REFUTED: New M17 Modular Handgun System Reportedly NOT Yet Accepted by All 4 Services

Image source: SIG Sauer

Earlier this month, TFB relayed a report first posted on’s KitUp! site about the 3 major non-Army services – Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force – all accepting the M17 as their next service handgun. However, thanks to the hard work of Matthew Moss writing for Task & Purpose, we now know that does not seem to be true. Matthew reports for T&P:

Not so fast, though. Task & Purpose asked representatives of the individual military branches about their plans to replace the venerable M9, and for the most part, they’re not yet on the same page as the Army.

Asked if the Marines intended to replace the M9 with the M17, a spokeswoman for the service told T&P, “No decision by the Marine Corps has been made.” She added that “the Marine Corps is looking at it, and has been involved in all testing, but we do not have a timeline yet for procurement.”

“The Navy plans to procure a Modular Handgun System through a multi-service contract,” a spokeswoman for the Navy’s Naval Sea System Command told T&P — but since the Army’s MHS contract is being contested, she couldn’t say when the Navy’s buy might actually happen; certainly not anytime soon.

The US Air Force did not respond to Task & Purpose’s request for a comment before publication.

With Glock contesting the MHS contract in court, and the SIG having been selected through an Army-driven trial, it isn’t entirely surprising that the other three services might not be ready to get on board.

At this point we’ve seen almost 13 years of effort from the Army towards selecting a new pistol, and with the Modular Handgun System selection, there finally seems to be light at the end of this tunnel. The effort to select a new handgun started with the Future Handgun System (FHS) program which was initiated on October 1, 2004 – the requirements for which fairly closely resembled those of MHS. In early 2005, SOCOM initiated the selection process for a new handgun for special operations forces, called the SOF Combat Pistol.

By the fall of 2005, FHS and SOF Combat Pistol had been merged into a new program, Joint Combat Pistol, which notably featured a requirement for .45 ACP caliber instead of the NATO-standard 9mm. However, US Army dropped out of the program in March of 2006, and SOCOM then abandoned the effort in September of that year. In the intervening year, the US Air Force began a program for a new handgun (Air Force Future Handgun), which was rolled into the Modular Handgun System effort beginning in 2008. The MHS program officially launched in January of 2013, almost a decade after the original FHS program.

Given such a lengthy development history, it is difficult not to hope that MHS will shake out and settle the issue once and for all.

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


  • JSmath

    Don’t see the Air Force stepping back from the MHS.

    Also exceptionally weak and borderline stupid to refer to anonymous “spokespersons” as official stances on any situation, much less ones involving the military. For anyone who’s ever been in the machines, if anyone has a clue about what each service is doing, it sure as hell isn’t most of the people within them, let alone the public affairs/cheerleader types.

    Refuted, absolutely not. Brought into question, ya kinda maybe.

    • More than likely they haven’t made a decision yet. More than likely they will get in line as their M9s wear out due to the M17 is lighter and cheaper.

      • Gary Kirk

        The air force doesn’t make decisions, they wait for everyone else to decide for them

        • john

          It’s true, why buy the new M17 with all those M9s leaving and nowhere to go? When it comes to small arms, the Air Force is like the younger brother always getting the hand me downs, heck when I qualified for my last deployment I was using a GAU. This was after watching a MAC video of the limited retro series one’s coming out.

  • Anonymoose

    I get the feeling this is their way of saying they don’t want to spend money on new handguns since their M9A1 is already better than the M9 for attaching crap to.

    • Major Tom

      More like they need to pinch pennies so they can keep wasting money on the F-35.

      • A single F-35 replacing a F-18, F-16, or AV-8B will provide more additional combat capability than replacing ALL the M9s across the entire US military with M17s.

        • Major Tom

          That’s a lie and you know it.

          • The F-35 in a stealth configuration carries a similar load out as the F-16 and F-18 typically carries for a strike mission, while being able to strike targets 50% farther and getting there faster with super cruise. When stealth isn’t required the F-35A/C can carry at least 50% more payload with a similar range as a F-16 and F-18.

            Comparing the F-35B to the AV-8B isn’t even a contest, the F-35B completely out classes it by nearly every metric. While bringing to the table stealth, super cruise, and adding air to air ability so it doesn’t require nearly has much CAP escorts.

            While the M17 is just another 9mm thrower. There is little difference between a 9mm thrown by a M9 vs a 9mm thrown by a M17.

          • EC

            Only using internal weapon bays, the F-35 can only carry 3,000lbs of weaponry. An F-16, on the other hand, can carry 17,000lbs of weaponry. In stealth mode, an F-35 can only carry about 18% of what an F-16 can.

            Of course if the F-35 is not configured for stealth then it can carry 18,000lbs of weapons, which is about 6% more than an F-16. At the same time though you lose the stealth functionality of the F-35 completely, which is sort of headscratching given the F-35 pricetag of $120 million (about 600% of the cost of an $18 million F-16).

