An image of the sidearm that has replaced the Beretta M9 in U.S. Army service has recently surfaced through DOD media outlets. The image is of a soldier from the “Brave Rifles” 3rd Cavalry Regiment that is currently deployed to Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria. The image caption states that the photograph was taken near the “Iraqi-Syrian Border”. The regiment replaced the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division that was previously in theater, deploying sometime between April and June of this year. A photograph also on DVIDs shows that the 3rd Cav conducted a transfer of authority (RIP-TOA) on May 28th of this year in Baghdad. Without further news or publicly available photographs, it would appear that this is the first large-scale operational deployment of the M17 MHS handgun within a conventional unit (or not, read on below as the 101st might have the 3rd Cav beat by a month). Apparently, the unit received the M17 MHS in January of this year or at least began qualifying with it at Fort Hood, home to the regiment.
Taking a look at the Public Affairs Twitter feed, we’ve got some interesting photographs of how the handgun is being mounted. Previously on TFB, we discussed what holster the M17 MHS was being issued with, the most likely awardee being the 7TS by Safariland. In the pictures below this appears to be the case apart from a few oddballs off the shelf holsters being employed with it. In addition to the holster, it doesn’t look like every unit was issued M17s, some still with M9s (is it too early to say surplus…).
And in another part of the world, elements from the 101st Airborne Division were seen deployed to Afghanistan with the M17 MHS as well, this image was taken in April of 2018.
Almost more interesting than the M17 is the fact that it is being used in a low-light range while using PVS-7 biocular NVGs to engage targets. With a standard M9, this is would be very difficult to accomplish without the illuminated sights that the M17 MHS comes standard with (by way of picking up the light through infrared)
Defense Visual Information Distribution Service
Official 3rd Cavalry Regiment Twitter Feed