Army to Gun-Makers: We Still Want to Buy a New Pistol

Spc. Beau Wilson, with the 630th Transportation Company, tactically reloads his Beretta M9 pistol during the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Best Warrior Competition at Fort Knox, Kentucky, March 16, 2016. (Photo by Dalton Smith/U.S. Army)Spc. Beau Wilson, with the 630th Transportation Company, tactically reloads his Beretta M9 pistol during the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Best Warrior Competition at Fort Knox, Kentucky, March 16, 2016. (Photo by Dalton Smith/U.S. Army)

To the likely relief of gun-makers, Army acquisition officials still plan to march on with the program to develop a replacement to the M9 Beretta.

As my colleague Matthew Cox reported this morning at Military.com:

The U.S. Army will continue with its Modular Handgun System effort despite heavy criticism from the service’s own chief of staff who called it too bureaucratic and costly for a low-tech item such as a pistol.

Army acquisition leaders recently attended a high-level meeting with Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to determine what to do about the Modular Handgun System, or MHS, effort — keep as is, restructure or cancel it and start over, according to an Army acquisition official, who asked to remain anonymous because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

“The decision was to stay the course with MHS,” the official said.

The decision was probably met with a sigh of relief among gun-makers. More than 20 companies expressed an interest in competing for the acquisition program by turning out for an informational event last year at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey.

Of course, that was before the Army’s Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley began openly criticizing the effort as too costly and bureaucratic — and even explored the idea of piggy-backing on Army Special Operations Command’s contract to buy Glock 19s instead, as Cox has reported.

Even so, until the Pentagon pushes through acquisition reforms designed to empower Milley and the other service chiefs with more authority over purchasing decisions, it appears the Army will continue with the effort to develop the XM-17.

Stay tuned.

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.