The Modular Handgun System in Action at Fort Bragg

Serviceman at Ft. Bragg puts MHS rounds down range (U.S. Army photo by Lewis Perkins)

The first photos of the Army’s new M17 Modular Handgun System in action have emerged. The photos, taken during U.S. Army Operational Test Command testing at Range 29 at Fort Bragg, show service personnel from a number of units getting trigger time behind the MHS.

The new M17 (MHS) in action at Range 29 Ft. Bragg (U.S. Army photo by Lewis Perkins)

These are the first official photos to emerge since the Army announced SIG Sauer’s entry had won the Modular Handgun System back in January. The photos accompany an article from Fort Bragg’s base news site, Paraglide.

MHS 21-round extended magazines loaded and ready (U.S. Army photo by Lewis Perkins)

The OTC’s Col. Brian McHugh said “we wanted to make sure that we have a huge sample to make sure that we’ve got this right — that the Army has it right,” to ensure this personnel from across the service are taking part in the OTC’s program. The range day at Ft. Bragg included soldiers from the Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the 3rd Infantry Division, 16th Military Police Brigade and the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment. OTC is looking to span not only units but also MOS too, with police, pilots, infantry and crew chiefs all getting trigger time.

Note the boxes of Winchester 9×19 on the loading table, Winchester is SIG Sauer’s MHS ammunition partner (U.S. Army photo by Lewis Perkins)

“These are the Soldiers who would be using the weapon every day,” said OTC testing officer Maj. Mindy Brown, “so getting their feedback on the pistol is really what is important for operational testing.”

The M17 in a right-side, low slung holster system – it is not yet confirmed if this is the MHS’ approved holster configuration (U.S. Army photo by Lewis Perkins)

Capt. Christina Smith, the Individual Weapons program manager, is overseeing the OTC’s testing of the MHS at various sites. It’s her task to ensure the quality of the new handgun system’s, “It’s worth it to make sure you get the right product to the right soldiers” she told Paraglide.

A soldier has two standard 17-round magazines in pouches attached to his Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) (U.S. Army photo by Lewis Perkins)

Some of the personnel lucky enough to get some time behind the new pistol were also interviewed. Sgt. Emily Todd, 16th Military Police Brigade, felt that the testing was a “great opportunity for soldiers… to have a forward look into what the Army might use some day.” Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Custer, of 160th SOAR, also appreciated participating in the OTC’s testing: “It’s good. We don’t really get the opportunity to test the equipment in the unit we’re in.”

Despite recent controversy surrounding the MHS’ parent pistol, the P320, the Army is expecting to begin fielding the M17 in the fall.





Matthew Moss is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written for a variety of publications in both the US and UK he also runs www.historicalfirearms.info, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matthew is also co-founder of www.armourersbench.com, a new video series on historically significant small arms.


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  • Isaac O. Lees

    You mean the nontraversy that *you* manufactured for clicks?

    • john huscio

      Drop a gun which the manufacturer said was drop safe and went to the trouble of printing flyers advertising that “fact”, and watch it fire when dropped…….what exactly is “uncontroversial” about that?

      • Isaac O. Lees

        The manufacturer said it was drop safe because it passed all the standard police and military drop tests. The clickbait hack who wrote the article even admitted such.

        They dropped the gun a bunch of times to get it to fall in a very specific way that it is pretty much never going to fall in a real life situation, and then selectively edited the video to produce the result they wanted. They even faked a test where they “hit the slide with a hammer” (actually they hit the hammer with the gun) just to double down on the clickbait.

        If I have to choose between the scientific tests conducted by the military and police, and unscientific redneck backyard “testing” done by idiot journos to show advertisements to morons, I’m gonna go with the professionals.

        • CommonSense23

          So where exactly is the hammer at on a striker fired gun? And you realize a cop was shot right by a dropped 320.

          • Isaac O. Lees

            Not a gun hammer you moron, a literal hammer.

            The cop probably ND’d himself, and blamed it on the gun.

