Half a decade into its search for a new handgun, the Army has chosen Sig Sauer's P320 as its new service pistol.
Here's what we know so far:
- The P320, released by Sig Sauer in 2014, is a polymer striker-fired pistol, according to a statement from the gunmaker.
- The new sidearm will replace the M9 Beretta, the Army’s pistol of choice for more than 30 years, according to an Army announcement Jan. 19.
- The P320 is the first modular pistol with interchangeable grip modules that can also be adjusted in frame size and caliber by the user.
- It can be adapted to shoot 9mm, .357 SIG and .40 S&W ammunition, according to Sig Sauer.
- Although neither the Army nor Sig Sauer announced which caliber the Army chose, media reports say the Army chose the 9mm version.
- Sig Sauer confirmed that the Army had selected both the full size and compact P320.
- Soldiers should start getting the new handguns this year, with all of the contract’s weapons delivered over a period of 10 years.
- All pistols will be configurable to receive silencers.
- The pistols will have standard and extended capacity magazines.
- The gun boasts a stainless steel frame that allows users to “change caliber, size and fit at will,” according to promotional material from Sig Sauer. It also has a “cleaner, crisper trigger reset, safe takedown and unprecedented modularity,” the company said.
- The pistols will be produced at Sig Sauer facilities in New Hampshire, the company said.
The Army first announced the competition for the Modular Handgun System back in 2011, but multiple delays left the most recent solicitation deadline at February of 2016.
Sig Sauer beat out companies such as Glock and Beretta for the $580 million contract, which includes firearms, accessories and ammunition.
As of Jan. 20, the Army had not provided any additional information on the contract or the weapon.
“We are both humbled and proud that the P320 was selected by the U.S. Army as its weapon of choice,” said Ron Cohen, president and CEO of Sig Sauer, in a statement. “Securing this contract is a testimony to Sig Sauer employees and their commitment to innovation, quality and manufacturing the most reliable firearms in the world.”
Army acquisition executive Steffanie Easter said she is “tremendously proud” of the Modular Handgun System team.
“By maximizing full and open competition across our industry partners, we have optimized private sector advancements in handguns, ammunition and magazines and the end result will ensure a decidedly superior weapon system for our warfighters," she said.