In 2011 the U.S. Army announced that it was looking for a new service pistol to replace the Beretta M9 and SIG Sauer M11. Five years later it set a deadline for companies to submit their designs. So for much of this decade, the world's leading gunmakers developed new service pistol designs. Law enforcement now benefits from the research and development that went into creating entries for Army's XM17 Modular Handgun System competition. Here's a look at four gunmakers who entered the Army's competition and how their entry designs are now competing to be America's next great police duty pistol.
FN's new duty pistol, the striker-fired FN 509, is a modified version of the gun the company entered in the Army's service pistol competition. Built on the architecture of the FNS Compact, the FN 509's interior and exterior mechanics were designed to meet the requirements of the MHS competition. The company says the FN 509 was refined for reliability, ammunition compatibility, and durability in the Army testing, which involved firing 1 million rounds. Features of this 9mm duty pistol include a 4-inch barrel; non-manual, internal, passive safeties; fixed three-dot night sights (on the law enforcement version), and 17-round magazine. For more on the FN 509, see our "Arsenal" review on page 14 of this issue.
Glock Gen5 Pistols
Last summer Glock launched the fifth generation of its handgun line with the debut of the G19 Gen5 and G17 Gen5. Then right before January's Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, the company expanded the Gen5 line with the G26 and G34 Modular Optic System (MOS) pistols. The Gen5 pistols are a variation of the M pistol the company produced for the FBI. Gen5 pistols feature the Glock Marksman Barrel, which utilizes new barrel rifling for improved accuracy. Other differences between the Gen5 and the Gen4 include: an ambidextrous slide stop, a flared mag well, and a new proprietary finish.
SIG Sauer P320
A modified version of the SIG P320 won the Army competition. Introduced in 2014, the P320 is a compact striker-fired modular duty pistol with a polymer frame. SIG says the P320 features a partially pre-tensioned striker that gives the shooter a short, crisp trigger pull with a quick and pronounced reset. The modularity of the P320 actually exceeds what the Army specified for its MHS. The fire control unit is the only part of the pistol that bears a serial number, so the frame, trigger, slide, and barrel can be swapped out. Users can change the caliber and the frame size of the pistol as desired.
Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0
The M&P 2.0 was designed in response to shooters' request for adjustments to Smith & Wesson's original M&P polymer-framed duty pistol. The M&P 2.0, which debuted in 2017, has an 18-degree grip angle for reduced felt recoil and aggressive texturing on the grip like the earlier version of the M&P. Modular features include three interchangeable backstraps. The most obvious difference between the M&P 2.0 and the M&P 1.0 is the trigger. Smith & Wesson now drops the Pro-Series triggers in all M&P 2.0s. Shooters say the Pro-Series trigger is smoother and offers better feel than the trigger on the earlier M&P.