The Army is replacing its standard issue handgun with a new model, and some Fort Campbell soldiers are the first to receive the sidearm.
This isn't the first time the famed 101st Airborne has been called on to field new equipment. The division was also one of the first to receive the updated M320 grenade launcher a few years ago. Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell says the 101st has often piloted equipment because they’ve been deployed more often than other divisions.
“Part of it, I have to think, is due to our capabilities and the constant state of readiness that this division remains in," says O'Donnell. "You know, the Army and the nation continually turn to us.”
The M17 handgun is a part of the Army’s attempt at modernization. Sgt. First Class Andrew Flynn says that the M17 boasts a couple of distinct tech advantages over its 30-year-old predecessor, namely the ability to swap out parts.
“We can change out pistol grips from a small, medium or large," says Flynn. "It’s ambidextrous, the safety mechanisms are both left handed or right handed.”
But the M17 is also unique because it’s the first service sidearm built not just for self-defense but also for combat roles. Specifically, the handgun can be adapted to fire larger rounds and will be issued to more junior leaders.