The Air Force Materiel Command has issued a request for kits that would effectively convert a quantity of the service's M18 pistols to essentially mirror Sig Sauer's P320 XCompacts

The AFMC, tasked with equipping the Air Force with cutting-edge weapon systems, late last month issued a pre-solicitation request for information to the industry for "3,015 each modification kits for the conversion of the M18 Modular Handgun System (MHS) to a Sub-Compact design to meet concealed carry requirements." 

The RFI details that the required modification kit is Sig Sauer part number WKIT-320XC-9-BSS-R2-MHX. Such kits include roughly all the parts needed to convert a P320 series pistol into the company's XCompact model, including a 3.6-inch barrel and its accompanying slide, complete with X-Ray day/night sights and an optics plate, as well as the XSeries grip module and matching 15-round flush-fit magazines. With such kits, all the Air Force armorers would have to do is swap out the serialized fire control system of their M18s over to the new grip and loaded slide. 

Sig Sauer XCompact P320 collage
Sig introduced the P320 XCompact in 2019. It sports a small profile, just 7 inches long overall, while still providing an optics plate, accessory rail, beavertail grip, and double-stack 15-shot mags. Overall length is 7 inches while height is 5.3-inches. Weight is 25.3-ounces. 



The M18, the smaller pair of pistols adopted under the Army's 2016 MHS program, was adopted by the USAF to replace its stocks of M9 (Beretta 92F), M11 (Sig Sauer P228), and M15 (S&W Model 15 K38s), some of which dated to the 1970s. In all, the USAF is acquiring some 125,000 new M18s from Sig Sauer at a cost of $22.1 million, which breaks down to about $176.80 per firearm – proving it pays to buy guns in bulk! A statement by the Air Force says the new M18 costs “about one-third of what it would cost to buy an M9 today.”

The comparatively small number of XSeries Compact kits requested by the AFMC may point to a need to convert guns for specialized use such as by investigators or combat control teams. 

Sig Sauer made M18 MHS handgun
A variant of the Sig Sauer P320 with several upgrades to include a coyote-tan PVD coated stainless steel slide and a removable top plate for optics, the M18 can use a 17-round 9mm flush fit or 21-round extended magazine. The overall length is 7.2 inches due to a 3.9-inch barrel. Height is 5.5-inches. Weight is 28.1 ounces. (Photo: Sig Sauer)

Previously unavailable to the consumer market, Sig Sauer announced a limited run of commemorative M18s earlier this year.

Air Force M18 Pistol
U.S. Air Force Col. Paul Burger, 88th Mission Support Group commander, fires an M18 pistol at the 88th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms Range at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, on March 19, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ty Greenlees)



revolver barrel loading graphic