know you need.
        As for fire arms, Glock has a firm hold in SOF and I expect that the US Army will not follow suite as it would not be the logical choice given all the extra crap the fire arm will have to have(safeties and grips sizing). In response to said earlier statements about KKM barrels and other options. The Army is a massive animal and will not be able to handle or accommodate such options. That being said remember that DA regulations specify permanent modifications so buying a better barrel, recoil springs , and other options so long as they are drop in can be fine as long as your unit doesn’t make a stink about it. Hope this helps, as I see it I would expect Sig or S&W to take this. I could hope for FN but that is doubtful and Glock is right out do to the lack of external safety. Maybe Berretta can manage but even the PX4 might be a stretch against the previous manufactures. As for HK, their pricing is pretty high.

  3. Tirod says:

    95% chance the old M9’s are not released to the CMP for sales. They may go overseas, they might even get scrapped.

    Even with a new conservative administration.

    Another nail in the coffin for the CMP. “They” are doing everything they can to shut it down. No Korea Garands, ran out of M1 Carbines, and ground up all the 1911’s for scrap back in Clinton’s day.

    No guns, no sales. Close the doors and throw away the keys. The average Garand owner only regrets not upgrading, he’s happy he got his.

  4. bulldog76 says:

    Sig seems to have the the answer as of the moment

    • Common Sense says:

      Which model?

    • ninjaben says:

      Why is that? Their new striker fired meets the base requirements of grip size modularity, but its new, without an abundance of accessories, and I am not sure if its barrel height over grip will make out perform current striker fired pistols on the market, when shooting strings. (I do like that the serial number is on the trigger group. That way soldiers can buy a frame, stipple their frame the way they want/add mag well without touching the base pistol) Pretty much every ground component in USASOC has Glocks, and wants more glocks. They have already designed and built holster and lighting solutions around glocks. Actually service wide, CSOs in MARSOC run glocks, AFSOC has glocks, even the Navy has some glocks. Glocks even emerged victorious over custom 1911s/2011s as the combat pistol of choice. (Actually M&Ps as a similar striker fired pistol would be great as well)

      Often times the largest gripe from commands is constantly buying accessories for pistols. The combat ready Safariland 6354DO already exists…and its in OCP. There are also more sight choices/accessories for Glock Pistols, and they are easy to install.

      • bulldog76 says:

        glock will never win because it does not have an external safety and marsoc is using the M45 CQB from colt sooo um ya ………and yes sig striker fire meets all the needs as of the moment with its modularity in frame and caliber its gonna be hard to be beat

        • JSGlock34 says:

          Has a manual safety been specified? There seems to be an assumption that it will be, yet there is no history of a manual safety requirement in the most recent military service pistol competitions. It wasn’t specified for either the XM9 or XM11 competitions. The SIG P226 passed the M9 competition (no manual safety) and was beaten by Beretta on a cost basis. The SIG P228 was adopted as the M11 (no manual safety).

          Besides, if a safety was specified, Glock has produced manual safety versions for large customers.

        • Whitesands says:

          They use that crappy colt for all packages and quals… But you might want to know what your talking about before you try and make someone look dumb.. You might just go and shoot yourself in the foot, cause your quick on the trigger and out glocks ain’t got no safeties!

  5. rklk says:

    17 trillion dollars and counting… is there a real need for a new service pistol?

    • Sgt A says:

      There will come a point where a pistol older than the guy wielding it end up costing more to keep operational across the organization than just buying a new one that works better.

      In the grand cost of operating a military, having better small arms is a relatively small capital investment, and if done right can produce year on year savings over time.

      • DAN III says:

        You’re absolutely wrong there SGT A. If DoD had stayed with the 1911A1 it would have been less expensive to put new triggers and new barrels in them. Instead, they went the route of kissing the ass of NATO and took care of the Italians through the procurement of the Beretta. Also, we would have continued to use 45ACP instead of the 9mm. Again, a bowing to the foreigners who control what this nation and it’s DoD does.

        The good thing is it appears the Beretta will be gone. Hopefully, they’ll choose S&W M&P45. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

        Screw Beretta, SIG and Glock.

        • Rick says:

          And we would have had a ton of piece of shit 1911s that won’t work and no one can shoot with anyway.

          We can barely keep M9s running, no way a 1911 would handle the abuse.

        • Terry B. says:

          DAN III

          I love the M1911A1, own several and after using it for decades it is my personal “go to” gun of choice.

          But let’s not get too romantic about it. It is a hundred year old design and needs a lot more than “new triggers and new barrels” to be brought up to anything close to modern standards.

          And they certainly are not cheaper to maintain and sustain than more modern guns.

          I won’t even bother to take the bait on the 45 vs 9mm component of your argument. That has been beat to death here many times.

          Bottom line; if I were involved in the testing or procurement process for a new service pistol, I would not recommend considering a 1911 – even if we choose to readopt some version of 45 ammo.

    • mark says:

      Small arms are pretty small potatoes in terms of capital investment.

      Let’s say they bought 500,000 pistols at $500 each. That would be $250 million dollars.

      During the height of the Iraq war, Congressional funding averaged out to $280 million a day. The Littoral Combat Ship “Independence” costs $704 million. The F35 program is expected to exceed $1 Trillion.

      So, a bunch of modern handguns that will last for the next 20+ years seems to be a bargain by comparison.

  6. tcba_Joe says:

    Have the actual requirements been published yet?

  7. Joe Flowers says:

    Yeah, plenty of great “operators” (and 1911 gunsmiths) have said the 1911 is outdated and too finicky, and the HKs are too big for capacity (Vickers and Hackathorne both said all xthis).
    It’s true top units generally are using Glocks…like SFOD-D and the G22s–though every SME I’ve talked to about it is quick to point out that they ONLY use 165gr ammo, since I guess 180gr has led to issues….when you’re shooting over 50K rds a year).
    Because theyre made in the US, I’d hope S&W or Glock (many US made) could win. But Sig or FN wouldn’t surprise me.