The Sig 320 is the most tested and selected handgun in the 21st Century. The advanced modular design won the Army’s Modular Handgun competition and became the M-17 and M-18. After extensive testing involving over one million rounds, the Sig 320 was selected as the new DHS duty handgun.
Recent internet tales about the M-17 may seem alarming, but they are nothing more than the story of the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense thoroughly testing their new handguns. I fired the M-17 at SHOT and found it well designed.
I have four Sig 320s. None of my 320s are exactly the same as the M-17, but they share many features. Today I went to the range and fired 500 rounds through them collectively, using a variety of ammunition. I had a single failure to lock the slide open on the last round.
I have complete faith in the Sig 320 family and think they will be even better after the Army rings them out. The guys at DHS are shooting their 320s and seem quite happy with them.
There have been several recent stories about the Sig 320. The 101st Airborne and the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade have fielded the M-17. There were YouTube videos of dropped 320s firing and now there is the Annual Report from the Department of Defense Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E).
I read the report so you don’t have to. The DOT&E report list some issues and describes the solutions. Some problems are already fixed, others aren’t as bad as they seem. Let’s take the issues as they came up in the report:
During PVT, the XM17 with ball ammunition met its requirement for Mean Rounds Between Failures but not its requirement for Mean Rounds Between Stoppages.
The failures look pretty good, but the stoppages seem excessive. Here is the issue:
“The predominant cause of stoppages was the failure of theslide to lock (FSLR) after the firing of the last round inthe magazine (60 of 120 stoppages for the XM17 and 63of 85 stoppages for the XM18). The purpose of the slidelocking to the rear is to inform the operator that the last roundhas been expended, and that the operator needs to reload amagazine into the weapon. Operators who are trained inpistol qualification, as taught by the Army marksmanship unit,utilize what is known as a high pistol grip. This grip placesthe non-dominant hand along the pistol slide on top of theslide catch lever. Many operators stated that the placement ofthe slide catch lever caused them to engage it while firing thepistol, which resulted in the slide not locking to the rear whenthe last round was expended in a magazine. Sixty percentof all FSLR stoppages (75 of 123) were experienced by8 shooters out of the 132 who participated in the IOT&E.The Army Marksmanship Unit experts stated that this is aninsignificant problem that can be mitigated with training andexperience with the weapon.”
“The MHS met its accuracy requirement that 10 shots at 35 meters can be covered by a 4-inch disk, with the center of the grouping being no more than 4 inches from the point of aim, 90 percent of the time. This was an entrance criterion for the IOT&E.”
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