Smith & Wesson and General Dynamics announced today that they would be partnering on a submission for the Army's Modular Handgun System. This is the Army's plan to upgrade their sidearm's from the Beretta M9 which is getting a little long in the tooth.
When you think about it, this partnership makes a lot of sense. Smith & Wesson knows handguns and has done very well with their polymer striker-fired M&P platform. General Dynamics knows defense contracting and they are one of the largest defense contractors making everything from nuclear submarines to Gatling guns.
It will be interesting to see what they come up with. Other handgun manufacturers would be smart to follow their lead in approaching this as a joint project.
Below is the joint press release from Smith & Wesson and General Dynamics:
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems and Smith &Wesson Holding Corp. are partnering to pursue the U.S. Army's Modular Handgun System (MHS) solicitation to replace the M9 standard Army sidearm.
The strategic partnership's Modular Handgun System will be based on the Smith &Wesson M&P Polymer Pistol platform. Designed with a reinforced polymer chassis, superior ergonomics, ambidextrous controls, and proven safety features, the M&P is used by U.S. and law enforcement agencies worldwide. The M&P's features make it well suited for the MHS requirement by providing sidearms that exceed the military's expectations for a future modular handgun in terms of performance, reliability and durability. The M&P pistol has been in production since 2005.
"This partnership combines General Dynamics' proven legacy in manufacturing military armaments with Smith &Wesson's extensive experience in designing and manufacturing firearms for commercial applications," said Tim McAuliffe, vice president and general manager of medium caliber ammunition and weapons for General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems. "General Dynamics' extensive background in winning and managing military contracts brings proven leadership to the venture and by joining together, we will use our combined knowledge and expertise to bring this unique capability to the U.S. military to better equip the warfighter."
Smith &Wesson President and CEO, James Debney, said, "The strategic partnership between our two companies provides us with a tremendous opportunity to support our military with a state-of-the-art sidearm, namely our M&P pistol. General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems brings us a wealth of experience and resource in federal government contracting and that capability is an ideal match with our knowledge in handgun manufacturing technology. We look forward to working together to pursue this exciting opportunity to support our military."
The Army's draft MHS solicitation identifies design and performance requirements for a new modular handgun system that can be easily adjusted to fit all hand sizes and is optimized for improved gun, ammunition and magazine performance. The Army's stated plan is to commence the competition in January 2015, with delivery of the first new handgun systems in 2017.