The US Army’s new sidearm, the SIG Sauer M17 Modular Handgun System, will soon be available for purchase on the civilian market. SIG’s Chief Marketing Officer Tom Taylor told Military.com about the decision, saying that about 5,000 of the full size M17 variant will be released to the civilian market sometime in early 2018:
“We are planning to do a limited release of about 5,000 of the Army variant of the M17 for the commercial market,” Tom Taylor, Sig Sauer’s chief marketing officer and executive vice president for commercial sales, told Military.com. “The timing is not finalized yet, but it looks to be late spring.”
Each commercial MHS will be serialized and have serialized matching coin as well as a letter of authenticity from the CEO of Sig Sauer, Taylor said.
Sig Sauer would likely be able to sell more than 5,000 of these pistols, but Taylor said, “we just wanted to make it really special. … And once they are out there, the owners will be privileged to own the actual gun.”
The commercial version will be almost identical to the Army-issue, full-size MHS, except it will not have the anti-tamper mechanism for the striker action, nor will it have the special coatings on some of the internal parts that help it maintain lubricity under harsh conditions, Taylor said.
The Army MHS comes standard with a frame-mounted thumb safety. The commercial version will be available with or without the thumb safety, depending on customer preference, Taylor said.
Sig Sauer has not yet decided on a price tag for the endeavor.
“It’s high in demand, but if we price it too high, they will say ‘I really want it, but it is just too expensive.'”
The SIG Sauer XM17 and XM18 won a hard-fought battle against runner up Glock, and eventually emerged victorious after the GAO’s rejection of Glock’s protest of the Army selection. The Modular Handgun System program has progressed in earnest since, and the very first M17 and M18 pistols were delivered to members of the 101st Airborne last month, and reportedly the Army plans to field the pistol even more widely than its predecessor, the Beretta M9 – down to team leader level. It’s believed this will enhance the close quarters capabilities of these soldiers, especially while they perform administrative tasks that make using a rifle difficult.
The SIG Sauer MHS is not the first handgun from the Army’s recent pistol trials to come to market. FN’s newest 509 pistol is supposedly “developed based on experience in the MHS program”, and more recently Glock announced that they would be selling the MHS model G17/G19 hybrid pistol on the civilian market as well.
Will you be in line to buy an M17 MHS of your very own, or is this just a marketing gimmick? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.