It could be a game changer.
When it comes to fast-evolving tactics now used in close-quarter combat, something with which Army soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan now have more than a decade of experience, an ability to maneuver with increased lethality in caves, tunnels, crawl spaces, attics or buildings allows soldiers to access life-impacting firepower more effectively – especially in “tight quarters” situations where a longer, larger rifle may not be available for use.
Soldiers with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division have been the first to receive the services’ new high-tech 9mm pistol engineered to give dismounted infantry a vastly increased ability to fight and close with an enemy in caves, tunnels, crawl spaces, houses and other close quarter combat scenarios.
Service weapons developers and soldiers say the new M17 and M18 pistol, designed as a next-generation handgun to follow the Army’s current M9 Beretta, is expected to substantially change combat tactics, techniques and strategies for dismounted soldiers on-the-move.
“You can close with the enemy in close quarter combat and engage the enemy with one hand. It is tough to do this with the M9,” said Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, spokesman for the 101st Airborne.
The new pistol is built with a more ergonomic configuration to better accommodate the widest possible range of hand grip techniques for soldiers and enable rapid hand switching as needed in combat. The M17 is said by developers to bring much tighter dispersion, improved versatility and next-generation accuracy.