            So do you want a single F-35 carrying 18,000lbs of weaponry or 6 F-16s carrying 102,000lbs of weaponry? Those would be equivalent forces given what we can afford.

            Now consider the A-10, which the F-35 is also supposed to replace. The A-10 has a better gun with much more ammunition (some F-35s don’t even come with guns). The A-10 can carry a respectable 16,000lbs of weapons. The A-10 can loiter for almost 2 hours on CAS, while the F-35 needs a tanker to get anywhere near that. The A-10 is more stable in slow-low flying to make sure it doesn’t hit friendlies, and has real armour to protect it from fire during those flights. Plus of course you can get about 6 A-10s for a single F-35.

            The F-35 is a great stealth fighter, and excels in roles that require a stealth fighter. But given the price tag and the capabilities, it’s really not that great for other tasks.

          • First off your numbers wrong. The F-35A/C can carry 4,000lbs of bombs internally, plus two 2AAMs. Only the F-35B is limited to 3,000lbs (plus 2 AAMs) internally.

            Yes that is much less than the 16,000lbs that the F-16 can carry per the fact sheet, but looking at fact sheets doesn’t give you a idea into how the aircraft is actually used. A F-16 in a typical strike package has to dedicate a majority of the stores stations to fuel, and sensors. Typically it might have 1-2 stores stations free per a wing for air to ground weapons. Plus the usual wing tip AAMs. In reality the F-16 typically only carries about 4,000lbs of bombs on a strike package. While the F-35 carries all the fuel and sensors internally so that 4,000lbs is actually 4,000 usable lbs.

            Now when a F-35 isn’t configured for stealth it has 6 more stores stations, and 50% greater useful load. And that doesn’t factor in that the F-16 if it encounters an enemy fighter had to drop the fuel and bombs, in essence scrubbing the mission. With the F-35 can achieve nearly its flight profile while carrying an internal strike load out with full fuel.

            The F-35 isn’t designed to replace the A-10. When the F-35 was being procured the USAF had a program called the A-X which was the aircraft meant to replace the A-10. But that got canceled by Congress as part of the post-Cold War budget cuts. But the whole low and slow being needed to CAS is a little overrated. And the armor simply brings the pilot home, a shot up A-10 is still a soft kill until it can be fixed (which in some cases may not happen until it is shipped home). Thus is actual high threat environments the A-10 will also stay high and pound them with AGMs or bombs or simply hand over the mission to strike aircraft and take on low threat targets.

            As far as the cost per an aircraft. Those prices are without the expensive upgrade programs that each aircraft has undergone through out the years. Like AESA radars, new data links, and a variety of new technology that isn’t included with the purchase price. Modern non-stealth fighters with all the latest technology all cost $90-100M each.

            Finally you speak of buying 6 or 10 of whatever aircraft vs a single F-35. That doesn’t factor into two things. First in a modern battlefield against enemies that actually have a modern air defense network, those older aircraft would either be fodder for the SAMs or have operating limitations until SEAD units achieve supremacy against the SAMs. And second manpower, all the services have issues with man power, between the cost of training, salaries, benefits, and pensions pilots are expensive. So they can only have a limited number of them.

          • EC

            How many of our enemies now have modern SAMs or anything of that sort? Just think about the conflicts we fight in currently and what our military needs right now.

            Again, the F-35 is great for missions where we need to penetrate enemy air defences and knock holes in things. But we still have a strong need cheaper, more efficient aircraft.

            First, once enemy air defences are suppressed or destroyed and air superiority achieved, the value of stealth drops considerably. It makes more sense to have a few F-35s “knock down the door”, so to speak, and to follow up with attacks using conventional aircraft. It’s much better to use that mix of aircraft to allow for more firepower rather than just a few stealth aircraft.

            Second, it’s possible that with new developments in low-frequency radars, our stealth designs might not actually be that useful after all. Currently those radars can already detect our stealth aircraft incoming, but are unable to produce weapons-grade locks. I’m sure though that other countries are spending loads of money to improve the quality of those locks. If our stealth is negated, then we’ll be sitting on fewer aircraft that practically have no better effect than conventional aircraft.

            Third, most of our enemies are extremely low-tech. ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, etc. At most they have MANPADSs for SAMs and likely not much else. To them, a conventional F-16 is about as difficult to destroy as an F-35. It makes more sense to throw more F-16s at them than fewer F-35s.

            Fourth, the F-35s gain stealth at the expense of significant tactical tradeoffs. The have significantly reduced weapons capacity, reduced loiter, and don’t fight with guns nearly as well. In some roles the F-35s excel in, but in other roles the F-35 does not compare favourably to what we already have.

            Fifth, the cost factor. Not only does the cost of the F-35 spiral out of control constantly (yay for paying for a product before it’s actually done), but it cannot compare favourably to the cost of conventional aircraft. This means fewer aircraft, which reduces not only the number of sorties we can generate but also the theatres we can fight in.

