101st Airborne Division To Get New M17 Handgun ASAP Despite Legal Challenges
By Kate Rainey, TacticalGear.com
Steyr Arms and Glock have stepped forward with legal challenges against Sig Sauer Inc, the winner of the U.S Army’s Modular Handgun System competition. Despite attempts to slow down the adoption of the Sig Sauer M17, the Army hasn’t lost momentum in its mission to upgrade to a more modern pistol.
Steyr Arms Inc. filed a lawsuit against Sig Sauer on May 3, claiming the interchangeable trigger group contained by a polymer housing infringes on its patented design. Steyr Arms is pushing for an injunction to prevent Sig from selling the P320 and similar firearms with this trigger group construction.
This interchangeable trigger group is one of the main reasons the Army selected the P320 because it allows the shooter to easily change the grip, caliber and frame. The Army was looking for a modular replacement for the Beretta M9 in part because of concerns raised about the age, weight and reliability of this pistol. Sig Sauer received a 10-year, $580-million contract, beating out Smith & Wesson, Glock and several other competitors.
Glock was the first competitor to challenge the decision, filing an official protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on February 24. The GAO will likely make its decision next month, and if it upholds the contract, the Army should finish testing this summer.
These hurdles haven’t kept the Army from pushing forward with the deal. In May, officials announced that the 101st Airborne Division will be the first unit to get the new Sig Sauer pistol. The initial order will include full-size M17 and compact M18 9mm pistols, which will be compatible with suppressors as well as standard and extended magazines. The Air Force, Marines and Navy will also adopt the new Sig Sauer pistol, according to Military.com.
After almost a decade searching for a replacement for the M9, it’s no surprise that the Army doesn’t want to halt progress now. While it could take months or even years to settle the challenges against Sig Sauer and the MHS contract, the switch to the new M17 shows no sign of stopping.
Kate Rainey writes for TacticalGear.com, a leading retailer in the military gear industry. The online store was designed from the ground up to serve members of the tactical community and offers a wide selection of apparel, footwear and gear.