The US Marine Corps (USMC) Systems Command (MCSC) has started fielding the new service-wide pistol replacement, M18 Modular Handgun System.

The semi-automatic, striker-fired, 9mm pistol builds on the Sig Sauer Model P320. It will replace the M9, M9A1, M45A1, M007, and other pistols in the USMC inventory.

MCSC M18 project officer Brian Nelson said: “All Marine Corps units with a pistol will receive an M18.”

The first units to receive the M18 are the Formal Marksmanship Training Centers, Reconnaissance Battalions, Provost Marshall Offices, and Marine Corps Security Forces.

Deployment of the handgun system is expected to be completed by fiscal year 2022.

The M18 is lighter and has increased modularity compared to the previous pistols and does not feature two different trigger pulls.

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Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia Weapons Training Battalion pistol programme manager sergeant Randall McClellan said: “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.

“With the M18, the trigger is going to be the same weight every time.”

This pistol offers increased modularity and has interchangeable components to help it accommodate small, medium or large hands.

The M18 is part of the US Army-led project that also includes the M17 pistol.

The Marine Corps’ Combat Development and Integration partnered with the US Army to develop the requirements of the M18.

CD&I Infantry Weapon Capabilities Integration officer Billy Epperson added: “The M18 is unique in that it is a utility player capable of supporting a broad range of missions in which a handgun is required.

“Because of this versatility, the M18 will replace the four pistols in the Marine Corps inventory.”

Earlier this month, personnel from US Marine Corps (USMC) Base Camp Lejeune participated in the annual rifle qualifications (ARQ) at Stone Bay Bravo range.

Last month, USMC announced plans to construct a new wargaming centre.