Army Explains Spending Reduction in Modular Handgun System Program

The U.S. Army has finalized a plan to dual arm combat leaders down to the team-leader level with the new XM17 Modular Handgun System. (U.S. Army photo)
The U.S. Army has finalized a plan to dual arm combat leaders down to the team-leader level with the new XM17 Modular Handgun System. (U.S. Army photo)

The U.S. Army plans to spend $6 million on its new Modular Handgun System (MHS) in the proposed fiscal 2020 budget, $42 million less than it spent on the M9 replacement in the fiscal 2019 spending plan.

The service recently unveiled its proposed $182 billion budget, which includes cuts to 93 existing programs to free up money to fund future modernization products.

The Army awarded Sig Sauer a 10-year contract in 2017 worth up to $580 million to produce the XM17 and compact XM18 9mm pistols to replace the Cold War-era M9 pistol, made by Beretta.

Despite the significant spending reduction to MHS proposed for fiscal 2020, Army officials told Military.com that the program is not one of the 93 the service chose to cut funding to over the next several years to earmark money for its top six modernization priorities.

"The MHS program remains funded to procure the entire Army Acquisition Objective (AAO), plus additional handguns to support the European Defense Initiative," Wayne Hall, an Army spokesman, told Military.com in a written response.

The service's new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, however, was not as lucky in this budget. The Army recently confirmed that JLTV is one of the 93 programs it plans to cut funding to in the future.

The Army just began fielding its new vehicle in January, but it plans to buy only 2,530 JLTVs in the fiscal 2020 budget request, a significant reduction from last year's purchase of 3,393.

As far as MHS goes, the Army plans to purchase 233,429 pistols, a buy that will mostly consist of the full-size XM17, according to Defense Department numbers.

As of late February, the Army had fielded MHS to the 101st Airborne Division; the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 54th Security Force Assistance Brigades; 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment; 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team; and 10th Special Forces Group, as well as elements of the 1st and 4th Infantry Divisions and the 1st Cavalry Division, according to Alton Stewart, a spokesman for Program Executive Office Soldier.

The Army plans to field approximately 19,000 MHS pistols in fiscal 2019, according to Stewart.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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