            Now what these points suggest is that we need just a few F-35s supplemented with more traditional aircraft. There’s a political problem with that however: the price of each F-35 would skyrocket (more than they already have I suppose) if we cut back on the numbers. Thus for political, not military reasons, the military has pushed for total replacement. Either they get a lot of F-35s for a lower unit price, or they get no F-35s at a high unit price.

            And as demonstrated, using the F-35 for everything, from bombing pickup trucks to providing CAS, is just a terrible idea.

          • Just because we have spent the last 10 years fighting goat herders in Afghanistan doesn’t mean that we should be orienting our defense spending exclusively around that.

            As far as how many enemies have advanced air defense networks, Serbia, and Iraq to name two. Our use of stealth has made it harder for those countries to fight back, and has made them seem impotent. But without stealth those conflicts would’ve been longer and bloodier for both sides.

            But even after we achieve air space dominance SAMs continue to be a threat. Because smart radar operators will use various tactics to ensure that they aren’t destroyed by our SEAD assets. For example during both Iraqi conflicts smart SAM operators continued to be a throne in our sides throughout the entire conflict.

            Low frequency radars are overblown. Yes they can detect stealth, but their ranges are significantly reduced, and they still need a higher band radar for targeting as they don’t have the required resolution to target aircraft was as small of a RCS as the F-35 and B-2. It would be a huge advancement for it to do so.

            Yes there are some arguments for a high/low mix, but that has nothing to do with my statement. A single F-35 replacing a F-16/F-18/AV-8B brings more additional combat capability than replacing every single M9 with a M17.

            That is why the services are so meh on small arms, but are more than willing to buy a new carrier, tank or airplane. Even the most expensive rifle in the world replacing the M-4/M-16 provides such a small upgrade that it would be hardly noticeable in the overall conflict nor the causality figures. Take the Battle of Kamdesh, everyone spends so much time about M-4s failing that they ignore the fact that so were the SAWs. That no man portable weapon system would’ve fixed the poorly place OP.

          • EC

            And just because there’s some far-off chance that we might fight a near-peer power doesn’t mean that we should align our defence spending to that low probability either.

            Stealth was an overblown feature in Serbia and Iraq (both times). The B-2 bomber flew about 1% of all sorties in Serbia (the F-117 probably not much more than that) and in Iraq I the F-117 had shy of over 2% of all sorties. I don’t even think the F-35 was flying at all at the time of Iraq War II.

            In fact those figures point out the problem with relying on a few, expensive stealth aircraft; their sortie generation rate is miserable compared to much less expensive and numerous conventional aircraft. Had we been armed solely with the few stealth aircraft instead of a more balanced mixed, our airpower loss would have been devastating (and taken much longer to hit all targets).

            Considering that we only had 2 aircraft losses in Serbia (half of which were actually stealth aircraft), the danger posed by suppressed air defences was not only negligible, but showed that stealth aircraft were also vulnerable. Air losses during Iraq I were higher, but it’s worth noting that a number of these were attributed to AAA, something that stealth generally does not defend against (especially low-tech optically-aimed ones).

            Low-frequency radars can be quite useful against stealth. Beyond providing a weapons-quality lock (which some of our near-peer competitors questionably claim), just having forewarning of an impending air attack can be enough. The Tor/HQ-17, for example, can be used as an anti-PGM defence given enough warning time. Early warning even allows for basic defence measures to be taken, as simple as throwing on a EO/IR net or dispersing a formation.

            When comparing an F-35 to a whole pistol program, one might think about costs. The entire XM17 contract is worth about $580 million dollars, plus of course the costs of running the program, say another $100 million. So $680-700 million for everything.

            That being said, a F-35 has a fly-away cost of $148-$337 million as of 2015 (depending on the variant)… but that doesn’t include the costs of research and development. All in all for buying and researching the aircraft, we have paid well over $400 billion (with a “b”). Which leads to an absolutely insane price.

            So I dunno. For two (or less, depending on if you favour Lockheed or GAO accounting) fewer aircraft we can get 500,000 new pistols. That’s not really that bad a deal.

          • Stealth was an overblown feature, LOL. You should read the works by people actually involved in the planning of the air wars in those conflicts. Stealth was crucial for the results we got in those conflicts, and the planners involved wished they had as many stealth assets as they could’ve gotten. There were a number of targets that they were forced to send conventional strike packages that suffered losses that they wish they could’ve sent stealth fighters to.

            And that doesn’t factor in the improved logistics that stealth brings with it. Stealth assets require fewer sorties as they have lesser need to SEAD, and CAP assets. Which reduces the burden on ground crews, and on other logistical assets like tankers.

            Also you are comparing 1st and 2nd generation stealth vs a modern design that doesn’t require nearly the same upkeep. The F-117 literally had tape used on the leading edges of the wings that had to be replaced almost every mission.

