The U.S. Special Operations Command signaled the end of a five-year search for a personal defense weapon platform last week, opting to run Sig Sauer's MCX Rattler

The Commercial PDW contract, by its nature, needed to be filled by an off-the-shelf gun that was in current production. Sig introduced the Rattler in 2017 "at the request of elite military units" after a request for information was filed by SOCOM. The company then supplied a few to the country's elite commandos for testing in February 2018, after which they made a cameo in AWE events. In a notice of intent to award published on May 19, 2022, it would appear those tests went very well. 

"USSOCOM HQ has been researching and reviewing different systems since 2017," said the notice. "We have meticulously reviewed each system for technical acceptance and whether it fits the commercial definition. Except for Sig Sauer, the vendors did not meet the technical requirements and/or the weapons do not meet the commercial definition."

The MCX Rattler was "designed shorter than any M4 ever produced," said Sig when it was introduced, offering rifle-like ballistics in a sub-gun-sized package. With a 1:5 twist, 5.5-inch barrel, and overall length of only 16 inches when folded, the Rattler, offered in 5.56 NATO and .300 Blackout, provides an ultra-compact option.

The SOCOM notice this month stressed, "The PDW system will allow Operators to have maximum firepower in a concealable weapon." (Photos: Sig Sauer)

Besides its SBR variant, Sig has also offered the Rattler in an NFA-compliant PCB braced pistol format featuring a folding, pivoting contour brace. 

Sig Sauer MCX Rattler PCB
The Sig Sauer MCX Rattler PCB requires no stamps (Photos: Sig Sauer)

While the total value of the contract isn't known, it will be for complete PDW weapons, including Rattlers in both 5.56 and .300 BLK as well as Sig's SL-series suppressors, cleaning kits, magazines, quick-barrel-change kits, and force-on-force training kits. The notice comes as Sig is already on the heels of a huge Next Generation Squad Weapon program win and supplying all four main branches of the U.S. military with the new M17 and M18 series pistols as part of the Army's Modular Handgun System contract.