The U.S. Army has announced that after 6 years of trials for 9 different handguns, they are choosing the modular striker fired SIG Sauer P320 to replace the 30 year old Beretta M9. The moniker that will be attached to the military version is”M17″, denoting the year it was adopted into service.
The SIG is revolutionary in that it is an interchangeable system of barrels, frames, and slides that revolve around a single trigger housing module. That trigger housing is the actual legally defined firearm.
For our army men, the fiberglass-reinforced polymer frames will come in 3 different sizes for the diverse hands out there (small, medium, and large), as well as frames for 2 different length barrels (full-size and compact) . If I’m not mistaken, 3 x 2 is 6. Have fun armorers.
The 320 pictured above is the compact commercial version which has a 3.9 inch barrel. The army will purchase the compact version along with the full-size, version which has a 4.7 inch barrel.
One difference between the current commercial version and the model(s) that the army will buy is an ambidextrous safety catch. The one pictured above has no safety.
Another interesting little facet is the fact that the caliber of barrel can be changed out in each pistol. The commercial versions currently offer barrels chambered in 9mm, .40S&W, and .357 SIG. Publications are now saying .45 ACP will be added for the M17.
Our servicemen have been voicing their opinion on the 9mm’s stopping power for awhile now. Hopefully the different caliber options will address some of that. I would imagine the 9mm will be the initial way they go, but with a modular system like this, they can change any time they want.
I actually looked at this gun for myself when it first came out. It is a great idea considering that the trigger assembly is the only thing that I would be given a background check for. The problem was, when I started to look at the overall price, I couldn’t justify the cost (it’s still a SIG). That being said, the fact that the government will be buying a butt-load of these, and that they are reporting the individual unit cost at $207, makes it much different.
I give the Army a thumbs up for this choice.