            Your cost numbers are way off. Even the most expensive variant of the F-35 during LRIP (which increases the cost) is on the lower end of your figure. Once they go into full rate production it is expected that the fly away costs will lower dramatically, with the A model being under $90M. And the R&D cost is only around $100B so far. And yes there are threats that might challenge stealth aircraft, but like everything they counter one way, we counter another. We didn’t stop building warships once they invented submarines? Nor do we give up when we made them quieter.

            And yes I am comparing a pistol program to an aircraft, because the person I was responding to seem to think that the pistol program somehow compared to the aircraft.

          • Gary Kirk

            In no way does the pistol program even relatively come anywhere near the F-35.. They’re both debacles of their own.. Now as to my personal distrust of the F-35.. I remember the Osprey, SU-27, and who can forget the late great U.S. Army’s Comanche..

          • The Marines and AFSOC seem to love their Ospreys.

            The original comment was “More like they need to pinch pennies so they can keep wasting money on the F-35.”

            To which I replied that a single F-35 replacing one of the aircraft it was designed to will have a greater overall impact than all the M9s being replaced by M17s. They both shoot 9mm, the net effect of the change will be nearly zero.

          • Gary Kirk

            They love them now, that that little turn upside down and kill everyone onboard situation is fixed.. Did not mean that it couldn’t be a viable platform, just that sometimes things go awry.. And is it really worth persuing, when it really doesn’t give an amplified difference to what is already proven and effective..

          • Not everything works out perfectly the first time you try it. But if you stopped a new program every time there was an accident you would probably wouldn’t have half the technology we have today. Airplanes, helicopters, submarines, the list goes on.

            Heck NASA probably could make a couple of feature length movies out of the videos of their rockets blowing up.

          • Gary Kirk

            NASA needs to just go away..

          • But where would I get my Tang from?

          • Gary Kirk

            Except now all of our REMFs will have some neat new toy to accidentally shoot themselves with..

          • EC

            Really… you’re trying to say that 1-2% of sorties made a big impact on the war? And that 98-99% of the other sorties flown by conventional aircraft were somehow less important? That’s a joke. The heavy lifting was done by conventional aircraft. And if we had ditched our conventional aircraft and replaced them with F-117s, we would have far fewer aircraft overall flying sorties and slowing down our targetting.

            As for your numbers, you really are drinking the Lockheed Kool-Aid. I mean the program as of last year was already $200 billion over budget… how can it be possible to only spend $100 billion and be $200 billion over the line?

            Here’s the facts. We’re projected to spend $400 billion alone on acquisition and R&D, data from the GAO says that we’ll spend that much on the planned 2,500 aircraft. And you know what… that doesn’t even include all the support costs that we’ll incur for flying these things for the next 50 years. You know how much the GAO estimates that to be?

            $1.4 TRILLION dollars.

            So @ $1.4 trillion for ~2,500 aircraft? Yeah, that’s about half a billion dollars per head. And that’s assuming we don’t even use these things to fight.

            This is why stealth really is overhyped and a moneypit. You mention that the F-117 was a 1st generation stealth plane, but of course you fail to mention what shot it down… an SA-3 from the 1960s. There are a number of weaknesses of the F-35 when it comes to stealth… low-frequency radars, passive radars, or even those new quantum entanglement radars the Chinese are working on. Like the F-117, it’s only a matter of time before the F-35 is unmasked by something.

            And then we’re left will a trillion-plus dollar aircraft that can’t dogfight as well as an F-16 or provide CAS as well as an A-10. Yay.

          • Actually it did. There are very detailed analysis (stuff you won’t find on Wikipedia) that show that the disruption of the Iraqi command and control network by stealth assets were absolutely crucial in our ability to overwhelm the Iraqi military during the early days of the war. At the time Iraq had one of the most sophisticated integrated air defense network outside of the Soviet Union. Without stealth we wouldn’t have been able to attack many of those sites until much later in the war (if at all).

            In fact the air corridor that allowed conventional aircraft to attack was only possible the stealth strikes took those targets out in the opening days of the war. Otherwise it would’ve taken weeks of SEAD missions to achieve the same effect at a much higher causality rate. As commanders in Baghdad would’ve quickly realized our strategy and commanded their SAM sites not to engage the dummies.

            And there are weaknesses with conventional aircraft too, like the fact that they would be SAM fodder to even the SA-3. So we should give up and just send our men into the meat grinder?

            The fact that lower frequencies radars could detect stealth at longer ranges than the higher frequencies it was tuned for was well known to the people that designed and ran the program. The fact is that the same mistake won’t happen twice, namely because newer aircraft include a crucial piece of equipment that was left out of the F-117, a radar warning receiver. In fact the F-35 takes it a step further, combining the RWR data it produces a map that provides the pilot with suggested distances to put between them and the radar site.

            We find a new breakthrough, our enemies attempt to counter it. We then counter their counter, and the process goes on and on. Unless you are saying that we should give up and just go back to using Sopwith Camels?

