- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 3, 2014

The M9 9mm pistol has been with the Army since the Cold War, but now it’s looking for something better. On July 29, the service will open its doors to gun makers to figure out how to make it happen.

The Army has been working with the small arms industry for the past five years, and now it is on the cusp of making the Modular Handgun System (MHS) a reality. The new handgun will replace its current inventory of 200,000 M9 pistols.

“It’s a total system replacement — new gun, new ammo, new holster, everything,” Daryl Easlick, a project officer with the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, told Fox News Thursday. “The 9mm doesn’t score high with soldier feedback. … We have to do better than our current 9mm.”

Soldiers say that the problem with the M9 is that it simply isn’t capable of doing the kind of damage needed in combat environment.

The Army plans on evaluating rounds such as .357 Sig, .40 S&W and .45 ACP during its elimination process, Fox News reported. If its competition goes according to plan, 400,000 new pistols will be purchased.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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