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Sig Sauer M17

Sig Sauer M17

I don’t know how often service pistols actually get used in anger in a life or death situation, but the world’s armed forces all use one. Most are carried often and shot seldom, as those issued with them only really have them as a last resort weapon and are often busy using far more high-tech weaponry, communication equipment etc. or are in a position where they are in charge of soldiers who are heavily armed. Officers and special forces units are issued with a pistol and all users are expected to be proficient in their use.

Previous service pistols included various revolvers but the most famous must the Colt 1911 and 1911A1 semi-autos, which fired the 45 ACP cartridge. There was therefore a great deal of controversy surrounding the adoption of a 9mm pistol as its replacement in 1985 but the Beretta 92FS, which is known as the M9 in US military circles, has been replaced by another imported design, a modified version of the Sig Sauer 320. It’s not the first Sig to be adopted however, as the standard ‘compact’ pistol, carried by Air Force pilots and navy SEALS, has for many years been the Sig P228, known as the M11.

The replacement pistol was chosen after the Modular Handgun System Procurement programme, also known as the XM17 Procurement, where a modified version of the P320 proved to be extremely reliable in very harsh testing conditions. The full-sized model will be known as the M17 (which replaces the M9) and the ‘carry sized’ model will be known as the M18, which replaces the M11. January the 19th 2017 was the official date of the new pistol’s adoption but it will take time for the M9s and M11s to be completely replaced.

Some of the requirements laid down were as follows: an ambidextrous thumb safety, a loaded chamber indicator, a modified trigger that prevents debris entering the internals, a 4.7-inch barrel for the full-sized M17 and 3.9-inch barrel for the compact M18. The magazine holds 17-rounds in standard form, with optional 21-round extended magazines available. The pistol uses a strong polymer lower frame and a steel slide; the steel components all have a high-tech coating to resist corrosion and the overall finish is very pleasing. The pistol is striker fired, with no external hammer and a very sweet trigger pull for a service pistol. The slide has glow-in-the-dark Tritium sights; a green front sight and orange rear sights, which encourages proper alignment under stress, the M17 and M18 both have a removable rear sight plate, so that soldiers can install Delta Point red dots optics if required. The M17 is being supplied with two extended 21-round magazines and a standard 17-rounder.

UK friendly

That’s a brief look at the ‘real’ pistol, which looks like it will be very popular with those who are issued with it but what about us UK-based civvies? Well, Highland Outdoors recently sent me an extremely fine replica of the M17 and boy, it’s lovely! Overall weight is 2lb 2½-ounces empty and it fits my hand perfectly, so I guess I’ll start with the ‘coyote tan’ polymer frame. The frame is moulded in one piece and, even though it’s quite thin around the magazine well, it’s very strong, with barely any flex. There are textured panels on both sides, as well as on the front and rear; grip is very good and I’m sure it will work well in less than ideal combat situations. ‘SIG SAUER’ is moulded into both sides of the grip too. The top of the backstrap has a large ‘beavertail’ extension, which anchors the pistol in the hand well and would help with recoil control on the 9mm version, not that we have to worry about such matters.

The angular trigger guard has seven grooves for grip and the underside of the frame has three Picatinny slots for mounting a torch or laser unit. The triangular magazine release catch is at the rear of the trigger guard where it meets the frame and is simply depressed to drop the mag; the weight of even an empty mag is sufficient to allow it to drop free when required. The magazine fitted is of the extended style.

A small, ambidextrous safety catch is positioned at the top rear of the frame and is pushed up for SAFE and down for FIRE. The slide release catch is above the trigger and there is a dummy slide catch on both sides. The takedown lever, which I’ll look at in more detail later, is above the trigger.

Steelwork

The M17’s slide is made from steel and coated in a slightly darker finish than the lower; this is the same on the service pistol and I’m not sure why the ‘twotone’ effect was chosen. There are angled cocking serrations front and rear, so the user can choose how he or she racks the slide. There is an angled foresight with a white dot on its rear face and the rear sight has similar white dots either side of the square notch. The sight picture is very good, with a slight gap between the front and rear when in use. The sights are fixed; so, if they don’t line up with the fall of shot, aiming off is required. The rear sight is part of the rear plate and I don’t know if it will be possible to remove it and fit some form of reflex style sight in the future, but it would be great if something were to be available further down the line.

The blowback slide can be pulled to the rear and it returns under spring tension. The slide can be removed very easily; all you have to do is make sure that the pistol is unloaded and remove the magazine, then push back the slide using the left hand, whilst rotating the slide catch with the right thumb. The rear of the slide is then lifted up and away. To fit the slide again, the operation is reversed. Removing the slide reveals the rifled barrel, firing valve and hammer.

Loading up

To ready this cracking little pistol for action, make sure that the was the official date of the new pistol’s adoption but it will take time for the M9s and M11s to be completely replaced.

story continues below...

  • Sig Sauer M17 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Sig Sauer M17 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Sig Sauer M17 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Sig Sauer M17 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Sig Sauer M17 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Sig Sauer M17 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Sig Sauer M17 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

Some of the requirements laid down were as follows: an ambidextrous thumb safety, a loaded chamber indicator, a modified trigger that prevents debris entering the internals, a 4.7-inch barrel for the full-sized M17 and 3.9-inch barrel for the compact M18. The magazine holds 17-rounds in standard form, with optional 21-round extended magazines available. The pistol uses a strong polymer lower frame and a steel slide; the steel components all have a high-tech coating to resist corrosion and the overall finish is very pleasing. The pistol is striker fired, with no external hammer and a very sweet trigger pull for a service pistol. The slide has glow-in-the-dark Tritium sights; a green front sight and orange rear sights, which encourages proper alignment under stress, the M17 and M18 both have a removable rear sight plate, so that soldiers can install Delta Point red dots optics if required. The M17 is being supplied with two extended 21-round magazines and a standard 17-rounder.

