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P320 MHS, c Rob Curtis at GearScout

The U.S. military has been thinking about trading up from their hodgepodge of 1980s era handguns to something a little more modern and modular. At the moment there is an array of different guns in service, from the Beretta 92FS to the SIG SAUER Mk25 to the venerable Colt 1911 and compact versions for the criminal investigation units. Simplifying their arsenal and ensuring interoperability even across branches of service would make acquisition, maintenance, personalization, and even sharing ammunition in combat far easier than today. The Modular Handgun System competition aims to do just that, and SIG SAUER just started showing off their entry in the competition at AUSA this week . . .

Thanks to an article by Rob Curtis over at GearScout, we have our first look at the new handgun. Using the SIG SAUER P320 design as the base, the MHS entry also seems to sport a manual thumb safety in addition to the striker mechanism.


Given the way the competition is being billed, it seems like SIG’s P320-based entry would be a shoe-in. In fact, that was one of the driving motivators behind the design of the firearm. The serialized part is a small removable aluminum stainless steel chassis. The components can be then re-configured for almost any kind of firearm you could want. Moving from a 6″ 9mm competition handgun to a 3″ .45 ACP concealed carry gun is as easy as pie, and replacing major components is a snap as well.

The main competitors are still apparently using built-in chassis systems, where the metallic chassis is permanently molded into the grip of the handgun. That makes changing grip sizes nearly impossible and severely limits the dimensions of magazines that can be used, as well as increasing the replacement cost should something happen to the grip. Drop a GLOCK from a helicopter and a cracked magazine well means the whole thing needs to be replaced. Do the same with a P320 and all you need to swap out is the grip. For $25-ish.

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    • Maybe TOO clever.

      One of the major reasons given in the past for consolidating handgun types was to reduce the crushing parts inventories required to support multiple handguns. This is going WAY in the opposite direction. Can you imagine how many parts/stock numbers would be required to support such a system-type handgun?

      And the KISS principle still applies, folks. I wouldn’t want to be the one with the 9mm who gets issued ammo and mags on the way to the airplane, only to find that when I’m half a continent away the mags they gave me are for the .45ACP version. Or to have the longest-grip-frame version in my holster, and be issued or resupplied with spare mags that only work in the one of the shorter grip frames.

      The more I think about it, this is a potential nightmare in the making…

      • I suspect the military will pick one caliber – likely .40 or 9mm – and stick to it. So then there will be three or four size versions, and even then major units won’t have access to all the options – probably just a couple of grip sizes to make the gals happy.

      • Fred, it’s an expression; “Damned clever those Chinese” has been used generically as a catch phrase for decades. You look foolish for not knowing, and uncivil for using the insult. Not nice.

        • My AR doesn’t have a holster that covers the trigger guard when I don’t want to access the trigger. My pistol doesn’t need a safety because it doesn’t get handled like a rifle does.

      • Why Tom? Because Sig is trying to win the government’s competition and hopefully with the win, they get the contract in the future. I don’t believe I know of any semi-auto pistol bought by the US military without a manual safety. I’m sure it is in the government’s specifications.

        • Except for all the other Sigs DoD uses. The M11 (P228), P226 and Mk 25 all are DA/SA deco lets with no manual safety.

        • Scott, that there are some special pistols for special units that don’t have manual safeties is irrelevant. The MHS competition’s purpose is to find the next standard service pistol for the military which will almost certainly have a manual safety.

      • I’d love to take the safety out of my shotguns and rifles. At no point in time has a safety ever helped me, nor are safeties considered safe. No gun club in the world is going to let you walk around with a loaded weapon “as long as the safety is on.” Someone starts walking around the range with their weapon loaded they don’t stay long. Most don’t even let you have a 12 ga off the line with the chamber closed.

