Uh-Oh! Problems With The Army’s New Pistol

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The military spends an extraordinary amount of money on guns. You would expect this. They are the military after all. But, for that money, they should be getting only top notch gear without issues because, if you are on the front lines, that is not the time that you want to deal with weapon malfunctions.

This is why problems with the Army’s new pistol are especially troubling. What problems are we talking about? Joseph Trevithick gives us the details:

The Pentagon recently released a report that shows testing of the M17 and M18 handguns exposed a number of significant and persistent deficiencies, including firing accidentally if a shooter dropped the gun, ejecting live ammunition, and low reliability with traditional “ball” cartridges with bullets enclosed inside a full metal jacket.

Imagine if you are in a front line or downed behind enemy lines and the only firearm that you have left to defend yourself is your regulation issue pistol, are these the kinds of problems that you would want to deal with? No. You want a weapon that will function consistently without jamming or misfiring or wasting precious ammunition so that you know that it will work when your life depends on it.

To make this even more frustrating to taxpayers, more than 300,000 of these pistols were purchased from Sig Sauer for “approximately $580 million,” and other military branches are considering changing over to these pistols, too.

Think about that: over half a billion dollars in this deal, and soldiers may not be able to depend on these firearms. This is a bad situation. And it gets worse: It seems that Sig Sauer has worked to fix the drop issue, but:

[…]the Pentagon’s top testing office said that during further tests, the trigger assemblies in two pistols had splintered apart and this was potentially the result of the drop fix, presenting an entirely new issue.

I don’t know how these pistols made it through testing to approval, and, to be fair, they may have performed acceptably during the testing process. But these problems need to be fixed and quick. Too many lives could be put in danger because of them.

24 COMMENTS

  1. Part of the problem seems to be twofold; the operators tend to disengage the slide stop by the grip they use in holding the pistol; second, the design was finalized on a hollow point round of 147 grains, while the FMJ round is 115 grains. Ejecting a fired and new round is likely magazine and bullet weight problems.

    Now, the 1911 Colt was around and doing its job for over 80 years. It wasn’t broke, but they “fixed it” anyway. Bring back the old hogleg!

    • I considered buying this gun a year or so ago and was told by the salesman that the gun was problematic Not safe. I researched this data and found it was true Sig is a premium firearms manufacturer, having owned several you expect the finest. The government purchased the firearms based on reputation and I believe to take the money out of U.S. gun manufacturing. witness FN receiving m16 contract and saw, Beretta m9, etc. This is back door gun control. The damage to American companies and security by purchasing our defensive tools from foreign companies is tactically suicide as these companies could ally with enemies and simply cut our supply. The S&W mp is proven and would have made a fine weapon, Colt 1911, Ruger SR or American, Kimber or anyone of the dozens of other smaller us companies could have supplied guns that actually work

  2. If the design was “finalized” on a type of cartridge that is NOT MILITARY ISSUE,the question of who screwed the pooch looms large, for someone or some people most certainly did, it appears.

    Otherwise, given that there are a number of quite good 9mm Luger chambered pistols to be had, double action only, classic double action, that is double action on first shot, single action thereafter, with and without , there are probably some single action pistols around too, how come this particular piece won the “competition”?

    It appears that there are a number of questions, but few answers. How come the disparity??

  3. I personally prefer the Glock sf 21. It’s well built and reliable and very little maint. needed. I swear by it.

  4. Should have stayed with the 1911. Have them refurbished and sent back out. Most reliable pistol ever. They would fire under the most extreme conditions. Sure they only held 8 rounds but they were 8 effective rounds. Pick a guy up a foot and throw him back a few more. Did exactly what JMB designed them to do.

