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US Army equipment officials are working on a program to find a new pistol holster that will allow soldiers to carry the Modular Handgun System (MHS) with or without a weapon light and aiming laser mounted to it. The challenge is that most light-compatible, polymer holsters grip the weapon light, not the pistol, so the weapon must have the device attached to fit securely in the holster.

Last year, the Army selected a holster, made by The Safariland Group, to issue initially with its new XM17 MHS but planned to find a light-compatible holster for units that need the capability.

The MHS, made by Sig Sauer, features an accessory rail that allows soldiers to mount pistol lights and other devices for operating in low-light conditions.

The Army has identified pistol lights with infrared aiming lasers made by LaserMax Defense and Streamlight that meet its requirements, and the service is close to selecting a holster that will work with both devices, said Daryl Easlick, small arms deputy for the Lethality Branch at Fort Benning, Georgia.

The Army plans to issue the full-size XM17 version of MHS to team leaders and above in infantry and other combat-arms units as well as military police in what’s being called a dual-armed strategy. Soldiers will train to transition from their M4 carbines to the MHS in situations where they have a weapons malfunction and targets are too close to fix the stoppage, Easlick said.

“Rather than fixing a stoppage … I’m going to transition to a different weapon system, engage those targets and then get my carbine back in the fight,” he said. “If they are doing that in the daytime, they should be doing that at night as well.”

According to military.com, sometime this summer, the Army will have soldiers from operational units evaluate both light models. For now, the program will remain in the Soldier Enhancement Program.