        I think just telling people, “don’t point it at anything you don’t want to kill” is probably a better idea. The P320 has built in safeties to avoid drop-firing anyway. The weapon won’t discharge unless you pull the trigger, don’t pull the trigger if you don’t want it dead…

      • Try teaching someone new to shoot without an external safety. Nothing like passing back and forth a loaded, striker-fired pistol. Which of course is why the U.S. military has historically insisted on external safeties beginning with the 1911 itself. The “1911” didn’t have any safety when John Browning submitted the first prototype in 1907. For a couple of reasons. For one thing the man grew up the son of a gunsmith and was around them his entire life. But of course most guns period didn’t have them then because they were HAMMER-FIRED. And also because John Browning had designed and sold to Colt a pile of semi-auto defensive pistols that were primarily “pocket guns” and didn’t make them any more complex or likely to hook on clothing than absolutely necessary coming out of the pocket of a business man suddenly jumped on a city street. So he didn’t see the need for one on a sidearm, that he probably didn’t foresee being actually used in combat because at the time, pistols were gentelmen’s guns and officers were gentlemen. I doubt he foresaw 2 million plus 1911s being built and issued as sidearms and backup combat firearms rather than badges of officer rank.

        He was probably thinking at most an officer might have to draw a pistol to protect himself against a pissed off recruit or draftee or maybe execute a deserter. All of which are more “defense” than combat. Combat is fighing with other men who want to kill you and if it comes down to hand to hand, you’d have to be an idiot to put a safety-less, pull the trigger and it shoots gun in the mix where it can be taken away or lost and used against you. It’s not impossible to picture an enemy soldier grabbing for your pistol or fumbling it in the heat of battle and losing it or having to pass it back to or receive it from an instructor during training.

        In the first circumstance, the grip safety can safe your life if you’re fighting over your pistol and nobody has a control but both people are fighting like crazy with both hands trying to do WHAT? Grab it around the grip with the muzzle pointed away from them. If the thumb safety gets disengaged, the grip safey is still there to prevent the bad guy from getting it pointed toward you and jerking the trigger. You know it needs to be gripped. He doesn’t.

        The same goes if you fumble or drop your pistol and unthinkingly grab for it and get a finger or thumb through the trigger guard and put pressure on the trigger with the muzzle pointed in an unsafe direction. The grip safety blocks the trigger. Nothing else. The trigger doesn’t have anything to do with the safeties. It’s a 1911. The trigger fires the gun – efficiently and effectively without having to squeeze the damn thing like its a DA in a SA pistol. The trigger isn’t one control doing the work of three while the idiot who bought it bitches and wishes it were lighter and has to modify the mechanism or replace parts to get a decent SA trigger pull.

        The other situation an external safety makes sense is when working with new shooters. When you’re dealing with new shooters, you might toss them a pistol and magazines and say “Here you go. Figure it out”, but I think I have a little more responsibility to them and to me to teach them the way I was taught. Not only that, Ive shot with friends who do have guns and who shoot but who aren’t familiar with mine or me with theirs. There’s not a thing wrong in the world with having someone load and make ready their firearm for you as you watch if you’re not familiar with it or vice versa. Smart shooters the STUPID ONES think they know all there is to know and just start fucking with shit.

        All you need to know about how stupid it is that Glocks don’t have safeties is think about he number of ADs and NDs that occur simply because there is no thinking or physical action involved to make that gun fire besides pulling the trigger. You could be a 40-year-old police officer getting ready to disassemble the piece of shit for cleaning and unthinkingly squeeze the trigger like you HAVE TO to disassemble it and unthinkly squeeze the trigger and BANG!It happes a LOT. Because using a Glock pistol is a mindless, mundane task a moron can handle. And with good reason. And don’t pull that “safe shooters unload and check safe” bullshit when you won’t even acknowledge the usefulness of a device that puts one more SAFETY between you and the trigger. You assclowns act all high and mighty and you’re the first doorknobs that start jacking with your guns and modifying the fire control and safety systems.

