The Marine Corps has officially started fielding its first new pistol in 35 years

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The Marine Corps has officially started fielding the M18 service pistol to replace its existing arsenal of sidearms, the service announced on Tuesday.

The M18 is the compact variant of the striker-fired M17 that, based on Sig Sauer's P320, the Army adopted under the Modular Handgun System program in 2017.

The M18 will replace all other pistols in the Marine Corps inventory, including the M9, M9A1, M45A1 and M007, according to the service.

“All Marine Corps units with a pistol will receive an M18,” said Brian Nelson, M18 project officer at Marine Corps Systems Command, said in a statement.

The Marine Corps began procurement of the M18 back in May of this year, with plans on eventually purchasing 30,305 of the feisty new pistols for grunts in the coming years, according to the service's latest budget request.

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 Corps's budget request put it.

“Overall, the adoption of the M18 by the Marine Corps is an extremely positive decision that will benefit the Corps and enhance Marines’ safety and effectiveness when conducting missions,” Tom Vass, the Army’s project officer for the M18, said in a statement. 

According to the MARCORSYSCOM release, Marines who have handled the M18 are already fans.

“I feel more comfortable holding the M18 than I do holding the M9, largely because of the interchangeable grip,” Journey Granados, a weapons trainer with Marine Corps Base Quantico’s PMO, said in a statement

“This pistol is definitely easier to shoot, is a lot more accurate and should improve Marines’ qualification score.”

The Corps has been rocking the M18 since February 2019, when Sig Sauer first delivered some 5,000 of the pistols to the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps for training, demonstration, and evaluation.

Both the Navy and Air Force plan on purchasing 60,000 and 130,000 M18 pistols in the coming years, respectively, while the Army plans on buying roughly 195,000 MHS pistols — the majority of which will be M17s.

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