The Australian government last week announced a sweeping new series of small arms to equip the Australian Defense Force, with SIG Sauer winning big.
As part of the Australian military’s $500 million LAND 159 Lethality System Project, the new outlay includes contracts to supply new sniper rifles, pistols, shotguns, personal defense weapons, and fighting knives to the ADF.
Replacing the island continent’s long-serving Browning Hi-Power Mk3s– one of the last Commonwealth countries still using the venerable old 13-shot single-action classic– will be the SIG Sauer P320 XCarry Pro. It is not the first military contract the XCarry has pulled down, in 2018 Denmark chose the pistol to replace the Swiss-made SIG P210 single-stacks used in that Scandinavian country for more than 70 years.
The SIG Sauer P320 XCarry Pro has been selected as the Royal Australian Army’s platform for the Sidearm Weapon System, which will replace the venerable Browning Mk3 pistol. It will be complemented with SIG’s Romeo Elite reflex sights, and a SIG Foxtrot 2 white light illuminator. (Photo: Australian Defense Force)
And that’s just the beginning….
More in my column at Guns.com.
Australia went against the Commonwealth grain when they ditched the then-standard FN FAL (L1A1 semiauto) pattern SLR (and some M16s) for the Austrian Steyr in the 1980s, naming the rifle the F88 Austeyr as they were built under license at the Thales Lithgow Small Arms Factory. Now, after an extensive redesign that has produced the EF88 with lots of new upgrades (rails, internals, ergonomics, etc), the Australians are set to keep the Steyr for generations longer while Australia’s closest ally, the U.S., rock the M4/M16.
Some of the troops down in Oz think that’s a mistake. From ASPI:
I am a senior warrant officer who has been fortunate to serve in an Australian Special Forces unit for over 25 years, including more than 13 years in combat roles, and, most recently, as head of my unit’s combat and firearms training program. I’m writing this because I respectfully disagree with John Coyne’s recent assessment that the EF88 (the designation of the rifle in Australian Army service, not ‘F90’ which refers to Thales’ export version) ‘seems to make perfect sense’, when compared to the M4/AR-15.
I’ve had the opportunity to fire the EF88 and while it’s an improvement on the current Steyr, it’s definitely not a good combat weapon. The Steyr has many aspects that are less than desirable—some I will discuss below—but I’ll acknowledge that for the majority of the Australian Defence Force, it’s adequate for self defence. However, for our combat soldiers (not just Special Forces) we could do a great deal better.