It has been no secret the United States Army has been reviewing new weapon designs to maintain their efficiency and superiority in battle. The common prediction is sometime in the near future the troops may be switching to a 6.X millimeter rifle, but have recently accepted a new pistol, the Sig Sauer M17 (P320 in its civilian version) as a standard issue replacement for the Beretta, Glock, and a few other accepted brands of handgun.
The P320 is an exciting new fully ambidextrous weapon with a modular system which is easily able to change grip size to individual preference, caliber between most modern popular rounds, and barrel length for ease of use and overall accuracy.
The M17 received U.S. Army approval and passed military testing procedures to be included as a spec sidearm for troops armed with a pistol, and was recently followed by similar announcements from the Air Force, Navy, and Marines. The first round of Sig Sauers was issued to the 101st Airborne Division in November of 2017, and there are plans to purchase 421,000 more of the weapon between all four branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. The ultimate plan is for there to be a single handgun all military forces use so training and practice can be consistent for every soldier.
The M17 has a great trigger and good sights; I canâ€™t tell a difference in performance or feel between the M-17 and the P320-M17. The contract specification for the M-17 was shooting a ten round four-inch group at 35 yards with crappy ball ammo which it will do all day. The civilian versions of the M-17 are just as accurate and fun to shoot. I have used a variety of heavy and light bullets in full metal jacket and hollow points. The 320-M17 fed them all.
The feel and the grip angle are like the rest of the P-320 family. The manual safety is ambidextrous and placed so that the thumb rides on it naturally when you assume a firing grip. The ambidextrous slide lock sits right in front of the safety. It takes a little getting used to, but it is ergonomic and easy to use.
There is some debate about external safeties. The MHS requirements specified a safety and the M-17 delivered. The M-1911 had a well-placed safety, the M-17 is better, inspired by competition modified civilian 1911s. There are a lot of things soldiers do, like individual movement techniques (Google it), which are fundamentally different than police or civilian applications. Military guns get banged and dropped and abused. Some soldiers jump out of airplanes wearing them. With training, a manual safety is no slower and provides an extra layer of protection. Nobody wants to get shot doing a PLF (Parachute Landing Fall).
The P320-M17 comes apart like any other SIG P-320. The original specifications for the XM-17 required a special tool to remove the takedown lever. This requirement was changed and now both the Army M-17s and the civilian variants have the same removable takedown lever as the P-320. The military M-17 and the Commemorative require a special tool to disassemble the slide. The trigger modules have the serial number and are completely removable.