Soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, will be the first to receive the Army's new Sig Sauer-made handguns.
Lt. Col. Steven Power, product manager of Soldier Weapons for Program Executive Office Soldier, told attendees at the National Defense Industrial Association's armament symposium Wednesday morning that the recently approved congressional budget gave the Army a better idea on scheduling fielding of the handgun.
"The latest budget was our first real knowledge of procurement dollars, which will adjust fielding schedules," Power said. "However, we will definitely field Fort Campbell this year."
Other units at Fort Campbell will also receive the handgun, but Power did not provide specifics. Every sidearm-carrying soldier will eventually see the Modular Handgun as units become available, depending on funding priorities.
The Army in January announced it had selected Sig Sauer's version of the Modular Handgun System to replace the M9 Beretta, which has been the Army's pistol of choice for more than 30 years.
Sig Sauer beat out companies such as Smith & Wesson, Beretta and Glock for the contract worth up to $580 million. The contract includes firearms, accessories and ammunition to be delivered over 10 years.
The new handguns will be a variant of Sig Sauer's P320, a polymer striker-fired pistol. The P320 is the first modular pistol with interchangeable grip modules that can also be adjusted in frame size and caliber. All pistols also will be configurable to receive silencers and have standard and extended capacity magazines.
The handgun can be adapted to shoot 9 mm, .357 SIG and .40 S&W ammunition, according to Sig Sauer. The Army has opted to stick with the 9 mm, and it also has chosen the full size and compact P320.
In February, Glock filed a protest with the government over the Army's award of the contract to Sig Sauer. But the move, because of the timing of when the protest was filed, did not put on hold the Army's plans to begin testing the Modular Handgun System, officials said.
Army Materiel Command's protest litigation branch is defending against Glock's protest. A decision from the Government Accountability Office is expected in June.