MHS Request For Proposal To Be Released By End of Month?

In the second half of June, we reported that the Army had released a new second draft of the request for proposal (RFP) for the new MHS handgun, now called “XM17”, slated to replace the M9 handgun made by Beretta that has been in use since the 1980s. The latest news on the grapevine is that the Army will release the finalized RFP before the end of the month. Defense Media Network has the full story, part of which is replicated below:

After a series of preliminary delays, the U.S. Army’s “on again/off again” Modular Handgun System appears to be moving toward release of a formal request for proposals. Recent announcements note that the program, which is now designated as the “XM17 Modular Handgun System,” anticipates RFP release on or about July 31, 2015.

As outlined in early requests for industry feedback, the Army envisions that the XM17 “will replace the existing family of handguns in Army inventory, leverage commercial technology to mitigate gaps and shortcomings in presently fielded weapons, and counter current and emerging threats.”

A draft solicitation for the new system was released in late September of last year, with industry input further supported through multiple industry day events.

In projecting the formal RFP release on July 31, the most recent announcement describes the planned XM17 procurement as “a Full & Open Competition (F&OC) acquisition seeking a system solution that will provide Warfighters with a best-value system that features increased lethality, increased accuracy, improved ergonomics, and a higher degree of reliability/durability over legacy handgun systems.”

The result was an estimated release date for the formal proposal on or about Jan. 2, 2015, with the expectation that “MHS” would be highlighted in several industry exhibits during the January 2015 “SHOT Show” in Las Vegas. And, while SHOT did spotlight a few interesting military handgun designs – including systems like the Beretta M9A3 – the Army clearly missed their planned solicitation release.


The Army clarified their planning calendar during the second day of SHOT (Jan. 21) with an announcement that the RFP release “would not occur in January 2015” after all and that “Release of the RFP is hereby delayed until further notice in order to allow for improvements to the RFP as a result of feedback received from Industry.”

The spring saw the release of more responses to industry day questions, with another industry day event (the fourth) slated for early July. In addition, in early June the Army released a “Draft RFP #2” that reflects “requirement and source selection updates inclusive of, but not limited to industry feedback.”

In projecting the formal RFP release on July 31, the most recent announcement describes the planned XM17 procurement as “a Full & Open Competition (F&OC) acquisition seeking a system solution that will provide Warfighters with a best-value system that features increased lethality, increased accuracy, improved ergonomics, and a higher degree of reliability/durability over legacy handgun systems.”

Please do click through and read the whole thing.

Expected contestants for the MHS/XM17 are Beretta with the APX striker-fired handgun, Heckler & Koch with the VP9 and/or VP40, a variant of the S&W M&P, and SIG’s P320 modular handgun. Glock, Ruger, and Walther may also enter, the latter having a foothold with their Fort Smith, AR location (which is a corporate headquarters and .22 caliber handgun manufacturing plant shared with Umarex). The winning M17 pistol is expected to be adopted and a contract awarded by 2018.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Joshua

    Fingers crossed Glock pulls it off.

    • G0rdon_Fr33man

      Here´s to hoping the Norwegian Army replaces the G17 (designated P80) with spankin´ new VP9s…

      • MNOR

        My unit(norwegian) just got brand new glock 17’s a couple of months ago. You know cause we needed brand spankin new glocks since the ones that are Issued glocks are going to transition to MP7’s sometime this fall. #militarylogic

  • LH

    XM17? Looks like they want it to be a Glock really badly.

    • Tom

      As I recall Glock refused to take part in the 80s trials which saw the adoption of the M9 as they did not want to release proprietary information to the US Gov. Things may have changed (its not like polymer framed handguns are not 10 a penny now).

      • El Duderino

        No second strike, no visible hammer, no manual safety. Wasn’t even in the running.

        • Adam Skrzypczak

          Why is 2nd strike important? If it didn’t shoot the first time, it’s probably defective.

          • El Duderino

            Never said it was important, it’s just what was in the requirements.

          • Adam Skrzypczak

            I don’t think that;s an MHS requirement. If so, P320, S&W, and Beretta APX are non-starters.

          • Giolli Joker

            ’80s requirements.

          • El Duderino

            Yes, thank you…

          • CommonSense23

            Actually had a situation were 2nd strike came up. Gun would only fire in double action. Had to do with gun being pretty much sand blasted though.

    • The Stig

      I really want the glock too.

      • Mike

        The British Army just adopted the Glock 17.

