LAS VEGAS — The makers of the Army’s new handgun on Sunday showcased the weapon with features that have not yet been fielded to soldiers.
Sig Sauer showed off a suppressor and a top-mounted, open-reflex sight during a media event leading up to this year’s SHOT Show, an annual shooting, hunting and outdoor trade show.
The two features are expected to be used by special operations forces or for special missions, though the sight may take longer to adopt, based on a November information session at the Army’s Program Executive Officer Soldier at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
The M17, or the military version of Sig Sauer’s P320 pistol chambered in 9mm, was selected a year ago this month by the Army and other services to replace the Beretta-made M9.
Some of the integral features of the handgun that helped it win the contract are the upper receiver base plate that allows for mounting the reflex sight and the ability to add a suppressor.
Sig beat several of its competitors, including Glock, for the 10-year, $580 million contract to produce more than 200,000 pistols for the Army.
On Sunday, during the invitation-only range day, the company also showcased several of its pistols, rifles and carbines.
The Army’s M17 pistol is part of a larger “Modular Handgun System,” which includes upgraded ball and hollow point ammunition, a first for regular forces, and a hard-plastic holster.
The M17 was first fielded to the 101st Airborne Division late last year.
Later this year, Sig plans to sell to the public a limited number of the Army’s version of the handgun, which features a better trigger and other features.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.