        But when you see someone else do something you think is “unsafe” you act like Safety Rangers and start flapping your gums when the situation isn’t unsafe in the slightest. Morons that whine about “trigger discipline” and bitch on YouTube comments when the guy making a video with gun that can’t possibly shoot back through time and their computer screen doesn’t “show clear” but are the “Safeties are useless” morons are just fine represenatatives of responsible gun ownership. Most children are smarter than they are and they have no clue just how popular their favorite guns would be if they had a safety on them. Because there are plenty of “old school” schooters that don’t own them for just that reason. It’s just STUPID not to have an external safety on a semi-automatic pistol.

        The only reason you think they’re unnecessary is because you don’t have them and you probably had no clue 99,99% of repeating firearms ever made DO. And I don’t have a problem with them not having safeties because it makes the gun unsafe. There is no such thing. I have a problem with morons who have never owned a gun and who run out and buy one because somebody told them to doing so and then when they realize “Hey, I bought a Glock and they don’t have features all the other guns do and I paid just as much or more for it” and decide to play off their stupidity as macho “No need for safeties” like THAT is the reason they bought the piece of shit instead of because they’re COOL. Then you trash guys who do buy guns with them when those guys have been shooting longer than you’ve been alive and have worn out more guns than you’ve owned and that is HILARIOUS.

        The next time you want to congratulate yourself on not needing safeties, ask yourself why a curtain rod manufacturer designing his FIRST GUN EVER and without being a GUN OWNER decided guns didn’t need external safeties but curiously enough hasn’t designed a damn thing having to do with a firearm since and won’t even change his original design despite 35 years of requests, suggestions, comments and complaints. Real gun guy, huh? If he wasn’t such an idiot he’d probably have that $500,000,0000 contract right now. But he’s not smart enough to put a safety on his pistols just like the morons that buy his crap aren’t smart enough to realize they could have bought something else and taken the safety off. Or even have purchased a pistol with an OPTION for an external safety. Yeah. There are guns that have them as options.

        If only we were all as smart as Glocksuckers….

    • I’m thinking that’s probably why I never really got into Sig… Price and availability… Just don’t really see them in my LGS’ – and never seemed to have anything that trumped my CZ’s, XDm’s, Glocks, FN’s, M&P’s… But P320 does seem to have the edge for the next .mil platform. Guess we’ll see.

      • Not to mention I couldn’t find much aftermarket support, mainly holster selection was slim pickings, but they may change. I like the idea of one trigger to rule them all.

      • My LGS had the p227 when the big stores didn’t. It took me forever to find the 14 round mags for it though, so I had given up on that search for awhile. Just got a couple online from Cabelas. I’ve had to go on Ebay to get different Sig grips for my Mk25, but I’ve had no trouble finding holsters, and the 226 and 227 use the same holster.

  1. Looks like a brick, what happened to the attractive Sigs? I have always liked the look of the p230. I know function before form but it seems like HK, Sig and Springfield are in competition to make the ugliest “Glock” With that said I support any weapon the military adopts as long as my family and friends that serve get a better sidearm than one that shoots 9mm fmj. I love 9 mm, but NATO fmj is not working. My brother in law had the luck of being issued a 1911 in the mid 2000s and he admits it saved his life once.

        • Based on your past personal experiences, what are the chances of a sequel actually being better than the original?

          I know how I’d bet…. and it ain’t on the sequel.

          More refined? Maybe.
          Improved ergonomics? Probably.
          Higher cost? Definitely!

          All-around better? Not holding my breath…

  2. I see a major problem. They are taking a gun not designed with a thumb safety, and sticking one on the side just to meet the qualifications. I’ll hold my breath for now but I suspect this will have some durability problems in the future.

