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New weapon systems arrive at the 168th Wing

Tech. Sgt. Chanson Johnson, 168th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms Training and Maintenance Instructor, Alaska Air National Guard, conducts M18 familiarization training for security forces airmen, Oct. 24, 2021, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. As a part of the Air Force’s rollout program of the larger DoD updated weapons initiative, the 168th Wing received two new weapons, the M4A1 Carbine rifle, and M18 SIG Sauer pistol. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Adam Keele)

Tech. Sgt. Chanson Johnson, 168th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms Training and Maintenance Instructor, Alaska Air National Guard, conducts M18 familiarization training for security forces airmen, Oct. 24, 2021, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. As a part of the Air Force’s rollout program of the larger DoD updated weapons initiative, the 168th Wing received two new weapons, the M4A1 Carbine rifle, and M18 SIG Sauer pistol. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Adam Keele)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska — 168th Security Forces Squadron, Alaska Air National Guard, received two new weapon systems at the October drill. The unit took delivery of the M4A1 Carbine and M18 SIG Sauer Modular Handgun System. Security Forces defenders then cleaned and underwent familiarization of the new weapons prior to qualifying on them. The M18 SIG Sauer is a lighter and smaller pistol than its predecessor, the M9 Beretta.

Maj. Andrew Riffe, 168 SFS commander, said in response to the new M18 and its modular capabilities, “it is lighter; it is more customizable, and I think when you look at the spectrum of airmen, from the tallest to the smallest and everyone in between, the fact that you can get a weapon customized to that degree to that individual is only going to help them in their ability to use and employ the weapon, and their confidence in it if it comes a time they have to use it.”

In 2019, the U.S. Air Force started rolling out the M18, which will eventuallyreplace the M-9 Beretta and the M11-A1 Compact used by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Tech Sgt. Reuben Wright, 168th SFS Combat Arms Training and Maintenance Instructor,said he likes “that we incorporated night sights, an accessory rail, and the consistent trigger pull.” 

He also liked the modular capabilities of the M18, which makes the weapon more comfortable and easier to use for a wider variety of shooters, saying, “it’s more user friendly for lefties.”

The M4A1 adds full-auto firing capabilities, an ambidextrous firing selector switch, and a heavier barrel. With the M4A1 comes a new course of fire being implemented for Security Forces. Instead of a single qualification round, it will now be extended over four quarters, giving defenders more time and types of training with the weapon.