- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Marine Corps has fielded its first new service pistol in 35 years, Pentagon officials announced Tuesday, with M18s now being issued across the service.

Marine Corps leaders said the M18 Modular Handgun System will replace all other sidearms, including the M9, M9A1, M45A1 and M007. The transition, which began earlier this month, comes amid a broader shift across the military toward a new generation of handguns.

“Overall, the adoption of the M18 by the Marine Corps is an extremely positive decision that will benefit the Corps and enhance Marines’ safety and effectiveness when conducting missions,” said Tom Vass, the Army’s project officer for the Sig Sauer-made pistol, which has its U.S. headquarters in Exeter, New Hampshire.

The Marine Corps move toward the M18 is part of a broader Army-led program which began in 2017. Officials said the Marine Corps will buy its M18s — along with new holsters — through an Army contract.

Military leaders said the new weapon has several distinct advantages. It is lighter, they said, and also does not include two different trigger pulls for single and double action.

“For some Marines, having two trigger pulls, like with the M9, is difficult to get used to because different forces are acting upon the gun,” said Sgt. Randall McClellan, pistol program manager with the Weapons Training Battalion at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. “With the M18, the trigger is going to be the same weight every time.”

The gun also includes interchangeable components designed to fit different hand sizes. Officials said the M18 is equipped with a receiver module inside the pistol grip that enables Marines to remove the trigger mechanism and insert it into a new grip size.

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