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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.”
Investigation shows Lt. Col. in charge of Corps' 1st Recon was fired for alleged 'misconduct' but has not been charged
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
That's right, Superman is (at least temporarily) trading in his red cape, blue tights, and red silk underpants for a high and tight, a skivvy shirt and, well, he's still rocking silkies.
A first look at the 'CoD Modern Warfare' reboot shows juggernaut and ghillie suits return to multiplayer
Late last month Activision's Infinity Ward dropped a teaser trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare — a soft-reboot of one of it's most beloved games — and just two weeks after the May 30 reveal, the game developer unveiled some new details on what's in store for the first-person shooter's multiplayer: Juggernaut and ghillie suits!
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Iran says it will exceed limits on its enriched uranium stockpiles agreed in its 2015 nuclear deal, the latest escalation in tensions after the US accused Iran of sabotaging oil tankers last week.
Under the 2015 deal — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — Iran agreed with the Obama administration and several European states to limit uranium production.