The Army on Wednesday formally pushed back release of a final solicitation to produce its new handgun.

Originally projected for a Jan. 2 release, the Army decided to delaythe Request for Proposals beyond January "to allow for improvements to the RFP as a result of feedback received from Industry," according to a notice posted on the government solicitation website FedBizOpps.

No date for future action was proposed, other than to say it would not occur in January. Despite the delay, the notice also reiterated commitment to the pending competition to produce the Modular Handgun System, which will include ammo and a holster as well as a pistol.

"The Army remains committed to the MHS program and ensuring that it is executed using full and open competition," the notice said.

The Army has been angling to replace the M9 Beretta handgun, the branch's official sidearm since 1985. It announced the MHS competition with a Request for Information from industry in January 2013. A draft solicitation was issued in September.

Beretta has pushed back. The gun-maker said the Army didn't formally share the problems that had emerged through numerous soldier complaints prior to 2013.

It proposed a new-and-improved M9A3 be switched in to the current contract, an upgrade separate from the competition. Beretta said the new model addresses most of the Army's concerns with the M9 and reasons for the MHS for less money.

That competition, according to the draft solicitation, will not require a specific caliber. Complaints about of the M9 include insufficient power of 9mm ammo., and the Army will consider a larger bullet such as the .40 - or .45 -caliber.

The FBI switched to .40 -caliber in 1986, but according to a new RFP released by the agency this summer it will switch back to 9mm.

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