  3. This site is killing me- this was news about 5 days ago. Instead, TTAG prioritizes an article asking the best caliber/weapon to kill people infected with Ebola… What the heck is happening to this site? And as an aside- what real world experience other than 3-gun does Leghorn have that gives him the credentials to write off using a rifle as a primary HD weapon? I apologize in advance if he did serve, and I know he’s an EMT (props where due). Just saying… As the #1 gun blog in the country, this site really needs new blood. I respect RF, for all that he does for gun rights. That being said, the current crop of writers either need a kick in the ass (and a workout routine), or to be replaced. Coming from someone who is the exact opposite of an OFWG,

      • Agree with the “young skinny black girl ” who goes by a boys name. Site needs some Kurdish women warriors to appeal to the 100 million gun owners of America (no less all those OTOFWG – OTHER THAN…) up in Canada.

        • I’m not being a troll- if I didn’t like the site I wouldn’t be writing this. To talk/write about self defense all day and largely ignore one’s physical fitness is to live a fantasy world. I just want to see the site continue to get better, rather than regress into “What Weapon/Caliber for Ebola Victims?”. Also, what if I was a thin black girl? Am I supposed to take that as an insult? Stop flaming, and if you disagree with me, please tell me why. Thanks, gents.

    • Not gonna lie, I really did enjoy the retort to the rifle for HD post that Breach Bang Clear did.

      I cant however dismiss all of the writers as a whole.

  4. I really love the idea of the Sig 320. Its almost like a pistol version of an AR. This one piece is the actual gun and you can change literally every thing else about it with no need to go to a FFL.

  5. As a former service member, I find the idea of handgun standardization to be something to AVOID, and as strenuously as possible.

    For one, this is the US Department of Defense we are talking about. No matter what gear the military picks, theres going to be a lot of parts and whatnot to keep track of. So we can dispense with the idea that a single gun can reduce that-and further, there are very good reasons why the OSI/NCIS/CID use different guns then the uniformed MPs who use distinct guns from the special forces units.

    Each areas mission is different, and doing those jobs well requires specialized hardware. We wouldnt make a USPSA Open class shooter use an IDPA production Glock 19 and expect them to still place top in the match, so why is it suddenly OK to make people with different missions use the same gear in the military?

    Let each unit equip itself with whatever gun it sees fit to use in the DoD, and let us worry about more important matters… why the typical state CCW course is tougher then military pistol quals?

      • I had this same modular idea in mind when I read it, too. In this case the sidearms currently in use by the mil don’t have an “F-22 Raptor” model gun to use and spend wads of cash on in the meantime. Ie the F-22 is great but costs too much for mass production

      • Speaking of which, anybody know when the “full partner” Brits are going to start taking responsibility for their half of that supposed “debacle”. Last I knew when they found out the airplanes will be leaving the U.S. sans flight control software and they’ll have to provide their own to make the plane what they want it to be and do what they want it to do they started whining and kind of disappeared and now only bitch about it.

  6. I guess as long is this nation continues to hemorrhage endless cash, why not dump billions on another piece of gear that won’t influence the outcome of anything?

    Who gives a sh!t if we collapse the economy? At least we’ll have a modular handgun that fits the wee hands of our 110lb female soldiers. Diversity is our strength, you see.

  7. Might be a great handgun, but it’s more than passing resemblance to the turd of all turds, the P250, makes it vastly unappealing.

    • a p-230 ? they should make it a 32 acp ,actually the nazis and most european countries used that i\]caliber in ww-2,including Hitler ,is all he carried , and died by it .. lots of our side died from a bullet from a 32 acp ,and a 45 in that gun the recoil would be terrific in a gun of that size .and those small handed small ladies in the military now ,would suffer with the 45 recoil .even the 1911 in 3i nch officers model ,many men even find it objectionable and hard to shoot accurately .

    • It sure is funny how opinions have drastically changed on the P250. Guys that were ripping on them in their YouTube reviews suddenly LOVED THE P250 now that SIG SAUER has that contract. And of course there is not and never was a thing wrong with the P250 that an hour of practice on the range and some nightly dryfire practice couldn’t fix. Seeing as how it’s just the DA trigger a bunch of nancyboy pussies can’t handle. Poor wittle babies. Whacking your pud watching Glocksucker videos didn’t give you the finger strength to shoot a pistol little girls are shooting well in YouTube videos?

