New M18 SIG Sauer issued to USAF security forces

The U.S. Air Force Security Forces Center, in partnership with the Air Force Small Arms Program Office, has begun fielding the new M18 SIG Sauer Modular Handgun System to security forces units as part of the Reconstitute Defender Initiative and its effort to modernize weapon systems and increase warfighter lethality. 

The M18 replaces the M9 Beretta, which has been in use for more than 30 years. This new weapon is also projected to replace the M11A1 Compact used by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the U.S. Army M15 General Officer pistol used for military working dog training. On January 19, 2017, it was announced that a customized version of the SIG Sauer P320 had won the United States Army’s XM17 Modular Handgun System competition. The full-sized model will be known as the M17 and the carry-sized model will be known as the M18.

In May 2017, the U.S. Army announced that the first unit that will receive the M17 would be the 101st Airborne Division by the end of the year. At the same time, the rest of the U.S. Armed Forces revealed they also intend to acquire the handgun, making it the standard sidearm for the entire U.S. military. The services plan to procure up to 421,000 weapons in total; 195,000 for the Army, 130,000 for the Air Force, 61,000 for the Navy (M18 compact version only), and 35,000 for the Marines.

The United States Marine Corps is replacing its M9, M9A1, M45A1, and M007 handguns with the Sig Sauer M18 handguns. The M9 and M9A1 were produced by Beretta while the M45A1 was made by Colt and the M007, which was only recently accepted as a variant, is made by Glock. Although it has been announced that the US Coast Guard is also adopting the M17/18 handgun there are no purchase numbers as yet.