          • CommonSense23

            Except evidence apparently showing it was a AD. And how are you defending a gun that isnt drop safe. Its not.

          • Isaac O. Lees

            It is. It passed all the standard official testing. Even assuming you’re correct about that one cop, you’re comparing one anecdotal incident to a battery of tests conducted by numerous organizations that know a lot more about firearms than you or me.

          • CommonSense23

            Just cause it passed a battery of test doesn’t mean anything. The test obviously were not thorough enough. Seen tons of gear and tactics that passed test and standards in my career that failed real world cause that’s all they were held to was a established criteria.

          • Joshua

            The 417 passed a battery of tests to win the CSASS and was then promptly unfunded when it failed field trials.

          • RubberDucky

            You mean those Government drop tests that require dropping the firearm from 1.2meters onto a 1″ rubber mat? Those?

        • Marlon

          I see your angle but honestly, do you think military testing is infalliable?

          I think the drop ‘controversy’ is largely moot as the problem has been rectified. But I do think it was a genuine problem at one stage.

          Acknowledge that and everyone can move on. Happy days!

      • Pete Sheppard

        Sig also noted that the M17 configuration with a different trigger cannot be made to drop-fire as shown in the videos.

  • Jeffrey Smith

    What brand thigh holster is that?

    • Spencerhut

      Safariland GLS maybe?

    • JumpIf NotZero

      One you shouldn’t want.

    • Xerxes036

      That’s definitely a Blackhawk drop leg frame and possibly a GCode holster mounted on the frame.

  • CommonSense23

    Good to see people are still being taught to wear the drop leg like they are Han Solo.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Crazy right!? I laugh when I see cops with drop legs, because they get in and out of vehicles and should know better. But military guys – come on! I thought that crap was over by 2005.

      • david

        I think it’s partially a design issue with the SERPA holsters. The SERPA definitely has a lot of standoff from the leg carrier. Also, when I had to wear one, I took off one of the thigh straps because it rode better, but I could see someone getting lifed for that.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          There are issues with dropleg holsters and separate issues with serpas. The words “had to wear one” make me shudder for both.

          • david

            To be fair, I never saw an ND with the SERPA. Way more admin folks doing scary things with M16s. Or this one comm/IT guy who shot himself in the edge of his foot with an M4. Anyway, I liked having a dropleg working out of LAVs and light aircraft, but I would wear it almost like a legboard. Still made more sense than wearing it across the front.

          • Rock or Something

            I usually wore my M9 across the front, generally because I was a driver on convoys, and that was the easiest configuration I could get to work.

    • USMC03Vet

      What is wrong with that type of holster?

      • CommonSense23

        I cant speak of the holster itself. Never used But the position of it. The gun should be as close to your waist as possible. One of the requirements we had when training when we were issued drop legs was you should be always able to cup your fingers around the bottom of the holster with your arms hanging at your side.

    • Sid Collins

      Drop leg holsters make sense when you are wearing body armor or operating in a vehicle. Having the holster on your waistline is difficult when that is the pivot point for your body and seatbelt.
      Now, some soldiers may want the holster on their body armor. Fine with me. Just makes it one more weapon handling issue when taking your armor off at the end of the mission.

      • CommonSense23

        Again the issue isn’t that drop legs are inherently bad. Its the improper wearing of them.

        • Sid Collins

          From the few photos here, I don’t see a problem.

    • Pete Sheppard

      That holster placement, back and angled, looks horribly awkward for active movement.

  • Brett baker

    Did anyone else notice the sergeant saying it’s something the Army might use someday?

    • There was definitely a tone of bet hedging to the original Paraglide article. We will see.

    • 2805662

      Probably just doesn’t understand what an “Initial Operational Test” means.

  • don gant

    Different, but slightly similar to the modular G Code I had for my Beretta.

  • Jim Page

    Shooting JHP’s ?

