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
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.