Hkmk231

Submitted by Eric Daniel

Read this article the other day about the Air Force’s $90 million request for new pistols getting nixed and instead they were granted $5 million to “study” joint combat pistol needs with the Army.  This, in turn, reminded me of a piece I’d written several years ago on the H&K Mk. 23 Mod 0 SOCOM.  A lot of money was invested in building that state of the art pistol, and there’s no arguing that it is in fact, one hell of a handgun; but you don’t see too many of them around.  Of all the SOF personnel I saw in Iraq, none had anything other than the M9 Beretta, and of the several I spoke to about the .45 SOF pistol, none had ever seen one. 

To be sure, I’m sure there are more SOF folk than there are SOCOM pistols, and there might be some sort of SOP regarding the use of the SOCOM, but if that were the case, why go through all that trouble to make such a superlative firearm and either not issue it in greater numbers, or restrict the use of the ones you do have?

Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I am not a “gun” guy.  As a soldier, I use firearms as the tools of my trade. I can take them apart and put them back together, and I know how to troubleshoot them when something does not work right.  What I can’t do is quote chapter and verse on muzzle energy, knockdown power, stopping power, fit, feel, or functionality of any particular firearm or bullet.  This having been said, however, I think, even given my own limited “gun” knowledge, I could come up with a replacement for the M9 for less than 5 million dollars.

Take my experience with the M1911A1 .45 pistol and the M9 Beretta.  The thing I liked best about the M1911A1 was the fact that it was made out of forged steel; You could drop it, kick it, crawl on it, you could do anything to it short of melt it, and you wouldn’t affect it’s reliability.  Moreover, properly blued or parkerized, the M1911A1 was very forgiving of the elements.

Not everything on the M1911A1, however, was perfect.  I thought the ejection port on the slide to be too narrow and I remember that “stove piping” was a constant issue, where the spent casing would extract from the chamber, but would not eject clear of the slide.  Now I don’t know if this issue was the result of the small ejection port or some other issue, but it was something I noticed with the pistol.  The lack of removable or adjustable sights seemed to me to be a viable point of improvement.  While I understand that the inclusion of such features would obviously drive up the price of the weapon, I would have, at a very minimum, liked to have seen replaceable sights on the pistol.  Many, many of the .45s I saw had mangled front and rear sights, no doubt the result of decades of service.  Adjustable sights might have been something of a luxury for a strictly “defensive” weapon, but I believe replaceable sights would have been an improvement.  Finally, some complained about the recoil from the .45, that it was too powerful, or that the weapon, being made from steel, was too heavy.  I personally thought the recoil was manageable (more than the M9 to be sure, but not alarmingly so) and when compared to all the other gear I was hauling around, the extra 2 pounds from the M1911A1 was hardly noticeable (not to mention a loaded M9 weighs almost the same.)

As for the M9 Beretta, it fired well, it was easy to take apart and put back together, and since it was made of a non-ferrous alloy, it was again very tolerant of the elements.  Moreover, it did have a nice big ejection port (right out the top of the slide.)  On the downside the M9 was made of a non-ferrous alloy, which made it significantly more susceptible to damage from what I would consider routine exposure to the combat environment.  I’ve seen M9s crack when dropped off of vehicles, suffer significant gouging, and pinching of the frame.  With the M1911A1 if I could get the slide to work I had faith that the pistol would work, and work safely.  Not so with the M9.  Moreover, the M9 was a SA/DA (single action/double action) pistol, which meant that you didn’t need to thumb cock it like you did with the .45 or rack the slide to cock the hammer, you could just pull the trigger and the hammer would cock itself and fire.  However, with the Beretta the trigger, in DA mode (hammer down) was WAY out there and for some folk, reaching all the way out there with one finger was literally quite a reach (I’ve even seen folk “double pull” the trigger where they pull the trigger partway and then readjust their finger position to complete the process.)  For me, coming from a M1911A1 background, I always thumb cocked my M9 during qualification.  This may not have been the standard, but it was how I “grew up” and I didn’t see the need to go to a different method simply because TRADOC said so.  Others have also complained about the “fat” double stacked, 15-round magazine, but again, with my big hands, that wasn’t an issue.  Finally, as with the M1911A1 the M9 does not have removable or replaceable sights, though again, in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t really a deal breaker as much as it would have been means of maintaining the accuracy of the pistol over its service life.

(Now, before anyone mentions it, I intentionally did not address the physical characteristics of the bullets themselves.  Over the course of my military career the only thing I’ve ever “killed” with my pistol was paper and plywood, so I can’t comment on the combat utility of either the .45 ACP or the 9mm Parabellum.  But bullet lethality is a whole

{ 366 comments… read them below or add one }

John Moran February 7, 2008 at 8:42 am

All the hooplah about a new pistol is rubbish. COmmercial off the Shelf (COTS) is the way to go. The Army/DOD loves to reservh things to death. Why doesn't the DOD just follow the lead of civialian police departments. The Glock 22 in .40 auto is used by about 60% of the police departments in the Unite States. This weapon has proven itself to be relaible, lethal and easy to train people to use. All of the accessories are already out there for it. All the DOD needs to do is send purchasing agents out, buy a bucch of pistols on the open market and test them. The most relaible one wins the contract. The system that the DOD uses is completly retarded, some contract specialist writes up a proposal, then all the arms manufacturers try to modify there existing designs to fit the need that a contract specialist, not trigger puller speciefed. That is why so many wepons systems are failures.

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john.moran February 7, 2008 at 8:51 am

Here's another idea. Why doesn't the militayr just authorise private purchase of side-arms. There is historical precedent for this. Up through WWI, and as late as Vietnam many soldiers carried personal weapons. The DOD just needs to write up a policy on it, specifying basic parameters, and just let people get there own gear.
the Police Dept. I work for issues a great weapon, a MMatte Stainless Steel Colt 11911 .45 Auto with a few sspecified add on parts like aambi thumb safety and mmemory groove grip safety. If you don't like that you ccan carry just about any other revelvor or auto ppistol in 9mm, .38, .357, .40 auto, 110mm or .45 Auto. If you wwant to carry some really bbizarre weapon not made by a mmajor manufacturer, then your answer will be no.
So the DOD should just specify that 9mm, .40, .45 whatever is the standard cartridege and publish a list of acceptable pistols that you can purchase and use. I have to buy my own uniforms, I carry my own knife and Camelback, I use my own Tactical Tailor web gear, why should my pistol by any different?

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Scott Baumann February 7, 2008 at 11:09 am

I enjoyed reading your article on the combat handgun, but thought I would throw in my two cents. I too think the Air Force is wasting money researching new sidearms. For as often as they are called to use one, they should just accept whatever the Army has.

As for the guy that replied about the Glock; it is a great weapon but it has its deficiencies too. The reason the military is unable to go COTS and get the glock has to do with the safety. It is a requirement for our military sidearm to have a positive safety independent of the trigger. That requirement still stands today, and thus the Glock's trigger safety precludes it from being purchased.

Another point that really caught my attention in the article was the quote "Of all the SOF personnel I saw in Iraq, none had anything other than the M9 Beretta, and of the several I spoke to about the .45 SOF pistol, none had ever seen one." What SOF personnel did you talk to? I bet they were all Army. I deployed with Navy SOF, and we had plenty of these in our armory. However, few SEALs like to actually carry them because they are bulky and rather long. The holsters for them are even worse, and then if you start adding attachments to the pistol it catches on everything. Everyone I was with preferred the Navy SIG 226 in 9mm due to its size. Of course, very few Iraqis are wearing body armor so penetration was not a big worry. Many of the Army SOF guys I saw went old school. Their favorite was the match grade M1911 Colt .45. The ones I talked to had all seen the SOCOM, but they also disliked it due to its size. Army guys seem to like big bullets though, hence they like the M1911. It's also slim and easy to jam into your chest rig and is small enough to still leave room for M4 pouches in your chest rig.

I did find it interesting that many of the Army guys also mentioned that they would love to switch to a .40 cal or .357 pistol. Many different types were mentioned during these discussions, so I won't go into greater detail there. Meanwhile, on the Navy side, the preference seemed to run towards staying with the SIG brand but going to the 229 as being more preferrable. The SIG 229 is slightly smaller than the 226 and is a little lighter. So, there's my experience and two cents on the article.

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Dave February 7, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Interesting presentation. I agree that the 1911 is just about perfect A 1911A2 with some modification to the original design would be fine by me, but it will never go. It's an early 20th century design, expensive to machine, and fairly easy to beat in a competitive test. Colt flogged it to death already.

The SOCOM pistol, IIRC, was intended to be a primary offensive weapon with its silencer attached. It isn't a sidearm – It's a cavalry hogleg.

Here's one problem with shopping around. While Europeans view pistols as officer status badges, we actually expect to draw our sidearm and dispatch a bad guy with authority. Europeans just don't quite get it.

Here's my shopping list:
1. Real defensive capability. No placebos, please.

2. Modest size and weight. If you have to carry an M4 and ammo anyway, don't cause excessive misery by having our guys carry a pistol and 2 more magazines. Also, it allows for concealed carry by those that may require it.

3. Modest magazine capacity. Let's be frank – defending yourself with a pistol against a rifleman is a poor situation. 15 pistol rounds does not equal 1/2 of an M4. Don't try to even the playing field.

4. Frame-mounted safety. I'm not small, but my thumb is too short to sweep off the M9's safety. Ambidexterous is good.

5. High visibility sights. If we're putting optics everyplace else, at least give the pistol some tritium dots.

6. Close attention to ergonomics. One other problem with the Glock is that the grip angle isn't exactly right. It naturally points high for many people.

Choice? I dunno. HK may be close with several of their models. A Double-action Browning P35 variant in .40S&W might be good. I'm glad I don't have to make everybody happy all of the time.

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CSM Wells February 7, 2008 at 2:38 pm

There more .22cal Deaths around the world than any other round, then next is the 9mm! So just give the grunt a pistol and he or she will shoot to kill. A pistol is a back up to a grunt, I'm going to kill you with my rifle frist and a M-67 Frag.

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steelcobra February 7, 2008 at 3:14 pm

The biggest reason the SOCOM wasn't adopted en masse was size – it's as big as the Desert Eagle.

As for Army Special Forces, I don't know about the SF battalions, but in the support batt's arms room we have M9's, SIG P228's, and 1911's.

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Coolhand77 February 8, 2008 at 1:50 am

I'm not a soldier, but I am a thinker, and an admitted "gun person".
I have a couple of suggestions for a couple of problems mentioned, plus one OTS suggestion for a sidearm.
Problem 1: Glock Safty
Solution: I do belive that there is a drop in safty mod for the glocks, so that is moot. If there isn't then go with something like the Browning High Power or the soon to be ressurected Bren-10. Both can be chambered for 9mm, 10mm Auto, or .40 S&W (though I prefer .45 myself), both are based on the reliable Browning "linkless" design, and both have slightly improved ergonomics over the 1911 (including the frame mounted safty). In addition, both are da/sa but have a shorter pull than the M9. Many of the similar CZ based pistols would also be worth while to look at.
Problem 2: Tankers want PDW.
Solution: Kriss V. Chamber it for your pistol cartridges. ITs bulky, but its smaller than an M4, and more controllable on FA. It hits a hell of alot harder than the 5.7 or 4.5mm offerings that have been all the rage lately.

SOme other offerings would be the NEW HK45 (not a big fan, but oh well, gotta be fair), the S&W M&P series, and the Springfield XD family (has a grip safty, not sure if that counts as the "positive safty" feature specified). All are double stacked, but even in .45, with 13 rounds, the XD is comfortable and easy to shoot in my hands (I wear a medium sized glove snugly).

Just the opinion of a talanted amature. Of course, as with the shoulder bag, its not so much a matter of there not being something OTS that they can use, its a matter of NIH (Not Invented Here) Syndrome.

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Andy February 8, 2008 at 6:57 am

I love the feel of a Glock, but i also love the feel of a 1911, i HATE the feel of the M9 why? IT'S TOO DAMN FAT! if you could get the glock tactical practical in 10MM with a thumb and grip safety, you would have a winner every time.

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Lucas Gray February 8, 2008 at 12:27 pm

I dont understand how the colt could last so long as a sidearm in the US army and not be used anymore. If the Army would spend its money on updating and improving old, but reliable and perfectly effective weopens and not buying into the newest fanciest whatever, many problems would be solved.

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gh February 8, 2008 at 7:38 am

In my opinion, the Air Force is the biggest money wasting branch of the DOD. They always cry, bitch and complain about funds. And yet, their airmen are the least professional mebers of the military (in general, there are exceptions). I served in the marines, and let me tell you; we get the lowest budget of any U.S. military organization. However, we are an elite organization and have an unparalleled fighting readiness. I had someone in my unit that had been in the Air Force and then came in the marines. She said a story about how they salvaged parts from other jets to make one jet fly, and yet had new carpets every six months. In our barrcks the arimen got paid hardship duty pay, because they were sleeping in marine barracks and they did not have enough space. Apparently they had to have so much square feet per person. Boohoo. Even if they get all the money they ask for, they'll invest it in new carpets rather than training and weapons. The weapon is a tool, and it's not the weapon but the marine. Anyways, let's turn our attention to the combat pistol. I fired the 9mm, the .40S&W and the .45ACP. If I were to look for a new weapon I would look for a new cartridge. The 9mm is accurate but has no stopping power. The .40S&W is fitted in a 9mm cartridge and just like the .45ACP the whole cartridge does not sit in the chamber. A small part in the end sticks out. This can be a problem if the brass is faulty as the round can explode and break the weapon and possibly injure the shooter. I'd rather we designed a whole new cartridge and handgun. Let the weapon be single and double action, double stacked , accurate and reliable. The cartridge should be 180+ grains, fast and a flatshooter.

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Joe Noplis February 8, 2008 at 8:07 am

I have been in the Air Force for over 20 years as a cop, and a cop on the streets of some of the worst areas in the U.S., Glock .40 is all you need, the Glock not having a safety is crap is that….crap. Great Weapon is the Glock .40!! Proven, get rid of the 9mm crap!!

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Joe Noplis February 8, 2008 at 8:19 am

gh…..you are very narrowed minded….each service has its own purpose, the U.S. Air Force is the best in the world, Just as the U.S. Marines are the best ground troops in the world. Don't be hating because we live and are treated better….you chose the Marines….I choose the Air Force for the first class operation and my ASVAB scores were really high, we accept a ton of really smart men and woman. That is why we are the ones trusted with a huge stockpile of nukes.
Different missions and both Military Branch's are the best at what they do respectfully!

U.S. Marines should be their own branch…not just a small part of the U.S. Navy!

Aim High Baby!!

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Lucas Gray February 8, 2008 at 8:27 am

I dont understand how the colt could last so long as a sidearm in the US army and not be used anymore. If the Army would spend its money on updating and improving old, but reliable and perfectly effective weopens and not buying into the newest fanciest whatever, many problems would be solved.

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Eric Daniel February 8, 2008 at 8:46 am

Scott,

With regard to your comment about the SOCOM, yes they were Army guys and I am under absolutely no illusions that the SOCOM is out there I just would have thought that for the money that was spent developing the thing that SOF guys would be going out with three or four of them in their pockets. (When I was active duty we used to joke about the rumor that the Army had started about there being a post in Hawaii; no one had ever been stationed there, no one ever trained there, no one ever PCSed there, so an Army base in Hawaii, we joked, was just a vicious rumor they perpetuated before shipping folk to Kansas. Clearly there is a post in Hawaii, and we all know it, it was just in all our collective years, we'd never met anyone from there.)

I have "heard" (not via first person mind you) of the issues regarding the SOCOM's size and weight and that folk didn't like to carry it for those very reasons, which again begs the question, "Why did it get built in the first place, and did anyone talk to the folk you were building it for to see if this is what they really wanted?"

I agree with your comments regarding the M1911A1s size. As a single stack automatic, it was very thing, and it was easy to "stuff" anywhere. Updating the M1911A1 to incorporate more modern features, such as a decocking lever, ambidextrous safeties and magazine release, would certainly make it an acceptable alternative for the M9 (if this hasn't already been done with a different firearm that is.)

A number of you have also commented that it would be nice if we could simply purchase our own firearms. Yes this would be nice, but I think that that idea has a snowball's chance in hell of ever seeing the light of day. As a police buddy of mine once said about comparing the qualities of available patrol cars, "…The Caprice Classic is gone…Dead. And it isn't coming back. Get over it and move on…"

As for the SIGs, my only experience with one is the P226 in 9mm. A wonderful firearm, with all those features I mentioned earlier, my only critical comment of it would be that it didn't really like water. Now I don't know if this was a finish issue or what, but you could literally see corrosion stains forming after several hours exposure to rain. Beyond that though, I thought it a well-designed weapon.

Oh, and Joe, please understand that I am not bagging on the AF. If the Air Force says it needs a replacement for their inventory of M9 pistols, I'm not in a position to question that. What really cought my attention though, was the decision to invest $5 million to "study" what kind of gun was really needed.

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SD February 8, 2008 at 9:22 am

The foriegn made .45s are all nice weapons, but check out the Kimber Warrior made for the USMC SOCOM contingent. American made in NYC. Its probably the same cost as an H&K, and Kimber makes fine weapons.

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Mark W. Lewis February 8, 2008 at 9:55 am

A few points if I may.

1) The M-9 is oversized for a 9mm, and has some of the worst ergonimics of any weapon I have ever used. If it could be slimmed down and the grip angle adjusted a bit it could be a very acceptable weapon.

2) Caliber selection, the 9mm is accurate and fast, but with ball ammunition it is low on stopping power. When shooting ball, a greater surface area is desirable. Also, most pistol encounters are short ranged, so the slightly better trajectory of the 9mm vice .40 S&W or .45 ACP is negated.

3) If going OTS, the .40 S&W is the best compromise between accuracy and stopping power.

4) The pistol should be rugged, which to me and most of the saliors on my boat means steel, though polymer has potential.

I would suggest the P229, or a similar midsized weapon, with a caliber of .40 or .45, it is plentiful, inexpensive, and accurate for the ranges at which a pistol is made to be used, while still offering substantial stopping power and capacity.

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Stephen Carroll February 8, 2008 at 10:31 am

Honestly I think we should go to the Glock 22 or a Sig Sauer there very reliable even one with a double stacked mag is small enough for anyone.

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Regolith February 8, 2008 at 11:55 am

I'm not sure if any of this was addressed in some of the comments (I only read a few), but here goes:

I am not, nor never have I been in the military, but I am somewhat of a self professed "gun guy."

Many of the improvements you suggested for the M1911 platform have been implemented into civilian PDW's. Adjustable sights (or no sights; just a "gutter" for fast target acquisition on one model), improved ammunition feeding, etc. have already been developed. Hell, I think some companies even make M1911's with double stack 9mm mags (I think STI does). Perhaps the military should look towards these as examples.

Because the handgun is the main weapon for civilians for defensive purposes, there's been heavy research and development into perfecting the platform, and there's something out there for everybody. The military, on the other hand, seems to have little interest in perfecting what most see ass a last-ditch, seldom-used weapon that isn't even issued to most troops.

As to .45ACP vs. 9mm: There isn't a huge difference. The .45ACP is arguably better in terms of damage to an assailant, but the 9mm isn't that much worse, and it has other benefits (such as allowing for a larger capacity magazine). Either will work for the intended role, in my opinion, as with both shot placement counts more than any other factor (and both are so much less powerful than the rifle that most soldiers carry that it will not usually be the preferred method for killing things if it can be helped).

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Gene February 8, 2008 at 12:25 pm

OOOOHHHHHH…..you just had to start this up…..I'm out. Cheers, guys.

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D.Bolden February 8, 2008 at 12:58 pm

I agree, the issue is durability and stopping power. The .45 acp has the power to put down an individual with one shot, the M9 needs two or three. Mag capacity isn't an issue since there are extended magazines on the market if needed. In my opinion there are better options than the M9 and have been for years. But like everything else in the service, regardless of what the politicians puff their cheeks out with, it's the lowest bidder that gets the contract and not what is best for job.

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rick February 8, 2008 at 3:28 pm

.40 guys – GLOCK – plenty of bullet weight – knockdown energy – bullet speed to do the job. What else does one want. Easy to tear down – clean – and shoot. Fits the hand well. You otta see them drop when hit!!!

