Army Chief Says Why Not Just Go Glock?

With the future Modular Handgun System program slated to cost over $300 million and last years, the Army's top general wonders why the service shouldn't just buy a pistol that's ready now.
Army Chief Says Why Not Just Go Glock?

Army wants to buy Special Operations Glock 19s

The Army's top general is so frustrated with the Pentagon's expensive, time-consuming gear buying rules that he's pushing to abandon the search for a new multi-service handgun and go with a pistol that's already issued to America's commandos.

According to, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has quietly asked his staff whether he can piggyback onto a contract issued by Green Berets and Rangers to purchase Glock 19s for his force and bypass the lengthy and expensive Modular Handgun System program slated to cost upwards of $350 million, with a $17 million testing phase that lasts years.

"The testing itself is two years long on known technology," Milley told law makers at a March 16 House Armed Services Committee hearing. "We are not talking about nuclear subs or going to the moon here. We are talking about a pistol."

In August, the Army launched its XM17 Modular Handgun System program to replace the 1980s-era Beretta M9. Several companies, including Smith & Wesson and Beretta are participating in the program to provide a handgun that can fit a wide range of shooters and deliver more "stopping power" than the current M9 chambered in 9mm.

The other services have said they will piggyback onto the MHS program once a pistol is found to replace their inventory of aging M9s.

But critics argue that modern 9mm ammunition — especially hollow points and other advanced designs — are just as effective as higher-caliber rounds when factors like recoil and magazine capacity are included. And as Milley points out, the handgun is often a last ditch weapon that shouldn't require years of research to design.

"We are not exactly redesigning how to go to the moon, right?" Miller during a defense conference in Washington. "This is a pistol. ... And arguably, it is the least lethal and important weapon system in the Department of Defense inventory."

Since 2008, all Army Special Forces, Rangers and Air Force Special Tactics troops have been issued the 4-inch barreled Glock 19 as their standard sidearm. Recently, Marine Corps special operations forces have been given the option to run G19s instead of their Colt 1911s and the SEALs are moving toward ditching the Sig Sauer P226 in favor of the G19.

Service documents show the Army also issues the Glock 26 to its operators for concealed carry missions.

"Let me figure out what type of pistol we need and let me go buy it without having to go through nine years of incredible scrutiny," Milley said, according to "You give me $17 million on the credit card, I'll call Cabelas tonight, and I'll outfit every soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine with a pistol and I'll get a discount on it for bulk buys."

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