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Part of MHS

    • Zundfolge

      Yeah this is how government works. They practice with the more expensive JHPs but carry FMJ to comply with international law. :p

      • Mr._Exterminatus

        No, they’re switching to JHP completely. It was part of the competition, each company that submitted a pistol also submitted their own ammo. I forget who Sig partnered with.

        • Zundfolge

          So no more Hague Convention?

          Or should we be worried that their preparing for “domestic use”?

          • Mr._Exterminatus

            U.S. didn’t sign one part of a treaty (think it was something other than Hague), so we aren’t required to obey. Army lawyers also declared it legal to use.

          • Rick O’Shay

            You’re remembering right. It’s Hague 1899, IV-3. However, we did sign Hague 1907 IV-23, which follows similar language. While IV-23 doesn’t explicitly ban expanding bullets, it bans “arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering,” which at the time was interpreted to include expanding bullets.
            Since we never signed anything that explicitly bans expanding bullets, we’re good for using JHP in war.

          • Joshua

            We never signed and we have lawyers who make it happen.

          • CommonSense23

            Domestically the MPs have been authorized HP for years.

          • Bill

            “Or should we be worried that their preparing for “domestic use”?”

            Tin foil a little snug there, Sparky?

          • Rick O’Shay

            We never agreed to that particular clause in the Hague Convention and are thus not prohibited from using JHP in war. However, as a NATO ally we abide by the conventions out of respect. We can shoot whatever the hell we feel like.

          • Awory

            Yes to domestic use but not in the way you think. MPs and CID agents can carry hollow point state side but FMJ downrange.

          • plasticvicar

            The US has always been rather selective on which conventions it ratifies, this part of the Hague convention is not one of them.

            Naturally though we will make a massive deal out of it if our enemies ever have the gall to use HP on us.

        • healthycuriosity

          Photo #4 shows boxes with the Winchester logo on them, FWIW.

          • Mr._Exterminatus

            Completely missed that somehow. Thanks though.

    • Bill

      Because non-state actors such as ISIS don’t really exist as a foreign combatant, we can shoot them with whatever we want.

  • Xerxes036

    The holster frame is definitely a Blackhawk one

  • Bill

    At least tag these articles “Soldier Systems Daily.” I can always count on reading something there, then here a couple days later.

    • Actually, I wrote this late last week when the images first appeared on Paraglide’s site but scheduling delayed the post until today!

  • Joshua

    I believe when the P320 was selected for the MHS a high ranking member of the Army said something along the lines of how they stand behind the Sig P320 and will fix any issues with the handguns as they show up, they feel the modular system is the best choice for the future despite issues found.

    Literally to big to fail.

    Just like the ICSR.

    • Brett baker

      Thanks for depressing us again.

      • Joshua

        You know what they say, the truth hurts.

        My quote may be a bit off but the gist was, the P320 has issues but despite that they want the modular chassis and accepted the issues as a trade off for what the future holds.

        Besides, they can fix the gun later when issues become wide spread.

  • Dan Lunn

    I’m a P320 owner who has both full and compact conversions. I prefer it in the smaller size and shoot most of my range days with the 21 or 17 round magazines extending a bit below the grip. I wonder if that “modularity” is being demo’d for soldiers or if its all full size all the time right now.

    • Joshua

      The gun is supposed to come with a S, M, and L frame in the packages I’ve seen.

  • Tim

    Clever that all the soldiers cited below the good colonel (major, captain & sergeat) are all femalezzzz………because that’s what real combat is going to be, isn’t it?

    I swear, the Army is worse than the Navy when it comes to this B.S.

    • Audie Bakerson

      “OTC is looking to span not only units but also MOS too, with police, pilots, infantry and crew chiefs all getting trigger time.” ““These are the Soldiers who would be using the weapon every day,””

      The only people who will be using a pistol are not primary combat people.

    • Zach Robinson

      It may be different in different units but when I was deployed in 2008-2009 the only members of my company (Infantry) to have M9’s were squad leaders, platoon sergeants, platoon leaders, and the dismounted 240 gunners. When big Army picks a handgun for service wide use it’s least likely application is front line combat.

