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Marine grunts' first new standard-issue pistol in 30 years is just over the horizon
The head-to-toe overhaul of Marine infantry arsenals that Commandant Gen. Robert Neller promised grunts last year is the gift that keeps on giving: the brand new M18 service pistol, the Corps' first new standard-issue sidearm since the mid-1980s, is coming to armories starting next year.
Marine Corps Systems Command spokesman Maj. Ken Kunze told Task & Purpose that under the current fielding schedule, Program Manager-Infantry Weapons officials will start doling out the M18 to a few lucky grunts starting in the third quarter of fiscal year 2020, with a target completion date in "late 2023."
Based on the Sig Sauer P320, the M18 is a more compact variant of the M17 service pistol that was developed through the Army's Modular Handgun System (MHS) program.
The M18 at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia on April 17, 2019(U.S. Marine Corps photo)
As part of its $17 million fiscal year 2020 budget request for infantry weapons, the Marine Corps ordered 12,184 M18s under the MHS program to supplement the 20,648 it procured last year, the first batch of which arrived in the Corps' hands in February 2019.
By March 2019, Sig Sauer had delivered some 5,000 M18s to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, Sig Sauer's Gabe Bailey told American Rifleman in April, noting that the Navy and Marine Corps "have received low quantities for training, demonstration and evaluation."
The M18 "provides modularity and greater shooter ergonomics over the current models which will allow for more accurate fire for military personnel of different sizes," as the Marine Corps's fiscal 2019 budget request put it at the time, a sentiment echoed in a video published in late April showing Weapons Training Battalion commander Col. Howard Hall rocking the M18 on a firing range at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.
"The grip module itself comes in three different sizes, small, medium and large," Hall said. "So, this gives us the ability to fit the gun to the shooter rather than forcing the shooter to fit the gun."
A Marine fires the M18 service pistol at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia on April 17, 2019(U.S. Marine Corps photo)
Hall also noted that the MHS has five unique safeties, four internal and one external — a nice selling point given the accidental discharges, frequent stoppages, and the ejection of live ammo that, detailed in a Pentagon report published in 2018, have plagued Sig Sauer's P320 since its adoption.
As Task & Purpose previously reported, both Pentagon and Sig Sauer officials are confident those issues are no longer a problem: the accidental discharges in particular were immediately addressed prior to fielding, and the Army planed to "develop a plan to retrofit any fielded MHS" with future engineering changes.
The M18 isn't the only new weapon soon to be in grunts hands starting in fiscal year 2020: the 40mm M320A1 grenade launcher will replace the Vietnam-era underslung M203 as Marine infantry squads' blooper of choice in the coming months. Between that and the Mk13 Mod 7 sniper system the Corps picked up last year to replace the M40 rifle, the Marines are wholeheartedly embracing James Mattis' beloved philosophy of delicious, delicious lethality with a vengeance.
WATCH NEXT: Fielding The New Modular Handgun System
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran announced on Monday it had captured 17 spies working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and sentenced some of them to death, deepening a crisis between the Islamic Republic and the West.
Iranian state television published images that it said showed the CIA officers who had been in touch with the suspected spies.
In a statement read on state television, the Ministry of Intelligence said 17 spies had been arrested in the 12 months to March 2019. Some have been sentenced to death, according to another report.
One of the few things that aggravates your friend and humble narrator more than hazelnut flavored coffee is Soviet apologists.
Case in point: A recent opinion piece in the New York Times claims the Soviet space program was a model for equality, noting the Soviets put a woman into space 20 years before NASA when Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova orbited the Earth in 1963.
"Cosmonaut diversity was key for the Soviet message to the rest of the globe: Under socialism, a person of even the humblest origins could make it all the way up," wrote Sophie Pinkham just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
This 100-year-old vet escaped a Nazi prison camp. Now he's at the center of a lawsuit over a Bible at his local VA
Herman "Herk" Streitburger was on his final bombing mission and due to go home when his plane was hit by German fighters over Hungary in 1944. He was captured and held as a prisoner of war, enduring starvation, forced marches and a harrowing escape.
Streitburger just turned 100 years old. That makes him a national treasure as well as a Granite State hero.
Streitburger, who lives in Bedford, gets around using a cane and remains active in POW groups and events. It was he who donated his family Bible to a POW "missing man" display at the VA Medical Center in Manchester, which prompted a federal First Amendment lawsuit.
And every year, he tells his World War II story to Manchester schoolchildren. It's a story worth retelling.
A new Marine Corps anti-drone system that attaches to all-terrain vehicles and can scan the skies for enemy aircraft from aboard Navy ships was responsible for destroying an Iranian drone, Military.com has learned.
Bob Pollock became known as perhaps one of the most dedicated people around Crofton, Maryland committed to honoring those who serve the nation. It only made sense, as the creator of the Two Rivers community monument told neighbors and friends he was a former Navy SEAL and had been a prisoner of war.
Except he wasn't.