Air Force combat arms units received the SIG M18 pistol.

The U.S. Air Force recently announced combat arms units are receiving SIG Sauer M18 pistols. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Small Arms Program Office acquired 125,000 9mm M18s. The contract comes at a value of $22.1 million.

Air Force Combat Arms Units Acquire SIG Sauer M18 Pistols

The switch to the new 9mms has been a long time coming.

“The Air Force bought the M9s back in the 1980s, and the design has not really changed since then,” said Merrill Adkison, Small Arms Program Office senior logistics manager. “M9s are larger, heavier, all-metal pistols; whereas M18s are lighter polymer pistols with a more consistent trigger pull and adjustable grips for large and small hands.”

The acquisition includes test ammunition and engineering services. The Air Force noted the age of the previous M9 system as a factor leading to the change. It also noted issues in sustainment. Overall, the Air Force says the new M18 costs about one-third of what it would cost to buy an M9 today.

“It is important for the U.S. Air Force to move forward with improvement and replacement of weapon systems to keep pace with potential adversaries and field the best technology and equipment available for our warfighters,” said Brian Lautzenheiser, lead program manager in the office. “The USAF Small Arms Program Office has worked with the Army to get these new weapons on contract and in the hands of the warfighters. We are a small team with a lot going on as we work to procure and sustain all small arms from pistols to .50 caliber ground-mounted machine guns. We have a great professional team that understands the importance of assisting the field to meet their needs.”

The program office anticipates that M18 delivery will be complete by August 2022. For more information, please visit

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