UK friendly

That’s a brief look at the ‘real’ pistol, which looks like it will be very popular with those who are issued with it but what about us UK-based civvies? Well, Highland Outdoors recently sent me an extremely fine replica of the M17 and boy, it’s lovely! Overall weight is 2lb 2½-ounces empty and it fits my hand perfectly, so I guess I’ll start with the ‘coyote tan’ polymer frame. The frame is moulded in one piece and, even though it’s quite thin around the magazine well, it’s very strong, with barely any flex. There are textured panels on both sides, as well as on the front and rear; grip is very good and I’m sure it will work well in less than ideal combat situations. ‘SIG SAUER’ is moulded into both sides of the grip too. The top of the backstrap has a large ‘beavertail’ extension, which anchors the pistol in the hand well and would help with recoil control on the 9mm version, not that we have to worry about such matters.

The angular trigger guard has seven grooves for grip and the underside of the frame has three Picatinny slots for mounting a torch or laser unit. The triangular magazine release catch is at the rear of the trigger guard where it meets the frame and is simply depressed to drop the mag; the weight of even an empty mag is sufficient to allow it to drop free when required. The magazine fitted is of the extended style.

A small, ambidextrous safety catch is positioned at the top rear of the frame and is pushed up for SAFE and down for FIRE. The slide release catch is above the trigger and there is a dummy slide catch on both sides. The takedown lever, which I’ll look at in more detail later, is above the trigger.

Steelwork

The M17’s slide is made from steel and coated in a slightly darker finish than the lower; this is the same on the service pistol and I’m not sure why the ‘twotone’ effect was chosen. There are angled cocking serrations front and rear, so the user can choose how he or she racks the slide. There is an angled foresight with a white dot on its rear face and the rear sight has similar white dots either side of the square notch. The sight picture is very good, with a slight gap between the front and rear when in use. The sights are fixed; so, if they don’t line up with the fall of shot, aiming off is required.

The rear sight is part of the rear plate and I don’t know if it will be possible to remove it and fit some form of reflex style sight in the future, but it would be great if something were to be available further down the line. The blowback slide can be pulled to the rear and it returns under spring tension. The slide can be removed very easily; all you have to do is make sure that the pistol is unloaded and remove the magazine, then push back the slide using the left hand, whilst rotating the slide catch with the right thumb. The rear of the slide is then lifted up and away. To fit the slide again, the operation is reversed. Removing the slide reveals the rifled barrel, firing valve and hammer.

Loading up

To ready this cracking little pistol for action, make sure that the pistol is unloaded, apply the safety catch, drop the magazine and set the pistol down. The mag is very well designed and made and is in two parts; the main body is alloy with a black plastic cover and a coyote baseplate. There’s a small button in-set into the front and when pushed, allows the small plastic pellet magazine to pop up. There’s a hinged plate on the rear and when the sides are gripped, the rear portion hinges down to reveal the neat little alloy and plastic ‘chain’ pellet carrier that is formed from 10 double links, making a total capacity of 20 pellets. Ammo is loaded one at a time and the chain is manually indexed around until all the holes are filled. I suppose some people will load a couple of pellets and index the chain, but I found it easier and more efficient to load 10 pellets into the bottom section, rotate it once until the next 10 holes are available and then fill them – much simpler! Once filled, the pellet magazine is placed into the front of the main housing again until it clicks into place.

To fit a 12-gram CO2 bulb, you pull the clamp on the rear down and a capsule is placed into the housing with the neck up. The lever is then pushed back in, which pierces the capsule; you’re then ready for action!

Range time

I set up a load of target cards on my target holder/pellet catcher that I made from a large cardboard box stuffed with carpet in my double garage, so that had a nice seven-metre range and I had a whale of a time! The slide comes back at quite a speed and it really adds to the realism whilst shooting. Accuracy from the rifled barrel was good with the 7.26-grain Webley VelociPell flat headed pellets that came with the Sig but this is more of a fast-fire plinker than an out and out target gun, but I guess I was getting 1½-2-inch groups using a two-handed hold. Velocity is said to be around 430fps, but this will obviously depend on the temperature and how much CO2 is left in the capsule. I later moved on to a few empty plastic bottles hung on strings, which was much more fun than punching holes in paper! I couldn’t find my little laser pistol sight that would have been a perfect addition to the M17 and it would have been simple to fit it to the Picatinny rail under the front of the frame. So much for tidying up and putting things in a safe place.

The trigger was very pleasant to use and I could roll it back to just before it released the shot and I think that accuracy would have improved the more I shot it. I managed six magazine’s worth of shooting fun per capsule, which equates to 120 shots and, when you consider that gas is used to make the slide recoil, this is very good. Changing capsules is really quick and it’s nice not to have to tension a thumbwheel like you have to do on a lot of other similar CO2 pistols. The pellet magazine is easy to remove, fill and replace and I can’t find anything at all that I don’t like about this great little pistol! What made it even better to use was the fact that I was sent a spare magazine, which reduces downtime. Highland Outdoors had better make sure that they have plenty of these pistols in stock, as they’re going to sell loads!

 

gun
features

  • Model: Sig Sauer M17
  • Power source: 12g CO2 capsule
  • Calibre: .177
  • Muzzle velocity: Up to 430fps
  • Accessory rail: Standard Picatinny 1913
  • Sights: Fixed with white inserts
  • Magazine: 20-round
  • Length: 8-inches
  • Weight: 2.15lb
  • Price: £199.9 Spare magazine: £34.99 .177 VelociPell pellets: £5.99, tin of 500
  • Contact: Highland Outdoors. highlandoutdoors.co.uk

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