First lieutenants Vince Paikowski and Alastair Keys, both from the 75th Ranger Regiment, each won a very special trophy. For this year’s U.S. Army Best Ranger Competition, New Hampshire based SIG Sauer created a pair of U.S. Army Best Ranger Competition M17 Trophy Pistols.
The custom M17 pistols, which are based on the standard sidearm of the U.S. Army, were designed and built by SIG Custom Works earlier this year. In years past, the winning teams received Colt M1911-style pistols, which were presented in a ceremony at the end of the competition. This year, to reflect the change in the standard issued sidearm, the winners received the M17s.
“The Best Ranger Competition is the ultimate physical challenge that puts any operational and traditional skills to test, under extreme circumstances, for sixty straight hours of punishing, non-stop, endurance competition,” said Jason St. John, director of government products at SIG Sauer, Inc., and Sergeant First Class (Retired), U.S. Army Ranger.
“It’s an incredible honor for SIG Sauer to be afforded this opportunity to present this custom M17 pistol as the official trophy pistol of this prestigious competition to recognize the elite Ranger competitors and their sacrifice,” added St. John.
The customized trophy versions are based on the official sidearm of the U.S. Army, but feature a custom black Nitron engraved slide and black AXG metal grip and gold trigger. On the right slide is engraved the “Best Ranger Competition” and competition year; while the left side is engraved with the motto, “Rangers Lead the Way.” The sight plate also is engraved with the Best Ranger competition logo and includes the name of the competition winner. The Black G10 pistol grips also include a Ranger Tab Medallion insert.
The U.S. Army Best Ranger Competition was designed as a grueling competition that identifies the best, two-man U.S. Army Ranger buddy team on a course that is designed to place extreme demand on each team’s physical, mental, technical and tactical skills. It is open to all Ranger-coded positions within the U.S. Army and each year competitors from across the globe come to compete with the hopes of earning the prestigious Best Ranger title.
This was the thirty-seventh annual competition and was held at Fort Benning, Georgia earlier this month. Last year’s match was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to the Best Ranger Competition M17s, SIG Sauer created a specialty version of its Modular Handgun System pistols for use by the Sentinels, who stand guard over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Four of those pistols were provided by the New Hampshire-based company.
SIG Sauer also produces a “General Officer handgun,” an M18 model that is distinguished with a “GO” serial number meant for issue to the Army’s top leaders.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.