Army’s New Service Pistol – It has been a few years now since the Army awarded the new handgun contract to Sig Sauer USA, replacing the Beretta as the standard sidearm. The Army chose the M17, a full length P320 whereas the Marine Corps chose the M18, a shorter barreled P320. I have had the opportunity to take these two guns out and with my experience with the Beretta having one in a combat zone and training on it, here are some of my thoughts.
First off, if you have ever had the chance to fire the Beretta 92FS, it is a big gun, and it is double action/single action, with the ability to have a round chambered and hammer down and still draw and pull the trigger. If you have shot a revolver that is DAO that first round has what seems a very stiff trigger pull similar to that. The next shot for the Beretta is much lighter as the hammer is already cocked from the recoil of the first round. The Sig differs as it is the same trigger squeeze throughout, no adjustment in weights which I think greatly improves the accuracy of the firearm.
Second is capacity, with both carrying a 17 round magazine standard, however Sig does have 21 round magazines as well that come with the pistols. This may not seem like a lot but if you aren’t in the habit of carrying around spare magazines (you should do this and use our mag holders found here), this offer a bit more time before reloading. If you read my previous blog regarding reloading, if you can stay in the fight longer the better off you are.
Third is modularity and optics. The Beretta that I was issued was likely made in the mid 90s, and it looked like it had seen Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan and maybe drug behind a truck for a few miles, and it was completely slick, meaning no rails, mounts for optics, or even upgraded sights. It was plain jane, and it worked well enough. That said with the advent of better RMRs for pistols, and awesome holsters that can hold them like the Original I use, that are custom cut for optics, it is easy to see why the Army switched to offer capabilities to its soldiers to increase lethality.
Recoil was pretty similar with the nod going to Beretta, because it is heavier, and it soaks up recoil due to its weight. My accuracy with both the M17 and M18 were about the same, but I shot a bit better with the Beretta, likely because of my familiarity with the platform. Overall these are great options to carry and I think a solid improvement for the small arm of the Army and Marines.
Also, be sure to check out JM4 Tactical for your holster needs!
Author: Ian Bolser