At least two of the competitors for the Army’s Modular Handgun System to replace the decades-old M9 were featured at the annual outdoors and firearms expo for civilian purchasers.

The Beretta MHS Model APX and Glock 19X handguns were ready for shooters to try out at the range day for the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade show in Las Vegas.

Sig Sauer ultimately won the 10-year, $580 million contract a year ago to produce more than 200,000 sidearms for the Army and a total of more than 400,000 when the other service branches replace their stocks.

Though to the non-expert, the Beretta and Glock entries have most of the major characteristics of the Sig.

All include polymer frames and striker-fired mechanisms — advancements over the original M9 made by Beretta and selected in 1985 to replace the now century-old 1911 .45 caliber pistol.

Beretta originally sought to continue upgrades to the original M9, now in its third variant. But officials decided that the changes required to create a modular system were too great to continue using the 1980s-era design, even with the upgrades.

Sig submitted a handgun that could fit two frame sizes, ultimately the M17 and M18, a standard size and a compact size, respectively.

But Glock submitted only the Glock 19X, a single handgun that meets the requirements for both standard and compact that the Army needs.

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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