    • Paul Rain

      It should work fine for serving back home on limited duties after getting knocked up.

  • SP mclaughlin

    I hope they keep mixing the old and new ACU patterns.
    Eschews the mix and match aesthetics of the 1990s and early 2000s.

    • Sid Collins

      It just cost too much to update the field gear and uniforms. The US Army finally admitted that the ACU pattern was a mistake. But there is going to be a long trail to completely replacing field gear. G4 officially decreed that soldiers will be allowed to use whatever they were issued in uniforms and field gear.
      It frustrates me as an older soldier, but it is not something that the younger soldiers can avoid.

  • Seth Hill

    Glad to see the move to hollow-points.

    • James Young

      Yeah, finally.

    • Awory

      May be for just stateside use. Some units, such as air crews on transport planes, carry hollowpoints for use on and around aircraft. I know that Criminal Investigation Division (CID) personnel also use hollowpoints. Since this is an MP unit they may be using them for stateside use, not overseas.

      • GuruOfGuns

        Units at Bragg and many others like them have being using 147 grain 9mm hollow points for a long time, like at least from the mid 80s from personal knowledge.

      • Jeff S

        CID (and their sister agencies) are law enforcement… hollow points were never an issue for them to carry, even OCONUS.

  • James Young

    Love the hollow points and the 21 round mags. Some of the more useful improvements made

  • Kaban

    What, not even “Got a Drop on Targets” joke?

    (of course MHS is supposed to be factory-immune to smack-slide-and-fire disease that magically affected civvy-market 320s only, thus joke is out of place. But still!)

  • Dan Lunn

    One other comment. FDE is as ugly as Olive Drab. Maybe, uglier. Can we have NFL or MLB team colors on our MHS, sarg?

  • lets drop test them and see if its fixed or if sig is lying

  • It looks like the XM1153 Special Purpose is Winchester Ranger T-Series. Wonder if it is
    RA9124TP, RA9TA, or something specific to the MHS submission?

  • DESTRO YAKISOBA

    “But no one expected the General to come out and school everyone with the legacy M9 pistol and special technique………. Many brows were raised that day…..” https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bbfd981be9fa421db923f2379a9738643c9bb5fdbe2e16a4a95564bbd36e141b.jpg

  • Marlon

    Stick a camera in front of your face and see how you go.

  • Cactus Air Force

    Sure, because soldiers should spend time practicing for that one random day you get interviewed/ambushed by the base newspaper that no one reads anyway. *cough* Bayonet and Sabre *cough*

  • DanGoodShot

    Ha!

  • Uniform223

    Should anyone be concerned that in this picture there is a 2nd LT on the range with live ammo?

  • CommonSense23

    While certain units are still procuring M110K1s.

  • Nunja

    The author’s article was posted on kit up! on 9/7 as well. The issue you have is with the site moderators/editors and not him.

    • Bill

      Whomever; someone needs to make certain that attributions are made and references cited as appropriate.

      • Nunja

        Did you miss this part in the post?
        “The photos accompany an article from Fort Bragg’s base news site, Paraglide.”

        • Bill

          Nope, didn’t miss that at all, nor did I miss the cut and paste of text from the Paraglide article. It’s an ethical issue when the amount of original content is far outstripped by other’s content. Just post a link, or cite which content is original and which is quoted from another source. It’s a simple as “The _________ issue of ‘Paraglide’ had an article on MHS/320 trial, go to (insert link here) if interested.” That’s easily followed by original or editorial content.

          I’m not sorry if you’re bent out of shape, but I work in two fields where credibility and veracity in all things is highly valued; law enforcement and academia. I expect the same high standards from my non-fake news sources. It also springs from my training in intelligence analysis. If I write something, it better be properly sourced, vetted, formatted and cited.

          There are plenty of mediocre blogs and writers out there, I’d prefer one that strove for excellence in reportage.

  • Mr.SATism

    I thought this was an article about a modular shotgun, and I got really excited for a second…