BREAKING: USMC To Adopt Modular Handgun System


    The US Marine Corps is set to replace its M9s with 35,000 Modular Handgun System pistols, budgeting over $6 million for the procurement. Since the US army’s adoption of the XM17/18 in January 2017, there has been much speculation around if and when the other services would follow. It seems the Marine Corps will be the first.

    The recently published 2019 Fiscal Year Budget Estimates Justification Book for United States Marine Corps procurement gives us some insight into the Corps small arms aims for the next couple of years. The adoption of SIG Sauer’s Modular Handgun System is one of the USMC’s major short term small arms programs.

    The Corps’ 2019 Budget Estimates justified the adoption of the new pistol, stating:

    The Modular Handgun System will be purchased to replace the legacy M9, M9A1, M45A1, and M007 pistols with a more affordable and efficient pistol for maintenance. The MHS also provides modularity and greater shooter ergonomics over the current models which will allow for more accurate fire for military personnel of different sizes.

    From this short passage we learn that the USMC is planning on also replacing their recently acquired Glock 19M pistols, which were adopted back in November 2017 as the M007, to fulfil the Corps’ conceal carry weapon requirement. The budget justification also notes that in addition to the procurement of MHS itself, the Corps will also spend an estimated $4 million on the purchase of accessories “such as customized holster, lights, etc.” for the new sidearms. This appears to be confirmed by a sources sought RFI recently posted on requesting: “industry input that identifies potential sources for holster sleeve for the Modular Handgun System (MHS) (P320 Sig Sauer handgun) Compact ([XM18]) version”

    This may also indicate that the Marine Corps is more interested in the compact XM18 than the full size XM17, the RFI from the Marine Corps Systems Command confirms plans “to purchase a minimum of 2,000 with a possibility of up to the maximum quantity of 40,000 MHS holster sleeves over the life of the contract.”

    MHS with 101st

    The new XM17 (MHS) in action at Range 29 Ft. Bragg (U.S. Army/Lewis Perkins)

    The Marine Corps did not responded in time for publication to our request for confirmation of the procurement but last year a spokeswoman from the Marine Corps confirmed that the Corps has been involved in all of the MHS program testing, but admitted they did not yet have a timeline for procurement. The USMC’s Budget Justification Book indicates that the purchase will be made during the 2019 fiscal year, with 35,000 pistols acquired for $6.3 million. This gives a per pistol cost of $180.

    The 35,000 pistol figure confirms earlier reports of the number of pistols the USMC would purchase. It remains to be seen if the estimates of 130,000 pistols for the Air Force and 61,000 Compact M18s for the Navy will also prove to be correct. According to the budget estimates the contract for the pistols is scheduled to be awarded in Jan 2019 with the first pistols to be delivered in Feb 2019.


    Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Estimates Justification Book for the United States Marine Corps Procurement Vol.1, Feb. 2018, (source)

    ‘Industry Manufacturing Capability for the MHS Holster Sleeve’ FedBizOps, retrieved 11/03/18 from source

    Matthew Moss

    _________________________________________________________________________ – Managing Editor – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]