The Marine Corps has budgeted enough money into its proposed fiscal 2019 budget to buy 35,000 of the U.S. Army's new Modular Handgun System, according to budget documents.
The Army awarded Sig Sauer a contract worth up to $580 million in January 2017 to make the 9mm Modular Handgun System as a replacement for service's Cold War-era 9mm M9 pistol, made by Beretta USA.
Also read: Want to buy the Glock that lost the Army handgun competition? You might just get your chance
The Corps also uses the M9, but Marine officials have remained tight-lipped on whether the service will commit to choosing the MHS as its new service pistol.
The Marine Corps did, however, include the MHS in the Family of Infantry Weapons Systems section of the Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Estimates Justification Book.
"The Modular Handgun System will be purchased to replace the legacy M9, M9A1, M45A1, and M007 pistols with a more affordable and efficient pistol for maintenance," the document states. "The MHS also provides modularity and greater shooter ergonomics over the current models, which will allow for more accurate fire for military personnel of different sizes."
Marine Corps Systems Command officials declined to comment on the budget submission.
Military.com also reached out to Sig Sauer for comment but did not receive a response by press time.
The $28.3 million earmarked for the Family of Infantry Weapons Systems "supports the first year of procurement and fielding of M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles (IAR), Modular Handgun Systems (MHS), Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS), M320 Grenade Launchers, and Tow Objective Gunner Protection Kit 2.0 (TOGPK 2.0)," the document states.
Compact XM18, above left, and the full size XM17, lower right. (Photo by US Army)
The budget document does not provide a total dollar amount for the MHS, but lists the unit cost of 35,000 Sig Sauer MHS pistols at $180 each. Army weapons officials have so far declined to give a unit cost for MHS.
The Army's 10-year MHS agreement calls for Sig Sauer to supply the Army with full-size XM17 and compact XM18 versions of its 9mm pistol. The striker-fired pistols can be outfitted with suppressors and accommodate standard and extended-capacity magazines. There is also an accessory rail for mounting accessories such as weapon lights.
The Army intends to purchase 195,000 MHS pistols, mostly in the full-size XM17 version.
The Marine Corps may be leaning more toward the smaller XM18 model, according to a "sources sought" solicitation posted on FedBizOpps.gov on Feb. 13, 2018.
"The Program Manager Individual Combat and Equipment (PM ICE), Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM), is seeking industry input that identifies potential sources for holster sleeve for the Modular Handgun System (MHS) (P320 Sig Sauer handgun) Compact ([XM18]) version," the solicitation states.
Companies have a deadline of March 30, 2018, to submit concept proposals, the solicitation states.
Army weapons officials first announced that the Marine Corps was considering purchasing 35,000 Modular Handgun Systems at the National Defense Industrial Association's 2017 Armaments Systems Forum May 2017.
Sig Sauer beat out Glock Inc., FN America, and Beretta in the MHS competition, an effort the Army launched in late August 2015.
Sig's victory formally ended the Beretta's 30-year hold on the Army's sidearm market.