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Chris February 8, 2008 at 4:34 pm

Having personally taken a combat handgun class from a former British SBS(Special Boat Service) operator, I have a very good idea of what a "Combat Handgun" ought to be. My choice would be the Glock 34 9mm. The .45 cartarige is a very impractical and ineffective cartarige for combat use. It travels at a sub-sonic speed and the energy difference between it and the 9mm is less than 30 ft pounds. With that said, take a standard 9mm handgun which has a 15 round magazine and a standard .45 caliber handgun with a standard 8 round magazine. Multiply the energy of a Black Hills +P bullet of 9mm(431 ft lbs) and a .45(460 ft lbs) with the mag capacity and you will see that the 9mm has more total firepower. Secondly, no handgun round except the 5.7×28 has Hydro-Static Shock or (HSS) but handgun rounds have Permenately Crushed Cavity (PCC). HSS is what most people call "Knock-down power" and it only exists in rounds that travel at least 2000 fps. In other words it only exists in rifle calibers. Therefore in a pistol caliber it doesn't matter how big the bullet's diameter is (in a rifle caliber it would be). But a 9mm penetrates 14 inches of ballistic gelatin while a .45 only penetrates 6 inches. The 9mm, because it is supersonic, is much more ballisticaly superior to the 45. Some people point a finger at the incident in miami, however that was with the abnormal 147 grain 9mm and not the normal 115 grain bullet because they tried to make it like a .45 and failed miserably. A Glock 34 not only has an extended barrel, it is light and extremely reliable. It is also very accurate.

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chris February 8, 2008 at 4:36 pm

Both 9mm and a .45 take a triple tap or 3 shots to insure a kill. Trust me….

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chris February 8, 2008 at 4:39 pm

In case any of you are wondering the gentleman that I took the class from has a website. His name is Bill Davison and he, if anybody, knows the answer to this issue. http://www.tacproshootingcenter.com

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Miki February 8, 2008 at 11:31 pm

WELL AS USUAL POLITICS AND MONEY PLAYS A PART IN EQUIPING OUR MILITARY. I AM PRIOR USAF. AT THE TIME I WAS IN I WAS SECURITY POLICE NOW CALLED SECURITY FORCES. I WE CARRIED A S&W MODEL "10" 38 CAL. PISTOLS. IF YOU WERE ARMED FORCES POLICE YOU CARRIED A 1911A1. I GOT OUT IN 1985 AND THE FOLLOWING YEAR THE USAF WENT TO THE BERETTA M9. I AM A GUN GUY. I COMPETITION SHOOT PISTOLS. I PERSONALLY CARRY THE SPRINGFIELD XD45. MY COMP GUN IS THE NEW TAURUS PT1911. MY SWITCH UP CARRY GUN IS A SIG P220. THERE IS NO DOUBT THE 45. CAL ROUND WILL KNOCK YOU DOWN AND DO YOU IN. TO ME A 9MM ROUND IS A PRACTICE ROUND. WITH THAT ROUND YOU HAVE TO MAKE A PRECISION SHOT TO PUT SOMEONE DOWN. IF WANT A ROUND THAT IS RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE A 40. CAL DOES THE JOB AND IS THE ROUND OF MOST POLICE DEPT. AS FOR THE CHOICE OF MANUFACTURERS WELL THE GOV'T NEEDS TO LOOK AT OUR POLICE DEPTS FOR THAT. MOST DEPTS CARRY SIG,GLOCK,SPRINGFIELD,S&W, AND ARE NOW LOOKING AT S&W M&P SERIES PISTOLS AND SPRINGFIELDS XD SERIES PISTOLS. GOTTA GIVE IT UP TO THE COAST GUARD. THEY WENT WITH THE SIG. SPECIAL MARINE DETACHMET KIMBER WARRIOR. THERE IS NOT TO MUCH STUDYING TO BE DONE IF THEY LOOK AT THE TREND THERE. BOTTOM LINE IS MONEY AND POLITICS

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coolhand77 February 9, 2008 at 3:38 am

One other little comment from me. Just found out that the XD family now has an available active, ambidexterous saftey. Why did they do that? Probably because of the DAMN MILITARY REQUIREMENT FOR A SERVICE PISTOL TO HAVE ONE.
ahem.
Oh, one other little thing, if the 9mm was so effective then the 1911 and the .45 ACP would have never been adopted. Back when the army was duking it out with drugged up Moro tribesmen in the Phillipines, they found out that little .38 caliber revolver just wasn't stopping them fast enough. You may have a great, high speed little pill with "plenty of energy" but if it doesn't deliver it well enough (or you miss) you won't STOP the target. End result, he bleeds to death AFTER you get hacked up by his machette instead of preventing said hacking. Yes, Hollow points and Fragnable ammo solve the problem, but the military doesn't like those. They want hardball. .40 is a compromise. .45 ACP has been proven.

Oh, and I find my XD compact/duty pistol VERY tuckable, thankyou. ITs also got alot less moving parts to break/wearout than my dad's 1911s

Once again, the opinions and knowledge of a talanted amature.

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bpeters February 9, 2008 at 4:18 am

Never been a big pistol user myself, but it was nice to have one handy just in case. Bulk is usually the bigger issue with all of the other 'gear' one has to haul around. Not every person is John Wayne and can handle a Desert Eagle/Baretta with ease, that's something DoD needs to consider. A side arm is just that, soldiers and law enforcement should all be carrying M4's these days. Combat is up close and personal in the 21st century, we're not fighting in the fields enmasse no more. Small and quick rules the day. That's my two cents. Out.

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steelcobra February 9, 2008 at 4:48 am

The M9 is definitely oversized.

The Sig P228 has too straight of a grip angle for me, it tends to aim upwards.

The 1911 feels right.

And I've shot the USP .45 Compact. It's one hell of a gun.

As for other statements:
A: Users didn't like the SOCOM's size, so they scaled it down to the excellent USP .45 Tactical.
B: .40 chamber detonations are caused by the guns not being reinforced properly. Glocks, which were made for 9mm, were scaled up and had that problem. USP's, which were made for .40/.45 originally, did not.

Also, Caps Lock is cruise control for cool.

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Rhyno327/lrsd February 9, 2008 at 4:57 am

If ur looking to equip thousands of troops, the price per unit will drop. I brought a .40cal S&W Sigma for just over $400. 12 rnds, 4 inch barrel, stainless steel. The .40 would be a good compromise. SIG makes great pistols, they are in a class with H&k. The Secret Service has a nice pistol, as does the Coast Guard. A pistol is used for different situations, but getting out of a jam is my fear. So, I want 12, 14 or more for my pistol. I have a Springfield sub-compact that holds 16 w/ magazine extension. Thats the one i carry. So, a .40 cal. that can hold 12 or more would be something to think about.

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Lee Brimer February 9, 2008 at 5:47 am

I don't know about the Socom but my son was over there in 2006 and was assigned as a como man for a sof sniper team and he said they issued him a H&K USP Tactical .45

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SGT Kinsella February 9, 2008 at 6:46 am

I'm very disappointed with the way this site has gone. Originally, and as the name implies, it was about gear that you could use to make your life in the field easier.

I think it should now be renamed to "Guns and Camping" because the last two dozen posts have nothing to do with military life in the field – or even in garrison.

Let's face it. Unless you are talking about the weapons issued by the US Military, it doesn't make sense to post comments about any weapons here. No matter how much you rail against the use of the current firearms, the M9, the M4, the M16 – it's not going to change. It would be more productive, and more to the point of this forum, to talk about how to IMPROVE or AUGMENT the current weapons without going outside of regulation.

What I would like to see is commentary on Taclights, commentary on certain grips, or sights. Stories about how the weapons were carried – how they slung them. Tac grips, wolfslings, custom carries…

Also, modifications to gear – how people set up their LBEs, how they set up their rucksacks, what improvements they have made over the years that really work for them. I'm in an Infantry company, and everyone has a trick – Let's see those tricks!

What about vehicles? What about how you can augment you vehicle to increase comfort and survivability? I know every turret gunner has their own system – I know my setup was different from the other gunners in my squad. Let's hear some stories and see some posts about that.

Personally, talking about which handgun is better than the M9, and how the 9mm has no stopping power, and how the H&K "whatever" would make a better rifle than the M4, and What mess kit the boy scouts use, and the jacket I found in my basement, has no meaning or use to me.

Real commentary, on useful gear, and useful tricks – that's all I want.

I can go elsewhere to hear stories (lies) about who used what weapon in country.

Eric Daniel – Come to the rescue. Don't let me down.

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Jeff the Baptist February 9, 2008 at 7:05 am

The SOCOM is what happens when the list of handgun requirements is longer than your arm and the only one you're willing to wave is weight.

Chris, your ballistic data is incorrect. With ball (which is all that matters for military applications) both with penetrate through entire blocks of ballistic gelatin. Furthermore the Miami incident was fought with 115 grain JHPs. The 147 grain loads came about to increase penetration because of the lighter rounds results.

Coolhand77, the .38s used in the Philippines were chambered in .38 long colt. Not the hottest cartridge around. .38 special puts them to shame and modern 9mm NATO (which is would be +P+ if SAAMI rated it) is hotter yet. Any comparison to modern cartridges is of limited usefullness.

Personally I'd like to see the army adopt something in .40S&W. It seems to be the winner in the magazine capacity vs. individual round stopping power debate. The military isn't going to go to Glocks though. They like redundant safeties and hammer fired pistols with good reasons for both.

As for the Army post in Hawaii, isn't that just the Hale Koa? ;)

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Chris February 9, 2008 at 8:29 am

The US adopted the .45 back in the phillipines because it was readily available in the US and it wouldn't require an import from Germany. There is a reason why the entire rest of the world uses 9mm. British SAS and SBS do not complain about 9mm "not being powerful enough", neither does German GSG-9, neither does the Navy SEALs, nor DELTA force. The 1911 is a very outdated design. Everything must be working properly for the gun to function. It is especially cumbersome when it gets gummed up in a desert environment. I've seen them break and I've seen them fail. You're arguing against someone who has actually seen combat and implemented both firearms. The 9mm delivers much more than the 45 being that it penetrates more, carries more, has better ballistics and has an energy difference less than 30 ft pounds. Even though the .45 is a very impractical caliber for combat, I am not against 45. The only one that I would recommend is the Para-ordinance 1911 with a 14 round magazine. The XD is a very good firearm, but GLOCK makes a much better one.

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gh February 9, 2008 at 8:45 am

gh…..you are very narrowed minded….each service has its own purpose, the U.S. Air Force is the best in the world, Just as the U.S. Marines are the best ground troops in the world. Don't be hating because we live and are treated better….you chose the Marines….I choose the Air Force for the first class operation and my ASVAB scores were really high, we accept a ton of really smart men and woman. That is why we are the ones trusted with a huge stockpile of nukes.
Different missions and both Military Branch's are the best at what they do respectfully!

U.S. Marines should be their own branch…not just a small part of the U.S. Navy!

Aim High Baby!!

Posted by: Joe Noplis | February 08, 2008 at 12:19 PM

First, if we were not smart, we would not be entrusted with guarding embassies, and most importantly we would not be where we are today. But the most important thing is that if we become our own branch, then we'd lose our flavor. We rely on the Navy for transport and other support functions. Consider this: Arty is the king of battle, but the king can't swim. That's where the Navy comes in. If we went solo things would get more complicated, we'd probably increase in size and then we'd lose our uniqueness. We would not be an elite anymore. We'd be more like the Army. We could also lose our perpetual state of readiness. That would be bad, because the Navy-Marine Corps team can get anywhere in the world within 96 hrs. If you can recall the saying; Speak softly and remember that you have the biggest stick in the world. Well, we are the stick. And one more thing; MANY PRESIDENTS HAVE TRIED TO DISSOLVE THE MARINE CORPS. However, we exist because the american people want us, they do not need us. That was the general consensus until recently (the fall of communism). We had to justify our existence to the american people. But oh, how things have changed. Now it's the Air Force, Army and Navy that have to justify their existence to the american people. The beauty of it is, that these organizations do not make sense to their leaders as well. They don't have a well defined mission. They are trying to change and copy us. By the way, we still do what we have done for over two centuries. I know you will come up with something to say, especially about the fact that the Air Force has to justify its existence and the Marines don't, so let me point out recruiting numbers. Most americans hate the war in Iraq. As a result, recruiting numbers have gone down and the military could not meet its quota. The marines have always met their quota. We were turning people away, even when we were expanding by 1,000 more marines. The people we turned away, went right next door to the Air Force recruiter. Now that's got to hurt. Well, there's a little service rivalry for you. Don't mess with the marines, unless you are one. Because as everyone knows there are only two groups of people who have a firsthand knowledge of the marines; the marines themselves and the enemy. Everyone else has a secondhand opinion. Semper Fi.

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keith colovos February 9, 2008 at 1:16 pm

overall i thing that DOD needs to take a good look at the knock down power of all the weapons that there sevice members use.
The Pistols and rifles they have are not to badly flawed, But rather lack the knock down power they need to get the job done. Now that being said.
You are in combat, and you run out of ammo for your primary weapon. Do you want to waste 3 shots at on target to put out the lights, or do you want to use one. Having more rounds to cover your ass?
From my personal experiances, and enemy target wwich is high on some type of ddrugs(hashiesh) they tend to take 3 shots center mass either from a 5.56mm or a 9mm. but fear not, a 7.62 put um right on thier asses. one shot one kill.

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Joe Noplis February 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm

First, if we were not smart, we would not be entrusted with guarding embassies, and most importantly we would not be where we are today. But the most important thing is that if we become our own branch, then we'd lose our flavor. We rely on the Navy for transport and other support functions. Consider this: Arty is the king of battle, but the king can't swim. That's where the Navy comes in. If we went solo things would get more complicated, we'd probably increase in size and then we'd lose our uniqueness. We would not be an elite anymore. We'd be more like the Army. We could also lose our perpetual state of readiness. That would be bad, because the Navy-Marine Corps team can get anywhere in the world within 96 hrs. If you can recall the saying; Speak softly and remember that you have the biggest stick in the world. Well, we are the stick. And one more thing; MANY PRESIDENTS HAVE TRIED TO DISSOLVE THE MARINE CORPS. However, we exist because the american people want us, they do not need us. That was the general consensus until recently (the fall of communism). We had to justify our existence to the american people. But oh, how things have changed. Now it's the Air Force, Army and Navy that have to justify their existence to the american people. The beauty of it is, that these organizations do not make sense to their leaders as well. They don't have a well defined mission. They are trying to change and copy us. By the way, we still do what we have done for over two centuries. I know you will come up with something to say, especially about the fact that the Air Force has to justify its existence and the Marines don't, so let me point out recruiting numbers. Most americans hate the war in Iraq. As a result, recruiting numbers have gone down and the military could not meet its quota. The marines have always met their quota. We were turning people away, even when we were expanding by 1,000 more marines. The people we turned away, went right next door to the Air Force recruiter. Now that's got to hurt. Well, there's a little service rivalry for you. Don't mess with the marines, unless you are one. Because as everyone knows there are only two groups of people who have a firsthand knowledge of the marines; the marines themselves and the enemy. Everyone else has a secondhand opinion. Semper Fi.

Marine………I have protected Air Force One and four Presidents, three joint commands in my Air Force career.
I was in charge of Marines, Sailors and Soldiers, the U.S. Marines have there purpose, for instance if you tell a Marine to take a hill, he will say yes sir and attempt to take it at all costs, I respect the U.S. Marines but……in my years of experience supervising all four branch's I would rather have a thinker than a military man who just says yes sir for the sake of saying yes. A troop who thinks will get the job done and not take chances just because he has been told he is invincible.
The U.S. Government has entrusted the U.S. Air Force with weapons that could kill the entire world within an hour 10 times over, no other branch could handle or have the lucid of mind to do it 24/7 365 for over 50 years.
Justify our existence, please no other entity could do what we do…..we are self assured in who we are, we don't have to look over our shoulders………..ever!
The U.S. Marines as you know are a small branch and the others are much larger, I was a recruiter for 6 years, we only took the top 12% of High School seniors, our man count was four recruits a month, we always had that met three four months in advance (on average).
I came in the Air Force in 1984, when I was 18 I went to the recruiter row in Pensacola every day at different times for two weeks, the Air Force recruiter was never there, but guess who was always standing out side? You guessed it a Marine and a Soldier, telling me how great there branch was and why is that you my or may not wonder, the Navy and Air Force recruiters had already met there man count and were playing golf.
"recruiting numbers have gone down and the military could not meet its quota."
The Air Force has always……….yes for the last 50 years met its man count.

Getting back to the original issues-
The Air Force does live better, it's just the way we conduct business and the U.S. Government takes care of its favorite sons.
I'm a civilian now and live in Tampa, I work as a Law Enforcement Officer, I'm a Sgt and have 8 LEO's that work directly for me, 6 of the 8 are prior service, I have two problem children, guess what they are both former Marines.
They both are retired and have had an issue with adapting and leaving the Marines behind; I receive at a minimum two calls per month from citizens complaining about harassment or excessive force from them.
The other 6 maybe one or two a year.

I'm just stating the facts.
BTW…..The Glock .40 is the way the Military should go!

Semper Fi my friend.

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Tom Maczynski February 9, 2008 at 11:34 pm

Why do people have the idea that old weapons are outdated relics? Look at our military in Iraq and you will find quite and array of old work-horses in use. The M-14 rifle has made a glorious return to the battlefield. The M-2 .50 caliber machine gun is still an old and dependable mainstay. Even the M-16 has been around since 1959.
So much for old designs being relics, it just isn't the case.
So, why has the M-14 been showing up in greater numbers on the battlefield? Knockdown power. That is the bottom line in combat. The 9mm is somewhat lacking in that department but the .45ACP has never had that problem. There are other cartidges that can fit that bill, but the M1911 in .45ACP served with distiction for decades and is still one of the most popular sport and personal defense pistols today. The 1911 didn't need to be replaced, it just needed to be updated with today's sophisticated machine techniques and design tweaks. Combat pistols don't need fancy sights. Anyone who spends time debating one sight over another has never been in combat. In combat at pistol range, nobody is paying attention to sights, it's point and shoot. That fact dictates that the pistol must be a natural grip for the shooter to effectively harness their instinctive aim. Knockdown power and a comfortable, natural grip – both found in the 1911. No need for 15 rounds in the mag if you can't hit what your shooting at… then again, if you do hit your target you just might need all 15 if you can't knock that target down to stay. As for me, I'll just keep my .45
Tom M
USMC Beirut 1983

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Chief Hand February 10, 2008 at 2:51 am

I carry a Glock 40S&W. I like the nock down power and the accurate shooting. It holds 15 in the mag and 1 chambered. I find the kick is not a problem. The .45 auto will only carry something like 8 rounds. We were tought if you hit your target in the finger, they will go down. Not sure how true that is, but the .45 dose have great nock down capabilities. I think I would have to vote for the Glock .40S&W.

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TJ February 10, 2008 at 5:33 am

What a bunch magazine reading in the rear with gear pukes… Most of you have read way to many combat handgun weekly magazines… Knockdown power… what do you know about knockdown power?? Whats with this my gun is bigger than your gun B.S. All I care about is knockdown power too… so thats why I carry a bazooka with me at all times. If you think knockdown power is the end all of a handgun, then you don't know… snd if you don't know… keep on talking about it on stupid threads. Because those that do know… don't give a crap about your theories.

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Joe Noplis February 10, 2008 at 5:34 am

Tom M, I salute you for your service and being in Beirut in 1983!! I have a great friend I served with in the Gulf War (90-91), he also was in Beirut and told me many stories.
Great points with knock down power, I will keep my Glock .40!
Semper Fi!

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Bill Brown February 10, 2008 at 8:56 am

I read many of the replies. Now I would like to add my 2 cents. Being a Coastie, I started with the M1911A1, then switched to the Beretta and now we're using the Sig P228.

I fired the 1911 and qualified every time I went to the range. When We switched to the Beretta, it took me months to get used to firing it before I could qualifiy with it. Once I learned the balance points and the feel of the weapon, I got much better at fire it.
If the question is what to carry in combat. The Beretta is should not be a choice in my opinion. It lacks the stopping power. The Sig P228 on the other hand is .45cal, and very nice to carry. But many of our guys are having trouble qualiying. If the military was considering a weapon change, they better buy 5 times the amount of ammo necessary to get everyone through the range. I agree 100% with Sig's safety design. The best safety in the world is no finger on the trigger and a firing pin block with the hammer is at rest.

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Gene February 10, 2008 at 9:30 am

The last time I checked, the Sig P228 was only available in 9mm. It has never been .45. The 220 is .45. the 226 and 229 are available in .40, .357 sig and 9mm.

