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Sig Sauer M18 new 9mm caliber handgun for US Air Force combat arms units

According to information published by the U.S. Air Force website on June 22, 2020, combat arms units across the U.S. Air Force are getting new and improved 9mm caliber handguns Sig Sauer M18 to replace the M9 pistols that have been in service since 1985.
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The U.S. Air Force Security Forces Center, in partnership with the Air Force Small Arms Program Office, has begun fielding the new Sig Sauer M18 Modular Handgun System to Security Forces units. (Picture source U.S. Air Force)

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Small Arms Program Office acquired approximately 125,000 M18s from Sig Sauer for $22.1 million, and is making them available to Air Force organizations that have a handgun requirement. The purchase includes test ammunition as well as engineering services. The program office anticipates that M18 delivery will be complete by August 2022.

The M18 is based on the Sig Sauer P320 featuring a plastic clip-on piece, which enables Marines to change grip sizes to accommodate different hand sizes. The P320 is a modular semi-automatic pistol made by SIG Sauer, Inc. of Exeter, New Hampshire, and SIG Sauer GmbH of Eckernförde, Germany. It is chambered in 9×19mm Parabellum was introduced in the North American market on 15 January 2014.

The M18 is a 9x19mm Parabellum caliber, striker-fired pistol featuring a coyote-tan PVD coated stainless steel slide with black controls. The pistol is equipped with SIGLITE front night sights and removable night sight rear plate, and manual safety. It has a weight of 797 gr and can use 17 and 21 round magazines.

The M18 pistol is a new generation of handgun that incorporates the latest technical advances in firearm design for military forces. The pistol is made with a stainless-steel chassis that sits inside of a flat-dark-earth polymer grip frame, and the slide is also machined from stainless steel. The barrel is machined from carbon steel and features a nitride finish to protect it from wear and corrosion.

The M18 is a mechanically locked, short recoil-operated pistol with semi-automatic reloading. Firing takes place with each press of the trigger until the magazine is empty. The slide remains open after the last round has been fired from the magazine.

The automatic striker assembly lock and manual safety ensures the safe carrying of the firearm. Distinctive high-contrast sights, in conjunction with the ergonomically correct grip, ensure rapid target acquisition and engagement, even under poor lighting conditions. Interchangeable grip modules of different sizes allow for optimal adaptation of the firearm to the individual user.

A loaded chamber indicator provides a physical and visual method of identifying that there is a round in the chamber. A MIL-STD 1913 rail is integrated into the grip module, facilitating the easy attachment of industry standard tactical accessories. The closed design of the pistol helps keep dirt and other debris from entering the pistol, ensuring proper function in adverse environmental conditions.

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