Gun manufacturers are now vying for a potentially decades-long coveted contract with the Department of Defense.
The Beretta M9 has been the Pentagon's go-to pistol for nearly 30 years. The federal contract has helped Beretta sell 600,000 guns, most of which were used by the U.S. Army. The company is still contracted to sell 20,000 more pistols.
The popular handgun has been used by U.S. soldiers since 1985 and its widespread use has made it a well-known icon. It was in the movie "Lethal Weapon" and in the timeless action-packed drama James Bond.
So it should be no wonder why companies like Smith and Wesson and General Dynamics are tossing their names in the hat for the new defense department contract. While the official request for proposal is not expected until next month, Smith and Wesson is betting on the department's desire for more plastic, making guns less heavy.
So far, the Army has only stated it is seeking "a new modular handgun system that can be easily adjusted to fit all hand sizes," which one could assume would also mean lightweight. If the Pentagon's choice of rifles is any indication, that may be a smart assumption. For example, the wood and plastic M14 was dropped in favor of the less heavy M16 during the Vietnam War before it eventually switched to the military's current favorite rifle, the more compact M4.
Editor's note: This post has been updated.
(H/T: CNN Money)
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