Tag Archives: gun news

Exceeding Mil-Spec on the M17/M18

In early 2017, SIG Sauer picked up the largest and most important military handgun contract in 30 years and had to meet requirements far more rigorous than previous generations.

The New Hampshire-based company came out on top in the U.S. Army’s $580 million Modular Handgun System award, one that stood to replace the service’s dated M9 (Beretta 92F) and M11 (SIG P228) series 9mm pistols.

The new MHS guns would be the full-sized M17 and the more compact M18, both models of SIG’s P320 series pistol but fitted with different grip modules and barrels.

Then the Navy/Marines and Air Force went with the gun to replace not only the M9 but also the Glock M007 and Colt M45A1 with the former and the M15 .38 K-frame with the latter.

Almost all of the larger M17s have been delivered, with the production of the M18s still underway

With more than 200,000 guns delivered and all four services almost complete with the build-out, while visiting SIG Sauer’s New Hampshire factory recently, I checked out the inspection and certification process to which the military submits each MHS series pistol.

This includes a strict accuracy test, with each pistol required to fire 10 shots into a 2.85-inch circle at 25 meters. For reference, this is about the size of a tennis ball.

The prior standard was 10 shots inside a 9×11 rectangle – an area just larger than a sheet of copy paper.

More in my column at Guns.com.

How a small family business became a household name

While in Georgia a couple of months ago, I paid a visit to the Trulock Tool Company and found out they were about a lot more than just shotgun chokes.

As a choke is the last part of the barrel and is relied on to pattern the shot, precision is key to every aspect of its design and production.

George Trulock, the family paterfamilias and founder of the company, was a full-time police officer for the small Grady county town of Cairo– his birthplace– and part-time gunsmith who specialized in large-framed wheelguns, with special attention to big Smith & Wesson N frames. Having to craft his own tools to get the job done, he hit on the idea that other folks may have been having similar issues and started to manufacture specialized pistol smith tools such as frame wrenches and crane straighteners.

If you have an old copy of just about any gun magazine from the late 1970s and early 1980s, you can find his ads under the gunsmithing sections.

Soon, George pivoted from wheel guns to making his shotgun chokes of an innovative type that could be retrofitted into the common cylinder-bore shotgun barrels of the time, without the user having access to a machine shop to make it happen. With demand for these new Tru-Choke style choke tubes being heavy, to say the least, he took the plunge in 1982, hung up his badge, and started clocking in as Employee No. 1 at the newly formed Trulock Firearms, which later morphed into the company that continues his name today.

And, with Mr. George now passed, the company is still innovating, now in the hands of his sons, who are very much still in the “family business.”

More in my column at Guns.com.

Germany Goes HK, Again

Keeping a tradition established in 1959 alive, the German military will continue to call on HK to deliver its primary infantry rifle.

German Army’s new Basiswaffe System Sturmgewehr will be the HK416 A8. Adopted in two different lengths as the G95A1 and G95KA1, for the Bundeswehr the new guns will replace the HK-made 5.56 NATO-caliber G36, which had been adopted in 1997.

While the HK416 family may look like any old AR15, they are piston guns rather than the more traditional gas impingement system familiar to the Stoner design. Ironically, the proprietary short-stroke gas piston system is derived from the G36 family, which, in turn, owes a lot of groundwork to Stoner’s AR-18 design. The 416 has proven popular enough to be selected as the main infantry weapon for the French and Norwegian militaries as well as to be fielded by the U.S. Marines as the M27. (Photo: Bundeswehr)

HK has produced the futuristic-looking G36 in several variants, including the standard model, the shorter G36K carbine, and the G36C compact, over the past 25 years, and the type is in service with over 40 countries although its primary user has always been the German military, who has used in combat in Afghanistan and Mali.

Prior to the G36, the West German military’s standard battle rifle was the HK-made G3 in 7.62 NATO, which had won a federal government tender in the late 1950s. 

West German panzer grenadier jumping off an M48 Patton during the Cold War, HK G3 in hand.

Of course, the G3 owed its lineage to the Spanish CETME 58, which was basically the final version of Ludwig Vorgrimler’s experimental StG 45(M) developed by Mauser for the Wehrmacht at the end of WWII, using the then-innovative roller-delayed blowback operating system that went on to make HK famous.

But that’s another story…

Ruger May Have Just Changed Pocket Carry Forever

For better or worse, I have practiced pocket carry off and on for almost 30 years. Sure, while in uniform I had a duty holster and a BUG on my ankle because my pockets were tough to get into due to my duty belt, and today I most often carry IWB concealed at about the 3 o’clock position, but I have always thought that pocket carry has its place at times and have defended the practice.

