The US Army has confirmed that its new XM17 handgun is to be a 9 mm Sig Sauer model P320 and the contract allows the government to buy Sig Sauer's proposed XM1152 Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) and XM1153 Special Purpose (SP) ammunition and training rounds.
The long-running XM17 Modular Handgun System (MHS) contract, intended to replace legacy 9 mm M9 Beretta pistols, was awarded on 19 January with a total USD580.217 million maximum ceiling.
It is understood that Sig Sauer bested bids from Beretta, FN Herstal, and Glock, after Smith & Wesson and partner General Dynamics Ordnance Tactical Systems (GDOTS) had earlier been dropped from the programme. A total of nine bids were submitted, according to a separate Pentagon statement. The US Army declined to reveal the other bids.
The XM17 to be supplied by Sig Sauer "is 'Coyote Brown' in colour and has interchangeable hand grips and is ambidextrous, allowing the user to tailor the ergonomics to best fit their hands and optimise their performance," the army said in a 26 January emailed statement.
The MHS programme, which is expected to reach full-rate production in 2018, could result in buying between 280,000 and 500,000 weapons for the army, navy, air force, marines, and US Special Operations Command. The army has said it wants more than 280,000 handguns, including potentially about 7,000 compact versions of the handgun.
In the statement, the army said the USD580 million potential contract was "sufficient to procure army requirements, other service requirements, and potential Foreign Military Sales requirements", and allows for the procurement of handguns and ancillary components for up to 10 years and ammunition for up to 5 years.
Army officials expect the first handguns to be will be provided to units in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017 to participate in initial operational testing.
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