Half a decade into its search for a new handgun, the Army has chosen Sig Sauer's version of the Modular Handgun System, according to a Thursday announcement from the Army.

The new sidearm will replace the M9 Beretta, the Army's pistol of choice for more than 30 years.

"I am tremendously proud of the Modular Handgun System team," said Army acquisition executive Steffanie Easter in the release. "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."

The Army first announced the competition for the MHS back in 2011, but multiple delays left the most recent solicitation deadline at February of 2016.

Sig Sauer beat out Smith & Wesson, Beretta and Glock for the contract worth up to $580 million, which includes firearms, accessories and ammunition.

The Army did not immediately provide any additional information Thursday evening, including specifics on the weapon or the caliber of the round.

"As MHS moves forward into operational testing, the due diligence taken by all of the stakeholders will ensure a program that remains on-budget and on-schedule," Easter said.

After operational testing, the new pistol should be fielded this year, according to the release.

While the Beretta M9 has been the Army's pistol since 1985, the military uses other handguns, including Sig Sauers, particularly in special operations. Green Berets regularly use Glock 9mm pistols, and last year Marine Special Operations allowed use of the 9mm Glock 19. Navy SEALs generally use the Sig Sauer P226 and, on occasion, Heckler & Koch's .45-caliber HK45C.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.

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