            Let me tell you a little secret just between us. Every new aircraft, tank, carrier, et al almost always costs more than the ones that came before it. Unless you are using already developed technology and systems, those new technologies that everyone wants cost time and money to develop. For example the F-15 which cost the US $29M each for the last few, today cost $100M if you want all the new technology. And this isn’t some fantasy number, that is the actual fly away cost of the aircraft sold to an allied nation.

            Also anytime someone pulls out the GAO wild guess of $1.5T I know they don’t know what they are talking about. As if I couldn’t tell when you pulled out the Wikipedia textbook number of 16,000lbs weapon load for the F-16. That number is complete misdirection, as it is a completely new number created to alarm people into thinking that the cost of the F-35 are dramatically high.

          • Oregon213

            You don’t want to gear up planning on facing your weakest threat.

            Just because ISIS don’t have modern SAMs on every corner doesn’t mean we should ignore the threat. If we got into a shooting war with Russia or China, stealth will be important.

            Cops are exceedingly unlikely to get shot during a single shift. Even in areas with off the wall crime rates, officers will make arrest, after arrest, after arrest and not encounter a gun. They’re still wearing soft body armor each shift though.

          • EC

            On the other hand, you don’t equip everyone with the most expensive weapon/gear because they could possibly face a stronger threat.

            To take your police analogy, it’s worth pointing out that we do not equip every officer with hard Level IV plates or a rifle. That’s reserved for certain officers who are specially trained and equipped to deal with larger threats. I doubt most police forces have enough equipment to give every officer such a loadout simply because doing so is expensive. It would be wrong to do so because of the cost versus the benefit.

            In the same way, it’s wrong to replace our entire strike fleet with expensive stealth craft. A mix is the most economical and logical solution. Have a few stealth fighters that are equivalent to SWAT, but the bulk of our strike fleet can be perfectly fine as regular old F-16s/A-10s/F/A-18s (the soft-armoured, handgun-carrying beat cops).

          • Marcus D.

            The A-10 is a great plane for CAS–but it is running on fumes and aged air frames. Because the AF has been trying to kill it for years, it has lagged in getting upgrades, and even new wings for clapped out planes are hard to come by. And for that specific role, the F-35 is no replacement, but instead the AF’s dogma of high altitude stand off close air support. I bet the grunts hate that. they will be wanting helos to come in instead, but those too lack the load out and the firepower of the A-10.

          • EC

            That’s true, but there are other, better options to replacing the A-10 than the F-35. Many of them cheaper.

            We already use the OV-10 Bronco to hit targets in Iraq, and it does a much better (and cheaper) job than the A-10 (much less the F-35). Although it can’t carry much, the amazing 3 hour loiter time allows it to provide rapid CAS to ground forces. Theoretically, the inexpensive procurement, flight time, and maintenance compared to other aircraft could mean that you could send up multiple light attack craft in lieu of a more expensive aircraft.

            I mean you could operate an OV-10 at 1/40th or 1/20th the cost per flight hour as an F-35… it’s really a no-brainer at that point.

            There are a few other developments in light attack craft. There’s the Scorpion light jet. Others want to redo the A-10 to essentially remake it using modern technology, but with all the F-35 funds being squandered it’s unlikely.

          • Marcus D.

            When it carries a full load out as you suggest, it loses its stealth capabilities due to the radar signature of the external load.

          • No I was particular in mentioning stealth, and a typical strike package.

            A F-16 setup for a strike missions have to give up a majority of the stores stations for drop tanks, and sensors. That typically only leaves 1-2 stations per a wing free for air to ground weapons. As such it is unusual for a F-16 to carry more than 4,000lbs of air to ground weapons on a typical strike mission.

            While the F-35 keeps all the fuel and sensors internally. So in a stealth configuration it can easily carry 4,000lbs of bombs or missiles internally. That allows the F-35 to carry as much weapons as a F-16 typically carries, while remaining in a stealth configuration, having the ability to access nearly its entire flight profile (ie it can engage in ACM without scrubbing the mission), and all the while have a 50% greater combat radius.

            The F-35 was designed based on actual mission usage.

          • Marcus D.

            I don’t care what you said. What I said is still true–in full load out is loses its stealth. That is ALL I said, and you do not say otherwise.

          • And at high speeds the cavitation off of a submarine’s propellers eliminate the benefits of the quiet electric drive.

          • No one

            Yeah, replacing multiple obsolete jets with a better model of jet, total waste of money, we need to spend that money on some handguns which are so irrelevant military wise they might as well not even be there 99% of the time!

            Your logic is so good!

          • Kyle

            I love to hate on the debacle that is the F-35 but in this case he’s right. Hell the Marines could go back to issuing cap and ball revolvers and it would make no difference for the grunts on the ground. The only time I ever carried an M9 was in training. As soon as we deployed the pistols never left the armory except when an officer didn’t feel like carrying a rifle around the base.