As far as changing weapons, you simply have a transition class. If your shooters are proficient in the basics, and apply them, they should be able to accurately employ any quality pistol.

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deltaalpha February 10, 2008 at 11:24 am

This makes a very good sidearm….Built strong and durable and is a .45 calibur…Tested to withstand all kinds of abuse and environments..If it works use it.

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Nick GMCS February 10, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Hey brothers with 3 tours to the sand box I have to agree with the .45 is the better weapons system then the 9mm in the right hands I worked with the 24th MEU and the special ops teams carried Kimber .45's and loved them I tried to trade my M9 for one but no joy! after extensive training the M9 is a accurate pistol even out to 100 yards the first shot double action 15 lbs trigger pull always has novices shooting low and the 6 lb single action shot has them shooting high it takes a hell of alot of training to master the Baretta.

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gh February 10, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Marine………I have protected Air Force One and four Presidents, three joint commands in my Air Force career.
I was in charge of Marines, Sailors and Soldiers, the U.S. Marines have there purpose, for instance if you tell a Marine to take a hill, he will say yes sir and attempt to take it at all costs, I respect the U.S. Marines but……in my years of experience supervising all four branch's I would rather have a thinker than a military man who just says yes sir for the sake of saying yes. A troop who thinks will get the job done and not take chances just because he has been told he is invincible.
The U.S. Government has entrusted the U.S. Air Force with weapons that could kill the entire world within an hour 10 times over, no other branch could handle or have the lucid of mind to do it 24/7 365 for over 50 years.
Justify our existence, please no other entity could do what we do…..we are self assured in who we are, we don't have to look over our shoulders………..ever!
The U.S. Marines as you know are a small branch and the others are much larger, I was a recruiter for 6 years, we only took the top 12% of High School seniors, our man count was four recruits a month, we always had that met three four months in advance (on average).
I came in the Air Force in 1984, when I was 18 I went to the recruiter row in Pensacola every day at different times for two weeks, the Air Force recruiter was never there, but guess who was always standing out side? You guessed it a Marine and a Soldier, telling me how great there branch was and why is that you my or may not wonder, the Navy and Air Force recruiters had already met there man count and were playing golf.
"recruiting numbers have gone down and the military could not meet its quota."
The Air Force has always……….yes for the last 50 years met its man count.

Getting back to the original issues-
The Air Force does live better, it's just the way we conduct business and the U.S. Government takes care of its favorite sons.
I'm a civilian now and live in Tampa, I work as a Law Enforcement Officer, I'm a Sgt and have 8 LEO's that work directly for me, 6 of the 8 are prior service, I have two problem children, guess what they are both former Marines.
They both are retired and have had an issue with adapting and leaving the Marines behind; I receive at a minimum two calls per month from citizens complaining about harassment or excessive force from them.
The other 6 maybe one or two a year.

I'm just stating the facts.
BTW…..The Glock .40 is the way the Military should go!

Semper Fi my friend.

Posted by: Joe Noplis | February 09, 2008 at 08:01 PM

First, we are not a branch of the military. We are part of the Navy. It's like saying SOCOM is a branch of the military, too. Now, it is true that the Air Force has been entrusted with the nukes, but we have been entrusted with keeping you nut jobs from using them. We put out small fires before they burn out the whole world. The next point I want to make is that in the 1980's, the Air Force was in pretty good standing, due to the cold war. During that time you guys were at the center of attention, because you had the power of nuclear strikes and also the logistics to stop them. But with the fall of the cold war, the huge fleet of the aircrafts are no longer needed. Take foe example the F-22. It's an amazing weapon. It kicked ass during simulations. The F-15, F-14 and F-16 pilots didn't even see their "demise" coming. The problem with the F-22 is that it has no opponents. The Air Force at large has the same problem. It did good in the early days of the Iraq war, but now there is no use for them anymore. This is also affecting them with the acquirement of funds. But hey, the Air Force should adapt to the new environment. It does not matter how well they live so long as they can accomplish a mission in the new environment. A good example would be the intel from the satellites, predators, etc. The Air Force has a great potential, but its leaders do not realize it.
You also said that you went through Pensacola. I was stationed there and I know that if you went through there, you must be from a military family. So far as those two marines go; you try dealing with marines in a regular basis. I'm not talking about the wing side. Those guys are pretty docile. I'm talking about dealing with grunts, tankers, cannon cockers, who only think about blowing things up. I have a couple of suggestions for you. Sit them down, and have a talk with them. Explain the mission , where they fit, what they are doing wrong, what they are doing right, how you would have handled the situation, etc. It'll make things easier down the road.
One more thing! I think we should adapt the 10mm rather than the .40S&W (.40 Short & Weak). A lot more power, more accurate because is a flat shooter. Hooraaah!

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Gene February 10, 2008 at 4:21 pm

One. Pistols are a defensive weapon. The SOCOM was a super-lame attempt to make a pisto an offensive weapon. It is a beast, and, I bet you could beat on it with a 10# sledge and it would still work, but, pistols are not, and never will be, OFFENSIVE.

10mm, please. With all the whiners, do you really think anyone will handle the hottness of the 10mm?…

BTW, apparently, the BREN TEN is about to make a comeback. Google it.

Pistols are defensive. The are intended to give you time to fight your way to your rifle/shotgun, or, extricate yourself from a realllllly poopy situation.

And, again, for the record, and the armchair-gun-magazine-self-appointed-experts, there is nosuch thing as "knock down power". God, even a BASIC understanding of physics (equal and opposite reaction) gets around that. In My Not So Humble Opinion, any weeenie that gets knocked down by a pistol round, well, he probably deserves it. You guys watch WAY too much Hollywood……

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Gene February 10, 2008 at 4:26 pm

And, as far as the "flat shooter" 10mm, actually, that is pretty danged irrelevant in a handgun that you will dobtfully be employing at a range farther than 3 – 7 yards. That is the range most police officers engage a threat. NOBODY uses pistols in a lethal force capacity more than police officers.

Flat shooter….snort….chuckle…It's not a sniper rifle, for chrissakes….

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Jeff Dulin February 10, 2008 at 4:35 pm

Several of you have asked for a more powerful 9mm due to the rounds physical ability to keep the grip/magazine area a bit more narrow. OK, there is such a ctg.; 9mm Largo. It was used in the Astra pistol of the WW II period AND I believe Spain may still use some of them.

It is a quite prowerful round when compared to the 9×19 mm. I wonder if the actual penetration of the smaller dia. projectile is more of the problem that the velocity. The larger dia. .45 projo simply distributes it's energy; more brut force over the same area more effectively. Like a 12 ga slug. Large and slow with a lot of horse power behind it, like a bowling ball tossed at you! A faster 9mm would only be better if you can get it to stay inside the target longer: Heavier bullet wt.? Perhaps that is the answer.

I carried both a 1911Al and a .38 S&W revolver as a crewmember on a UH-1C Gunship in Viet Nam for the 1st Inf. Div. (68-69) flying out of Phu Loi with Rebel gunships. One thing I had no illusion about was that shooting a pistol at someone carring an AK-47 or any other automatic rifle type weapon was probably not a good idea. I'm not that good a shot! If you went down, you kept your -60 with you and as much belted ammo as possible! Our pilots had grease guns; Thompsons, M-2's or pump .12 ga shot guns + their hand cannons. A Thumper was always on board too. Great little gun the -79!

As far as I was concerned, the pistol was not much more that a nice war trophy for the other side! Give me my -60 … please!!

WE all know we got the Baretta for PC reasons. The elimination of the draft required more bodies in uniform and lots of them were female. I flew in the National Guard as a Crew chief with some female medic types and I'd go into combat with them today. They were great! However, that was not true of a lot of the others we had. When my Unit in West Bend WI got a mobilization order, almost ALL of our girls, save the medics, showed up at the next guard drill,… Pregnant!! (Oh sorry, I can't go. Guess I'll just have to stay here and continue going to college.) Lots of wasted $ and training for our unit and boy did the military cover that type of thing up!!

When we started letting girls into combat setting, they started to whine that they couldn't shoot the .45. To big! To Heavy! Oh, it kicks!!That was true of many, certainly not all of them however.

Longistics also played a hugh part. EVERYONE in NATO had a 9mm pistol and sub gun. We were the only wierdo with that,… Hand cannon .45 ACP. They in Europe have always had their petty jealousies of the "John Wayne" type cowboys of America. Getting rid of he .45 was part of that bit of petty childish thinking. They wanted to put those Americans "in their place…"!They'd hold their breath and turn blue unless we accepted the 9x19mm!! (We should have let them.)

It is also very true that Eurpoeans don't look at the pistol as a real gun/tool the way we do. To them it is but as a badge of authority for officers and sr. NCO's.

So, we did something stupid and bent over, grabed our ankles and bought that 9mm piece of crap. Disappointing field reports, cracked "space age" frames, etc. etc.

Letter, we are now right back where we started from! But, after those fools melted down thousands of great, perfectly serviceable 1911A1's. Those guns could have just as easily been stored away in serviceable storage but NO. Nice work again from those who inhabit that funny 5 sided building in D.C.!! I wonder who got a nice Certificate of Deposit in some unamed bank from Baretta to make that decision. He's retired by now and you can bet living well!!

Personally, I'd find who ever was still alive that made the decision to dump the .45 and eviscerate them! But,… that's just me. Now that it is done, we need to go back to our roots.

We need A good STEEL, Expensive, Machined Reciver .45 that will again last for generations. Put your "Composit Materials" in the slide if you must but leave the receiver alone!!I'm not worried about Rust! When was the last time you let your weapon "rust" to the point of being inop???!!!

An ambidextrous safety, quick combat site, double stack mag. Perhaps some sort of a site lite visible under goggles/glasses only is the way to go. Dual extrators is a BIG plus and vertical ejecting works pretty well. Beyond that, you don't need much.

If a few troops complain that "I don't like this gun,… it's toooo big,… it kicks tooo much,..yad yad. Perhaps you might consider your training the wrong person and replace them with someone else. After all, the job in question here is to shoot and kill the enemy, not provide a job opportunity for someone who seems to be physically challaged and needs a "blue" card to make them feel better. As far as our "allies" go,… they will follow the Big Dog, if the Big Dog has the Balls to bark and let them know where the power is really coming from.

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Doctader9 February 10, 2008 at 4:46 pm

This is the best answer i can find for the handgun decision. I will be test firing these weapons from taurus. check them out if you are serious. http://www.taurususa.com/video/taurus-corporate-v

Doc

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Chris February 10, 2008 at 5:24 pm

Jeff you are incorrect, the incident in Miami was fought with 147 grain 9mm. The article by Mussad Aboob (ayoob) was mis-quoted as he made the mistake of publishing it as the 115 grain when instead it was the 147 grain.

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Chris February 10, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Having personally taken a combat handgun class from a former British SBS(Special Boat Service) operator, I have a very good idea of what a "Combat Handgun" ought to be. My choice would be the Glock 34 9mm. The .45 cartarige is a very impractical and ineffective cartarige for combat use. It travels at a sub-sonic speed and the energy difference between it and the 9mm is less than 30 ft pounds. With that said, take a standard 9mm handgun which has a 15 round magazine and a standard .45 caliber handgun with a standard 8 round magazine. Multiply the energy of a Black Hills +P bullet of 9mm(431 ft lbs) and a .45(460 ft lbs) with the mag capacity and you will see that the 9mm has more total firepower. Of course the ballistic data varies from manufacuturer, however the ratio of energy remains mostly the same, a less than 30 ft. pound difference. Secondly, no handgun round except the 5.7×28 has Hydro-Static Shock or (HSS) but handgun rounds have Permenately Crushed Cavity (PCC). HSS is what most people call "Knock-down power" and it only exists in rounds that travel at least 2000 fps. In other words it only exists in rifle calibers. Therefore in a pistol caliber it doesn't matter how big the bullet's diameter is (in a rifle caliber it would be). But a 9mm penetrates 14 inches of ballistic gelatin while a .45 only penetrates 6 inches. The 9mm, because it is supersonic, is much more ballisticaly superior to the 45. Some people point a finger at the incident in miami, however that was with the abnormal 147 grain 9mm and not the normal 115 grain bullet because they tried to make it like a .45 and failed miserably. A Glock 34 not only has an extended barrel, it is light and extremely reliable. It is also very accurate. Both 9mm and a .45 take a triple tap or 3 shots to insure a kill. Trust me….
In case any of you are wondering the gentleman that I took the class from has a website. His name is Bill Davison and he, if anybody, knows the answer to this issue. http://www.tacproshootingcenter.com

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Gene February 10, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Dude, how many times are you going to post the same information? Do you get a kickback from the "former SBS" guy??? Triple tap? Man, when it comes to shooting a human being, nothing is guaranteed. 1 round, 3 rounds…. Trust me? Have you actually shot sooooo many humans that we should all trust you as to how many rounds it takes to put down a man???? I doubt it. There are tooooooo many variable when it comes to employing a firearm against a human. Shot placement. Drugs. Armor. Yes, caliber, but, not so much as 9mm vs .45, more like, taking on Hulk Hogan with a .22 and shooting him in the big toe….

I have never had to actually shoot someone with a handgun. But, I am in the very good position of being empliyed by an extremely progressive metro police department, and I recieve EXCELLENT training, and have been able to sit with others and analyze many shootings. No use of force is undeniably final. Too many variables. Some of the more mainstream beliefs are, failure to stop drills. My agency trains 2 chest, 2 head. A human , with a successful penetration of a projectile through the "T-zone", will collapse. That will shut the brain down. You can "triple-tap" all day in the pinky toe, and not drop your target…… You can even "triple-tap" in center mass and not drop it. I have been trained in MANY alternative methods of dropping a threat, in the event center mass hits don't work. THis includes "T-zone" head shots, and, pelvic disabling shots. Your "former SBS" guy may not be as high speed as you think.

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kattztoys@aol.com February 10, 2008 at 6:51 pm

marines 3

navy 0

army 0

air force 1

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Tim Kolich February 10, 2008 at 7:22 pm

If I'm not mistaken, the USMC is issuing a 1911 variant to some of their SOF.

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deltalimatango February 11, 2008 at 4:48 am

“Dude, how many times are you going to post the same information?”
+1
Your posting incomplete information, with the cross section density left out of your equation.
If your wearing a vest and I hit you with a 2″x4″ in the vest, swung by arm, your gonna feel it but it’s not going to penetrate your vest. If I swing my arm wielding an icepick it’s going through your vest and you will be possibly fatally injured, depending on the penetration area.
With out going into great detail of the math to figure muzzle energy,a .45 acp 230 grain fmj at 850 ft/s is stopped by the vest after 2 inches. This generates 2,208 lbf which results in a pressure of 13,883 psi.
A 9 mm 115 grain fmj at 1175 stopped at 2 inches will generate 2,106 lbf. Giving a pressure of 21,397 psi.
In contrast an ice pick with a flat tip diameter of 1/16 inches (.0625 in) and swung at a velocity of 73 ft/s (50 miles/hour) and a mass of 5 pounds (ice pick and arm) will result in a KE of 414 ft*lbf. Both the velocity and mass are very conservative figures. Using only 100 lbf, 25% of the kinetic energy, the pressure encountered by the vest will be 32,595 psi.

Just over twice the pressure of the .45 (234%) and 1.5 (52%) more pressure then the 9 mm.
Everything is relevant. I am a Marine, served active duty in theater from 1970 through 1974. After meeting close to face to face fights in the bush, using different weapons.
There exists another equation the mind set of your attacker, if he’s full blown crazy set on killing you first, you’d be surprised some times what it takes to put them down.
I’ve never killed a man with a 9mm, but I have buddies in the sandbox, they’d rather have 8 .45 acp rounds than 15 9mm.
A couple of them deploy with their own weapons and the officers just look the other way.Both pack a .45XD.
As for me I’ll take their word on jihad being jacked up on some kind of drugs and hard to kill sometimes. One tells me he’d be dead if it wasn’t for his 230 grain ball.
Fair winds and following seas,
Semper Fi

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deltalimatango February 11, 2008 at 12:48 am

"Dude, how many times are you going to post the same information?"
+1
Your posting incomplete information, with the cross section density left out of your equation.
If your wearing a vest and I hit you with a 2"x4" in the vest, swung by arm, your gonna feel it but it's not going to penetrate your vest. If I swing my arm wielding an icepick it's going through your vest and you will be possibly fatally injured, depending on the penetration area.
With out going into great detail of the math to figure muzzle energy,a .45 acp 230 grain fmj at 850 ft/s is stopped by the vest after 2 inches. This generates 2,208 lbf which results in a pressure of 13,883 psi.
A 9 mm 115 grain fmj at 1175 stopped at 2 inches will generate 2,106 lbf. Giving a pressure of 21,397 psi.
In contrast an ice pick with a flat tip diameter of 1/16 inches (.0625 in) and swung at a velocity of 73 ft/s (50 miles/hour) and a mass of 5 pounds (ice pick and arm) will result in a KE of 414 ft*lbf. Both the velocity and mass are very conservative figures. Using only 100 lbf, 25% of the kinetic energy, the pressure encountered by the vest will be 32,595 psi.

Just over twice the pressure of the .45 (234%) and 1.5 (52%) more pressure then the 9 mm.
Everything is relevant. I am a Marine, served active duty in theater from 1970 through 1974. After meeting close to face to face fights in the bush, using different weapons.
There exists another equation the mind set of your attacker, if he's full blown crazy set on killing you first, you'd be surprised some times what it takes to put them down.
I've never killed a man with a 9mm, but I have buddies in the sandbox, they'd rather have 8 .45 acp rounds than 15 9mm.
A couple of them deploy with their own weapons and the officers just look the other way.Both pack a .45XD.
As for me I'll take their word on jihad being jacked up on some kind of drugs and hard to kill sometimes. One tells me he'd be dead if it wasn't for his 230 grain ball.
Fair winds and following seas,
Semper Fi

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Don McKay February 11, 2008 at 2:18 am

There's a pistol for every need, unfortunately, good marksmanship is not an inherited DNA trait. The poor craftsman always blames his tools – the same goes for shooters. The .45 has been modified to death by various manufacturers so that models from Colt, Springfield Arms, S&W and Taurus deliver everything a gunner could want. Nothing has to be researched anymore, and those calling for additional pistol research and testing are suspicious of wanting to fatten one arms manufacturer or another's wallet. Frankly, the best semiautomatic I've shot was a .45 made during WWII by Ithaca Gun. It was light, and the bullet grouping was tight and there was never a single stove pipe.

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richard mizell February 11, 2008 at 3:28 am

as a cg vet i had minimal experience with the m1911 .45 as the beretta 92 9mm exchange took place,but i own the m1911 since, and have recently purchased the FN Five-SEVEN 5.7x28mm (20rds) it is bad to the bone. semper fidelus.

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richard mizell February 11, 2008 at 3:34 am

semper paratus; sorry bout that devil dogs i jus woke up, workin nites

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gh February 11, 2008 at 4:02 am

I want to post one more comment. This is not about the rounds, but the weapons themseleve. The M9's currently in use by the military have proven to be more reliable in the desert than the M1911. They were fielded successfully by the Israeli army even before we got them. Tha is, they are more reliable if the magazines were made by Beretta, or other high quality magazines. But our dear Uncle Sam (by that I mean politicians; poli-many, ticks-bloodsucking creatures) skimped on the magazines. The spring in the current magazines is aluminium. That is a weak construction and the spring loses power over time. In Iraq and Afghanistan, marines and soldiers broke the magazines apart and stretched the spring with their hands. Then, they only loaded the mags with 7-8 rds, so the weapon would work. Almost all of the problems with the weapon have ocurred due to the substandard magazines. I have a Beretta myself cahmbered for the .40S&W. The magazines are made by Beretta, have a rugged construction, and the springs are probably made of steel. As you all probably know the .40S&W is not easy to load in a semiautomatic, especially a subcompact one, due dynamics. But I haven't had any problems with mine.
"We are surrounded. That simplifies the problem."-Chesty Puller

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Dean J February 11, 2008 at 6:14 am

The reason the 1911 had fixed sights was that they were durable. They *can* be swapped out pretty easily, but not in the field. Adjustable sights tend to get out of adjustment, and durability was Job 1 on that design.

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Marion February 11, 2008 at 7:51 am

-Glock 22 in .40 auto is used by about 60% of the police departments in the Unite States.

Hate to burst your bubble but the NJ State Police is starting to issue .45's in April to its troopers. Why? Because if you only have one chance and one shot to stop a bad guy the .45 is they way to go. Thats why the US Military adopted it a hundred years ago! The .40 is nothing more than a large .38.

