Some people entering Fort Knox may have noticed that gate security guards are carrying the Departments of Defense’s new sidearm choice, the Sig Sauer M17/M18 9mm pistol.
The Sig Sauer pistol is the Army’s replacement for the Beretta M9.
“The Beretta has been in service since the late eighties, and they’re old and worn out,” said Robert Herrington, patrol supervisor and desk operations officer with the Fort Knox Department of the Army Civilian Police. “The Beretta wasn’t a bad weapon, but it’s served its time and it was absolutely time for an upgrade.
“We needed a weapon that’s more functional in the different environments that the military has to deal in.”
Herrington said the new pistols update the DACP’s arsenal with the means to upgrade and personalize individual weapons in a way that refurbished 80’s era M9s were incapable of.
“These have rails to secure aftermarket laser sites or light kits,” he said. “This weapon is much more adaptable to [situations] we may face.”
Herrington added that the Sig Sauer M17/M18 also provides an option between two different lower frames with different size grips. “Now you decide which [grip] fits you better,” said Herrington. “You’re much more apt to hit the target when the weapon fits you.”
The M17 incorporates a striker-fire system, which according to Herrington, allows for improved accuracy when compared to the M9’s double action mechanics with its “heavy trigger pull and longer pause between [trigger pull] and bang.”
“We are loving the new M17 and M18s,” said Fort Knox Police Chief Michael Doggett. “It seems to shoot more accurately with a tighter shot group pattern for all shooters.”
Not only do the new pistols offer improved accuracy, but Harrington said they have a greater ammunition store, too.
“Several people’s scores have gone up significantly, and they’ve reached a higher tier,” Harrington said. “They are lighter and easier to aim even though the magazines hold more rounds with two of them holding 17 rounds apiece and a third magazine holding 21 rounds.”
Doggett said that better shooting may also positively impact Fort Knox law enforcement officers in other areas of policing.
“I’m not sure that changing a weapons system helps keep the officer or community safer, but I will say that creating confidence through better, more accurate shooting builds officer self-confidence,” said Doggett. “Confidence in their equipment means they can have more confidence in themselves and that reverberates though everything they do.”