445th AW, 655th ISRW train on new strike-fire pistol

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joel Mccullough
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 445th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms Training and Management, or CATM, held their first Air Force Qualification Course, or AFQC, with the SIG M18 strike-fire pistol, Oct. 15, 2023.

The course was attended by Airmen from the 445th Airlift Wing’s 89th Airlift Squadron and 87th Aerial Port Squadron, and the 655th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing’s 64th Intelligence Squadron.

Three years ago, 445th SFS defenders were given the M18 to begin training. Most service members are familiar with the M18 that replaced the Berretta M9 pistol. Both weapons utilize 9mm ammunition.

Three months ago, the weapons were distributed to CATM for other units in the 445th AW to begin using.

“The logistics readiness squadron has done a great job of handling the change over,” said Master Sgt. Jason Mufford, 445th SFS noncommissioned officer in charge of CATM.

Mufford said that they have inspected and inventoried about 200 to 300 new pistols.

He explained that the M-18 is a lighter weapon and its strike-force trigger versus the double-action trigger of the Berretta should be easier to manage for teaching trigger pull.

“It’s just a smoother pull,” he explained.

One thing the Department of Defense looked into when reviewing weapons contracts was maintenance costs and reliability. They determined the M18 to be cheaper to maintain over its lifetime. The two pistols were narrowly separated in performance margins with trigger pull standing out.

Staff Sgt. Caleb Menezes, 445th SFS CATM combat arms instructor, led the classroom portion of the training. He said most all agree that after shooting and handling the M18, it’s a solid weapon and the new training shouldn’t cause any hiccups in qualification.

In his instruction, Menezes said that trigger pull might be one of the main limiting factors for people when qualifying.

This factor is dependent on the person firing the weapon, as some might find it easier while others find it harder.

“It’s going to be a little bit of a learning curve, but so far, it has been an easy transition,” Mufford said, adding the course of firing and qualifying is still the same, just with a different weapon.

“If you have qualified before or shot any other similar pistol, the baseline should be there, you just have to trust your training,” Mufford added.

The CATM instructors do not anticipate Airmen having issues with the weapons.

The next AFQC for the SIG M18 is scheduled for the November unit training assembly. SFS plans to hold at least one course per quarter in fiscal year 2024.