Thw 1911 got a bad rep through the years because the last one made for the US Military was manufactured in May of 1944! By the time most of you that have fired one the weapon you used was worn out! You can only fix things so many times before it just plain needs to be thrown away and the army wouldnt do that. The barrels where smoothbores and the ejection rouds were usually broken.

I had the pleasure of firing a practically new 1911 years ago. A friend of mines grandfather brought his back from the war and it had probably had a total of less than 100rds put through it. In the several hunfdred rounds we put through it that day there was never a malfunction of any kind. The only thing I didnt like was although it was dead on at 50 meters, at 20 meters you had to aim really low to hit center mass.

And just so the writer knows the low unadjustable sites on a pistol are there for a reason – so they dont get caught on the holster or other equipment when drawing it. Gunslingers in the old west used to remove their sites for that reason.

If you want to defeat all known body armor and armored cars with a pistol, the Brits developed a pistol which uses a 10mm shell casing necked down to accept the (I think) .223 bullet.

But realistically a pistol is meant for a last chance kiss you hinney goodbye situation . To many of you want a replacement for a rifle. If you want a one shot one kill pistol get a .50 Cal S&W. If you one one that has proven itself go to the .45 or better yet the 10mm.

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Marion February 11, 2008 at 8:15 am

When I read this I had a good laugh:
Several of you have asked for a more powerful 9mm due to the rounds physical ability to keep the grip/magazine area a bit more narrow. OK, there is such a ctg.; 9mm Largo. It was used in the Astra pistol of the WW II period AND I believe Spain may still use some of them.

What made me laugh was some of you might accidentally remember the fiasco that happened when the Barretta was first introduced to he military. Somewhere around the 200th round the things were literally fallling apart in peoples hands. The army immediately forced Barretta to recall and rebuild all of the pistols and change its metal tempering techniques. Later it was determined that the person who ordered the armys supply of 9mm ammo from Israeli Arms ordered ammo loaded for a full sized UZI! it was 3x's to powerful to be shot throw a common pistol.

Ballistically there is very little you can do with a 9mm. Add a heavier charge and bullet and you lose controlability and you might as well go to a larger caliber round. OR stay with the 9mm and go to the more exotic ammunition like the Black Talon or StarFire>

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BUMSER February 11, 2008 at 5:07 pm

” . . . USSS (United States Secret Service) went to the SIG-Sauer P229 in .357 SIG, siting its armor penetrating qualities among others . . . .”

Try “citing” rather than “siting” its armor penetrating qualities qmong others

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BUMSER February 11, 2008 at 1:07 pm

" . . . USSS (United States Secret Service) went to the SIG-Sauer P229 in .357 SIG, siting its armor penetrating qualities among others . . . ."

Try "citing" rather than "siting" its armor penetrating qualities qmong others

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BUMSER February 11, 2008 at 1:10 pm

CORRECTION TO TYPO IN COMMENT ABOVE:

" . . . USSS (United States Secret Service) went to the SIG-Sauer P229 in .357 SIG, siting its armor penetrating qualities among others . . . ."

Try "citing" rather than "siting" its armor penetrating qualities among others

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

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Chuck February 11, 2008 at 2:24 pm

Well now that I work around guns everyday my opinion has shifted a bit
I was a ".45 ACP nothing better" kind of guy. However after talking to cops who frequent the store I work in things have kind of shifted for me. I am becoming a .40SW / 10mm fan. Having shot and broke down the new Sig P250 I am VERY impressed. There are many potential military carry weapons around but again I fall back to the 1911. NO weapon has been copied or reproduced quite like it. Parts for it are all over the net. There might be better rounds but no better weapon design. I think that platform in .40SW or 10mm would be great.
Glock? No thanks. The store I work at is considering banning them. We have had 1 crack while firing and 2 crack explosively. No one was hurt but the guns were completely unshootable. They feel all wrong to most people with wider/larger hands.
The firearm needs to be all metal and no plastic. Ten millimeter or .40SW. Twelve rounds per clip would be fine. Full metal jacket, 230 grains or so. Combat accuracy rules the day meaning any group under 5" or so at 25 yards will do the job.

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Glenn Gardner February 11, 2008 at 2:42 pm

I am a gun guy. I know what I like and what works and doesn't work for me. but like I said….I am a gun guy. Most of the troops are not. The old S&W mod 10, was a fine revolver…underpowered true, but a fine piece of machinery that I shoot very well. If you can keep the bullets in a 6 inch circle at 25 yards, you should have no trouble with one shot stops. But like I say again…I am a gun guy…most of the troops are not. I like my .45 just fine and have to laugh at some of the old timers that say you couldn't hit a barn from the inside with it. To make a long story shorter….whatever the majority of the troops can use accurately with minimal training is what you need to go for. whether it's off the shelf POS or a fancy SIG DAO. Whether it's a "puny" 38 or a big honkin 45, it's the average troop that has to use it and use it effectively. I would love the idea of being able to carry privately owned firearms….quartermaster might not like it too much. But I'm well past the age of actually having to carry or use one, other than in civilian applications. A .32 in your pocket will do more good than the .45 you left on the night stand because it's too bulky.
The Roper

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Richard H. McCormick February 11, 2008 at 2:49 pm

The .45 got a bad rap because the arms room personnel never put the pistol back together with the same set of parts. This made the the weapon highly inaccurate. The .45 was not originally meant to be a "defensive weapon". For one thing it beat out George Luger's 9mm not only for the difference in knockdown but the fact that the ejection of the brass came straight out of the top. This was considered detrimental since it broke the sight picture. A good .45 is a reliable, accurate sidearm and still should be the standard issue military pistol

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Sarge February 11, 2008 at 2:53 pm

Coolhand77:
You apparently haven't served or was not properly trained.

Yes, Hollow points and Fragnable ammo solve the problem, but the military doesn't like those. They want hardball. .40 is a compromise. .45 ACP has been proven.

It is against the Geneva Convention to use Hollow Point ammunition during conflicts. Therefore, to legally use JHP, the Geneva Convention would have to be re-written.

Ray Inabnitt
US Army, Retired

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Gene February 11, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Actually, the Luger provided for the US pistol trials was in .45 acp.

And, gunstore Chuck, it's magazine, not "clip".

Also, I would ask myself, what is it we are doing to these Glocks that is making them break? That is not a common failure.

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CSM Wells February 11, 2008 at 3:17 pm

Ok, I love the ideal of DOD giving the authorization for individuals to purchase a sidearm for those who want to carry one! 9mm (NATO), 45ACP and 38Spec. are still in the inventory for issues. Remember that we use NATO standard ammunitions to match all allied forces on the battlefield! I say again a sidearm is only back-up, your M-4 or M-16 is your first line of dispatching the enemy

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R.D. McDowell February 11, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Granted the USAF is constantly reinventing the wheel with every new CofStaff, just look at the uniform changes, That said, in 1956 after a SAC ORI at Little Rock AFB (B47s) My buddy and I threw his 1911 in the trunk of me Studebaker and went to town on Saturday and bought a box of ammo and went to one of our girl friends country home. We shot miseltoe out of trees and I put 4 out of 5 rounds into an anti freeze can at 25yds the FIRST time I squeezed the trigger.Why did the gubment ever change??? If'n it ain't broke….

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Frank February 11, 2008 at 4:06 pm

The decision to drop the .38 by the USAF and the .45 by the Army was driven by political pressure to adopt the NATO 9mm round for "interoperability," and was not a popular or well received direction by many in either service. It was driven by NATO allies who demanded increased visible interoperability with NATO ground troops who already carreid the 9mm. It also promised potentially lucrative contracts to European meapons manufacturers. And Congress agreed.

The JSSAPS Project (Joint Services Small Arms Program), headed by the USAF Security Police, was created to conduct numerous tests of 9mm pistols from manufacturers including Sig Saur, Baretta, Browning, and many, many more. Test criteria included fit, comfort and recoil of the pistol for use by both male and female, day and night firing (point of aim), reliability, durability, jamming, etc. Alternative weapons choices were reserved for air crew personal survival weapons and others with special needs (e.g., USAF OSI.)

The test continued for many months and did come to some intersting and frankly surprising/ disappointing conclusions about reliability and failure of several weapons, magazines, etc. It also produced a few comical anecdotes. The Army was repeatedly critical of and resented the decision to give the testing job to the Air Force. They challenged much of the Air Force's findings, as a result. The Army objected to the original mud bath (weapon is dropped in the mud and swished around, then rinsed off quickly in water, then fired) used by the Air Force (looking for any excuse to postpone and avoid the inevitable conversion,)because it was not MILSPEC mud! A subsequent test was conducted, this time by the Army– using said MILSPEC mud, of course! And after still more footdragging, eventually the Army had to concede that the Baretta 92 was a good choice– despite their preference for a US-made weapon. (But only after the Congress told the services, "Fine, you wish to continue to use your respective pistols– ok. But we're not funding any further procurement of .38 or .45 ball ammo– just 9mm. When you run out, you're out!" Funny how the Army decided that maybe the 9mm wasn't such a bad alternative, at that!)

The Baretta was hands-down the best weapon by far of all tested. It did not fail any of teh tests– there was no meantime between failire of rouinds fired, despite thousands of rounds without jams or misfires. It held together, and it proved the best choice for natural point of aim firing after dark. It was also the preference of participating evaluators, both male and female. In sum, the test was exhaustive, and needed to be, for several reasons. Yes, the .45 cal round has more knock-down power, and the 9mm with its higher velocity, has a tendancy to punch through the target and keep trucking, taking with it its kinetic energy, instead of delivering it to the target, etc. Weight, number of rounds, and more will be continued points of disagreement. Perhaps the .40 cal/ 10 mm will prove the best compromise choice. Of more importance is the simplicity, reliability and durability of the chosen weapon, as well as hand fit, trigger access/ control and natural point of aim for the folks who will have to carry it and use it. If it doesn't meet that criteria, then its really not worth the effort, anyway. Such decisions take time and require thorough, objective and properly constructed testing and evaluation– preferably without the many biases in several of the responses noted above. For what its worth…

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Tony Bennett February 11, 2008 at 4:27 pm

You are a very intelligent gentleman and your aticle was very written, however it seems to me you overlooked the obvious..MONEY. Someone, somewhere in the procurement process is looking to make a buck and could careless about what weapon get fielded,,,may I introduce you to the movie, "The Pentagon Wars". What worse some poor guy will be stuck with whatever comes out of the pickle barrel on this deal. You are correct in your assertion that is does not take 5 million bucks to pick a pistol, but only so far as YOU'RE not trying to get your hands in the pie. Now the thieves that have their sights on that cash, have a totally different agenda. You're is one of equiping the soldier with the best possible weapon for the best price, which is right and honorable.

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Ron S. February 11, 2008 at 5:09 pm

Wow, nice comment string. I am a Navy retiree and grew up with the 1911. I also own multiple 9mm's, 40's and two 1911's. I agree with one of the people aboves comments on the Kimber weapons. I have a 5" Custom TLE II and at 75' there's nothing more percise. With well manufactured ammunition there's almost no failure to feed or eject (stovepipe) problems as long as the weapons is well oiled. My vote will always be for the pistol that has been around and proven for almost 100 YEARS! 1911-A1!!!

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Top Wilson February 11, 2008 at 5:16 pm

I,ve been a Marine and a cop.
Used .45 ACP standard and Officers Mod., S&W .357 Mag Mods 686 & 60 wheel gun, Ruger .44 Mag revolver, Glock .40 cal, Glock .357 Sig. The cops that I know and I prefer portability, reliability and one shot stops within the most probable range of engagement.
The one wepon that fits all these needs is an alloy framed, steel slide .45 acp combat commander style hand gun.

The 9mm is a baby .38. The .45ACP was developed to replaced the adult .38 that wasn't effective against pissed off rice burners.

Get rid of the polititions and their lobbiest from forign arms manufacturers and we would not have gone with a European sissy 9mm gun and stayed with a proven killer gat, the colt .45 auto.

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Jeff February 11, 2008 at 5:39 pm

I remember using the SOCOM 45 several years ago in the SEAL Teams, it was a well manufactured weapon. But too impractical for combat. The hand grip was way too big to handle easily, it was way too heavy, the barrel was so long it took forever to get out of that rediculous plastic holster. The pistol had so many sharp edges on it, it would snag all the time.

Some stayed with the Sig Saur, as I did, or went back to the Beretta. They are easier to handle…..period.

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DONALD J. HEINKE February 11, 2008 at 6:24 pm

.40SW IN A GUN FIGHT WILL GET THE JOB DONE. HIGH-POINT OUT OF OHIO MAKES AN INEXPENSIVE .40SW TAHT WILL GET THE JOB DONE IN THE DISTANCES THAT A PISTOL FIGHT USUALLY HAPPENS. THIER EASY TO CLEAN, REPAIR AND CHEAP ENOUGH TO LITERALLY THROW AWAY WHEN THEY'RE REALLY BROKEN. $175 COMPAIRED TO $800 AND UP.
SEMPER FI

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Ben February 11, 2008 at 6:54 pm

As a 1 SFG(A) I can say we don't see anything besides the M9 over here. We tend to be on the bottom of the SF totem pole as far as funds go anyway and make due with what we have. Word coming from most of the weaopns guys here is that 80% of the decision to change any of our firearms be they M4 or M9 is mainly due to the huge stockpile of them already in the system as well as repair parts. Whether there are new and better items available out there matters less than if what we have is capable of getting the job done, which both are capable of doing. I'd love to have a Sig 229/226 on my hip just like I carry off the clock, as well as a SCAR or new H&K upper, but I don't see it happening for the logistical issue I just mentioned. Its just ot worth the overhaul to mother army.

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Sweet Old Bob (S.O.B February 11, 2008 at 10:04 pm

$5million for studies!? Holy crap, if these same people were in charge of vehicle acquisition, they would re-engineer the freaking wheel. Israelis have been working under similar conditions, with various sidearms, since 1948. Pick their brains and save the "study" money for acquisition costs.

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Chev Jim February 12, 2008 at 2:00 am

If I remember correctly, the cops in the 1986 FBI Miami shootout were using Winchester 115-grain Silvertips, which failed to penetrate adequately on the bad guys. Anyway–here's my two cents: go for the .40 S&W. I'd prefer a 10mm for myself, but we're expecting females to shoot these pistols, too, and female FBI agents complained about the 10mm's recoil. The .40 S&W has proven effective enough–at least with modern hollowpoint ammo. Federal has just developed a "frangible" ball round for the 9mm, and it's being used "in theater" to bolster stopping power, and it apparently works pretty good. So let's go "frangible" for the .40 S&W as well. By the way, Hague Convention provisions don't apply when you're shooting at terrorists, i.e., criminals. I think the Glock is tough to beat, but add an external safety if you're that squeamish about such things. But we need to get rid of the M9 NOW–it's not at all ergonomic (like holding a stick of stovewood) and it's far too bulky. We should also go to a "short frame" Glock with double-stack magazine to accommodate people with smaller hands–like me! I shoot my Model 29 just fine–but it could feel better in my hands! Handguns are still important. After you are hit with an IED blast, you're quite likely to be separated from your primary weapon. You can still make things very interesting for the bad guys with aimed handgun fire–at least until you can get away. But the others are right–we need to get off the dime and just DO this. The M9 has had its "run" and has been found wanting. If we are going to replace it, let's go with a needed upgrade in power. Our Soldiers, Marines and Airmen DESERVE the BEST handgun we can possibly give them!

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reowen February 12, 2008 at 3:09 am

"Combat Hand Gun" is the Air Force way of saying they want a pistol or handgun, that makes them look cool. The price tag is the normal overpricing they use to get more money out of Congress. It sounds better than saying they want an M9 pistol!

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BBell February 12, 2008 at 3:13 am

Ok… now how do we get out of dicking with the NATO ammo? That's one of the reasons why we have the 9mm and the 5.56. NATO..

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coolhand77 February 12, 2008 at 3:40 am

First of all, I never claimed to have served, hence the talanted amature comment. Second, I know that the military uses hardball only, I was just commenting on certain aspects of HP and Fragnable, not that it was "Legal" to use them. I was trained, but not "officially". I was trained that shot placement was more important that the size of the cartridge, but also that it has been shown, anticdotally that the .45 ACP hits harder than the 9mm. Is it a garunteed one shot stop? Only if you get a CNS hit. Only weapon I know of that might be a true 1 shot stopper is a 12 gauge with a good, heavy foster slug.

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Dave February 12, 2008 at 3:54 am

Ok, how 'bout this? The Pentagon returns to the historic practice of allowing people to carry personally-owned handguns. I offer this for two reasons.

1) It really is too bad that this discussion has degenerated into the same ill-informed, arguements as on other forums.

2) The Pentagon shows no sign of improving its record of mucking up most personal weapons studies and procurements since the M1 Garand. (and including the M1 Garand if you consider that Garand wanted the .276 Pederson cartridge in a 10-round clip)

As a matter of fact, given that the army rejected magazine fed carbines to stay with the single-shot Sharps carbine (Little Bighorn ring a bell?), switched from the Colt 45LC to the New Army revolver in 38 LC, missed the boat on WW1 entirely and had to buy 1917 Enfield rifles and press the Colt 1917 45acp into service…

I can just about guarantee that although things will change, nothing will be improved.

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ED February 12, 2008 at 9:02 am

USMC vet 1947 to 1972. Used the M1911A! extensively. Shot expert with it once I was properly taught. Shot left-handed. Alittle awkward, but I was able to make it work just fine. There are many reasons why a person would prefer a specific weapon. In
Vietnam I needed a weapon that was good for close in fighting (Rung Sat Special Zone – dense mangrove swamp and lots of water and mud). I had acquired an old German MP42 that used 9mm ammo. Hard to get the ammo, and what I got was old, so it misfired – not good. Got rid of it. Was offered a Thompson Submachine gun (45 cal). It was comparably heavy with a loaded clip of 20 rounds. Turned it down for an M1 carbine, which I then got a conversion kit and made it an M2 (selector to automatic). Ammo was new and readily available, could get tracers, banana clips held 30 rounds (taped 2 together for a quick availability of 60 rounds), the M2 was comparatively light
versus the TSMG, and its dinky little 30 caliber round was enough to stop the comparatively small VC. Had our enemy been bigger on the average, I would have gone with the TSMG. M1911A1 was available, but the usual contact range with the VC in the swamp was 50 – 100 yards – just a wee too long for 45 pistol shooting, and if he was that close, better to club him with the M2. Seriously, I believe that the services (DOD?) decided on what to replace the 1911(old) weapon with something better.
Do realize that those civilian off the shelf models don’t go through all of the testing that the services require (deep freeze, etc – ever tried to work an old M1 first thing in the morning upon arising in the field to a below freezing temperature?)
You can’t predict what type of mess you will get into, but you had better develop confidence in what weapon you are armed with. That starts with learning HOW to shoot it fast and accurately. If you don’t hit what you are shooting at, it doesn’t make much difference what caliber or fancy weapon you have! (except maybe if yo get the first shot off when you are close, and it has the biggest “Boom” – that MIGHT cause the other guy to flinch and miss.)

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ED February 12, 2008 at 5:02 am

USMC vet 1947 to 1972. Used the M1911A! extensively. Shot expert with it once I was properly taught. Shot left-handed. Alittle awkward, but I was able to make it work just fine. There are many reasons why a person would prefer a specific weapon. In
Vietnam I needed a weapon that was good for close in fighting (Rung Sat Special Zone – dense mangrove swamp and lots of water and mud). I had acquired an old German MP42 that used 9mm ammo. Hard to get the ammo, and what I got was old, so it misfired – not good. Got rid of it. Was offered a Thompson Submachine gun (45 cal). It was comparably heavy with a loaded clip of 20 rounds. Turned it down for an M1 carbine, which I then got a conversion kit and made it an M2 (selector to automatic). Ammo was new and readily available, could get tracers, banana clips held 30 rounds (taped 2 together for a quick availability of 60 rounds), the M2 was comparatively light
versus the TSMG, and its dinky little 30 caliber round was enough to stop the comparatively small VC. Had our enemy been bigger on the average, I would have gone with the TSMG. M1911A1 was available, but the usual contact range with the VC in the swamp was 50 – 100 yards – just a wee too long for 45 pistol shooting, and if he was that close, better to club him with the M2. Seriously, I believe that the services (DOD?) decided on what to replace the 1911(old) weapon with something better.
Do realize that those civilian off the shelf models don't go through all of the testing that the services require (deep freeze, etc – ever tried to work an old M1 first thing in the morning upon arising in the field to a below freezing temperature?)
You can't predict what type of mess you will get into, but you had better develop confidence in what weapon you are armed with. That starts with learning HOW to shoot it fast and accurately. If you don't hit what you are shooting at, it doesn't make much difference what caliber or fancy weapon you have! (except maybe if yo get the first shot off when you are close, and it has the biggest "Boom" – that MIGHT cause the other guy to flinch and miss.)

