The U.S. Army has transitioned through over four dozen different types of sidearms since the American Revolutionary War, from a single-shot flintlock then to its newest semiautomatic with a 17-round magazine.

But one manufacturer continues to dominate the Army’s holster. Gunsmith Samuel Colt’s pistols have been used by the Army since 1847, when soldiers used the Colt Walker in the Mexican War. Today, the Marine Corps, Navy, and Army Special Forces use the M1911.

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So what’s up next? Sig Sauer was awarded a 10-year, $580 million contract earlier this year to provide the Army with its M17 handguns. The first three units will begin receiving the M17 next month. These pistols will replace the M9 Beretta, which has been the Army’s sidearm for over 30 years.

Let’s take a look at how the Army’s sidearms have evolved:

1. The Colt M1847 Walker

2. The Colt M1860 Army

3. Remington New Model Army

4. Colt M1873 Single Action Army

5. Colt M1892 New Army/Navy

6. Colt M1911

7. Beretta M9

8. SIG Sauer M17

This article originally appeared in Military History, a Military Times sister publication. For more information on Military History, and all of the HistoryNet publications visit

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