Courtesy of Tactical Life
By now you’re probably aware that Sig Sauer’s P320 won the U.S. Army’s XM17 Modular Handgun System (MHS) competition to replace the legacy M9 and M11 service handguns—mil-spec versions of the Beretta 92FS and Sig P228, respectively. Starting with the Future Handgun System (FHS) over a decade ago, which merged with U.S. Special Operation Command’s Joint Combat Pistol (JCP) program, the idea was to pick a suitable off-the-shelf replacement. This eventually led to the Army-managed MHS program.
The House Armed Services Committee pushed to cancel the XM17 MHS program and upgrade the M9 instead as a less expensive option. Attempting to appease the MHS specifications while meeting the House’s suggestions, Beretta created its M9A3 pistol upgrade after identifying engineering change proposals (ECPs) under the existing contract. However, shortly after that, reports circulated that the M9A3 had been rejected and the House of Representatives approved $5.4 million to procure 7,106 MHS-approved pistols for testing. Thus, Army Contracting Command released an official MHS request for proposals (RFP) in August of 2015, listing a program value of up to $580 million.
Depending on what source you listen to, there were up to 14 pistols from 12 manufacturers offered as contenders for the MHS program. The testing ended up being a $17 million process to find a replacement. The initial bidders for the contract included Beretta, CZ, Glock, FN, Smith & Wesson and Sig Sauer, among others.
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