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.  


The Pistols

In past years, the winning team received Colt M1911-style pistols, presented in a ceremony at the end of the competition. 

(Photos: U.S. Army) 

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."

Built by SIG Custom Works, the two guns have unique distinguishing features befitting a trophy piece. (Photo: Sig Sauer)
Using a custom black Nitron engraved slide and black AXG metal grip module, they have a gold trigger. (Photo: Sig Sauer)
Note the right slide engraving: "Best Ranger Competition."  (Photo: Sig Sauer)
The left side engraving: "Rangers Lead the Way" (Photo: Sig Sauer)
The top sight plate is engraved with the Best Ranger Competition logo and the competition winner's name will be added. (Photo: Sig Sauer)
The guns also feature black G10 grips with a Ranger Tab medallion inset as well as standard M17 features such as an integrated accessory rail on the frame. (Photo: Sig Sauer)

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. 

Best Ranger Competition winners U.S. Army 1st. Lt. Vince Paikowski and 1st Lt. Alastair Keys, assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, raise pistols in the air at the Ranger Memorial on Fort Benning, Ga., April 19, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Henry Villarama)

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.

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