Speaking of this, one of my all-time faves for pocket carry was the S&W Centennial series (Model 642, specifically) but the Ruger LCP got my attention when it came out in 2008. I mean come on, a 9.4-ounce 6+1 .380 that disappeared in your pocket, who wouldn’t like it?

I liked the original LCP so much for pocket carry that I bought one of the early ones in 2009, had it Cerekoted FDE before it was a factory option, and installed Mag-guts spring kits to gain a 7+1 capacity in a flush-fitting mag.

Then came the LCP II a few years ago that changed the profile to make it easier to handle, and added an ounce to the frame and slide, but didn’t change the footprint.

However, the introduction of the current crop of “Micro 9” pistols, double-stack subcompacts– like the Sig P365 or Springfield Hellcat– that carried over 10 rounds in a flush-fitting mag, has swept the carry market.

To that, Ruger has replied with a Micro 380, the new LCP MAX, which is the same rough size as the LCP II, but carries 10+1 rounds in a flush fit or 12+1 rounds in an extended mag, and still fits in a pocket holster.


More in my column at Guns.com.

200,000th M17/M18 Delivered to DOD

Sig Sauer has been trucking right along with deliveries of the Modular Handgun System pistols– the full-sized M17 and more compact M18– since 2017 and just announced they have delivered the 200,000th such 9mm sidearm to Uncle.

Of note, the M17 and M18 are in use by all four Pentagon-reporting service branches and some 451,586 are on the schedule.

The MHS system is a P320-based platform, featuring coyote-tan PVD coated stainless steel slides with black controls, utilizes both 17-round and 21-round magazines, and are equipped with SIGLITE front night sights, removable night sight rear plates, and manual safeties. The M18 is shown in the foreground while the M17 is in the back. (Photo: TACOM)

More in my column at Guns.com.

There will soon be some milsurp U.S. Army M17s in the wild

Sig Sauer has a small number of military surplus M17 pistols that have seen varying degrees of genuine field use and is passing them on to collectors.

As explained by Sig, the guns were early military models with coyote tan surface controls. Since then, the M17 has been updated to black controls and the Army arranged to return those early guns to Sig for new ones. The now-surplus guns still have government control numbers and have seen a mix of action, with some pistols saltier than others.

Sig says these guns were previously fielded by the U.S. Army and their condition will vary, “making each one uniquely different, and making this truly an opportunity to own a piece of history.” (Photo: Sig)

More in my column at Guns.com.

100K MHS Series Pistols and Counting

New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer announced last week that they have reached a milestone in delivering new pistols to the U.S. Armed Forces.

Since winning the contentious Modular Handgun System contract in 2017, beating out big-name pistol makers from around the globe to replace the M9 Beretta, Sig has exceeded performance standards and recently delivered the 100,000th MHS series gun to the military.

The MHS system comprises the Sig Sauer M17 full-size, and M18 compact handguns, each based on the company’s P320 series pistols, as well as Winchester Ammunition’s 9x19mm M1152 Ball, M1153 Special Purpose, and M1156 Drilled Dummy Inert cartridges.

Over the coming five-to-seven years, upwards of 350,000 handguns and 100 million rounds of ammunition are scheduled for delivery to the Pentagon.

More in my column at Guns.com 

The best smart gun on the market is easily hacked

The German Armatix iP1 pistol, a personalized handgun design (smart gun), has gotten a lot of flack since it was introduced. While I bumped into the inventor (a guy who came up with a bunch of innovations while working for HK over the years) at a range a couple years ago, and have called, written and emailed Armatix at both their California office and in Germany for months, they won’t talk to me. Also, even though I have tried my best, I have never been able to handle one.

I did talk to a guy who had one in his possession for a long time in 2015 and he wasn’t impressed– telling me with an RF detector he could find the signal, turn it on and off, replicate it and do it all remotely as well as straight up hot wire it by taking the rear portion of the grip off and bypassing the electronic lock altogether, so that if someone who steals the firearm can simply take the back strap off, splice two wires, and the entire “smart” mechanism is disabled.

Well, low and behold, fast forward two years and a security researcher told Wired he was able to jam the radio frequency band (916.5Mhz) and prevent the gun from firing when it should, extend the authentication radius of its RFID puddle, and even defeat the electromagnetic locking system altogether with a simple $15 magnet placed near the breechblock. (More on that here).

So I sent that to the trade organization for the firearms industry to find out what they thought of it.

Their response in my column at Guns.com