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Army, Sig Sauer ‘Confident’ In Modular Handgun System Despite Alarming DoD Report
Despite a recent Department of Defense report detailing accidental discharges and frequent malfunctions, the Sig Sauer P320 9mm pistol, adopted as the M17 and M18 under the Army’s Modular Handgun System program, is “safe to operate,” Army and Sig Sauer officials told Task & Purpose on Jan. 31.
An evaluation of DoD gear and tech programs released earlier this month by the Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E;) revealed a number of issues during testing of the XM17 and XM18, including the ejection of live ammunition, frequent stoppages or malfunctions, and accidental discharges when dropped.
But what the DOT&E; report didn’t reveal, officials say, is that the Sig Sauer and the Army both corrected the issues through a number of upgrades to the original P320.
“There is no drop test deficiency with the MHS,” PEO Soldier spokeswoman Debi Dawson told Task & Purpose. “The drop test referenced in the DOT&E; report occurred on an early prototype of the MHS. Sig Sauer corrected this issue prior to the start of testing, and the MHS passed the Army’s drop test.”
News of the accidental discharges in particular has been a thorn in Sig Sauer’s side since it won the Army’s $580 million MHS contract in January 2017. After the accidental discharges first cropped up last August in reports from civilian P320 users, Sig Sauer issued an upgrade for civilian owners and insisted during a demonstration to reporters that the MHS was “unaffected” by the problem.
When the error appeared during the DoD IOT&E; trials conducted in August and September, Sig Sauer worked with the Army on a set of modifications before shipping the firearms off to the service for fielding.
“The MHS meets, or exceeds, all safety and operational requirements with XM1153 jacketed hollow point ammunition for which it is optimized,” Dawson told Task & Purpose. “The test results published in the Director of Operational Testing and Evaluation (DOT&E;) report are being used to make the MHS even better.”
According to Sig Sauer chief marketing officer Tom Taylor, the Army doesn’t even have to worry about making anymore pesky modifications: The company never sent the Army versions of the unmodified P320, and all of the M17 or M18 pistols that made it into the hands of soldiers featured an upgraded trigger system.
“Any gun sent to an infantry soldier has certainly had a safety upgrade made for the drop test,” Taylor told Task & Purpose, insisting that, the issues detailed in this month’s IOT&E; report were addressed long before members of the 101st Airborne got their pistols on Nov. 30. “All of these problems were addressed in 2017,” he said. “This is old news.”
Those upgrades seem to be working — at least, in civilian circles. Of the of the 500,000 P320s shipped to civilians since 2014, about 100,000 had come in for upgrades, with zero subsequent discharge issues, Taylor said. (“As soon as the guns came back, everyone starts dropping the gun on the ground for their blogs,” he laughed, referencing the flurry of amateur testing that gripped gun blogs after news of accidental discharges first emerged in 2017.)
Sgt. 1st Class Rocky Butler, a signal support systems specialist from Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, lays in the prone position with the new M17 Modular Handgun System for the first time during the troop's weapons qualification range Jan. 19, 2018 at Fort Hood, Texas.U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Taresha Hill
But that’s not stopping Sig Sauer from redoubling its testing efforts to ensure that the ambiguity created by the DoD report never emerges again. “Our gun does pass every standard we know of, but we decided that after this, we need to have a higher standard for our testing,” he told Task & Purpose. “We are more confident that the issue is resolved.”
The Army is hedging its bets. While Taylor insisted that the problems with the XM17 and XM18 were identified, isolated, and addressed long before the Army ever received their shiny new P320, this doesn’t necessarily mean that future issues might crop up. Dawson indicated that the branch is developing a process to address any future issues for those M17s and M182 that fielded to units like the 101st Airborne and 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade.
“The currently fielded pistols meet all safety and operational requirements for the ‘go to war’ configuration,” Dawson told Task & Purpose. “Once proven out through testing, the Army will add the changes to the production of new MHS. The Army will also develop a plan to retrofit any fielded MHS with these changes.”
Now you can relive the glory days of screaming "fire for effect" before lobbing rounds down range, and you can do it from the comfort of your own backyard, or living room, without having to worry that some random staff sergeant is going to show up and chew you out for your unsat face scruff and Johnny Bravo 'do.
The leader of a Chicago-area street gang has been arrested and charged with attempting to aid the ISIS terrorist group, the Department of Justice said Friday.
Jason Brown, also known as "Abdul Ja'Me," allegedly gave $500 on three separate occasions in 2019 to a confidential informant Brown believed would then wire it to an ISIS fighter engaged in combat in Syria. The purported ISIS fighter was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, according to a DoJ news release.
My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead
"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.
They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.
As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.
But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.
Sen. Rick Scott is backing a bipartisan bill that would allow service members to essentially sue the United States government for medical malpractice if they are injured in the care of military doctors.
The measure has already passed the House and it has been introduced in the Senate, where Scott says he will sign on as a co-sponsor.
"As a U.S. Senator and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, taking care of our military members, veterans and their families is my top priority," the Florida Republican said in a statement.