      Seriously, poser. If you knew anything about guns and what good a little training does and how learning to shoot a DA handgun could save your life someday in an emergency where you got nothing else, you’re just a …poser. Not to mention if you really can’t handle it you can always thumb it and shoot SA.

      Then there’s that whole RESTRIKE thing where it really makes one HELL of a lot more sense to quick stroke the trigger again and give the primer another whack before voluntarily unloading your gun and maybe ending up completely empty or with one round that ALSO MAY NOT GO OFF if it happens to be an ammo problem.

      Not to mention a hammer hits a primer a hell of a lot more consistently and reliably than a POS Glock “striker” that apparently ends up “striking” out of battery or getting hung up at some point judging by the way so many cases fired out of Glocks have some kind of scratch/.scrub/dent/ditch mark across the primer. Yep. That pin is definitely hanging out there where it shouldn’t be at some point as the primer drags across it. No other explanation for it, really.

      Not to mention a good hammer and firing pin in a POS kinda-sorta locking up Glock would probably cause pierced primers given their tolerances.

      But that’s okay. Be the biggest wussies in the world because you won’t bother learning how to shoot a good DA trigger and concoct fake complaints about a gun you’ve never even handled. We’ll all laugh when some version of the “P320” shows up with a hammer and you all have to explain just why that “turd” is being used to teach girls just out of high school to shoot while you stroke your buddy’s Glock.

      And by the way, you might want to go watch Nutnfancy’s video on the P250 range trip. He grabbed a young couple he met at a gun range, the guy was an occasional shooter but mostly hunted and had little or no handgun experience and his wife had some kind of a handgun she’d shot a little but not recently. Literally 10 minutes after he met these two he had the husband shooting 4-5″ groups at 15 or 20 yards just by showing him how to turn the DA into a SA by basically jerking the trigger through 3/4 of the travel to the “wall” and then squeezing it like a SA. Because that’s really all it takes. They’re called “DA” but since you’re not turning a cylinder with the take up, you’re really just cocking the striker like you’re disengaging the “firing pin safety” in a Glock during the squeeze. Then you get to the “wall” and the trigger will break WAY more cleanly than any POS Glock. Think of it as a TWO STAGE trigger where you actually have to do some work wit your wittle fingers during the first stage and you might be able to shoot it.

  8. I may not have every one’s agreement on this, but I’ll drive an ugly reliable car any day before I drive a pretty one that I don’t trust. The glock isn’t the best looking gun out there, but I’ll trust my life behind one any day.

    • Well Nate, id agree with you in all except that light trigger and dingy thing in center of it for a safety,, many have shot themselves or others because of that ,, me,, i want either a safety lever ,or a hammer , or both ,or a long hard trigger pull like a revolver . i can instantly cock or flick off a safety as i draw ,and anyone can learn to .but probably some couldnt .Im an old guy and carried a 1911 45 as a back up to my M2 carbine in the korean war and grew to love them like you do your Glock ,so be happy with yours and enjoy it .

  9. I agree about never seeing Sigs. This seems ok. BTW it’s unveiled guys. And if you don’t like this site don’t look at it. Start your own. To me TTAG is far & away the best site on the internet. YMMV

  10. I had a P250 Compact in .380 and I built a Sub 9MM with the conversion kit and a used FCU that I bought online. Both were great guns and I sold them at a profit. I really would consider buying a P320 if I was in the market for another full-size or compact piece.

  11. I wouldn’t get your hopes up SiG lovers. The Army just did the same thing a few years ago with ICC and they still bought M-4s ICC died thankfully and we still use M-4s. Same thing here the Army looked at some new pistol till buys M-9s Don’t get your hearts up I still see SIG lover slobber over this plastic crap. But it offers nothing since its still a 9mm pistol we already got a 9mm pistol. I hope this waste like ICC will die. And there not much news about it. Think Army brass may be not to happy with this debacle anyway. Face there was no news on its industry day and ICC had headlines in 08 when they had there’s face it this is a major waste of money.