        • Muchas Mujeres

          But really if Glock wants that Army contract how hard would it be to put a freagin man safety, for the sole purpose of satisfying the specs. And make it a military only version of the G17. From what Ive read such gun already exist in Europe and Asian Mil and Police units It certainly wouldnt hurt Glock sales not to mention ensure its place in US military small arms history.

  • Rich Guy

    I think the Sig is going to get it.

    Odd no FNX as it did so well during the last trails.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      If FNH would upgrade the FNX/FNP with a SIG-like fire control chassis then it would really be a top contender. If not, the SIG 350 is most likely to be selected.

      • Giolli Joker

        Even the Beretta APX has the same fire control chassis (indeed already employed on Pico and Nano) therefore it might be again a game between SIG and Beretta.

  • Bill

    Even if it actually happens, the only thing that I am 100% sure of is that 90% of the military will be dissatisfied, and 95% of the non-military.

  • Joe

    I’m glad there are no shortage of offerings.

    We’ve come a long way since the 80’s trials.

    • El Duderino

      Yet there’s no substantial change. It’ll still be a double stack 9mm. On the battlefield there’s no significant difference between an M9 and anything available today in 9×19. Brown paint and striker ignition doesn’t mean squat on the receiving end.

      • Joe

        I have to disagree about the definition of substantial.
        -Lower cost: polymer handguns are generally cheaper than metal frame guns.
        -Lower weight: polymer handguns are lighter, and every ounce counts
        -Smaller/adaptable grip: lack of a metal backstrap or grip panels allow for a more secure hold and better control
        -Consistent trigger: repeatable pull weight and stroke length allow for simpler manipulation of the weapon

        • El Duderino

          Lower cost doesn’t make the bad guy more alive or dead.

          Lower weight…it’s a very small savings.

          Grips: There are legions of competitive shooters with 1911s that would love to disagree with you. If you hold on tight and correctly it doesn’t matter.

          Trigger: Won’t amount to a hill of beans in combat.

          I did a lot of M9 shooting and I am not in love with the design. When it came time to spend my own money I bought SIGs and Glocks. Through this I realized that while the M9 is unnecessarily big and thick-gripped, it’s fine for its purpose. Remember — this is the military. They have 155mm howitzers, 500lb Mk82 bombs, M2HBs, Mk19s, Hellfire missiles, MLRS, etc. Stuff that actually does damage and kills bad guys. If the US Military was a garage, the M9 would be the toddler’s tricycle in the back corner. It’s just not that big of a deal in the grand scheme, yet we ruminate about it like changing from one 9mm to another will be some dramatic improvement.

          • Robert Kalani Foxworthy

            Millitary should go 40 s&w. they can simple change the slides on existing 1911, M9, or what model that sig. I love field striping the m9 its so easy.

  • If the Walther PPQ won that would be a glorious surprise.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      I gave up on that gun because Walther can’t get their stuff together for the U.S. Consumer market let alone a military order.

      • Nashvone

        I wonder if their distribution “problems” are self made. Kind of like OPEC, limit the supply and you can ask a higher price for what does make it to the consumer.

  • Henry W

    90% odds it’ll be 9mm. Especially after the Army announced that they’ll allow hollow points, the ability to use NATO ammo if needed will trump any other factor with ammo choice.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      I think you’re about 10% off on your guess 😉

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Naming the new pistol the XM17 makes it all but a certainty it will be 9MM and with the news of JHP ammo, it becomes a guarantee.

  • Uniform223

    I don’t believe big US Army will go for striker fire pistols… gonna bet there would be too many negligent discharges. Personally I think the new pistol should be the Hk45 compact.

    • CommonSense23

      Highly doubt that is going to happen. Even the units that have the HK45C rarely carry them, preferring something smaller.

      • Massan

        I think your getting the HK45c and the MK23 mixed up.

        • CommonSense23

          Nope, the HK45C is the MK24, the replacement of the MK23.

          • Massan

            Yes, I was referencing the size. The 45c is still smaller than the standard P226 used by the SEALs and I fail to see why they would opt for something even smaller as a sidearm in typical usage(considering most of the time its with a Tirant 45s and CTC attached) unless your talking in civvies, which in that case something more concealable would make sense.

          • CommonSense23

            Even if we compare the 226 to the MK24, which they do have roughly similar sizes, if you are running the 20 round mag for 226. You got a pistol that has double the capacity, which puts the favor back into the 226. And most guys who have the option of running any side arm they want go small. 229s,239s, 19s are all pretty popular cause of their size.