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steelcobra February 12, 2008 at 7:00 am

Actually, BBell, we forced 5.56 on NATO, not the other way around.

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snakeeater February 12, 2008 at 7:06 am

On the way to VN I had my .357 and shotgun added to my orders. When I got to Travis, the first thing they did was to make me send my S&W home. First stop was Thailand and no guns other than shotguns allowed. The pussified AF would't allow us to be armed, "someone might take the war into his own hands". Three forths of our work was outside the wire or over the fence. The shotgun was modified real fast, slugs and double ought buck do a marvelous job of saving your ass.

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patricia February 12, 2008 at 11:59 am

lightweight, handy and effective in blowing the brians out of your enemy. The more ways of killing is always good in my book!!

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Rich VanOrsdale February 12, 2008 at 1:42 pm

My $.02 is S&W M&P .40 for most folks and the M&P .40 compact for aviators or others who need a "smaller handgun." With the different grips you get with each pistol, you can tailor fit it for your hand size.

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Bruce February 13, 2008 at 5:42 am

Stop, drop, and kill. Thats what its designed to do. Anything amsaller than a .45 is just for window dressing. REMF's shouldn't decide, look towards what the Spec Ops guys use. Whether its a SIG or the Springfield some thing thats large(as in one shot kill capability), accurate, and has a large magazine capacity. A full blown, testosterone ridden, automatic thats what every man wants.

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J I Mansfield February 13, 2008 at 6:48 am

Lots of very good comments – I enjoyed them. Two of my own to add. The handgun is a last line of defense military wise. What is important is to hit and knock them down – that is what the 1911 was made for, and it is more rugged/durable. I have a P38, probably lost most of you (initally a WW II German pilot or officers weapon). It is 9mm and does the job for me. For you guys in the fight I'd like to see you have an AMERICAN MADE new M1911A1. We seem to be the only one's who do not see that MADE IN AMERICA DENOTES QUALITY. As a side bennifit, the money and jobs stay here.

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Joe February 13, 2008 at 7:31 am

The handgun is a defensive weapon. If the caliber starts with a .4 its the weapon to have. Period. All the other words are just hot air.

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BMV February 13, 2008 at 7:32 am

HMMMMMMM having used both the 1911-A1 and the M-9 as well as the POS mod 39 S&Ws the Navy bought, I have but one thought. Practice Dammit! Neither the .45acp nor the 9mm Parabellum has stopping power as "Ball" ammo. Just In & Out, Soldier, Airman, Marine, Sailor, make yer hit count!

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GW Bear February 13, 2008 at 7:32 am

Let's do COTS and get the Berreta in .40 S&W, (I forget the model number). It is used daily by the Border Patrol and has been proven to be reliable and a 1 shot stopper in real life action. I agree the sidearm is the last resort but for close quarters it can be a life saver. The 1911 was great in Vietnam but a bitch to carry in condition 1 (cocked & locked) as crap could get in the action by the cocked hammer when you were crawling around in the dirt. The Berreta is a fine pistol but the 92 is chambered for the wrong caliber.

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schadenfreude February 13, 2008 at 7:41 am

Combat Pistol = SIG P220 (resilient, powereful, so well put together you can beat someone to death when you are out of ammo)

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Buffbro February 13, 2008 at 8:06 am

IMHO, the services should push for the Metal Storm electronic handgun. No jam, high rate of fire, good amount of ammunition onboard.

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Donald Hohman February 13, 2008 at 8:16 am

A well built 1911 45ACP is the best combat weapon built bar none. If the US Sevices would of left well enough alone and kept the 1911 with some modern updates instead of be PC for the Europeans wanting their underpowered 9mm we wouldn't be having this discussion. Out of 25 hand guns I own 15 are 1911 and are dead accurate and have never failed me. I carry a Kimber 1811 4 inch barrel daily and a Colt Gold Cup during the winter in a sholder rig. Talk to your spec-op guys as to why the 45 ACP 1911 is so popular. End of story.

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George Nagel February 13, 2008 at 9:05 am

I've had experience with most of the above mentioned weapons and ammo. The old M-1911.45 cal. can be thrown in the mud, run over by a duce and a half, and will put the bad guys down for good every time…reliably. This can't be said for many weapons out there. Why, you have to wonder, did we ever change?

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Tigre Noir February 13, 2008 at 11:20 am

Uncle Sam, stop wasting my money on researching pistols. There are plenty of fine weapons out there in many different calipers. It is the bullet that makes the kill, not the pistol. I want you to put my money on developing the ammo. I want exploding ammo, corner turning ammo, heat seeking ammo, blinding ammo, sleeping gas ammo, farting ammo, melancholy ammo, etc. All of these bullets can be quickly devised becaused American ingenuity is alive and well. It is better get those terrorist SOB's alive, get the intel and then excecute them.

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SGT Kinsella February 13, 2008 at 11:25 am

For all of you who talk about stopping power with these handguns, I have two questions:

1. Have you ever shot someone with ANY of these weapons?

2. Have you ever BEEN shot by any of these weapons?

I would wager that the answer to number 1 is probably NO for 99% of the posters.

The "yes" answers for number two are probably zero.

Shooting paper and shooting people are two different things. It's not just about the size of the hole that one bullet leaves. Don't think for a second that you know what you're talking about because you read about guns, and because you shoot at paper.

There's also a nice little thing called hydrostatic shock – that's what kills people, not the size of the round. (depending on where you actually hit the person of course – and how many times)

And one more thing, we don't kill with handguns in the military. We have much more efficient means to do that. For the weight of the handgun and it's ammo, I would rather carry two more 30 round magazines for my rifle – or an extra SAW drum.

I carried an M9 in Iraq for 13 months. It never let me down. That might have something to do with the fact that it never left the holster. It was a waste of weight. Next time, I won't bother carrying it.

If something goes horribly wrong, and comes down to the 15 rounds in my handgun to save my ass – it's probably already too late. That means my entire squad is dead, and all of our weapons are somehow flatlined…what are the odds of that?

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Ben February 13, 2008 at 11:40 am

"I carried an M9 in Iraq for 13 months. It never let me down. That might have something to do with the fact that it never left the holster. It was a waste of weight. Next time, I won't bother carrying it.

If something goes horribly wrong, and comes down to the 15 rounds in my handgun to save my ass – it's probably already too late. That means my entire squad is dead, and all of our weapons are somehow flatlined…what are the odds of that?"

No way I would go into and clear a house without my secondary weapon ready to rock. Just for that chance that there are only two of us going into a room, you're headed in first and my main gun has a malfunction. Are you going to bludgeon him to death, or go into that failure drill you should have spent the last few years practicing?

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Robert L Birt February 13, 2008 at 12:19 pm

I a distinguished pistol shot and have served in various advanced marksmanship units of the U.S Army, Reserve and National Guard since 1956. I have experience selling and repairing Glock, Sig and other current handgusn used in law enforcement…I have the following to say about the issue of handgun selection for the armed forces.

We got into the problems with the M16 and its various models when the Air Force stepped out of the normal selection process for shoulder weapon selection and issued the AR 15 or M16… This was in spite of the fact that the weapon had failed in its .308 version called the AR10.
My son said upon his return from Iraque…Dad I wish we had M14's in Irque.

Now to the selectin of a hand weapon…The .45 or a roound with more velocity about in the 1000 fps with at least 230 grains of bullet is needed. For accurate shooting I have been issued and have shot weapons issued to various foreigh military forces i served with and only the Browning HP .9mm is the only close match for the M1911 i have found. Over the past five years I have sold and made standard additins to various models of the Glock pistol and think the weapon is junk…not as accurate as the M1911…fragil….prone to teraring of the receiver…In fact we had a box of Glock receivers returned to the store with torn receivers a few years ago…In match shooting I still shoot in the high master category and win bowling pin and various combat pistol events with a M1911…In fact if you can find a glock..Sig or Baretta being used as frequently by winners of match shooting events let me know what match you are shooting in?

The Para Ordnance .45 would be a better gun if it had a forged receiver other than the cast receiver it is the best combat handgun made today.

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Rick A February 13, 2008 at 2:12 pm

Anything larger than .380 or smaller than 10mm that has a established record for ruggedness, reliability and accuracy, that the average person can get their hand around would be fine by me. My personal favorites are the modern semi-custom 1911's, CZ's, and the Croatian Springfield XD's. I wasn't a fan of the M9's when I had to carry one…the trigger was terrible and a long reach in DA, and the grip was too big for my thick fingers, but it was accurate, went bang everytime, and qualified me expert everytime so I can't complain too much. I also never personally saw one break. At the time the better Italian made magazines were still in widespread use, and the only failures we heard of were the same stories that continue to go around.

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HAMMER February 13, 2008 at 2:56 pm

People you should be asking yourself why the AF 5 million dollars of tax payer money to find a new handgun. There have been weapons tests conducted one after another. Recent tests that have taken into account every weapon and every gun maker into consideration and the winners have been chosen. So why not take a look at what the various agencies and commands within DOD are doing and stop wasting time and money to produce a combat handgun. There has been more lobbying in congress and time wasted through testing we could have bought plenty of systems for the military by now. I say utilize the test results of others and then make the call. Keep it simple, stop wasting time and money; and get a god system in the hands of the fighting forces, they deserve a rugged hard hitting cartridge when the time calls for needing one.

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Bill Roberts February 13, 2008 at 3:13 pm

From the perspective of a retired Navy guy, here's the real scoop on the Mk23 SOCOM.

It's arguably the best built handgun in the world…30K rounds before failure. The Mk23 was built shoot in any condition and to last…forever. The only problem was, to get the accuracy and service life, H&K had to build a monster. The gun is just too damn big for most guy's hand to draw and control easily.
The SEALs had the lead in developing the Mk23, and one SEAL commander in particular who was one of the best shots in the world had the lead. He was a die-hard advocate of the .45ACP to drop a target first time.
So the SEALs got what they asked for…a supergun that unfortunately could only be used by a superman with hands the size of a gorilla. By the way, that SEAL Commander was a big fella, about 6'4", with hands the size of a gorilla.
H&K saw the writing on the wall and did what any mart company would do…they took what technological advances they gained during the development of the Mk23 SOCOM and applied what made sense, applied some good ole ingenuity and creativity and produced their version of the MK23 and called it the USP.
In my opinion, the USP is the handgun the SEALs wanted and needed, but outsmarted themselves by asking for the supergun, and they got what they asked for. Sort of a Poe's Monkey's Paw situation.
As for the Air Force handgun…All USSOCOM components have been trying to agree on a new common handgun, but with each service SOF component having their individual preferences, it's impossible to reach an consensus. The only viable solution is for each service component to go their own way.
My best to the Air Force in their search.

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Bill Roberts February 13, 2008 at 3:15 pm

From the perspective of a retired Navy guy, here's the real scoop on the Mk23 SOCOM.

It's arguably the best built handgun in the world…30K rounds before failure. The Mk23 was built shoot in any condition and to last…forever. The only problem was, to get the accuracy and service life, H&K had to build a monster. The gun is just too damn big for most guy's hand to draw and control easily.
The SEALs had the lead in developing the Mk23, and one SEAL commander in particular who was one of the best shots in the world had the lead. He was a die-hard advocate of the .45ACP to drop a target first time.
So the SEALs got what they asked for…a supergun that unfortunately could only be used by a superman with hands the size of a gorilla. By the way, that SEAL Commander was a big fella, about 6'4", with hands the size of a gorilla.
H&K saw the writing on the wall and did what any mart company would do…they took what technological advances they gained during the development of the Mk23 SOCOM and applied what made sense, applied some good ole ingenuity and creativity and produced their version of the MK23 and called it the USP.
In my opinion, the USP is the handgun the SEALs wanted and needed, but outsmarted themselves by asking for the supergun, and they got what they asked for. Sort of a Poe's Monkey's Paw situation.
As for the Air Force handgun…All USSOCOM components have been trying to agree on a new common handgun, but with each service SOF component having their individual preferences, it's impossible to reach an consensus. The only viable solution is for each service component to go their own way.
My best to the Air Force in their search.

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CSARpo2 February 13, 2008 at 3:22 pm

After having spent 5 intense months in Afghanistan and another 11 in Iraq, I too had found any sidearm to be a worthless, heavy, space consuming bulk. Granted CSAR ops are not notoriously handgun oriented, but aircrewmen are required to carry one. Typically, combat actions involving handguns take place in a less than 20 foot differential, in a time span of less than 5 seconds. According to ammo accountability figures in my particular unit, those actions had a lethal accuracy rating of about 50%. That means that only half the rounds that were fired hit their intended target. Of course, this is only from what I've seen on paper, because, I too was never in the position to use mine. After about 4 months, I finally ditched my SIG p-226 for a Kel-Tec 9mm. It saved about 4 pounds better used for 3 more M-4A1 mags.

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Dave February 13, 2008 at 3:43 pm

I agree with others that the .40 Glock is the weapon to use. The trigger pull is the same with every shot.

Once when I was qualifying on the range with a Beretta (while working in law enforcement) I brought it out to shoot only to find the safety on. My face went white, thinking what would have been tragic if I was in a real life situation. I always take the safety off before holstering it so that it's always in the ready to fire position when I need it. However, in putting it in my holster, somehow the safety engaged. The Glock safety is the best kind of safety.

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sacracapo February 13, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Good thoughts. I carried the M9 in the service and it's okay, but not a combat pistol at all. When you think of a sidearm, it should be reliable and accurate. I am all for DAO conversion because your first shot is almost always you most accurate. SA shooting should be for competition, not combat. That's why the M9 should be gone; a combat pistol should not have an external safety. I am a Sig man, they are good and reliable pistols that work every time. Durability is a question, but they are an upgrade from the Beretta that's for sure. I have fired the HK; and it's sweet for sure, but the bean counters will never go for it. The Air Force should just go Sig and forget about it, and show they have most sense of all the armed services. It's not outside the pale to think they will do it, I think all that has to happen is that SigArms has to make them an offer they can't refuse. Sig knocked the CA CHP commissioner out of the box, I m sure Sec USAF and CSP-USAF are not far behind. Even I acknowledge that HK is the future, as it should be. Thanks for the good thoughts-we all want our guys to have something they know is gonna work when they are in harms way.

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Anthony Aguiar February 13, 2008 at 7:25 pm

combat hand gun, who's the brass ass that came up with that.

I drove truck on convoy duty the entire time I was "In Country". the first thing you learn after your first ambush on the road. the 14 will never come out of the truck as fast as you, you will be out 14 will be in. so I went out and stole a 45 from a sleeping MP. **** that idiot showing up to work drunk, getting a total of eleven magazines was a little harder.

that is what I remember about a good weapon that kills even if the passed close by(my fathers statement, he used it in the pacific it was good enough for him).

back to my 45, while driving my truck. I always carried it between my legs on the seat(ha it worked). no holster to pull it out from I could use either door, I liked the passenger door best cause I was laying all the way out. my biggest problem was if the fire fight lasted, to get to my 14 I would have to work my way around to the driver side and the tool box. I was lucky all the ambushes I was in were over pretty quick.

anthony

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GRW1 February 13, 2008 at 8:27 pm

I still have the 1912 Luger
(S/N 9579, Erfurt Arsenal)
that I 'Liberated' from a
German Officer during WWII.
Need I say more?

Paratroopergrw@aol.com

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CombatEngineer February 13, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Having fired the Beretta 92, Glock 17, and Sig 229, the Sig is by far my personal favorite. It has the best ergonomics and combination of features. It has all the features of the P226, in a more compact package. That includes the additional external positive safety that the Army requires, a decocking lever, and a large capacity magazine. Should a new caliber, such as the 357 sig or 40 S&W, which provide a compromise between power, ammunition capacity, and shootability, it is available in those as well.

It has demonstrated exceptional reliability and accuracy, and its grip angle and thickness fits my average sized hand perfectly.

Should the Army drop its outdated requirement for an additional safety, the P229 DAK, as adopted by the Coast Guard, is in my opinion the hands down choice. A constant trigger pull and double strike capability make it extremely desirable. A backup weapon should be simple and reliable. That means if you have to draw it, just draw, point, and bang. No extra safeties, no thumb cocking. It's not going to sit in your bedside drawer where a kid might find it. It's got to kill enemies. It might as well do it easily

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CombatEngineer February 13, 2008 at 11:18 pm

However, in the .45 vs 9mm debate, the greatest issue is the difference between momentum and energy. The momentum of a projectile is equal to its mass x velocity. Momentum is what is commonly referred to as stopping power, in the sense that it is the element of the terminal ballistic equation that delivers a bigger kick on impact. The big slug of the .45 slows dramatically on impact due to it's large frontal area, meaning that it rarely overpenetrates.

However, a 45 round actually carries less kinetic energy than the 9mm, due to the dominance of velocity in the energy equation. The way to make a 9mm yield the same punch is to get it to dump its energy into the target after penetrating, rather than tunneling through. The easiest way to do this would be to change the bullet design itself. Changes such boat-tailing, and a pointed, rather than rounded tip would help shift the center of pressure and center of mass of the bullet, making it yaw when force, such as a person, is applied the the tip. Such a yawing or tumbling action, when coupled with striated bullets, would cause the round to fragment inside the body, with the dispersal pattern acting as shrapnel inside the body, causing extreme cavitation, and giving a much more devastating effect than any solid .45 slug could.

In other words, 9mm is not too small, just too simple. It would be much less expensive to manufacture new bullets than to change to a new caliber for the entire armed forces.

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CPTKILLER February 14, 2008 at 1:44 am

The issue with a new pistol and PDW is critical for armored crewman. I was a tank company commander and was appalled when all we had was the M3 Grease Gun while all of our NATO allies had something better. This is a project that the military should undertake (AGAIN) with a short schedule with the goal of purchasing something that is out there. Beyond preliminary testing, issue it to the people in the Sand Box and they'll let you know if it works. Too many test programs resulted in poor performance with crap issued to the troops (M114 was a case in point for old recon guys).

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Larry Coleman February 14, 2008 at 1:59 am

I think the Army and all the other services have always had a problem with handguns. They have never given the time required for anyone to become proficient with one (the conventional side). It was just an officer toy so they wouldn't have to carry a rifle on a field maneuver. If you want a good handgun, why are you talking Glock or Beretta? Why not talk Wilson or Kimber? They are both made in the United States of America and I don't think there is a better .45 caliber handgun made. And you do need a .45 caliber handgun. All this 9mm crap is just that. The .45 has stopping power and that is the primary reason you are carrying one in the first place. Enough said. Sorry, one more thing. No matter how much is said in a forum like this, politics is going to have the final say about what a soldier carrys and uses. The politicians will never even see one but they will consider themselves experts on the subject because some lobbyest took him on a vacation to the Bahamas in February and the lobbyest works for gun maker A and so gun maker A gets the contract and the soldier gets screwed again.

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Roger Hicks February 14, 2008 at 2:11 am

how about a plan that is more suited to the needs of all. when I was in nam as an e-5 we couldn't carry handguns so we made do with our 16s. let me tell you rolling out of a downed bird with no means of close combat support made me realise a handgun would have been a blessing no matter the size or workings. after I got out I joined IMSHA. or the international metallic sillowioute handgun assn. we shot at metal shaped animals.I used a variety of handguns ,I prefered a 44 mag, but I was just as ammazed to see petite women out shoot me with 30 merrils. in combat you do not look down the sights, you raise the gun in quick kill fashion and throw a shot. in target shootin I can shoot a 1 inch circle all day long at a 100 yard target with my 44. but when I'm being shot back at I aim in the direction of the bad guy and throw lead. the point here is maybe we should consider the individule that will be using the weapon. stock multiple types or sizes as needed. all soldiers are not 6'2 and 200#

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coolhand77 February 14, 2008 at 2:13 am

problem with tumbling/fragmenting ammo. You have an "energy threshold". Once the round drops below a certain velocity, it will not do it. Thats what our troops kept running into when they first switched over to the M4. The loss of 6" of barrel reduced the muzzle velocity and therefore the effective range at which the bullet would perform as expected was shortened. Instead of hitting, tumbling and fragmenting, the slower bullet would just "icepick" through the target. Instead of depending on a bullet that needs to do acrobatics at close range, assuming it starts off with enough MV to begin with, how about a bullet that punches a half inch hole, and dumps all its energy into the target without fragmenting, mushrooming, or anything else?

