Okay, I'm not sure if you know about this stuff, but the Beretta M9 is due to be replaced. Well, at least it has been that way for the last couple of years, where the M9 has been deemed to be approaching the end of its service life. Same thing happened in 1985; when the M1911 was reaching the end of its service life, it was due to be replaced. And it was. By, ironically, the Beretta M9. Now, the competition is already long over and a winner has already been announced, but let's recap on whatever entries entered into this competition.
This is the XM17 Modular Handgun System competition.
Okay, for starters, other than the obvious "the M9 is reaching the end of its service life" stuff, there are other reasons as to why this competition was started, with the main one being that the US Army wants to find a pistol that is much more reliable, accurate and effective than the current M9.
Now, about the contenders. There were a bunch of them. Most MHS contenders were painted in a desert sand color scheme, even though most of the pictures here do not show that; the pictures I use here are of the actual production models of the pistols, and not the ones submitted to the trials.
- The SIG Sauer P320 - The Victor
This was the pistol that was chosen to replace the M9 in service. Once adopted, it will be designated the M17. It has a modular design with a stainless steel fire control unit, and was designed to be ambidextrous from the get-go. Its modularity allows the shooter to purchase new barrels, slides and other things to customize its look, feel, performance and role. And that modularity definitely paid off. Both the compact and full-sized versions will be used by the military and these are also available on the civilian market.
- The Glock - The Runner-Up
Renowned for its amazing reliability and build quality, this pistol is the main choice of just about every major law enforcement agency in the world. The Glock got close, but there was no cigar. And because they didn't win, they kinda... made a pretty big deal outta it. Let's just hope this doesn't escalate to the The Slaughtering Grounds-level.
- The Detonics-STI STX - The Rookie
Now, some of you may be wondering: "Who the hell are Detonics and STI?". Now, I'm going to answer that question. Detonics Defense is a company founded in 1976, more well known for their "skunkworks" (a project developed by a small and loosely structured group of people who research and develop a project primarily for the sake of radical innovation) firearms, while STI (not the car) is known for making high-quality competition pistols. Both STI and Detonics decided to form a partnership in June 2015 to make handguns using Detonics' patents and STI's excellent build quality. It resembles an M1911, but it probably didn't win not because it used a very "worn-out" design (at the time), but probably because it didn't have all the production capabilities and such. However, it is now available to civilians, and I would expect it to do quite well in the market.
- The Beretta APX - The Dethroned
This pistol is a complete departure from the M9. Striker-fired, locked breech, modular. Things that the M9 definitely does not have. Despite Beretta struggling to try not to be outdone by other companies when it came to this pistol contract, the APX ultimately lost as it failed to offer other accessories that the weapon would need to become completely modular, such as sound suppressors and reflex sights that the contract required. But don't fret; this thing did not fade into the pages of history. The APX can now be bought by civilians, and is still by all means a fantastic pistol. It should do quite, if not very well in the civilian market, in my opinion.
- The CZ-USA P-09 MHS - The Rarity
While admittedly, this thing is just a modified CZ 75, the P-09 MHS is actually a heck of a lot rarer in the United States than the standard P-09 available for sale, which is kinda expected since it is a prototype. 50 P-09s in MHS spec were imported into the US, with 1 known to be owned by a private collector. The P-09 didn't win either, however; while it did satisfy most requirements, it failed to satisfy the requirements of the ability to attach a sound suppressor and caliber-switches.
- The Heckler & Koch VP70 - The Mystic
Okay, Heckler & Koch has been mentioned as a contender for this competition a bunch of times. It is known that HK did submit their VP9 as a contender for this competition, but why they lost is practically unknown; something tells me that it's because of its inability to change calibers. Still, it's a good weapon, and you might be able to find one of those three-round burst VP70s if you're lucky.
- The Smith & Wesson-General Dynamics M&P - The Nearing
The M&P is a good pistol from a very renowned company that's been around for ages. But, there's just one problem; it isn't completely modular. You see, the grip is an integral part of the M&P's frame. While yes, the backstrap is completely changeable, the grip was unable to change, thus sorta rendering the M&P out of the contest. However, it's very much available on the civilian market, and it does make a great concealed carry weapon, especially with the M&P9 Shield.
- The Walther PPQ - The Smooth
The PPQ has been advertised to have some of the smoothest trigger pull on the market. However, it suffered from similar "deficiencies" that the HK VP suffered from, and was practically rejected because of that. Don't let that stop you from buying one, however; just because of that "deficiency" doesn't make this a bad pistol. Hey, even hickok45 said this about the PPQ: "The striker-fired trigger is a dream trigger!"
- The Sphinx SDP - The Import
In case you haven't heard about Sphinx Systems Limited, I'll "enlighten" you. Sphinx is a Switzerland-based company that produces pistols usually based on the CZ 75. Being based on the CZ 75 isn't a bad thing, though, as the CZ 75 is a pistol of good quality, and especially so because Sphinx's pistols are known to be of excellent quality. Sphinx does not directly sell their products in the US, as they are imported directly from Switzerland via KRISS, most well known for their Vector. Little is known about the participation of the SDP, however; there's not much information about the SDP's participation in the competition, but it definitely did not win. Don't let that stop you from buying one, though; once KRISS imports them into the US, they should be a hit with the civilians.
- The FN MHS - The Unknown
FN actually decided to submit a striker-fired polymer-framed pistol based on the FN FNS. Unfortunately, FN's entry was not successful; however, they decided to develop the FN 509 from their unknown prototype pistol that they submitted, and according to their website, did rigorous testing on the 509. As the 509 has only just released to the public at the time of writing, I would expect it to do quite well in the civilian market. Yes, I know. The image of the "FN MHS" is a 509, but I have yet to find any images of the real MHS so this will have to make do.
So there you have it. Most of the contenders for the US Army's MHS competition. Like I have reiterated many times over and over in this post that I sound like a broken record player, these other contenders not being chosen over the SIG Sauer doesn't mean that these are all bad guns. In fact, all of them are of excellent quality. Who knows, maybe they will fare better in other fields like the Police Force, but only time will tell.