Army’s M17 Modular Handgun System to Reach First Units in November

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

It has been announced that the US Army’s Modular Handgun System, the XM17,  will officially become the M17 and begin issue to units near the end of the year.

The Army anticipates that the XM17 will complete the materiel release process, which ensures equipment is safe for issue, in November. The ‘XM’ prefix has been used by the US military for decades to denote experimental weapons under testing and development. Once the material release process is complete the XM17 will be accepted as the M17.  The material release process ensures:

a. Materiel is safe for Soldiers when operated within its stated parameters.
b. Materiel is suitable, has been fully tested, and meets operational performance requirements.
c. Materiel can be supported logistically within the environment it is intended to operate.
d. Systems achieve a FMR [full materiel release] no later than— (1) The FRP Decision Review for developmental programs. (2) Government acceptance of the materiel after completion of qualification testing on nondevelopmental programs for commercial products

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

The XM17 is currently undergoing testing with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command and user evaluations at Fort Campbell, Kentucky with the 101st Airborne.

According to the Army Times, Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier’s Brig. Gen. Brian Cummings announced that 2,000 of the new M17 pistols would first be issued to soldiers of the 101st Airborne in November before the 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas and the new Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia also receive them.

Cummings also suggested that the M17, and compact M18, may be more widely issued than the M9. While the Beretta was primarily issued as a personal protection weapon he said that “we’re looking at more than the traditional basis of issue, where we are doing a one-for-one replacement” issuing to troops likely to be involved in close quarters battle.

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, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matthew is also co-founder of, a new video series on historically significant small arms.


  • USMC03Vet

    Watch out. Green Ivan is coming right for us!

  • AZgunner

    So they want to give a larger number of pistols to service members who will never use them, mistreat them, and receive little training in their use and maintenance? Sounds like a slam dunk for Sig.

    • han

      Im agree with you in “little training” theme but im not agree when you say “give a larger number of pistols to service members who will never use them”,since wwII one of the US military concerns and difference with other countries was and is american soldier/marines/saiors…..personal security “to fight other day”, and in US forces was and its more common the “sidearm” or pistol. In wwI and wwII other nations give 7.65 handguns only to officers to shoot “traitors”.US soldiers/marines…..had real offensive combat .45ACP.
      I think today is very important that soldiers have a handgun and of course training.

      • Brett baker

        Actually, the French issued a lot of 7.65 pistols in WW1. German sturmtruppen carried a lot of P.08s. In WW2 they issued a lot of handguns for self-defense in occupied Europe.

      • Don Ward

        *cough cough* YoumeanM1Carbine *cough cough*

  • Brett baker

    And…no problems will occur, shocking glock fanboys.

    • Bill

      I sorta agree, but given the end size of this rollout there are bound to be some issues. I contend that it would happen with ANY gun, even GLOCKs, just based on the high numbers involved

      • Brett baker


    • CommonSense23

      There is alwags going to be problems rolling out new firearms and equipment.

    • Nachocheez

      Yeah, there weren’t serious safety issues all over the web that Sig tried to hide and lied about. I’m sure a mass rollout to the govt will be as smooth as momma junes thigh.

      • Kevin Sanderson

        That safety issue and recall didn’t affect the M17 contract pistols due to the manual safety required by Uncle Sam.

  • Geoff Timm

    What they really need is a smaller pistol, which can be carried at all times everywhere. To often our troops have been suddenly under attack in areas called “safe” by our supposed allies. Geoff Who notes the Luftwaffe experience in the Spanish Civil War, the Walther PP and PPK pistols were favored over the P.08 and the P.38 for that reason.

    • han

      “What they really need is a smaller pistol, which can be carried at all times everywhere. To often our troops have been suddenly under attack in areas called “safe” “I was thinking exaclty the same.

      • Brett baker

        Massad Ayoob thought the Kel-Tec P11 would be perfect for a general issue emergency handgun.

        • Nachocheez

          And people wonder why I call that drunkard a moron. Lol

    • SP mclaughlin

      Wouldn’t it be better if they were able to carry a larger pistol openly and possible ward off attackers that way?

    • ostiariusalpha

      The P.38 wasn’t really an option, even if they had wanted it. Walther was still refining the production models until 1940, and by that time the war in Spain was finished.

    • Flounder

      The compact variant man. It got adopted too. The modularity requirement kinda covered your complaint. Any m17 can be downsized in slide or frame or both.

      Assuming the bureaucrats let you!

  • Swarf

    Wait a minute. Are they shooting at life-sized Green Army Men?

    How long has this been going on?

    • Bucho4Prez

      Inquiring minds want to know…

    • Johnny Rico’s Brother

      Go watch Starship Troopers, the training sequence where the big dumb farm-boy gets his head blown off by an ND. They’re shooting at them there. So, I would say at least as long as that movie has been out.

    • some other joe

      I dunno, I was qualifying on them at the popup range in OSUT in ’93….

    • Rock or Something

      Since the Cold War I wager. When I was in ten years ago, there was talk of maybe replacing them due to the “outdated” design and the occasional complaints from people who have more time on their hands that shooting at these shapes desensitized us to the enemy. Duh.

  • rennsport4.4TV8

    I hope no one drops it. Sorry I had to. Haha. For real thought. Nobody treats work equipment the best. If these guns can’t hold up they won’t last long.