Handheld firearms that come into service with the United States Military do not come with infinite life spans. Even the carefully designed Beretta M9 pistol in US Army service has come to reach its obsolescence. Thus, instead of ordering fresh parts for the M9 pistol, the Army opted to launch a new program so they could choose a newer pistol that improves upon the imperfections of the Beretta. For now, the US Army goes with the ‘standard’ metal pistols, but we expect that one day 3D printed weapons will take their place on the battlefield.
Glock’s First Crossover Pistol
Glock Inc. joined the US Army’s XM17 Modular Handgun System (MHS) pistol requisition program opposed to other firearm manufacturers. Specifically innovated to compete, the Glock 19x is Glock Incorporated’s initial hybrid pistol. The pistol integrates their proprietary full-sized G17 frame and model G19 reloading slide. It resulted in a pistol that has improved upon past Glock handgun generations in a critical manner.
Glock’s gun is factory assembled to include one of their signature weapon parts: The Glock Marksman barrel. Changes were noticeably made to the exterior of the handgun. If compared to other Glock generations, it is a major advancement with its durability, performance, reliability, control, and accuracy. Its recoil management is one of the best to exist within the firearm market.
Beretta’s APX Pistol
Beretta just would not yield from their M9 Pistol replacement. It is why they chose to join the fray with their Beretta APX. The handgun was really ahead in their drawing boards before the replacement program launched, but was widely influenced with US Army’s MHS criteria. Beretta APX, then came out as a surprise to most experts consisting of a full-size, striker fired polymer frame pistol, and an under barrel picatinny rail attachment obviously the M9 Service pistol was lacking.
Beretta’s competitive pistol iteration garnered mixed reactions since the company broke its tradition of semi-automatic handguns. The Beretta APX is a result of the company’s engineering theme of “extreme duty use”. It should be able to perform under any condition when fielded by law enforcement agents, military personnel, and shooting enthusiasts.
Sig Sauer’s P320
The Sig Sauer P320 was ultimately chosen to be utilized by US Army personnel. Its developer Sig Sauer has already produced quality handguns with a wide-scale usage amongst global military units. What’s best about the P320 is its overall function, shooting performance, and grip ergonomics that was deemed better than most polymer-framed pistols.
The handgun makes its distinction fielding a smoother trigger that is hailed as one of the best in existence. Its exceptional feature lies with its modularity. You can switch ammunition between 9x19mm, .40 S&W, and the .357 SIG if given access to the right parts. The frame can be swapped with either full-size, compact, carry, and sub-compact frames depending on mission use.
The company Detonics collaborated with firearms manufacturer STI which resulted in the STI-Detonics STX handgun. The STX joining the US Army MHS program is truly one of the pistols to offer a modular design approach. It is the sole competition pistol whose metal chassis could interchange four different barrel-slide assemblies.
The STX Pistol frame is specially designed around the US Army’s anthropometric grip geometries. The pistol’s fire control assembly is modular, striker-fired, and consists of a singular trigger pull making it the first striker-fired handgun to enter the competition. The STX though, did not make it throughout the competition for lack of production capabilities and handgun reliability issues.
After the US Army wrapped up its Modular Handgun System procurement with the Sig Sauer P320 as the winner, most of the competing handguns would be marketed publicly. Only two of these battling handguns would be continuously compared. The performance of the Sig Sauer P320 and the Glock 19 hybrid variant is still a debate amongst shooting enthusiasts and firearm experts.