  5. Sounds like the big wheels had lots of stock in SIG. They have been having issues with this since the contract was signed.Now its one thing after another…

  6. In the Marine Corps, as a sniper, we were issued a 1911 A-1 as a personal sidearm. Before being deployed to Viet Nam I took my personal sidearm, a Browning High Power 9 MM along with 7 extra magazines with me. It had a 13 round magazine ( the most at the time ) & with one in the pipe could count to 14 faster than anyone. The ammunition was readily available so it became the backup handgun that saved my life along with many others more times than I can remember. The M 1911 A-1 issued was in .45 caliber and commonly referred to as the pistol with a 4′ separator because that was & still remains the distance it removes you from your target upon impact. Like any other weapon you must know how to use it safely – never had a misfire in 3 years of combat, it is easy to clean & maintain, and remains , in my opinion , one of the most effective handguns to this day.
    John Lamb.
    USMC Sniper,
    Viet Nam 67,68,69

    • I was not a happy camper when the Army took away my 1911 and gave me a 38 revolver.
      Lynn Riggs
      Army O-1 pilot
      Viet Nam 69-70, 73

  7. I have a sign Sauer p226 9mm, which is a fine hand gun. Not sure what is wrong with that model the military bought. I’m sure they will have a successful fix, too much to loose not to.

  8. WHAT EVER HANDGUN THEY USE IN WAR HAS TO FUNCTION FLAWLESSLY WITH WHAT EVER AMMO YOU FEED IT AND 1911’S DO THIS WELL IN MOST CASES!!

  9. Should have kept the Beretta on,there would have been continual improvements on a very good platform to start with.The 92Fs is one of the finest combat pistols ever developed.

  10. The cheapest contract bidder is not always the best way to go. I can’t believe the sig. 320 is having so much trouble. It”s sure can not be doing their commercial sales any good.

  11. Mr. Lamb You found your niche in your role as a sniper to have stayed at it so long. How many grunts owe their lves to you and men like you we’ll never know, but it is surely a sizeable number. You chose the two most reliable handgun, and were better armed than all but a few- Green Berets and SEALS, each of whom had carte blanche on personal weapons choices. The 1911 is still the standard by which handguns, and will be for many years to come will be judged. Powerful, simple, easily field stripped and cleaned, it was always reliable. With todays much improved ammunition, I don’t think there are any semi-auto’s, including the much bally-hooed SIG’s, that can beat it. With respect and admiration for your service to our nation, I am, sincerely yours

    Donald H. Conner

  12. Should have stayed with the 1911 pistols…stop with the plastic guns already….As far as the Glock goes how many people (cops ) have shot themselves in the leg , foot because a piece of clothing material got caught in the trigger during reholstering ???

  13. Cancel the “Contract Immediately”!!

    Work out the problems or go back to the Beretta or better yet the M1917A1 pistol!!

  14. The 1911 is and was one of the most reliable hand weapons I’ve ever used. I’ve carried and used many others however I always come back to the 1911. The metal frame gives the stability needed and could be modified for more capacity, then sized to 40, 9mm as needed. If a 15 rd can be made of polymer they can make one with a reliable metal frame. As for me I’ll still carry what will be the best in many situations and most of all Reliable.

  15. I’m partial to my Glock 19 I’ve had for years with 0 problems, however Sig is also a fine handgun apparently as long as you don’t purchase the military version. My concern is based on the rough figures listed in the article, these broken guns are costing roughly $1,933.00 each. Are we back to the days of $100.00 plus toilet seats and $200.00 hammers? At least those worked.

  16. 1911 or glock are both real fine choices. i carry a 1911, however i would also accept the glock. these 2 pistols have been thru every torture test you can imagine and passed with flying colors! why reinvent the wheel?

  17. I have tested all of those pistols that were mentioned above and then some. With 40 years in law enforce as a firearms Instructor I had the privilege of T&E all of the Pistols on the market. I put thousands of rounds through them using all types of ammo. Most of these pistols are nothing more than boat anchor. I have carried a Glock 19 pistol since 1986. I have put around 50,000 rounds of ammo through it. I have shot every type of ammo that is on the market through it without one malfunction. When I first got the Glock 19 for T&E one of the selling points was that you did not have to clean it every time you fired it, which a lot of Officers are guilty of. I tested that out by firing 2,500 rounds through the Glock 19 without cleaning it. The Glock 19 never malfunction one time.

  18. The sigs were not fully tested and the contract was a backroom deal. The Beretta is a fine weapon after the military quite cutting corners on third party non tdp mags and replacement parts. The powers that be rammed the Sig through the trials and the contract amount is ridiculously low per unit. It makes no sense. For more detailed info the that knows the most is Chris Bartocci

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