          • Risky

            To offer a different perspective, as part of PTT working with the IP we often only carried our pistols inside the police stations when training the police officers. We were all very cognizant that there was a real possibility that we might have to use our M9’s to fight our way back to our rifles in the trucks. Not sure that cap and ball black powders would have given us as much ability.

          • Bullphrog855

            Like it’s 2010.

        • ozzallos .

          This thread is now about the F-35 Pistol.

        • John

          Oh, sweet! The F-35 operating in Afghanistan provides combat capability equal to an officer’s sidearm in the Philippines at the same time! I didn’t know they have time-space distortion effects! NOW the price makes sense!

          • No one

            Are you trying to win an award for “most dumb comments in a single TFB thread” or something?

        • Gary Kirk

          AV-8 definitely, F-16 most likely.. The F-18E/F.. Marginal gains at best, and that’s only in the radar signature..

          • The E/F are being kept in the fleet. Only the older A/B/C/D models are being replaced. But the F-35C vs the Rhino isn’t much different than the vs the Hornet.

            The F-35 is simply well optimized for strike missions, hanging stuff on pylons just has too much drag, drop tanks use a good portion of the fuel to overcome the drag imposed by the tanks themselves.

          • Gary Kirk

            So the F-35 is meant to replace the F-15E..

          • The F-15Es are also being kept in service as they are among the newest F-15s. And we don’t have nearly enough F-22s to replace the aging F-15Cs.

          • Gary Kirk

            The A-10 is optimized for CAS, the Bone is optimized for strike packages.. The two aircraft that the USAF got right on the first try, they keep trying to retire, but realize that they’re all the more relevant in today’s changing environment of war..

          • The A-10 is actually just adequate for CAS, as that isn’t what is was designed to do. If we actually designed an aircraft from the ground up for CAS it would look like a cross between a AC-130 and the A-10. As the A-10 can not put sustained fire on a single point of an extended period of time. Nor does the A-10 have nearly the same accuracy as aimed guns on other platforms.

            While an aircraft with a gun mounted on the side can do a sustained pylon turn over an area, making small corrections while keeping the gun on target nearly the entire time. And using an aiming system they can more precisely target who they want to destroy.

  • Dougscamo

    And the saga continues….hence the saying a camel is a horse designed by committee…

  • NeverForget

    Is the shade of brown the firearm should be or the shape of the decocker lever which is just plain stupid on a striker fired weapon the problem.

    • That is a safety.

      Different processes rarely will color match perfectly. That is why guns like the SCAR look like a mish mash of colors.

    • Joseph Smith

      Still doesn’t match my shoes. Will not buy.

    • John

      That is a genuine, honest-to-God 1911-style thumb safety, dude. And it’s ambidextrous, so there’s one on the other side.

      Enjoy. 🙂

  • Joseph Smith


  • forrest1985

    Sounds like US tax payer dollars hard at work!

  • Bluerma85

    Perhapsreal problem is the need for more training first then buying new toys and tools. People get distracted by a new shiny without know how they can use the last one

  • ProLiberty82

    Why not let soldiers bring their own sidearms and save a boat load of money? Just set a weight limit to the gun + 3 fully loaded magazines and require it to be in 9mm, and if they need to be even more specific have a list of approved pistol to choose from.

    They can use the money to take care of veterans that come home disabled or with PTSD instead.

    • Logistics. What happens when you need to replace a part or a whole gun in the field? Or you need more magazines?

    • John

      >Why not let soldiers bring their own sidearms and save a boat load of money?

      Because it never, ever, works out like that. Ever.

      A well-regulated militia is a standardized militia, even today.

    • Gary Kirk


    • Major Tom

      So back to World War One or earlier standards?

  • john huscio

    Still betting glock wins in the end…..i don’t think the military wants to be “cohenized”

  • some other joe

    Nothing here refutes the claim all the services said the gun is good to go. It just says the DON isn’t in the market for new guns yet (how old is the current fleet of M9A1s and when are they expected to wear out?) and the USAF didn’t respond. Now, when the other services are ready for new weapons, they have options and ILOs that all have NSNs and can be centrally funded.

  • Ed

    Waste of money for the military. M-9s are already a standard 9mm pistol and the services already have all the mag’s holsters ECT. Think we need priority on new planes tanks and ships. Pistols don’t win wars.

    • John

      False. A pistol killed Adolf Hitler. Next question.

      • The pistol may have fired the final shot, but without the tanks and rifles of the Soviet Army knocking on his door step he wouldn’t have pulled the trigger.

    • EC

      Arguably planes, tanks, and ships don’t win wars either.

      Economies do.

      We didn’t have anything to match the Me 262, just that the Germans couldn’t put enough of them in service early enough for it to matter.

      We didn’t have anything to match the Panther or Tigers (a handful of M26s maybe), just that it didn’t matter because we could flood them with M4s.

      We didn’t have anything to match the Bismarck or the Yamamoto early in the war, but because we were able to continue development the Iowa beat their pants off.

