The 37th Annual David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition resumed this month, and, for the first time, the trophy pistols presented to the winning team were special M17s from Sig Sauer.
The grueling competition, an Army event by The National Ranger Association, dates to 1982. In the non-stop nearly three-day challenge, 50 two-man teams of competitors, drawn from Ranger-coded active military, must complete combat skills spanning from ruck marches and navigating obstacle courses to marksmanship, swimming, and rappelling. The event is often termed "The Army Olympics."
For a better idea of what we are talking about, check out this video from the 2019 event – 2020 was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In past years, the winning team received Colt M1911-style pistols, presented in a ceremony at the end of the competition.
This year, reflecting the Army's most currently issued sidearm, the winners received specialized M17s from Sig Sauer.
"The Best Ranger Competition is the ultimate physical challenge that puts any operational and traditional skills to test, under extreme circumstances, for sixty straight hours of punishing, non-stop, endurance competition," said Jason St. John, director, Government Products, Sig Sauer, and sergeant first class (retired), U.S. Army Ranger. "It’s an incredible honor for Sig Sauer to be afforded this opportunity to present this custom M17 pistol as the official trophy pistol of this prestigious competition to recognize the elite Ranger competitors and their sacrifice."
The winners of this year's Best Ranger Competition were Team 34, consisting of 1st Lt. Vince Paikowski and 1st Lt. Alastair Keys. They were photographed with their pistols on Monday, flanking the Grange trophy in front of the Ranger Memorial.
The BRC M17s are not the only specialty Modular Handgun System pistols crafted by Sig for the Army. In 2018, the company has presented four unique M17s to be used by the Sentinels standing guard over the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. Sig also produces General Officer handguns, M18 models with a distinguished "GO" serial number meant for issue to the Army's brass.