Just saying.

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coolhand77 February 14, 2008 at 2:15 am

hey, they are banning Marines from Berkley, why can't the military ban Lobbiests in congress?

Just a thought.

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V. McNew February 14, 2008 at 3:28 am

.357 sig is a great combat round. I read were it has extreme penetration abilities and it has allot of power. In combat penetration is key in this day and age of body armor. I like the hell out of my Glock's and HK's but I bought a Sig 2340 on a lark and it is .357 sig. It is as accurate to 85 yards and hits steel with serious authority.

I vote .357 sig for the next military round

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gglock9mm February 14, 2008 at 3:50 am

Overall a good practical article on considerations for selecting a gun. From an engineering perspective, there is never a perfect solution, only compromises you are willing to accept. The inception of the 9mm stemmed from just such a compromise when Luger attempted to increase the existing 1902-03 Luger .30 in. (7.62mm) caliber size to a larger caliber in an attempt to increase foreign sales. His existing gun design could be modified to support up to the 9mm (.354 in.) without incurring expensive retooling costs.
Although the US rejected the 9mm in favor for the .45 in 1905-06, they both have endured for very good reasons.
I do feel there is a need to attempt to establish a communized specification for joint military use if at all possible. Should this prove to be case it could save considerable costs over time. If not the case, a better understanding of each respective branch requirements could be captured. From this, it should be an easy matter to see which COT firearms can meet these needs. By quantifying the requirements the subjectivity can be removed.
Just a quick comment on John Moran's recommendation for authorizing personal weapons of choice. I believe this was established as a matter of pure logistics for supply and under battlefields conditions where soldiers are sometimes required to scrounge for extra ammo from fallen comrades. Some cowboys in the old west chose a rifle and pistol in the same caliber for the same reason. Maintenance is another consideration- should the military adopt the responsibility of maintaining all the various weapons of choice or do we rely on the individual? Additionally, it would introduce unneeded complexity and other variables in a wartime environment (i.e. cross weapons training/proficiency).

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redleg_64 February 14, 2008 at 3:55 am

First off, I'd like to say that as an artilleryman, I've never been issued a handgun. One of my duties includes driving my Paladin 155mm howitzer. As a lot of people know, not too many combat vehicles have been designed for soldiers wearing body armor. When I'm wearing all my gear I can hardly move around my driver hatch. There is no way I can reach back and grab my M-4 and use it if I have to. Sure, it's not likely that I'll have to do that, but believe that we need to be prepared. It would be nice to be issued a pistol for vehicle crewmen to wear in a chest rig. It would be something that's easily accessible and it would increase the defensive capability of the crew.

I find it hard to believe that the greatest army in the world can have such a hard time finding the right handgun for it's soldiers.

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AF_786 February 14, 2008 at 4:31 am

This comes right on the heels of the Air Force's purchase of new BDUs. BDUs which the AF said did not need to be particularly well suited for battle (collar, pattern, etc.) because the modern day Air Force does not do battle on the ground. But they need a combat gun?

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Jack Wilson February 14, 2008 at 4:41 am

I totally agree with the writer of this article. The 1911A1 is superior in reliability to the 9mm.

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Wendy Weinbaum February 14, 2008 at 6:18 am

This was a GREAT gun article! As a Jewess in the US, I would like to remind all that America wasn't won with a registered gun, and that criminals are stopped by FIREARMS, not by talk. That is why all REAL Americans put our 2nd Amendment FIRST!!

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DJK February 14, 2008 at 6:30 am

Sadly humerous? Like the bone?

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Gary February 14, 2008 at 6:37 am

I wanted to add my comments really quick on why we have the beretta (not baretta) instead of actually a SIGin the USAF at least. I was part of a conversation with a retired chief who was combat arms in the USAF and was widely known as THE man, on weapons/development, in fact he is partly responsible for the development and acceptance into the military, of the M-19 (belt fed grenade launcher). He was part of the team assigned to determine the next handgun (9mm was the requirement) for the USAF. 9mm being the requirement since it was a NATO round and easier to logistically supply even if overseas. Anywho, the SIG contractor lost the contract to the USAF over not breaking down to invidual parts and prices, the pieces of the SIG handgun. He was determined to force the USAF to purchase repair kits vs. individual parts. The USAF didn't mind that he would want to sell them that way, but they still needed piece pricing on every part to satisfy the contract requirements and probably GAO auditing requirements. Beretta supplied this information without a problem. Ultimately the contractor (ass) was the difference that made the beretta the USAF handgun. One guy trying to make an extra buck bent over his company (SIG) and the entire USAF as the SIG was determined the better weapon at that time, to the beretta. True Story, the retired chief is still probably an instructor for the USAF at San Antonia via Lackland AFB. Anyone who may have been through security forces (usaf) training at least about 5 yrs ago or so would have met him.

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Rod February 14, 2008 at 7:47 am

Just Get a Glock ! It's like the AK 47 of the Pistol-World. Everytime you need it to go Bang ! It Will !

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Darrell E Hatcher February 14, 2008 at 7:59 am

We have a great pistol and it's off the shelf, the M1911 .45. For a lot less than the study money we can fix the sights and make it double action. Then one round, one down. Not this double tap crap w/ the 9mm. I'm starting to think these studies are just a way of ensuring a U.S. manufacturer doesn't get the job. Another thought, if someone's hand can't handle the .45, give them a rifle!

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Darrell E Hatcher February 14, 2008 at 8:04 am

GLOCK!? Are you kidding? You cannot be a true ground pounder and think a glock is the weapon…IT'S PLASTIC!!! It's great for cops and personal defense but it would never hold up in the hands of a real fighter!

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Oz February 14, 2008 at 8:50 am

I was designated a member of the acquisition and engineering team late during the selection process for the Mk-23 "SOCOM Offensive Handgun". The aiming laser was my area of technical expertise and the reason for my participation (that plus the fact that the laser guy who started out with that project knew it was going to get ugly and didn't want to be caught up in the lawsuits.)

Note that the "Mk" means it was a Navy weapon system, not that SOCOM cared who did the work, as long as it met the need.

First, the specs, including the caliber, came to us from "the shooters". The "shooters" consisted of a panel assembled from all three branches (no Marines with SOCOM at that time). They were the equipment R&D folks for their respective outfits or were designated by that person. Every outfit supported by USSOCOM and USSOCOM itself got a chop on the specs and the test plan before the solicitation went out on the street.

Five samples from each of three gun makers made it to technical testing.

Each test gun cycled 30,000 rounds. To pass, there could be no more than 2 "hard" failures (broken parts, lost hardware, and the like) and some very small number of FTF or FTE, but I don't recall the exact number. And it was all GOTS (Government-off-the-shelf) ammo; slightly over 400,000 rounds fired by hand. Would have been in excess of 450,000, but gun maker number 3 had too many hard failures before the finish line.

There was a stringent (for a .45 ACP) accuracy testing requirement on 10" targets that was intended to represent 100 meter head shots both with and without the suppressor.

Both the H&K and the Colt entries passed the technical testing. Yes, they ARE 100 meter .45's.

Technically, the two designs were pretty much a wash. The shooters liked the H&K ergonomics slightly better than the Colt and that is how they got what they got.

I don't want to go back through all the comments to find who said what, but this is an exceptional sidearm and, as "somebody" correctly noted, Mk-23 is an "offensive" handgun for use by Spec Ops types, whereas the majority of the military are generally never going to use one at all, defensive or otherwise, except to qual.

Another "somebody" said that any "new" round needs to be a flat shooter. That's just not an issue when the adversary is ten feet away, and most reactive engagements are that close when you are using a sidearm. Flat shooters are needed on the range, not across the alley or the bar room or when manning a traffic checkpoint.

The only issue that any sidearm round MUST satisfy is knockdown — instant neutralization of the target and that requires both accurate placement and a permanent wound channel that does not allow the target to remain an adversary.

9 MM and smaller generally do not meet that knock down requirement (yes, I know, there are positive penetration arguments to be made for .32 ACP FMJ, heck, it's what I carry as a BUG – Kel-Tec P-32 or CZ-27), but I know it's only chance to be effective is as head shots, not center of mass, and I probably can't do that consistently beyond about 10 yards.

But I CAN shoot 10" targets consistently at 25 yards with my 1911A1…or my Ruger Blackhawk in .30 Carbine at 100 yards. Now THAT's a flat shooter…

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Darrell E Hatcher February 14, 2008 at 8:56 am

This thread keeps bugging me. Final thought, until you've shot the enemy with your pistol, you will never appreciate the power of the .45 over the 9mm.

D.E. Hatcher
SgtMaj USMC (Ret)

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Patrick February 14, 2008 at 10:21 am

I believe the most worthwhile PDW for armor and possibly as a service weapon would be the new MP7PDW.

Caliber: 4.6mm proprietary
(4.6x30mm)
Weight: 1.5 kg empty
Lenght (stock closed/open): 340 / 540 mm
Barrel lenght: 180 mm
Rate of fire: 950 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 20 or 40 rounds
Effective range: 200 meters

Also note the MP-7 has a rail system for holo or iron sights, as well as boasting armor piercing capabilities in a small, but light round. Basically a machine pistol, but the ammo is very light. Might be expensive out the door, but big army would save on the shipping ammo.
One hell of a weapon, check it out.

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gus runte February 14, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Gentlemen,

The M1911 was my sidearm for 23 years. Your comments are all correct; after many years of use and abuse, when you shook it, it rattled, and when you fired it at targets over 10 meters, the accuracy rate dropped significantly. However, the weapon was not developed as a sniper rifle; it was and is a weapon of last chance. When I left active duty in 1992, it wasn't too many years after that I purchased a new .45 from a local gun dealer. It's a beaut and I'm accurate out to 15 meters 90% of the time. It's on the shelf and ready to go. Again, I agree with you all. Whether it's the .45 or 9mm, or Glock, why it any name are we wasting money to study weapons of last chance that are available today. Write to your Congressman.

A. Runte, LTC, USA (Retired)

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james February 14, 2008 at 12:20 pm

john.moran is right!

the DOD needs to stop the political correctness and allow each soldier to bring a personal sidearm intoi combat!

If one's MTOE does not allow for 'private joe snuffy" to have a sidarm then is his life worth less than the soldier that is allowed to have a backup weapon?!!

Write your congressmen and get this changed!

And while your at it how about suggesting …soldiers should be allowed to bring home at least one demilled AK and a fully functional pistol…I figure while one is sticking his hand in the cookie jar might as well grab as much as one can…But uh, personally 1911 is the way to go
(for the record: stovepipin is a personal wpn. problem not privy to my 1911; maybe your 1911 needs the tender care of a true pistolsmith)

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Oz February 14, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Patrick,

I've shot the PDW. I'd still rather carry a 1911, particularly if I were a tanker or other vehicular mounted. PDW was designed for bodyguards and it is good for them. I found it more cumbersome in close quarters than a more traditional sidearm, but far better in that scenario than an M-4 or similar. You can't draw the PDW or swing it inside a vehicle. If you use the PDW pull-out shoulder rig, you're fighting the rig all the time you're in the vehicle. You can draw and swing a 1911 (or SIG or Berretta) from a cross draw rig in that situation with no problems.

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Barry February 14, 2008 at 4:41 pm

I just wonder who reviews these comments and approves or disaproves them. Apparently they did not like what I had to say about the beretta M9. Well, so sad for you, because you censured me with no valid reason. Go figure.

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MSG T February 14, 2008 at 6:01 pm

GOOD ARTICLE ON COMBAT HANDGUNS… BUT AS FOR YOUR STATEMENT ABOUT ARMY SF NOT SEEING OR HAVING A SOCOM PISTOL IS WRONG IT IS IN EVERY SF UNIT. I SHOULD KNOW I AM WITH 20TH SF GP AND I HAVE BEEN IN SF FOR 15 YRS. WE SF'ERS DON'T LIKE THE SOCOM PISTOL IT IS TO BULKY FOR OUR PURPOSE. I PERSONALLY CARRY A GLOCK 23 .40 CAL AS MY SIDEARM. AS OF YOU SAYING SOF YOU HAD ASKED ABOUT IT WHO IN SOF WERE THEY AIRFORCE SOF, NAVY SEALS OR ARMY RANGERS. ARMY SF IS NOT SOF….. ARMY SF IS SPECIAL FORCES JUST MAKING THIS CLEAR. WHEN THOSE IN THE MILITARY SAY SOF WE LOOK AT THAT AS THE REST IN SPECIAL OPS NOT US. SO PLEASE IN YOUR NEXT ARTICLE MAKE IT CLEAR ON WHO YOU ASKED IN SOF. 10 TO 1 IT WASN'T ANY ARMY SF(GREEN BERET) YOU ASKED THAT QUESTION TO….. NOW TO CONTINUE WITH THE REST OF YOUR ARTICLE. THE 9MM BARETTA IS A PEICE OF JUNK NO STOPPING POWER. AS OF EVERYONE ON MY ODA WE CARRY AN ASSORTMENT OF SIDEARMS RANGING FROM THE .40 TO .357. WHY BECAUSE OF STOPPING POWER NO NEED TO CONTINUE SHOOTING AT A TARGET WITH WITH A 9MM THAT WILL NOT KNOCK THE INDIVIDUAL DOWN. WHEN WE CAN JUST SHOOT THE TARGET WITH 1 OR 2 ROUNDS TO KNOCK THE TARGET ON IT'S ASS AND KEEP THE TARGET DOWN.. THE U.S MILITARY TOOK THE 9MM FOR STANDARDIZATION WITH NATO WHICH WAS WRONG.

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Andrew February 14, 2008 at 7:00 pm

For all of you who talk about stopping power with these handguns, I have two questions:

1. Have you ever shot someone with ANY of these weapons?

2. Have you ever BEEN shot by any of these weapons?

I would wager that the answer to number 1 is probably NO for 99% of the posters.

The "yes" answers for number two are probably zero.

Shooting paper and shooting people are two different things. It's not just about the size of the hole that one bullet leaves. Don't think for a second that you know what you're talking about because you read about guns, and because you shoot at paper.

There's also a nice little thing called hydrostatic shock – that's what kills people, not the size of the round. (depending on where you actually hit the person of course – and how many times)

And one more thing, we don't kill with handguns in the military. We have much more efficient means to do that. For the weight of the handgun and it's ammo, I would rather carry two more 30 round magazines for my rifle – or an extra SAW drum.

I carried an M9 in Iraq for 13 months. It never let me down. That might have something to do with the fact that it never left the holster. It was a waste of weight. Next time, I won't bother carrying it.

If something goes horribly wrong, and comes down to the 15 rounds in my handgun to save my ass – it's probably already too late. That means my entire squad is dead, and all of our weapons are somehow flatlined…what are the odds of that?

Posted by: SGT Kinsella | February 13, 2008 at 03:25 PM

Sgt kinsella, I am anxious to hear about what unit you were in. I am assuming that you served in the Army, as you have clearly defined the lack of training that you guys receive.

I also served in Iraq twice with the Marines and I remember before each tour we did failure drills until we couldn't move anymore. The fact that you just assumed that things are over when you just have a pistol left clearly makes you out to be an ill-trained soldier. Every single Marine line company trains extensively with CQB/Failure Drills. In fact going through houses with a 9 mil and some frag's is all you may have after 15 hour foots through a city after you are out of 5.56.

I guess you don't remember some punk admin guy sitting back at the CP watching UAV feeds and then tasking you out to another objective in your squad/platoon's AOR. Then you explain that you are supposed to RIP out with a fresh squad with "full ammo."

If you don't want your pistol then give it to me. You can sit back and hope that all of your 5.56 ammo is still on your flak and that all of your SAWs work. I'm taking my 9 mil and frags.

-Andrew

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Oz February 14, 2008 at 7:27 pm

Kinsela,

1.) There are no pistol rounds that deliver hydrostatic shock. Period.

2.) Hydrostatic shock can incapacitate. Permanent wound channels kill. Period.

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Patrick February 14, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Oz, I have served two tours in Iraq and am a fan of both the M9 and 1911–though I have never seen a 1911 equipped in service of the military, other then on private contractors. I carried and aquired a 2 inch hammerless taurus .38 my first tour, which was a personal favorite for a secondary weapon, as no hammer leaves no room for error as well as a double action. The M9 is a decent weapon, but leaves much to be desired for suppressive fire and target damage. The 9mm parrabellum is not a very powerful round and in a combat environment where most of the insurgents are hopped up on PCP, stimulants and several other types of narcotics, a 9mm is like throwing pebbles at a brick wall. As for the sling configuration of the MP7PDW that is irrelevant. Personally I never used a sling for my M4 in either tour. I simply improvised my own with a D-ring and 550 cord or used a wolf hook. I have found cross-draw or three point slings to be ineffective and liable to snag on nearly anthing in a vehicle or a dark house. All I know is that if I found myself without a primary weapon in a combat situation I would want something with hard hitting rounds and a fast rate of fire and a enough ammo to get me where I need to be. This is my case for the MP7, the ammo is small, but light, the rate of fire can be very fast and the standard round is rated to penetrate most armour that would be found on insurgents, but I am not sure it could be considered a pistol. If I were made to choose I would go with a Glock 23, which would suffice in for a combat pistol if the M9 needed retirement. Though I would like to see some innovation on the part of pistol manufacturers to develop a smaller more powerful and effecient pistol round or system with weapon to do the job.

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Patrick February 14, 2008 at 8:12 pm

Oh and Andrew, you are absolutely right, but I would rather have a pig with slugs for CQB.

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Andrew February 14, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Patrick,

You are absolutely right about the pig and I was trying to illustrate a point for Sgt Kinsella.

Unfortunately, my unit had all the 9 mils that you could stuff in your cargo's. I mean it was tough when hadji would tie the concertina wire around their extremities and give you a down and dirty tourniquet class when the 5.56 would prove ineffective. But that is where those wonderful failure drills would come into play once the doo dee hit the fan.

Semper Fi

-Andrew

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Jeremy February 14, 2008 at 11:15 pm

Being an avid gun enthusiast I felt compelled to throw my 2 cents in here as well. I didn't take the time to read each and every comment but those I did read commented on 3 pistols mostly and all 3 are some of my favorite's. Glock, Sig, and the ol trusty 1911. As far as a service pistol goes the M9 does what it was designed to do. It allows for a solider to engage a target should he exhaust all other means of attack. Does it have a lot of power? no, is it the best choice in my opinion? no but it was from my understanding chosen to replace the .45's previously used by our forces because the .45 was deemed "too lethal/damaging". Any of you who are prior military know that the US military aims to disable not destroy. They preach about stopping an attacker not killing them so i was lead to believe by my gunney and sgt major that they got rid of the .45's for that reason and went with the 9mm because it's more humane. Anyhow back to the subject at hand a "combat" handgun. Like I said I've had the pleasure of firing all 3 of the preferred pistols on here glocks, sig's, and 1911's and my favorite although not everyone's favorite is the glock. It's sleek, easy to use and maintain and with basic maintenance a very reliable weapon. I personally own 2 Glocks (glock 21, glock 18c) and both of them perform very well. I also have a Sig p220 which I love very much as well. and the 1911 is just an american classic that will never go out of style. I agree with the author of this article it doesn't take 5 million dollars to find a suitable replacement pistol for the m9 the airforce is just wasting $5 million dollars of our hard earned tax dollars.

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Jeremy February 14, 2008 at 11:29 pm

One pistol I didn't see mentioned here that has seen very good penetrating power is small and has almost no recoil is the FN Five-Seven. I just recently had the chance to fire the civilian model of the weapon and while the ammunition is harder to come by from what I understand the military ammunition shows great penetration on soft armor targets (up to 48 layers of kevlar as well as crisat body armor (titanium & kevlar), is very light weight (only 1.5lbs loaded), has less recoil than even the M9 and holds 20 rounds as opposed to the 15+1 in the M9 and it does all of this in a smaller package (the M9 is 8.6in as opposed to the 5seven @ 8.2). So while the 5.7mm round might not be a widely used round it is a viable and overall more powerful alternative to the 9mm.

