ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- In an effort to increase the lethality of the warfighter, the Air Force (AF) announced earlier this year that the 30-year-old M9 pistol would be put to rest and that the new workhorse, the Sig Sauer M18 pistol, would be taking its place.
The 36th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) recently received the M18 and have been meticulously inspecting the weapon system, in preparation of instructing future new handlers.
“It’s a move forward,” said Staff Sgt. Will Gonzales, 36th SFS armory NCO in charge. “We’re updating a pistol that has been in service for a long time.”
The most noticeable difference when firing the M18 is the trigger pull. If the M9 was operating under double action, the trigger pull could be anywhere between 9.6 to 16.5 pounds, and 4.5 to 6.5 pounds for single action. The lighter M18’s trigger pull lands consistently at 4.5 pounds.
Double action requires the weapon being fired to undergo two operations. While shooting the M9, upon initial trigger pull under double action means that the trigger is cocking the weapon and firing it, while single action is just firing it. The M18 is has a striker fire system, which provides a calmer pull.
“I believe it’s going to be easier for the more novice pistol user that doesn’t get to shoot as much as our security forces members,” Gonzales said. “For someone who has never shot a pistol before, the M18 will be easier for them to operate then the M9 Beretta.”
The U.S. AF Security Forces Center and AF Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs stated that some additional features of the M18 is that the magazine can hold 17 to 21 rounds, has an ambidextrous safety and slide catch, and tritium night sights.
Those certified on the M9 will have to requalify on the M18, mission requiring said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Dela Cruz, 36th SFS combat arms NCOIC. Mission requirements currently entail the 36th SFS and those who fall under special operations.
“As of right now the course to fire is the same as the M9,” said Dela Cruz. “As soon as the security forces center comes up with a new course they will send it out and implement it. If they are deploying or PCSing and the M18 is required, they will come to us and show us the requirement and we will qualify them.”
Dela Cruz also mentioned that those needing to qualify should contact their unit deployment manager or unit training manager to arrange a time to qualify.