The U.S. Army has been maneuvering to replace its current service pistol, the Beretta M9, for over a year. They have now announced a detailed process for how they plan to hold a competition for finding a new pistol to replace the M9. The Beretta M9 has been the U.S. Army’s standard service pistol since 1985, but the M9 is now widely thought to be outdated. Last winter, Beretta produced the M9A3 variant as a possible upgrade to the M9 that would meet some of the Army’s requirements, but the offer was rejected.

The Army recently published an official draft solicitation to announce it would soon begin its search for a new service pistol. Army officials say they’ll begin the competition next year. By 2018 they hope to award a contract to a single gun manufacturer for a handgun. Between the Army and other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, this could mean orders totaling nearly half a million pistols. This obviously has many manufacturers interested. Beyond just these sales, many people are always interested in buying a firearm that the U.S. Army is using.

The announcement lays out the Army’s proposed competition schedule, requirements, and more for its XM17 Modular Handgun System (MHS). The Army says it will also hold another industry day on July 7-8 at New Jersey’s Picatinny Arsenal to help manufacturers learn about and compete in the process.

“We expect to release the final solicitation in 2016,” said Program Manager for Soldier Weapons, Colonel Scott Armstrong. “This will be followed [by] a phased down-select process that will run through 2017.”

Each gun manufacturer will be allowed to submit two separate handgun proposals with different calibers for testing.