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NEWS | March 8, 2019

JBSA-Lackland receives Air Force’s new handgun

By 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The Air Education and Training Command Combat Arms Apprentice Course at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland is one of the first units to receive new M18 Modular Handgun Systems as part of the Air Force Security Forces Center’s effort to modernize weapons systems and increase warfighter lethality.

“The newest students here will be some of the first defender’s to fire, handle, and qualify on the new weapons system,” said Staff Sgt. Glenn Stemple, 343rd Training Squadron combat arms armorer. “This will give them the chance to move on to their next duty stations with firsthand experience to pass onto their fellow combat arms instructors and security forces members.”


The M18 replaces the M9, which has been in use for more than 30 years. The modular design of the M18 provides improved ergonomics, target acquisition, reliability, and durability to increase shooter lethality.

“The Air Force made a fantastic choice with the M18,” Stemple said. “It’s much lighter than the M9 and has fewer moving parts so it’s easier to understand. The simplicity is going to enable much greater weapon proficiency, control and confidence.”

Another benefit of the M18 is that it can be customized to the individual shooter's handgrip.


“The fixed size of the M9 was a major limitation for our defenders with bigger or smaller hands,” said Master Sgt. Shaun Ferguson, AFSFC Small Arms and Light Weapons Requirements program manager. “Along with all of the other improvements, the M18 completely mitigates this issue. It can also adapt to many different accessory capacity sets the M9 could not, such as flashlights, mounted lasers and reflex sights. These upgrades – along with its lighter frame and more consistent trigger pull – greatly increase our lethality.”


All security forces units are expected to have their M18s by 2020 with the remainder of the Air Force to follow.

“Once all security forces units have been supplied the new weapon, we will supply special warfare Airmen, Office of Special Investigations personnel and other high-level users,” Ferguson said. “Aircrew communities and other installation personnel will be issued the handgun as well, based on requirements.”