A video posted this week by the Weapons Training Battalion at Marine Corps Base Quantico details the arrival of the new Sig Sauer-made M18 pistol.
The more compact version of the M17 Modular Handgun System first adopted by the Army in 2017, the M18 is based on Sig’s P320 and is set to replace the M9 Beretta in Marine service. In the above video, Col. Howard Hall details the advantages the Sig has over the legacy Beretta, which was first adopted in the 1980s to replace WWII-vintage M1911 pistols.
The M17/18 series allow grip sizes to be rapidly changed out and are optics-ready using a night sight plate on the slide top.
While the Army intends to field the full-sized M17s primarily, with M18s reserved for use by individuals and units requiring a concealed weapon, such as overseas training teams and advisors, investigators, and special operations personnel, the Marines are exclusively choosing the smaller handgun.
As noted in the Navy’s FY 2019 procurement budget justification for the Marine Corps, 35,000 of the smaller Sigs will not only replace M9s but also the Colt M45A1 CQB .45ACP railgun and the newly-acquired M007 Glock.
Likewise, the Navy is set to purchase 60,000 M18s to replace its current M9 handguns.
The Air Force is also going all-M18, using the 9mm to phase out their M9s and M11s, the latter a version of the Sig Sauer P228, used by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Further, the M18s ability to use blank firing kits and Simunitions will allow it to replace the venerable .38-caliber Smith & Wesson M15 revolver, which is still used to train military working dog teams.