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Bruce Towers February 15, 2008 at 12:00 am

I submit that we are already hearing complaints about the NATO 5.56. Originally designed to be used against regular military organizations, the adoption of the 5.56 NATO was a good choice. However, the game has changed, and our troops are engaging guerrilla forces again, what is more, they don't care if they die. Wounding in order to sap one's enemy's resources is no longer of any value in the conflict. The current opposition's primary resource is live bodies who are willing to die to get just one American combatant. It's time to rethink our approach again and return to personal firearms and rounds that offer more likelihood of dropping one's antagonist permanently. Many AR-15's have been manufactured for the 7.62 NATO round for civilian use. It's a tried and proven round and it gets the job done. Similarly, the .45 ACP was specifically developed to drop an antagonist. We don't require re-tooling and the ammunition is plentiful. As a long-time shooter, I thought the adoption of the 9 mm was foolish and politically motivated. It's accurate, but it has nothing like the stopping power of the .45 ACP, in fact, the 9 mm is comparable to the .38 special. In a combat scenario, I am less concerned with politics and arms strategies and more concerned with taking my antagonist out, expediently and permanently.

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Jeremy February 15, 2008 at 12:22 am

I agree with you bruce which is why I said my sgt major and gunny both believed the 9mm was adopted and replaced the .45 to wound rather than kill. If I was sent back to iraq I'd want to have a back-up weapon that I know for a fact would drop an attacker in 1 shot. My only gripe with .45's (even though I own 2) is that because of the rounds rather slow speed it can be easily stopped by soft armor (and in some recorded case's excessive clothing has been known to slow or even stop a .45 round). which is why I think the 5.7mm would be a good choice as it is smaller and lighter than the M9 as well as both of my 45's. Also like you said (and I have heard from my fellow marines who actually HAD to pull a trigger in theater) the 5.56 does often over penetrate at distances less than 100 yards and proves less than lethal in most cases where as the 7.62 is as you put it a tried and true round which packs a lot of stopping power while moving just as fast. I vote for the FN Five seveN for a new "combat pistol" though.

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Harry February 15, 2008 at 1:18 am

I think that the HK USP would be a good choice, HK supplies firearms for countries around the world. In addition, I really think that we really need to replace the M4, it is underpowered. The Barrett M 468 would be an excellent choice. If I am not mistaken it can be retrofitted to the M4 lower receiver. Barrett already supplies the military with the M82A1/M107 sniper rifle.

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John D. Ayer February 15, 2008 at 1:26 am

The entire paragraph about armored personnel not needing a bail out weapon is total rubbish and only goes to show the limited understanding the writer has of armor.

Having multiple combat MOSs, one of which is armor. Having extensive experience in both rifles and hand guns as well as having been in fire fights and having killed before I can also say that the writer is mediocre in the rest of the analysis.

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walkerny February 15, 2008 at 1:28 am

The Air Force has fired how many pistol rounds in anger, in the current two wars? I would be surprised if it was 2 magazines worth. Give the taxpayer a break, don't even 'study' the problem, just get what the Army gets. Better yet, use the Army's supply of M9 as they transition to a new pistol. You'll get them cheap! They need it, you don't. The few AF people that go in harms way such as Combat Controllers could use whatever the Army or SOF use.

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Darrell E Hatcher February 15, 2008 at 2:49 am

Hey guys, How about remembering who we fight for? Reliance on foreign weapons is just another nail in the coffin of our country's manufacturing ability. We almost adopted the 9mm Luger prior to WWI. If we had we would have been up the creek while trying to ramp up production here to manufacture,field, and produce ammo for the war. Sure Barretta built a plant here to produce the M9 but it cost the producers of the .45 more jobs than were created at the Barreta facility. Americans produce some of the finest sidearms in the world…use them. As for allowing the AF to conduct a study for the combat pistol remember, the AF doesn't fight. They always look for a lightweight weapon that doesn't require much effort to bear, and since they don't fight they go for the cheapest so they can spend theirmoney on those beautiful barracks (yes I am jealous). The M16 is a perfect example of AF involvement in weapon selection. It's evolved into a nice weapon, except for that proplem of the buffer assembly, crack or break the stock and you have a very expensive club. Let's buy off the shelf weapons, produced in the USA, .45, and let the guys that do the fighting and dying do the selection. All the bean counters, and physics geeks stay home. The trigger pullers, the REAL warriors, should choose the replacement. Think this over; why are all the spec ops guys issued .45s? And why do a lot of them carry M14s? As for a question posed earlier I can answer yes to both your questions. I have shot someone with the .45 and I have been shot at with both the 9mm and .45. The .45 scares the shit out of me. And the guy who thinks his pistol is dead weight, you are not a warrior and do not belong around warriors, you will get good men killed with that attitude.

D.E. Hatcher
SgtMaj USMC (Ret)

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Frank long February 15, 2008 at 7:55 am

The 45 1911 needs to be back in the hands of are soldiers for me it is a very reliable hand gun with the power and accuracy that no other hand gun has.It’s battle proven and with all the new upgrades like the sight’s,guide rods,battle grips and ten round magizines it’s a no brainer that this power house is the one for are soldiers. with Black Hawk downs holsters your hand gun can be carried with comfort and gives you the tactical response you need for combat.
Sure there are other hand guns out there that can provide you with all this,but again it’s battle proven,rugged and the stopping power that no other hand gun will beat.So wake up
Boys this power house is for you.

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nnaemeka February 15, 2008 at 8:09 am

cool

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Oz February 15, 2008 at 3:43 am

Patrick,

If the MP7 is what you like, then go for it. Your description of what makes the PDW a "good choice" is almost word for word what H&K said to us to try to sell it to USSOCOM. Here is the gist of my reply to them:

Like the SLAP 5.56, over penetration and minimal permanent wound channel will probably result in Hadji continuing to shoot at you. The SLAP ammo was LESSON learned the hard way by some Rangers in Somalia and unknown, ignored, or forgotten by most others, including H&K. The Somali qak chewers were like the Energizer bunny, they just kept coming and coming…as did the hop heads during the Boxer Rebellion — the conflict that spawned .45 ACP for the US military (thank you USMC). More than a century later, .45ACP is arguably still the most effective pistol round for use against determined (and doped) adversaries.

Many would be impressed with the PDW rate of fire. Well, everybody seems to like to rock and roll, but you will be changing mags so fast that your total ammo load will out weigh that of a fighter carrying a 1911. This lesson comes from the M-4A3. Cycling at up to 1200 RPM, similar ROF to the MP-7, you empty the mag before you can let off the trigger. That M-4 version ate ammo faster than the shooters could keep up the mag changes. Most learned to turn the selector to single and let the SAW guy lay down the suppressive fire until the SAW needed a new belt, then switch to auto to cover him. But as a person who is relying a sidearm to save your life in CQB, you want to be able engage one target with one round and move to the next target. That takes big, heavy, energetic bullets.

Hailing back to as recently as the 1970's, tankers still had M-3 grease guns that many small framed guys simply could not control, and small frame guys are the ones who fit best in tanks. The M-3 had a bad habit of running on once the first round lit off, so if it jumped out of your hand, it might just spray the area until the mag was empty. And that is why there are no more open bolt firing guns in the inventory. But for those of us who learned to hang on for dear life (literally), that gun was a HOOT!!

Regardless, you're certainly right about one thing, H&K calls it a Personal Defense Weapon because anybody would laugh if they called it a pistol. Sidearm, maybe. Don't get me wrong, I am impressed with the engineering and innovation in the PDW, but not with the caliber or the ergonomics. Too big a gun to be a pistol and too small a caliber and too short a range to be a primary weapon.

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Barry M Sheedlo February 15, 2008 at 3:44 am

You have heard it before and here it is again-45 ACP 1911.
Don't study it-issue it.

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Frank long February 15, 2008 at 3:55 am

The 45 1911 needs to be back in the hands of are soldiers for me it is a very reliable hand gun with the power and accuracy that no other hand gun has.It's battle proven and with all the new upgrades like the sight's,guide rods,battle grips and ten round magizines it's a no brainer that this power house is the one for are soldiers. with Black Hawk downs holsters your hand gun can be carried with comfort and gives you the tactical response you need for combat.
Sure there are other hand guns out there that can provide you with all this,but again it's battle proven,rugged and the stopping power that no other hand gun will beat.So wake up
Boys this power house is for you.

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Ben February 15, 2008 at 3:59 am

Great discussion….rarely mentioned is why it takes $5 mil to study if we need a new handgun? I'm sure the study will be conducted by retired officers looking for a handout. I read reference to "Pentagon Wars" and I believe that to be correct. So many retired officers are together with top brass just milking the system. If retired officers head into the private defense sector they should lose their retirement. It is all a money making scheme that has been going on for far too long.

The studies were done before the M9 was introduced. It hasn't changed. Keep the M9 until a real need for replacement. With money for all the services short we don't need to be doing studies or replacing equipment that really doesn't need replacing.

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nnaemeka February 15, 2008 at 4:03 am

cool

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Roger H February 15, 2008 at 4:16 am

Wow… I'm a latecomer to this discussion. As a veteran of 33 years of law enforcement and a currently sitting chief of police in the Mid-West, I think I have some perspective. I'm not a "gun guy" either, but I learned to shoot a handgun in the Navy and it was a 1911A1, and I've carried a parade of handguns over the past 33 years. That 1911A1 I learned to shoot on was one of those that had a serious rattle when you shook it, but it always shot better than I could in more competent hands.

The Army spent the years from 1905 to 1911 developing the .45 ACP and 1911 handgun as a result of the dismal performance of the newly designed .38 Special revolver round during the Moro Rebellion under a guy name John Pershing. Crude but effective and exhaustive cadaver and carcass testing showed the .45 ACP round to be as or more effective as the black-powder filled .45 long colt in a "modern" auto-loading pistol that survived repeated torture testing. The 1911A1 was adopted and served the military and some law enforcement faithfully for some seventy years.

During my career, I have transitioned from the .38 special to the 9mm semi-auto (Smiths) to the .40 Glock which is commonly carried by law enforcement today. I returned to the carry of a 1911A1 .45ACP in 1998, and own three variants.

San Diego PD (I was employed there as an officer from 1979 to 1990) was involved in some 130 gunfights from 1980 to 1985 and a review of those incidents shows clearly the inadequacy of the .38 special and 9mm rounds in combat situations.

The 1911A1 and variants continue to be recognized in law enforcement circles as the premier "get it done" sidearm and the 1911A1 is issued to special operations teams because of it's effectiveness. I carry one on duty in uniform, and allow my officers to carry the 1911A1 and variants as well; however our department issue is the Glock .40.

IMHO, Glock has received such wide acceptance because of its cost; roughly half of what a .45ACP quality gun costs and at that cost has shown itself to be a reliable firearm. I just don't like them personally.

Simply as a matter of budget for the military, there is no reason not to return to the 1911A1 (with updating if necessary) as the sidearm of choice across the branches. The 1911A1 in caliber .45ACP has shown itself to be a competent combat gun for nearly a hundred years. It's simple and safe to operate and maintain, anyone can learn to shoot it proficiently, is cost-effective, and shoots a round that has been proven effective countless times around the world.

The military and law enforcement in general need to return to the "one-shot, one-bad-guy" school of shooting in combat operations. "Spray and Pray" became the mantra with the M16 during VietNam and remains entrenched in law enforcement hand gun shooting today. The perception among young officers is that they "NEED" a handgun that carries 15 rounds. They were constantly amazed that I could win steel plate competitions with an "antique" model gun that only held seven rounds!

When you have to shoot someone and you want them to "stay shot", the .45ACP remains unparalleled. Until something that is proven significantly better comes along, why change?

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Dan Temple February 15, 2008 at 4:31 am

Dear Sirs, I have read all of the comments about this gun or that and which caliber to go to.The bottom line is that a side arm weapons system is going to have to be implemented that still uses the alot of the existing components.What I mean is there is alot of 9 and .45 ammo out there.Thre are tons and tons of spare parts out there.A 1911 has the capability to shoot both types of rounds,with proper modifications of course.Everything from sights,mag capacitys,tac rails,fullsize and compact models can be modified and adjusted to suit individual unit requirements.Maybe if the money was spent on better training of armors and on making them actual gunsmiths,individual unit needs for everything from special op's to smaller framed personnel could be addressed.This would give a unit the ability to customize thier respective needs,it would give units the ability to operate in any enviroment and tactical situation as there are finishes and options for 1911's that are to great to list here.

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Roger H February 15, 2008 at 4:46 am

Having given this a little more thought, and from the perspective of both an administrator and taxpayer, that any branch of DOD would ask for this kind of money on something so ludicrous offends me. Just think of what even $5m (much less $90m) would do to increase the benefits of our National Guard and Reserves who have served…

Just where ARE our priorities?

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Brian L. Shanholtz February 15, 2008 at 4:49 am

Amen, Somebody looking at this issue with some common sense. I am a firearms enthusiast that gets a headache from the debate, but keeps in mind that there are many people in the development part of the military that may not be as knowledgable about firearms or are techno-geeks that love all the new bells & whistles and don't think about the basics of what a soldier may need, such as depedability, accuracy, ease of use & maintain, as well as knockdown power over magazine capacity (remember the spanish-america war & the .38).
Fortunatly, there are firearms companies that are producing firearms to address this need. About a dozen come to mind.

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Steven February 15, 2008 at 4:53 am

The P90 would be a perfect weapon for tankers. The 50 round mag and 5.7 round would be just fine for their usage

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Kurt Wagner February 15, 2008 at 5:03 am

As has been commented earlier .The 45 auto was first introduced in the phillipines ,due to the Morrow tribes. They were religious fanatic's that did rituals were they got high on drugs , some times even wrapped thier bodys with tape and would attack our 38 revolver packing officers using machete's,many attacks were successful due to the weak 38 cartrige. The 45 has excellent knock down power , if it does't kill your attack with the first shot , it knocks them on thier ass continually ,till they stop getting up !and i feel that our troops today face an enemy ,much the same as the Morrows . I have been in the service,and being in the National Guard as an M.P. even though we trained @ Basic training with the 92F 9mm,we were issued 1911 a1 45 cal. Pistols @ our home Armory . I would Rather have the 1911 any day of the week,and we have many still in our armory's ready to go.
In my opinion we should have never replaced it! And I think,as many others do,its the best pistol made…remember a pistols primary function is close quarters defence , and @ close range you are pointing,not aiming…you want knock down power. There may be a better 45 out there ,but we have the 1911 now,and it is American made by many companys . Do you want to depend on another country shipping you anything during a war ?

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jim February 15, 2008 at 5:05 am

@ gh / Joe

Hi boys. Thanks for your contributions to the weappons discussion. Now, can y'all take it outside in regard to the branch of preference? Plenty of good and bad examples in all branches. How do _you_ want to be remembered?

Sorry to be off-topic, Eric.

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Tom February 15, 2008 at 5:14 am

With all due respect to the various opinions expressed here, especially given the shear weight of personal preference involved in handgun selection, I think it's really all a matter of what works best for the most people in the accomplishment of the mission. Because, let's face it, the DoD is NEVER going to give service members the funds, nor latitude, to buy what they prefer. Now, being both a veteran and an unabashed gun enthusiast who's licensed to carry concealed and does so almost daily, I've personally tested almost every handgun known to man. To put it mildly, the range of attributes out there is enormous, but here's what really matters for our purposes, in order of importance:

Reliability: Resulting from both its durability in the various combat environments it will encounter and its dependable functionality therein. It must be able to put rounds on target as often as required throughout a mission without jamming, misfeeding, misfiring, or flat-out breaking. Furthermore, given the demands of the environment, it should require no more maintenance than basic cleaning and oiling over the course of its life. You know what that means: steel, polymer or a combination of the two.

Stopping power: Let's be frank, if you have to use this weapon, you want it to bring the situation to an abrupt end. If you don't want it to kill, simply aim for nonlethal areas of the target. That being the case and given the size of most all handguns capable if breaching armor-and let's not forget about what happens with those rounds when they're off the mark-you need something that will, at the very least, knock down someone in body armor. That means .357 Mag, .45 ACP in a heavy load or larger.

Size/weight: You want something that will fit almost every sized hand, that can be easily drawn and that is light enough when loaded that practically no one's drawing speed will be hindered. This alone, removes nearly all available magnums from consideration, as well as most of the .45s.

So, what fits all of these criteria the best? Personally, I carry the Sig P220 .45 ACP loaded with 220gr. JHP Corbon rounds for the following reasons: 1) I've fired thousands of rounds through all the handguns I ever owned and it's the only one that has NEVER had any kind of feed, fire, or ejection nor mechanical problem after being packed through Hell and back for 15 years; 2) If you miss your intended target with a magnum round, even if it's an JHP, you have to start seriously thinking about who's on the other side of the wall or hiding on the other side of that parked car, trying to not become collateral damage. And I don't care how much armor you're wearing, getting hit with that 220gr. bullet is like getting hit with a 12-pound sledge hammer at fastball speed: you're going down; and, 3) It has adjustable sites that can be easily swapped out for tacticals, changeable grips on a narrow enough frame that it can accommodate almost any hand, an ambidextrous safety and hammer that're small and streamlined enough to not catch on anything and weighs about 2.5 pounds unloaded. Hell, it's even got an accessories slide for those tac guys who like turning themselves into bulls-eyes in the dark with lights and lasers. Now, I know that for some collateral issues are less important than outright lethality and, generally speaking, weight isn't much of an issue for them either. In that category comes my #2 all-time favorite, the Desert Eagle Mark XIX with the 6in. barrel in .44 Mag. However, unlike the P220, that particular weapon has so much kick that most people are incapable of accurate target acquisition after more than a couple of rounds. So, there you have it, just my own humble opinion added to an argument that will never, EVER, be settled to the satisfaction of everyone.

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joe February 15, 2008 at 5:16 am

go with a .45 with treaded barels and give the soliders silencers. try and save the hearing some what and lives. the 9 mm is a terrible round and wouldnt let mmy sister carry it. sure more mag capicty but if you hit your target with one shot. there isnt a problem with a 7 – 10 mag. also who cares the cost these are lives at stake. and the better the gun the quicker a terrorist will meet his end

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Marc February 15, 2008 at 5:21 am

Quite honestly, the 1911 is one of the best guns ever built. It is damn near indestructible and fires a bullet that will, if not penetrate light armor, will at least knock the hell out of it. It also has a bark that screams power and brings fear. We have millions of these in every part of the world and the military has tons of parts.
I have heard the "couldn't hit the side of a barn" comment many times. The 45 sites are not adjustable; however, with familiarization (regular usage at the range), you develop a feel for proper site alignment which ultimately becomes second nature. The primary use of this weapon for all users is within 10 meters and even if you don't hit center mass, you will still knock 'em down hard.

bottom line – let's get back to basics!

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Steve Jones February 15, 2008 at 5:33 am

Listen, as with the MK23 SOCOM, this 5 million earmarked for a study…is crap and a lie. What it's designed for is to line the pockets of H&K or some other big manufacturer, as they did with the Mk23. Why? Think down the road…the military wants to be first in line for production and have their fingers in the mix, have a say in development..heck maybe someone owns stock in one of the big firearms companies. Really do you think 5 million is a reasonable figure or is this to resurect some company….say Colt by assisting them in developing the mother of all sidearms??? Think about it…

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Chris Weaver February 15, 2008 at 5:33 am

AMMO…
9mm vs .45 is a classic argument that tends to vary between shooters, but handgun buffs can tell instantly the difference between the two. 9mm are smaller bullets; not as much recoil, smaller ball, better aerodynamics, slightly higher velocity, less stopping power, and doesn't take up as much space… therefore, slightly smaller mag/higher capacity (in some cases). 45. are larger; more recoil, bigger ball, better stopping power, slower velocity, less round capacity. Between the two, it all depends on shooter's preference. Personally I would be satisfied with a humble .357 mag. Its a variant of the .38 special. In my opinion, its like a go-between utilizing some of the best properties of the 9mm and .45 ACP. Like the .38, its a relatively small ball, but has more powder behind it, giving it higher velocity, stopping power, and respectable recoil (thus the term "magnum"). It saves space, but has the potential for greater armor piercing ability. You want a bullet that has the highest guarantee to kill with a single shot. Both the .357 and .44 are known to do that, but in a combat situation, I can't quite see the .44 mag as being as practical. I see the .357 as being the happy medium when it comes to handgun ammo. It has so many good halmarks of an idea round. Sure, in a tactical scenario, you don't want to have to rely on anything other than you primary weapon (ie rifle). But if such a situation should arise where a sidearm is necessary, you want a weapon that is not only up to the task, but goes above and beyond the call of duty in a given situation, so that the man behind the trigger can be allowed to do the same.