      • Joshua

        Who doesn’t love a boat anchor for a side arm? Honestly as much as I want the Glock to get adopted I have a feeling it will be the M9A3, despite what the Army has said.

        And honestly I am fine with that. The M9A3 seems like a nice gun and since they got the gen 3 locking blocks out there the issues of them breaking is fixed for the most part.

        • Uniform223

          I would like the M9A3 more if they would have TAKEN THE DAMN SAFETY OFF THE FRACKING SLIDE. That is just my biggest and most hated ding on the M9. Though I guess you would be correct. The M9A3 would be the quickest and cheapest alternative.

          • Joshua

            At least it is angled differently so you cant accidentally engage it when racking the slide.

          • Uniform223

            That is why I always liked the USP. The Magazine release is easy to use and the safety is very 1911ish which is right up my alley.

    • Grindstone50k

      True. All the brass is crying about all the mythical NDs if recruiters were allowed to be armed.

      Wouldn’t bet on the HK45c, though.

  • HKGuns

    Looks to me like the dude in the picture is rocking an HK. I wonder if that is a tip off?

    • Pliskin

      Thats a p226..

      • HKguns

        You’re right. Thanks for the correction.

  • Lance

    That’s if a new handgun is selected. Remember 10 year ago Joint Combat Pistol: JCP had all the same hype but was killed just before a winner was selected. H&K was the suspected winner. ICC went the same and was killed in last stages of testing. Face it we may end up with the M-9A3 in the end anyway since Sequestration is coming for another round and Obama’s going to let it happen. there no money in the end for a 9mm (Yes it’ll be another 9mm because of NATO) to replace another 9mm it makes no economic sense and while a G-17 is a great pistol it isn’t a giant leap in order to be logic for a replacement. SO while most of you day dream of your personal pick being added it may be all window dressing again. face it Army logic and procurement is broken and has been since the 1990s.

    • tts

      Since the 90’s?! Since EVER.

    • tts

      The problem with military spending isn’t that the military don’t have enough money. Its that the military wastes so much of it.

      The sequestration’s effects have been fairly minor too and are arguably still a funding increase since the cuts they institute are only factored in after many inflation adjustments and exemptions. I think it worked out to a roughly $110 billion increase over a 10yr period over the 2013 budget.

      Personally I’d rather have the money spent on more productive things than just going to the shitshow that is the F35 or some other half assed boondoggle like it.

    • Phil Hsueh

      I agree wholeheartedly, with the way Army programs have been going lately, this too is probably going to go nowhere and they’ll just end up adopting the M9A3 because it would simpler and cheaper to do so. Or, given the way they handled the whole camo improvement tests they’ll probably just end up dusting off the good ‘ol 1911 and call it a day.

  • Rc21

    The acceptance of JHP ammo is much more important than the weapon. The shooter being able to place a round on target requires training, and lots of it. Something not done in the conventional forces. Absent accuracy, a large double stack magazine is required. The M9 does that. Face it, we’re poor and will be so for some time. Use the money for training or giving a Private a couple of extra bucks every month.

  • John

    Just call it the Beretta M9A1+ and start installing those Wilson Combat short-reach triggers in each and every one. Watch people’s accuracy and comfort start magically climbing upward.

    I’d bet the Department of Defense was serious about getting a new pistol, until they heard about various third parties making triggers and other parts and turning mediocre stock guns into awesome 21st Century weapons.

  • Tom Currie

    “slated to replace the M9” might be a bit strong – this will be at least the fourth RFP for a new handgun since the M9 was adopted. Just because the Army asks for proposals, does not mean that they are about to adopt anything that gets proposed.

    • The plan is to adopt something to replace the M9. Now, the way Army procurement is, that might not happen, true, but that’s the intention. This isn’t just an exploratory program like IC was.

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  • Bal256

    I wouldn’t even try to guess what they’ll go for until I see some hard requirements. Are striker-fired guns even on the table?

  • john huscio

    Whatever happens (my moneys on Sig) I’m certain that we’ll get some awesome new pistols out of this process from some manufacturers

  • Herky-Bird

    XM17 the eagerly awaited sequel to XM9/XM10! 🙂 As a former crew-chief my preference was for a pistol over a rifle. Hopefully, the future pistol and cartridge combo has at least some armor-penetration ability a 100 meters.

  • El Duderino

    That has nothing to do with the pistol itself.