BREAKING: US Army’s Modular Handgun System Moves Forward, to Downselect to 3 Competitors

    The US Army’s Modular Handgun System is slated to move forward, downselecting in August of this year from a reported 12 submitted proposals to only three, in preparation for the final competition. The program solicitation was released in September with a deadline of the 1st of February, but the deadline for submissions was extended to February 12th. Now, it seems the Army is in review of the proposals and is poised to choose the final three entrants, one of which will become the next US military standard issue pistol. IHS Jane’s reports:

    The US Department of Defense (DoD) will downselect a total of three preferred bidders in the third quarter of 2016 as its Modular Handgun System (MHS) programme continues on course despite recent calls to replace the effort with a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution.

    Entrants are understood to include Beretta’s APX, Ceská zbrojovka’s CZ P-09, FN Polymer striker fired pistol (as yet unknown model), General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GDOTS) and Smith & Wesson’s M&P polymer handgun; the Glock 17 and 22; and Sig Sauer’s P320. However, sources informed IHS Jane’s that the DoD had yet to make a final decision regarding calibre of the MHS, although 9×19 mm and .40 calibre appear to be favourites at the moment.

    The DoD has now begun an evaluation programme of the 12 weapon systems. A downselection to three is expected to be made in August, leading the way into a nine-month production verification test (PVT) programme. Following the successful conclusion of the PVT, a preferred bidder will be selected ahead of low-rate initial production and first deliveries to US armed forces.

    Earlier this year, US Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley questioned the need for the program, suggesting instead that the Army procure Glock 19 handguns off the back of a SOCOM contract for those handguns. We discussed this suggestion, and explored a few other possibilities for procuring new handguns in previous posts.

    Strong bets are on SIG, S&W/GDLS, and Glock, with dark horses from M9 maker Beretta and CZ-USA. The odd man out is FN, who’s entry is as yet unknown. As for calibers, reportedly the .45 ACP is the least favored option, but no word yet on the 9mm versus its competitors .40 S&W.

    Phil Note: I was contacted by FN a short while ago and the information on the FN Five-Seven as an FN entrant in the competition is incorrect. FN is not at liberty to discuss their pistol at the current time. FN will contact me with the pistol information and photos as soon as they are allowed to release the information. My apologies for the misinformation.

    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. He can be reached via email at [email protected]