ANSBACH, Germany -- Soldiers and Civilians with the U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Ansbach Provost Marshal Office (PMO) practiced and qualified with the Army's new weapons system during a range at the Oberdachstetten Training Area Jan. 9-10.

Prior to being issued the M17 and M18 Modular Handgun System (MHS), the PMO used the M9 Beretta, a 1980s-era pistol. During the range, the reaction to handling and firing the new weapon was positive.

"It's a little different," said Sgt. Sebastiano Pica, PMO desk sergeant. "But, I feel like the M17s and M18s are easier as far as the sights."

They come with glow-in-the-dark Tritium sights, with a green front sight and orange rear sight. Additionally, the slides have a removable plate that allows for the installation of red dot sights.

Another improvement is the ease and consistency of the trigger.

Soldiers do not have to worry about the heavy first-shot trigger pull followed by lighter pulls that can hinder law enforcement activity or range qualifications, Pica said. It's consistent with every pull.

The MHS kit consists of the weapon, ammunition and holster and is intended to provide a handgun system with several improvements that include a high degree of parts commonality and an improved ergonomic design.

The new weapons are a much needed upgrade, said Capt. Jason Worthington, Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander.

"The MHS helps our Soldiers achieve a wide range of missions with a higher degree of lethality and accuracy," he said. "They have an integrated rail system, self-illuminating sights and polymer grip module."

The MHS was provided to all U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) and tenant units during a USAREUR-wide weapons fielding late last year.

The MHS, a 9 mm pistol, comes in either a full-sized version (M17) or a compact version (M18), which are replacements for the M9 and M11, respectively.