Soldiers in New Mexico finally got to fire the Army's new pistol - and they liked what they saw
Pvt. Matthew Marcellus, US ArmyOct 21, 2019, 19:45 IST
A soldier assigned to 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, fires an M17 pistol while in the prone position during a qualification range, October 10, 2019.US Army/Pvt. Matthew Marcellus
Soldiers from the 1st Armored Division fired the M17 pistol for the first time this month during a qualification range in New Mexico.
The M17 is the Army's new sidearm, designed to be lighter and easier to use.
McGregor Range, New Mexico - Eager soldiers shared looks of excitement and awe under the watch of the immense New Mexico golden mesas as they awaited their opportunity to finally fire the newly fielded M17 pistol.
Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division fired the M17 pistol for the first time during a qualification range, October 10. Within 1AD, 3ABCT is the first brigade to field and fire the new weapons system.
"The M17 pistol is an adaptable weapons system. It feels a lot smoother and a lot lighter than the M9," said 2nd Lt. Michael Preston, an armor officer assigned to 1-67 AR. "I feel like the transition to the M17 will benefit us greatly in combat. Just from being out here today I was able to shoot well and notice that it felt lighter."
The M17 is a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, which offers a lighter weight than the previous M9 pistol, weighing 30.8 ounces. It has an improved ergonomic design and a more modern internal striker firing mechanism, rather than an external hammer firing mechanism, to reduce trigger pull and improve accuracy and lethality.
Soldiers using the new M17 pistol will potentially have greater maneuverability and operational flexibility while in combat, due to the reduced weight and improved design compared to the M9 pistol.
The Modular Handgun System has an ambidextrous external safety, self-illuminating tritium sights for low-light conditions, an integrated rail for attaching enablers and an Army standard suppressor conversion kit for attaching an acoustic/flash suppressor.
The primary service round is the M1153 9mm special purpose cartridge, which has a jacketed hollow-point projectile. It provides improved terminal performance against unprotected targets as well as reduced risk of over-penetration and collateral damage compared to the M882 9mm ball cartridge and the Mk243 9mm jacketed hollow-point cartridge.
The fielding of the M17 pistol has generated great excitement and energy among 1AD soldiers, most of whom have never fired a handgun other than the M9 pistol.
The adoption and implementation of the M17 pistol reflects the Army's continued commitment to modernization, ensuring that soldiers are best equipped to deal with any threat and to project lethal force with efficiency.
Soldiers learn through innovation and iteration. As part of ongoing modernization efforts, research teams rapidly develop new prototypes and arm soldiers with new technologies, including protective gear, weaponry and communications capabilities.