      Sometimes, quantity has a quality all of its own. The T-34 series was arguably the “best” tank of WWII simply because it was so inexpensive and quick to produce.

      • CommonSense23

        You realize the Shermans were superior tanks than the Panthers and Tigers. And P51s did pretty well against the ME 262s. You are overestimating German equipment.

        • EC

          I’m not sure how you’re arriving at Shermans being superior to Panthers and Tigers. To my knowledge they were only better in two ways: expense and reliability. In all other respects, from thickness of armour to the penetration of their guns, Shermans were much worse.

          P-51s did not do well against airborne Me 262s at all… they didn’t have the speed to chase or run, and so long as the Me 262 pilots weren’t complete idiots the P51s were shredded. The most success the P-51s had against the Me 262s was when they were on the ground or taking off/landing… at lower speeds the Me 262s were not manoeuvrable.

          • CommonSense23

            You might want to update your knowledge on WW2 armor. The German armor was extremely overrated. Shermans had reliability, crew survivability/comfort/situation awareness, range, ease of maintenance and repair in spades over German tanks. And the German armor and firepower advantages were incredibly overblown. American guns could kill German tanks just fine at typical engagement ranges. Even the 75mm. And German armor itself had major quality control issues.There is a reason American tanks and their crews outperformed the Germans. The number one indicator of who would when in a fight between a German and American tank was who saw the opposing tank first and got off a aimed shot.
            And ME 262 performance was similar. The engines required more maintenace, meaning more down time. And their speed and firepower advantages were negated by Allied tactics soon. Had they got 2000 ME262s operational it
            still wouldn’t matter. The German military was nowhere near as advanced as people like to make them out.

          • Major Tom

            Well to be fair, the Me-262 was designed (by modern standards) as an interceptor, not a dogfighter. It was trying to keep the relentless attacks of the Eighth Air Force off German industry, not go toe to toe with the Tuskegee Airmen. Speed was its only true advantage compared to Allied escorts. And because of Allied escorts being omnipresent, it got pressed into a role it wasn’t very decisive at.

            The Wasserfall surface-to-air missile would have been a much better game changer than the Me-262.

            Now as far as tanks, a Tiger would whup a Sherman provided both crews were equal. A Tiger’s 88 could reach out and kill a Sherman from ranges that the Sherman could really only respond with harsh language and/or a call for fire from nearby artillery batteries or aircraft. (Of course, given the type of terrain France and western Germany had with lots of forests and hills, rarely could a Tiger well and truly utilize that range advantage to the best.) But if the two could engage each other at 1000 meters or less, it came down more to crew skill and tactical usage than fictitious German engineering or American zerging.

            Of course that’s missing the biggest point entirely. The Tiger was a heavy tank, the Sherman was a medium. Different doctrines, different roles at the time.

          • CommonSense23

            And the fact that they almost a third of the tigers would break on the way to the battle, not to mention how many would fail at the battle. The tigers would have a big strategic risk even if they were mechanically reliable.

          • Major Tom

            That’s one of the reasons why the Pershing never really got off the ground in the war either. It was much more expensive, less reliable (though far more reliable than its German counterpart the Tiger) and didn’t offer enough performance capabilities that simply more up-gunned Shermans couldn’t do.

          • EC

            Is this some sort of weird quasi-patriotic revisionism or something? Seriously. We did tests during the war. The Russians did tests as well (since they captured the most German vehicles). We had field reports. We pretty much know exactly how things went.

            Let’s compare the Sherman and Panther just using straight up facts.

            Panther Front Hull- 80mm @ 55 degrees
            Sherman Front Hull- 64mm @ 47 degrees
            Panther Front Turret- 100mm @ 80 degrees
            Sherman Front Turret- 76mm @ 30 degrees

            So the Panther most definitely had much better armour than the Sherman ever did. Period.

            Panther 75mm L/70- Using APCR, could penetrate a Sherman hull and turret from beyond 3,000m. Using the weaker APC, a Panther could still reasonably penetrate a Sherman @ 2,500m and would definitely kill @ 2,000m.

            Sherman 76mm L/52- Using the common APC, a Sherman would definitely have to get within 1,000m against a Panther turret, and probably could not reliably penetrate the hull at that distance. HVAP, a late-war rare round, was pretty much never used by Shermans but could probably only extend the range of penetration by a small amount.

            Essentially, a Panther could kill a Sherman from about 3 times the distance. Sure 3,000m engagements didn’t happen, but in open country the average engagement range was about 1,200m where the Sherman would still be unable to penetrate effectively. That’s over half the time of the Sherman being outranged and unable to fight back against a Panther.

            There’s a reason why the M26 was pushed out as a “medium tank” in response to the Panthers… Shermans really didn’t stand a chance.

          • Marcus D.

            I’ve read somewhere that the main reason the Sherman did well against the Tiger is that there were just so damn many of them that one would get in a kill shot before they were all destroyed by the Tiger.

