At long last, the US Army is replacing its outdated weapons, and the first in the list are the M9 Beretta pistols. These will make way for the new Modular Handgun System: the M17 and ‘compact’ M18 pistols.

Daily Mail UK reports that M9 entered the scene in 1986, and has been the main Weapon till now. These will be replaced by the M17 and M18 which are reported to be more accurate, easier to fire, and more lethal. This upgrade is taking place after 31 years.

Soldiers who have tested the new weapons are satisfied with the results and have confirmed their firing ability and ease of operation.

The need for a change

The US army is on a modernization spree, and edging out the M9 Beretta pistols is one of its actions. It is understandable because technological advances keep happening regularly, and one has to keep pace with the changing times to remain in contention. The new M17 and M18 handguns will replace the M9s under a $580 billion ten year contract with the manufacturer.

Incidentally, the new acquisitions are equipped with an external safety apart from self-illuminating lights which will be an advantage. It would help the soldiers when they might have to operate in low-light conditions. The new weapons also have other add-ons to help the soldiers discharge their duties better.

Sig Sauer is the manufacturer, and it won the contract after winning the modular handgun competition of the Army and Air Force.

Upgrade is necessary

The world is moving at a fast pace and, while the focus of the military is usually on upgrading the sophisticated battle tanks and missiles, there is very little priority assigned to simple weapons like handguns. That is, probably, the reason why the US Army has not bothered to change the M9 Beretta pistols for the last 31 years.

It has now taken a decision to go in for a more versatile weapon that has a better accuracy, tighter dispersion, and is easier to handle.

Modern day warfare involves weapons that are technologically advanced marvels, involving automation of a high order. A handgun or a pistol plays a minor role in any battle, hence the general perception is that they do not require upgrading.

However, manufacturers do upgrade these small arms, and the authorities have realized that the performance of the Army would improve if its arsenal is upgraded. In the opinion of Maj. Gen. Andrew P. Poppas, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) commander, in order to maintain a decisive edge over the opponents, it is necessary to have more powerful weapons that pack a punch.