SIG Sauer have announced they will present the US Army’s ‘Old Guard’ with special ceremonial versions of the US Army’s new M17 Modular Handgun System pistol. If you ever wondered what a more ‘traditional’, non polymer M17 might look now we have some idea.
SIG will present the US 3rd Infantry Regiment, who provide the guard for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with four specially made engraved ceremonial M17s. The pistols have an aluminium grip frame and a steel slide, small wooden inserts have been added to the grip and the whole pistols is highly polished.
Interestingly SIG chose to give the ceremonial pistols the 21-round extended magazine, which will also have an aluminium base, incorporating an engraving of the names of the Greek figures featured on the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. The slide serrations take the form of a ‘XXI’ roman numeral signifying “the twenty-one steps it takes for the Tomb Sentinels to walk by the Tomb of the Unknowns and the military honor of a 21 Gun Salute.”
Here’s SIG’s press release in full explaining the concept behind the pistols:
The M17 Tomb of the Unknown Pistols are unique M17 pistols that were created using the same specifications for the U.S. Army’s M17 Modular Handgun System. The ceremonial pistols are 9mm striker-fired pistols with a non-railed aluminum grip module, stainless steel slide, wood grip inserts, a 21-round magazine, and features the same optic cut as specified by the MHS contract, front night sight, removable rear plate, and black controls. The pistols also feature a high polish to withstand the inclement weather while the Tomb Sentinels stand guard.
The unique distinguishing features for the M17 Tomb of the Unknown Pistols include:
- Pistol Names: each of the four pistols bears the name of Silence, Respect, Dignity, or Perseverance and is featured on the dust cover. Dignity and Perseverance represent “The Sentinel’s Creed,” and Silence and Respect represent the request to the public by Arlington National Cemetery when visiting the Tomb of the Unknown, and during the Changing of the Guard;
- Custom Wood Grips: in 1921 the chosen Unknown was transported to the United States of America aboard the USS Olympia. The custom wood grips are made with wood from the USS Olympia and include the crest of the 3rd Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier identification badge inset;
- Cocking Serrations: XXI cocking serrations are engraved on the slide to signify the twenty-one steps it takes for the Tomb Sentinels to walk by the Tomb of the Unknowns and the military honor of a 21 Gun Salute;
- Sight Plate: an engraved impression of the Greek Figures featured on the east panel of the Tomb – Peace, Victory, and Valor – are featured on the sight plate;
- Sights: a glass insert made with marble dust from the Tomb of the Unknown fills the sights of the ceremonial pistols;
- Engraved Magazines: the 21-round magazines feature an aluminum base plate engraved with the names of the Greek figures featured on the Tomb of the Unknown – Peace, Victory, and Valor – and include a name plate on the bottom of the magazine engraved with the Tomb Sentinel badge number.
- Serial Numbers: the pistols are serialized with a unique set of serial numbers that incorporate items of significance to the Old Guard: “LS” represents line six of the Sentinels’ Creed, “My standard will remain perfection; “02JUL37” to signify the first 24-hour guard posted at the Tomb of the Unknown on July 3, 1937; “21” to signify the 21 steps it takes the Tomb Sentinels to walk by the Tomb of the Unknown, and the military honor of a 21 Gun Salute. The full series of M17 Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Pistols serial numbers are LS02JUL37A21 (Silence), LS02JUL37B21 (Respect), LS02JUL37C21 (Dignity), LS02JUL37D21 (Perseverance).
The M17 Tomb of the Unknown Pistols will be presented to the Old Guard in an official ceremony on Thursday, October 11, 2018 at the Arlington National Cemetery Chapel. The ceremony will begin at 9:00am and include a private presentation ceremony, followed by a Changing of the Guard in which the 3rd Guard soldiers will return to duty with their M17 Tomb of the Unknown Pistols. The presentation ceremony will conclude at 10:15am with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Silence, one of the four ceremonial pistols to be presented to the U.S. Army’s 3rd Guard will be on display in the SIG SAUER Booth (#3425) at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting, October 8th – 10th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.