The 101st Airborne Division is the first to get its hands on the Sig Sauer M17 handgun.

If the Marine Corps’ budget request for the coming year is approved, it will begin replacing nearly its entire stock of handguns with the Army’s newest pistol.

The Modular Handgun System, a weapon system that includes both the M17 and M18 handguns, holster and two 21-round magazines and one 17-round magazine, was first fielded by the Army’s 101st Airborne Division soldiers late last year. The Army chose the Sig Sauer 9mm pistol in January 2017 over Glock and other competitors.

First reported by Soldier Systems, the procurement states the reason for acquiring the handgun as it will be “more affordable and efficient pistol for maintenance. The MHS also provides modularity and greater shooter ergonomics over the current models.”

The Corps plans to purchase 35,000 pistols at $180 a pop, which could begin as early as October, according to the budget document.

Marine Corps Systems Command declined to comment on the requested purchase.

The modularity includes three different handgrips that can be swapped by the user or an armorer. The system also has a built-in rail and slide mount for a sighting system, both of which require modifications for the M9.

The Sig is the first new servicewide handgun to be fielded by the Army in more than 30 years, when the M9 Beretta handgun took the place of the 1911A1 .45 caliber handgun that had served since World War I.

It won the 10-year, $580 million contract to build at least 200,000 handguns for the Army. The Navy has previously announced it would acquire 61,000 of the M18s and the Air Force said it would buy 130,000 MHS systems.

The M17 version is the standard sized 9mm pistol and the M18 is a compact version, typically used by military police, criminal investigators or other duties that might need a concealed option.

It's everything you need to know about the 9mm hand guns by Sig Sauer. (Daniel Woolfolk/Staff)

The Marines bought the Glock 9mm last year for fielding in such positions, dubbing it the M007. The MHS procurement would replace the Glock, M9 and the 1911 variants in the arsenal for all but select units such as the Marine Special Operations Command Raiders.

The Defense Department budget estimate has requested $28.3 million for its “Family of Infantry Weapons Systems” to add or replace certain weapons.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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