Late last month we reported that the US Marine Corps has launched a new initiative –Marine Corps Systems Command’s Program Manager for Infantry Weapons (PM – IW). PM – IW has begun a large-scale modernisation program to increase the lethality of the Marine infantry squad.
The announcement of the Program Manager for Infantry Weapons project also included a short passage on the Marine Corps’ upcoming roll out of the new Modular Handgun System:
PM IW has begun the procurement of the Modular Handgun System, which will replace all Marine Corps pistols. This striker-fired pistol includes a plastic clip-on piece, enabling Marines to change grip sizes to accommodate different hand sizes. The weapon is compatible with the pistol-aiming module used by some units.
While the new pistols reached the USMC Weapons Training Battalion last year it remained unconfirmed when the pistols would begin reaching units in the field. Following the news of the new PM – IW initiative TFB reached out to the Corps to confirm when the first M18s will start reaching Marines. USMC officials confirmed the new pistols will begin fielding in the fourth quarter of FY20.
Back in March 2018, we reported that the USMC’s 2019 Budget Estimates showed their adoption of the Modular Handgun System. The Corps confirmed the selection of the MHS to replace their M9 pistols several months later in May 2018. Brigadier General Joseph Shrader, the commander of Marine Corps Systems Command, explained in May 2018 that they were asked by Congress to follow the Army’s lead and that “if the Army is going to go one way with something, the Marine Corps should have a good reason not to go the same way.”
In May 2019 it was confirmed that the USMC would select the M18 compact variant of the MHS. From the 2020 USMC Budget Justification Book we know that 32,832 pistols are to be procured over the next two years, 20,648 during 2019 and a further 12,184 in 2020. The first to receive the new pistols was the Weapons Training Battalion at Quantico who began receiving the new pistols in Spring 2019.
The wider roll out of the pistols is imminent and USMC officials have now confirmed that Recon, Provost Marshal Offices and Marine Corps Security Forces will be the first units to receive the new pistols. The Corps will also buy into the US Army’s procurement of a version of Safariland’s 7TS holster for the MHS. It was also confirmed that “the pistols will utilize the fielded Pistol Aiming Module for units that have it.”