The US. Army has begun issuing the XM17 handgun. Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky began receiving the new XM17 MHS on Monday, November 17, according to Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for the 101st Airborne.
Tested as the XM17 and called the "Modular Handgun System," or MHS, the pistol now drops the "X" which designates it as "experimental." It will now be called the M17.
The 101st Airborne "Screaming Eagles" will be the first in a long line of units to receive the new 9mm pistol, which is meant as a replacement for the existing M9. The Army made a conditional material release for the MHS of 2,000 pistols to the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Also among the first to receive the new pistol will be the 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas, as well as one of the Army's new security force assistance brigades.
Brig. Gen. Brian Cummings, Program Executive Officer Soldier at Fort Belvoir, Virginia said all three units will have the new M17 handgun issued to them by the end of the year.
Sig Sauer manufactures the XM17 pistol based on its existing P320 pistol, though General Cummings said, "It's a different weapons system."
The general indicated that the M17 has different safety features than the P320 pistol, as well as different requirements for accuracy and reliability.
This past January, the Army awarded Sig Sauer a contract worth up to $580 million to manufacture the Modular Handgun System. Sig Sauer beat out Glock Inc., FN America and Beretta USA, maker of the current M9 9mm service pistol. The 10-year agreement calls for Sig to supply the Army with full-size M17 and compact M18 versions of the pistol The MHS comes with Tritium sights as well as 17 and 21-round magazines.