The US Army will begin fielding the new Sig Sauer modular handguns in November following the successful trials this year.
The first new XM17 handguns are scheduled to be fielded to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in November. It will receive about 2,000 pistols.
The Army's versions of the Sig Sauer P320, the XM17 and XM18, have different ammunition requirements than the commercial 320 pistol, and are painted a different color. The P320 was released for commercial use three years ago.
Improved durability and adjustability over the M9, along with interchangeable grips that fit comfortably are among the features Soldiers can look forward to with the new pistol, said Lt. Col. Steven Power, product manager of Soldier Weapons.
The new handguns also have an external safety and self-illluminating sights for low-light conditions.
"A big reason why the modular handgun system is such a leap ahead in ergonomics is because of the modular hand grips, instead of just making a one size fits all," Power said. "The shooter will have a handgrip that fits their hand properly which does a lot to improve accuracy -- not only on the first shot but also on subsequent shots".
From November 2017 until September 2018, the new handguns will be fielded at a different post each month, except for March and April of 2018, according to the current plan.
Sig Sauer earned the $580 million contract to produce the weapons in January after winning the Army and Air Force's XM17 Modular Handgun Competition. The Army will continue to use 9mm rounds, subcontracted to ammunition manufacturer Winchester. Power said the Army did not have a preference to remain with the 9mm rounds, but rather used a systems approach to determine ammunition type.