          • EC

            Biggest weakness of the Tigers was 1) breaking down or 2) running out of fuel. The first was an engineering issue. The second was the product of how the war was going for the Germans at the time.

            I think in their first action against the Russians, all four Tigers had broken down in a matter of hours or something. A Tiger would be impressive if it could fight, but getting to that fight…

          • Kevin Harron

            Why send one when you can send 5. 😛 And actually the Sherman did just fine 1 v 1 against the Tiger and Panther. Engagement distances where the Sherman went up against the Tiger, along with poor quality armor steel actually resulted in regular 75mm AP penetrating quite well at normal engagement ranges. Most Sherman casualties were from anti-tank guns and Infantry armed with AT rockets. But let’s not interject actual facts into a debate vs wehraboo dreams.

          • Zack mars

            A tank is much more than a gun and armor.

            Crew comfort, crew survivability, reliability, optics… All play a huge roll in armored warfare

          • EC


            Take away a tank’s gun and it’s not a tank anymore. It’s an APC/IFV.
            Take away a tank’s armour and it’s not a tank anymore. It’s a tank destroyer or SPG.

            By definition, a tank is a tracked armoured vehicle that carries a large gun. I would say that the gun and armour are central to the being of a tank.

          • Zack mars

            Take away good optics, ergonomics, situational awareness, well designed and built engines, fuel, and air systems, and you have a death trap.

            Like i said, tanks are more than just a gun and armor, and you don’t need the best gun or tbe thickest armor to win the fight.

          • Zack mars

            A tank is more than just a gun and armor.

            You cant win a fight you cant get to because you got stuck in the mud, or your engine gave up the ghost.

            Shermans were very good tanks, and were the first to incorporate wet storage

  • John

    Show us your thumb safety, Glock. Show us your safety or give it up.

  • adverse4

    Are they making holsters for F-35’s yet? Give them .357 magnum revolvers for emergency use only, shoot empty and throw away.

  • That is because whenever there is a high SAM risk we send in a stealth aircraft. Without stealth our choices would be to either not send it the strike package, or send it in expecting high losses. You can’t look at post stealth stats and come to that conclusion that SAMs aren’t a threat. That would be like looking at post-vaccine statistics and coming to a conclusion that the disease isn’t a threat.

    You want to see what happens without stealth look at the Vietnam war. Even with the low tech SAMs available at the time, if a strike package stayed at high altitude there was a good chance they would be engaged with SAMs. If they went in low to avoid SAMs they got shot up by AAA.

    Yes it is expensive, we are buying 2,200 aircraft. This will be the largest defense program since the F-4. But the fly away unit costs for full rate production are in line with other modern fighters. You can’t compare the costs of the USAF F-16 or a F-15 purchase because that cost won’t include 20-30 years of upgrade programs in the cost.

    Frankly with nearly every post you show how little your knowledge is of this subject. Nearly every post you’ve written at least one thing that shows your ignorance, like using the F-117 shoot down in Serbia to damn stealth technology.

  • Andrew

    Meh. Those statements just sound like your typical bureaucratic non-answers. Maybe the military public affairs officers don’t think a blog like Task & Purpose is the proper forum to make such an announcement.

  • Chrome Dragon

    You can’t beat the F-16 in a FAIR fight. The F-35’s designed to cheat.

    If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying hard enough.

    The F-16 will complement the F-35, if the sensors, avionics – and more crucially, the datalinks – are upgraded.

    • Seth Hill

      The fact that you have to have the F-16 to complement a plane, one that was SUPPOSED to replace it, is even more reason to question the need for the F-35. We have the F-22, which is stealthy and it doesn’t need any plane to complement it. With upgrades the F-22 could do what the F-35 can do, other than VTOL. If all you are going to use the F-35 for is sensors, etc, which wasn’t what it’s role was originally intended, then you can use other planes that are already in service (or mothballed) and just upgrade/improve the equipment, as well as possibly carry more of it.

      Let’s just touch on the fair fight/cheating thing. It won’t be long before countries like China and Russia will be able to compensate for that cheating, then what do you have? A less than effective plane that cost a ton of money. We rely TOO much on technology, even our infantry, and that will bite us in the ass if we aren’t careful. EMP pulse, espionage of our technology, etc can undo it quicker than we can produce it.

  • EC

    Typical ranges were within 300-500m ONLY in urban or tighter areas. Studies from our own military found that in open areas (say like the fields of Europe or something), the average engagement distance was over 1,000m apart. Hence, half the time our tanks would have been outgunned by the enemy.

    You seem to be quite ignorant about the WWII battlefield. There’s a lot of data out there, much of which shows that our Shermans handled the more numerous Panzer IVs just fine, but were in fact undergunned by the Panthers and Tigers.

    Just think logically… if our M4s were fine, why would we push out the M26s? Why did the British rely on their Fireflies? Why did the Russians go to the IS-2? The answer of course was the preceding tanks were outclassed. Sure, with enough Shermans or T-34s you could knock out the enemy, but there were better ways to do it.