  12. I had a P250 and loved everything about the gun. Except for the really long DA trigger. I have tried the trigger in the P320 and knew immediately it was an improvement. It will almost certainly be my next handgun purchase.

    • Sig put the manual safety on it to earn the contract. It is certain a gun with a manual safety will be necessary to win the military competition and bid since it is also certain it is in the military specification. Civilians will still be able to get the same gun with or without the manual safety in the future.

  13. If it works well, I’m interested, although I don’t want any safeties on any of my carry / SD handguns.

    Otherwise, GLOCKs seem to work pretty well with caliber conversions.

  14. They’ll can the competition just like they did last time and continue as they have been. This is posturing, plain and simple.

  15. There is no money in the military for anything like a new pistol. The Army is looking at going to 420,000 which is a post WW2 low or even 390,000. Further, the requirements have no request for quote, proving that this is an exercise in the possible with no planned purchase.
    Last thing, both the Army and Marines are looking at making pistols a special duty weapon, meaning that most officers and SNCOs who currently carry pistols would not have them. So, nice “what ifs” but nothing is likely to cone out of it except for sone civilian sales.

  16. Watch. There will be a self propelled field expedient ruggedized robotic 3d printer that can make up parts on demand, AND assemble, to crank out weapons to order, from vertrepped supply points on the route of march.

    5 years to working prototype.

    Want yours in the compact single stack 9mm? .50 Desert Eagle config…

    Just open the app on your Iphone20 and in about 90 seconds you are good to go… straight out of the oven…
    pick it up at the chow hall, right after the deseft selection, next to the utensils….

    This in the Quik Camp at the national guard all able and trained citizen assembly point for initial training and periodic refresher, two week summer training. Of course it goes home as its custom fitted exactly to your hand, grips angle, holo sights to your eye prescription…. and NO RFID. Now, theres a smart gun…wonder what the FBI stats will be in 10 years… half todays, I would wager, and those urban yout’s? Well an armed society is a polite society…

    Like Switzerland…a handgun owner behind every blade of grass. Does wonders for damping down urban unrest and deters looters during emergency scenarios, earthquake, flood, tornado, as you know most every law abiding citizen is packing and well trained.

  17. I had this same modular idea in mind when I read it, too. In this case the sidearms currently in use by the mil don’t have an “F-22 Raptor” model gun to use (and spend wads of cash on in the meantime. Ie the F-22 is great but costs too much for mass production

  18. Range report… Today I got out to the range and put about 150 rds. through my recently purchased P320 carry and have to say that I am definately not disappointed. Right out of the box it is every bit, and maybe even more accurate than my first love, the Sig P228. No failures whatsoever, and just an absolute pleasure to shoot. The amazing thing was how controllable the gun is, with the recoil less than any of my Glocks.. I own 3 Glocks (17, 19, and 26) and shoot GSSF competitions, so I am very accustomed to the Glock, and one of the 3 I own is carried daily. And just as all the reports I have read, the trigger is much better than the Glock or the M&P, by far. If you havnt picked one up yet, you need to try one.


  19. “Moving from a 6″ 9mm competition handgun to a 3″ .45 ACP concealed carry gun is as easy as pie, and replacing major components is a snap as well.”

    This is wrong. The .45 ACP chassis is not compatible with the other calibers due to differing magwell dimensions. Sig has purposely designed the standard chassis and .45 chassis to not work with each other’s parts.

  20. really love the idea of the Sig 320. Its almost like a pistol version of an AR. This one piece is the actual gun and you can change literally every thing else about it with no need.
    I think just telling people, “don’t point it at anything you don’t want to kill” is probably a better idea.

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