The 9mm M11 Compact Service Pistol is the military version of the SIG P228 pistol, itself a compact version of the well-regarded SIG P226. The M11 is primarily used by military law enforcement and security personnel, and has also been popular as a personal weapon for pilots and aircrews in all the services. The almost identical P228 has seen adoption in police and military organizations worldwide. The M11 (or P228 before standardization) has been procured by all branches of the U.S. military, first by the US Navy in 1989 and then by other services, including the Army, in the 1990s.
Aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Sailors train with the Pistol, Compact, 9mm, M11, underway in the Indian Ocean, 24 Aug 2008.
The SIG (or SIG SAUER, used interchangeably) P228, adopted by the U.S. military as the Pistol, Compact, 9mm, M11, is manufactured in the United States by SIG SAUER. Located in Exeter, NH, they are a 300 employee unit of a worldwide business group of firearms manufacturers that includes J.P. Sauer & Sohn and Blaser, Gmbh, in Germany and Swiss Arms AG in Switzerland.
The M11 pistol is produced only for 9mm Luger Parabellum ammunition and cannot be converted to other loads due to its stamped steel slide which is only strong enough for 9mm ammo. The nearly identical P229 has a stronger slide and therefore is offered in other calibers than 9mm.
For most adopters, the M11 is preferred over the Beretta M9 9mm Service Pistol due to its shorter, smaller size that is more easily carried concealed or as a backup weapon.
As of a report issued in March 2003 by the DoD IG, this was the inventory of P228/M11 pistols in the investigative agencies of the U.S. Department of Defense:
Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI)
Pentagon Force Protection Agency Criminal Investigations/Internal Affairs Directorate (PFPACI/IAD)
U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC)
1,345 mostly M11
Procurement of the P228 was superseded by the standardized M11 with a warranty commencement date of 20 January 1993. By the late 2000s, the P228 was being relaced by newer weapons such as the SIG SAUER P229 and P239 pistols, often in .40 cal.
In early 2013, the Army began working with the firearms industry to finalize specs for the Modular Handgun System (MHS). This was a total redesign, intended to replace the M9 and M11 with a new pistol chambered for new ammunition, along will all accessories. One specific target for MHS is a more potent round than the 9mm currently used, possibly the .40 S&W. As expected by many, the 9mm round was unsatisfactory in actual combat use. An Industry Day for procurement feedback was planned for 29 July 2014.
Equipment Description for the M11 9mm Pistol
The M11 compact pistol is a mechanically locked, short-recoil operated weapon featuring an automatic firing pin safety
lock, double-action trigger, decocking lever, and external slide stop. Loading is automatic with each shot fired, until the magazine is empty. The slide is held open after the last shot has been fired.
The M11 pistol incorporates single and double action modes of fire. Any time the trigger is pulled with a round in the chamber, the pistol will fire from either the hammer-down or cocked position. Safety features ensure that the weapon can be fired only by pulling the trigger. Other features of the M11 9mm Pistol:
Automatic firing pin lock provides optimal safety with the hammer in either the cocked or decocked position.
Double-action trigger and the absence of manual safeties provide immediate first-shot potential.
Decocking lever allows the cocked hammer to be lowered into the safety intercept notch without touching the trigger. During this procedure, the firing pin remains automatically locked.
External slide stop located on the left side of the weapon.
High-contrast sights allow rapid target acquisition, even under poor light conditions.
Closed design limits dirt and sand infiltration.
Magazine catch is ambidextrous and can be installed for either left-hand or right-hand users.
Charactaristics of the M11 9mm Compact Pistol
9mm NATO (9x19mm)
System of Operation
Short recoil, semiautomatic
180 mm (7.08 inches)
37 mm (1.46 inches)
136 mm (5.35 inches)
13 rounds (plus one in chamber)
Basic Load, Three Magazines
Weight with Empty Magazine
745 g (1.6 lb)
Weight with 13-Round Magazine
830 g (1.8 lb)
98 mm (3.86 in)
Right-hand, six-groove (pitch 250 mm [9.84 in])
375 meters/second (1,230.3 feet/second)
569.5 Newton meters (420 foot pounds)
1,800 meters (1,962.2 yards)
Maximum Effective Range
50 meters (54.7 yards)
Blade, dovetailed to slide
Notched bar, dovetailed to slide
145 mm (5.8 inches)
Decocking lever, automatic firing pin lock.
Hammer (cocked or decocked)
Prevents accidental discharge. Stops the hammer from accidentally falling fully forward if the full-cock notch is stripped. Also, catches the hammer if the cocking cycle is interrupted in the double-action fire mode.
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