U.S. Army weapons officials today explained the service’s recent decision to dual-arm more soldiers in combat units with the service’s new Modular Handgun System (MHS) in addition to the M4 carbine. Last month, soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky became the first Army unit to receive the MHS, which comes in two versions —the M17 and M18.
The MHS is designed to provide soldiers with more of an offensive weapon than the Cold-War era M9 pistol it is replacing, The Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning searched for weapon system that did not require development and offered more offensive capability to those in close combat with the enemy.
Initially, the MHS will be issued to squad leaders and team leaders to carry along with their M4 carbines. In the past, these junior leaders have not typically carried sidearms. Close combat often involves maneuver into tight spaces where a pistol is more effective. Dual arming the pistol down to the team leader level will introduce the MHS into the squad. The Army will regularly reassess the fielding plan.