The Beretta M9 has been the U.S. Army’s standard service handgun since 1985 but has faced criticism throughout its tenure.
The U.S. Army has worked towards replacing its current service handgun — the Beretta M9 — for several years, but now it has released a new official draft solicitation detailing specific plans for the replacement process.
On June 17, the Army released a new draft solicitation on the Federal Business Opportunities website that laid out the service’s plans to replace the M9 with the Modular Handgun System (MHS) by 2018. Army officials intend to begin the competition next year and eventually award a contract to a single gun manufacturer for 280,000 new pistols.
The new draft solicitation explains the Army’s latest proposed competition schedule, procedures and requirements for the XM17 Modular Handgun System (MHS). These have all been modified following industry feedback and the decision of the Department of Defense (DOD) to allow the use of special purpose ammunition.
The draft gives the industry a final chance to provide feedback on the new strategy prior to the Army’s release of the final draft solicitation. The Army also intends to hold another industry day — its fourth for this project — on July 7-8 at New Jersey’s Picatinny Arsenal.
The plans report that the Army will unveil its final draft in a year and then select its new handgun through a full and open competition.
“We expect to release the final solicitation in 2016,” Program Manager for Soldier Weapons, Colonel Scott Armstrong said. “This will be followed [by] a phased down-select process that will run through 2017.”
“When all is said and done,” Armstrong said, “the XM17 will provide Warfighters with greater accuracy, target acquisition, ergonomic design. The new handgun will also be more reliable, durable and easier to maintain.”