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Dave Ramsey February 15, 2008 at 10:45 am

I believe Taurus and a few others jumped the gun with producing a few models to compete for the hand gun contract that never was. I have a T1911 awesome gun, dad has the colt 1911 70 Gold Cup, my Taurus shoots better or as good. I thing the Taurus 24/7 OSS is the model that was built for the possible award of the contract. They are currently hitting the civilian markets as I type. Currently have one on order 45 ACP model. God Bless our Military, the NRA and god blessed American gun owners everywhere.

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Art Cook February 15, 2008 at 5:57 am

Like the KABAR, the 1911 is what a soldure needs. I have 13 years as an Inf leader, no combat to be sure, service in Germany 70-74, Korea 78-79, and as a member of an army Pistol team that went to the FORSCOM eastern Regionals in the early 80's. I have both a Berette 92F and a 1911, and load for both. I like both, in a gunfight, I would want the 1911. Makes BIG holes.

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Jerry L McDonald February 15, 2008 at 6:01 am

Ok 9mm .45 auto .40auto we are talking close in shooting
other wise your ass should be down and hid.and it it is close enought for a hand gun the diffrence is not going to be the round size it is going to be the shooter. get them a hand gun that they can shoot. and one that when it is wet. dirty ,cold , or any way not the best of times will work and do the job. i will say the old .45 was there when it was needed
and had the knock down and the stoping power.It all gos back to the m1 to m14 then m16 was pounds and rounds carryed we carried 200+ rounds for the m16 but the round did not have the range of the others but had more rounds for less pounds so for range carry a rifle the rest the round is not going to make for a hill of beans

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paul February 15, 2008 at 6:13 am

I would like to just say a few things in regards to handguns in the military, jeff dulin made a great point about handguns in different armies around the world. I spent my time in the british army and served in DS1 and a tour in northern ireland and within the british army handguns are reserved mainly for officers and senior NCOs, your average rifleman will maybe get to train or use a handgun once or if your real lucky two times during your time. hell i remember being thrown out onto a gaurd duty a browning high power 9mm stuffed into my hand and duly sent to do my job , and i sat there and thought hell if anything happens im up s**t creek bcoz i have not had any training on this thing . moral of the story ?. a rifleman is trained as a rifleman as a general rule they will have very little need for a handgun in my opinion. i have had two active tours and never once did i need a handgun , im not saying there is need for one not by all means but the long and short of it all is that a handgun for a rifleman is purely a backup weapon system and not his main weapon in combat. does it really matter about all this knockdown power etc etc , if i was to use a handgun in a backup situation i dont really care wether it was a 45acp or a 9mm wether you had to fire 6 rounds or 3 rounds to kill someone fact is you will be in a very messed up situation and wouldnt care about what size bullet you had flying out that gun. a weapon is a weapon and all have there uses and downfalls. if you have a rifle and a handgun or either one you are armed and will kill someone either way. i dont mean to upset anybody with my views i just see it as you have a weapon and will learn to use it as you see fit.

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Dave Ramsey February 15, 2008 at 6:45 am

I believe Taurus and a few others jumped the gun with producing a few models to compete for the hand gun contract that never was. I have a T1911 awesome gun, dad has the colt 1911 70 Gold Cup, my Taurus shoots better or as good. I thing the Taurus 24/7 OSS is the model that was built for the possible award of the contract. They are currently hitting the civilian markets as I type. Currently have one on order 45 ACP model. God Bless our Military, the NRA and god blessed American gun owners everywhere.

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JIM February 15, 2008 at 6:47 am

The bottom line is: Most of Law enforcement is using the .40 cal for some very good reasons.

At 165 Grains, the .40 cal has almost the identical "whack" of a .357 and, creates a larger wound cavity, and a great deal of fire power.

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Chev Jim February 15, 2008 at 6:51 am

Quite a few valid comments out there. I think we are all agreed that a "combat pistol" is, first of all, a "backup" weapon and is not usually the preferred weapon for offensive operations. I know that some hostage rescue teams go in with the pistol as their primary weapon, but this is the exception, rather than the rule. Secondly, we have to accept that we have people of varying physical dimensions and that a handgun only a "gorilla" can grip well isn't going to suit folks with smaller stature–and hands. As to caliber, I would have to say that actual caliber is secondary to bullet performance–but since we are limited to "ball" or at least "frangible ball" when shooting at terrorists, bigger is usually better. Again, we are must take into consideration that females and small-handed males are going to be issued these handguns as well, and anything over "loaded down 10mm" power isn't going to be controllable by most of them. That pretty much leaves us with the 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. As for myself, I'd probably go for .40 S&W with "frangible ball" and take an extra few rounds in magazine capacity over the .45 ACP. I also like the Glock because it's simple and rugged, and its reliability is proven. Someone asked about Glocks in matches, and I'd have to refer you to Dave Sevigny, who used Glocks to win the 2007 Steel Master Championship, the 2007 USPSA Nat'l Championship (Production Division), and the 2007 Tactical Shooting Association National Championship. Folks, those are credentials for a handgun and its shooter! No, it doesn't have to be a Glock, but it should have a polymer frame for light weight and portability.

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Darrell E Hatcher February 15, 2008 at 7:10 am

The original reason law enforcement adopted the.40 was it had less kick than the .45 and smaller grips, the women could handle it. That's not sexist that's fact, at least in the San Diego, CA Sheriff Dept. That's great for law enforcement. But for the military it's bad. Here's why. We, Marines, put a hell of a lot of rounds down range annually in all our weapons. The bullet size coupled with the muzzle velocity of the .40 wears out the bore very quickly compared to the .45 or the 9mm. The resulting replacement costs, for Marines anyway, is more than we can afford. That means it will be like my first .45, that had a 6 digit serial number, a shaky receiver, and a near smooth bore(The Rock Island Arsenal Inventory listed the manufacture date as 1943), the .40 would just deteriorate faster than the .45.

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Charley February 15, 2008 at 7:29 am

Having experienced fire from both rounds on both sides of the gun, which is to say I have both fired and been fired at with both rounds, I know that I speak without fear of contradiction when I say that, in a firefight, size does matter.

I've got a .38 round stuck to a ceramic trauma plate from a little gang-banger. Scary as it was to take a hit from that little guy, I assure you that a .45 is MUCH worse. What it really means is that incoming fire is scary. The larger the incoming rounds are, the worse it gets. This is an aspect of modern combat that doesn't seem to get addressed. Ever. Modern combat has a huge psychological component. If my side feels like they have the upper hand because they can throw 1/2" rocks down range, there's a lot to be said for that. If your side feels like they don't have the upper hand because 1/2" rocks are being thrown at them then my side has the advantage. That's initiative. It is nothing more or less than one side's conviction that they are in control combined with the other side's convition that there's nothing they can do about it. So the question really is one that the guys at the sharp end need to answer. What round do you need to have? Why? What features do you need in the platform for delivering that round? Why?

That being said, my carry weapon is the H&K USP Tactical in .45. I find it to be a very accurate weapon that fits nicely in my small hands. It bucks a bit, but not nearly as bad as the 1911 that I originally qualified on. It is exceptionally well balanced so I find that recovery target aquisition is faster than with the M9 despite heavier recoil.

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wraith67 February 15, 2008 at 7:36 am

I'm a retired Army "gun guy."

A combat pistol should be medium sized, relatively high capacity, accurate, supremely reliable and easy to maintain.

I'm thinking 3-4 iches at 25 meters is fine, that's all anybody got with the 1911 or the M9.

The one poster is right about the ballistics between a 9mm and a .45ACP as being pretty close. Also .40 S&W is equal to higher end .45ACP loads (being a downloaded 10mm that the FBI dumped because the fems couldn't tolerate the recoil). Having said that, with ball ammunition, the .45 comes out ahead in knock down power – physiology doesn't care that much for ballistics and a big and slow moving round seems to shock the system much more than a fast moving, light round. The Army could improve that scenario by adopting good hollow points in +P 9mm ammo.

I own (and have owned) Sigs, Glocks, Kimber 1911 in .45 and 10mm and Berretas. I even competed in the Glock Shooting Sports Foundation shoots for many years (Glock 20, 10mm).

I like the 1911 platform, but it has more parts than is necessary and which can get lost (bushing and slide stop) – the Glocks, Berettas and Sigs all break down with a minimum of effort in 4 parts.

The Glock which you all like is a fine weapon, but its dangerous for novices. I've seen enough accidental discharges with them and there are enough stories about cops shooting themselves in the leg… and while this can be mitigated by training, enlisted and officers just don't use the thing every day – and even in Iraq, relatively speaking there aren't that many pistol fights.

If I were king for a day, I'd stay with Sigs – which will shoot sub-2" groups out of the box with any model – and if you need a .45, go with a Sig P220. .40 S&W is also a good choice, so you could go Sig 228 if you need small, or a P226 if you don't mind full size.

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Bob Willson February 15, 2008 at 8:33 am

Interesting, but all i want is to know that my son (Lt Alek Willson, 107 Engr Batln, Bagdad) is armed to the teeth with weapons that will enable him to kill any of those evil b…..ds who would harm him if given the opportunity!!

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Norman Bennett February 15, 2008 at 8:35 am

Related to the H&K Mod. 23, this was made for SOCOM personnel to fill the slot of "An Offensive Handgun." As a retired officer from a combat arms branch, let me say that a handgun by its very nature is defensive. Even tho I'm not a great fan of the stopping power of a 5.56 mm, I'll grab an M4 or M16 anytime one is available over a handgun (assuming that an M14 is not an option). For CQB, a combat shotgun would be my preference.

The ammunition issue goes back to the 9mm vs. .45 discussion that has populated gun magazines for decades. Since the issue ammunition will be hardball, take a .45 ever time!!

The 10mm, .357 Sig, .40 S&W question is moot due to the logistical constraints that go with the U.S. Military.

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Jeff February 15, 2008 at 8:38 am

The military should allow for its personnel to carry personally owned sidearms. The soldiers would be more apt to practice and become more proficient with sidearms they personally own than ones that are locked up in the arms room. Besides, it'd be nice to know that hundreds of thousands of servicemembers have ready access to such here the states – if it all goes to hell in a handbasket one day.

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John February 15, 2008 at 8:52 am

whatever you choose remember that it has to have stopping power and the bullets cannot be hollow points.

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Gene February 15, 2008 at 8:58 am

The 45 is obsolete and has been for 50 years. The Koreans use to put paper under their clothes to stop the 45 in the 50's That is why the 9MM was chosen.Now the 9MM is obsolete.The next world war will probably be fought against the Chinese.They have body armor that a 45 or a 9 wouldn't touch. You need something like a FN 5.7 . In Iraq, A 45 is usefull because at least they know they have been shot, where with a 9MM, it zipps through and they don't always know until later.They may die but it's too late to do any good.Need hollow points.Hard ball in a 9MM has always been useless except for target shooting.Any caliber larger than a 9MM is better if no armor is involved,and the 9MM is stuck to ball.The 9mm will just overpenatrate.

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Gregory Pierpoint February 15, 2008 at 9:09 am

With all the debate going on, ask the military teams that compete at Nationals at Camp Perry. 99 per cent dislike the as issued M9. The service pistols they compete with are heavily worked in the trigger, slide, even the springs. The as issued is a lousy slingshot. Go back to the 1911 or a decent 40mm. We ditched the .38 during the Phillipine Insurrrection when the Huks took hits & kept on coming. Hell, I've hit a VC with my 19ll, killed him & knocked out the guy behind him, a 2fer. My 80 lb 12 year old grandgirl loves my Kimber .45. Give the troops a real gun & if the Wingwipers or the Brass don't want to carry the extra weight, send them to the gym.
Oorah, Semper Fi.

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David Black February 15, 2008 at 9:13 am

I was Air Force Procurement for 4 years. The Marines make up 12% of the DOD and get 6% of their budget. The marines do more with less. The point that the Air Force ought to spend more more on their combat roles than on having nice facilities is dead on. The Air Force ought to be able to do everything out of a GP tent. I can give you hundreds of obscene wastes of tax payer dollars courtesy of the US Air Force.

We all have our combat roles. None more important that the other. Nothing we do is more important than the prosecution of warfare. The general politics I found in the Air Force is that they preferred show over substance.

I love the Air Force, I love my time in the Air Force. Because I love it so much I am willing to speak the truth. We can't get better if we don't acknowledge our short comings and take corrective action.

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John M February 15, 2008 at 9:39 am

I'm not military, just a hunter. Son is a State Trooper & they dropped the 9mm to go "back to" the .45 so as to be able to knock down with first hit.
FBI even dropped the 9mm & went to 10.

Typical of DOD & Congress though – study it to death and hope it goes away. I'm a retired Aerospace Program Manager so I know the drills.

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David Lee February 15, 2008 at 9:40 am

I was a W1 Helicopter pilot in 1966-67. We were issued 45 we carried on web belts and spun them around to fit between out legs under the armor plate when we flew. In July of 67 someone insisted that the 45 be replaced with 38's. Shooting either one out the window was just for fun but there was a signficant difference looking down between your legs under that chect protector and seeing over an inch of steel compaired to a little pincel of a gun under the chest protector. For what it is worth the 1911 was my compat choice.
D Lee

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TH February 15, 2008 at 9:46 am

Lildave,

Last time I checked, Navy pilots are flying a large portion of the sorties… don't be so quick to proclaim that the grunts have the AF to thank for not having to look skyward!
The DoD trusts the Navy with nukes and I would put my entrance scores up against anyone, so why don't we get to live the highlife the AF guys do?! I know, because when we build a base or ship, quality of life is the last thing we think about… AF builds a base, they put up all the fancy housing, stores, gyms etc…then tell the DoD they're out of money and still don't have a runway! LOL!!! Nice plan.

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Eric Daniel February 15, 2008 at 9:57 am

Some additional comments.

The question was raised about how much experience I had in armor. I enlisted as a 19K in 1988 and got off tanks in '02 when I went dismounted (being in a non-enhanced national guard tank unit sucks, let me tell you.) During that period of time I went to the DDR/CZ border twice, Iraq once, and Graf and Hohenfels more times than I can count. I was a member of the VII Corps 1991 CAT (Canadian Army Trophy) team, where I served as a gunner on D-22 1/37 AR where I fired more 120mm rounds in 4 months than most tankers do in years and literally learned every square inch of Range 301. I have held every position between loader and tank company executive officer with the exception of PSG, and spent the majority of my time as a gunner/TC. The only things I have not done with a tank is drive one out the back end of an aircraft while in flight or off the ramp of a beached amphibious landing craft.

All of this is meaningless with respect to the original article I posted because what we're really talking about here are opinions. With respect to my comments regarding tankers needing some sort of PDW what I questioned was not the need for a PDW, or whatever you want to call it, but why there was a need to build a unique custom weapon for this one particular role. (By the way, I also believe that there should be 4 line companies in every tank battalion, 4 platoons in every tank company, 5 tanks in every platoon, and 4 tankers in every tank (auto-loaders are great but they don't change track or pull radio watch.))

In a perfect world every vehicle crewman, every equipment operator, should have (I believe) a "bail-out" weapon, such as a pistol, as well as a conventional rifle, be it M-16/ M-4 or whatever. Again, it is my opinion that, unless the tank is on fire, you are better off inside the tank, with it's armor and its fire control system, than you are sitting outside on top. There isn't a lot of room in the M1A1 and even less, I'm told, in the M1A2 (I have never been in one) and so if you ever had to un-ass the tank in a hurry you shouldn't have to stop to take the time to secure what ever weapon you're going to bail out with; it should be attached to you already, and that weapon shouldn't take up a lot of space. For these reasons, my preference as a bail out weapon would be for a pistol rather than something more exotic, and generally speaking larger, like an SMG. A good example would be the M3 grease gun. I just can't fathom where you'd find the space to stow three of them in the turret and the resulting chaos it would cause trying to get out of the turret with them. That having been said, there are situations where you have a disabled vehicle, in a non-emergency situation, where some additional man-portable firepower would be both appropriate and welcome. To this end EVERY crewmember should be assigned an M-16/M-4 and external storage should be made available for these weapons (if you want to keep them in the turret bully for you and more power to you) so that you do have access to something with more reach than the bail out pistol you're wearing. In the case of tanker's, they really ought to replace the stock M-240s with the M-240B model so you can use them in the OP/LP role as well as dismounted fire support.

The bottom line here is, in my opinion, with respect to the whole tanker-vehicle crewman PDW issue, you should have two weapons, one that you keep as a means of last resort, that you can bail out with easily, and which won't get you killed trying to get out of the tank, and one you can actually use to provide some level of actual defense. If it's not possible to issue two weapons, then they should be issued pistol since it's the easiest to get around in the vehicle with and will slow you down the least if you ever need to run away in a hurry.

Now, as for the stopping power, killing power, your momma power, of the various cartridges mentioned as well as the single-tap, double tap, triple-tap, ball peen hammer tap engagement techniques, here's my opinion.

When we deployed to Kuwait in December of 1990 our tank crew sat down and had "the talk" about how we were going to conduct business. The policy we agreed on and adopted was "Shoot

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Bill February 15, 2008 at 10:03 am

>>>>Knockdown power??? 3 shots vs. 1 shot for taking down a bad guy? PLEASE show me the GUARANTEE that 1 shot will down a bad guy, every time. >>>>>

I conceal carry a 4" 500 magnum just for this reason.

Its a one shot stop.

350gr JHP @ 2000fps w/ 3000fpe

I just need to get it on some
meat and that meats coming off.

It has 25% more power than a .308 and will open up to
1.25" dia, the temporal cavity
is 6" dia +

i also carry the Ruger Alaskan 44 mag and the new
HK45 as backup.

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Jeff crowley February 15, 2008 at 10:28 am

After seeing the SOCOM weapons research and the H&K Mk 23 several years ago, I chose to buy the H&K USP .45 as the closest facimile. I use have used it in law enforcement for about 7 years, to include in an on-duty shooting. I think it is a great weapon. No need to reinvent the wheel.

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JENNIFER KEAGLE February 15, 2008 at 4:01 pm

CAN ANYONE GET THIS KIND OF GUN?

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JENNIFER KEAGLE February 15, 2008 at 4:03 pm

CAN ANYONE GET THIS KIND OF GUN?

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JENNIFER KEAGLE February 15, 2008 at 4:03 pm

CAN ANYONE GET THIS KIND OF GUN?

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chase February 15, 2008 at 11:30 am

Don't you guys know that the only people who have the power to put weapons/equipment into service are ****ers who know nothing of weapons. they listen to some number on some piece of paper that says, "cost-effective," or "my stocks say." Stop looking for reason behind what's going on in the military and just realize you're getting ****ed. Time will pass a lot quicker.

Chase 101st ABN

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Harry February 15, 2008 at 11:41 am

The case in point is mute. Shortly after the Spanish-American War, there was a study to determine a standarized rifle caliber and pistol caliber. The results? .308 rifle and .45ACP. As a former police officer and thirty-two year veteran of the profession of arms, I have carried the .357 magnum, 9 mm, and the .45ACP 1911A1. There have been MANY concerns in the Law Enforcement community with the GLOCK due to accidental discharges. With the 9mm, it would appear the that more than one round is needed to take down an advissary. The 40 cal has been adopted by many PD's to compensate for the recoil of the .45 and retain the knock down power of the .45. It's my information that "certain" SOC units have re-adopted the .45 cal as a result of CQB situations. Accolades to them. I personally carry a Springfield 1911A1. Wish I could have carried it in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why study or break whats not broken? The only improvement I could my weapon of choice is an ambidexterous decock.

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thewitchdr February 15, 2008 at 11:47 am

I've got an idea! How about, whatever the budget is allowing (per weapon) can be spent by the individual soldier (who also receives discount prices) so that every soldier can get whatever he/she desires, but has to pay the extra (out of pocket) if he or she wants say a Desert Eagle or a hand-made Katana, or wahtever the hell they feel will be most effective in their posession! Talk about a morale boost! I might re-up! Army of one, baby!

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JENNIFER KEAGLE February 15, 2008 at 12:03 pm

CAN ANYONE GET THIS KIND OF GUN?

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Pingjockey90 February 15, 2008 at 12:07 pm

While i don't have any combat expirience with either pistol, I really feel that the M1911A1 should be the standard. I can vouch for its reliability and it's fairly accurate to at least 30 yards. If someone has a problem with the recoil or doesn't like the weight they should just go out and buy their own gun.

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Lildave February 15, 2008 at 12:21 pm

TH – Didn't forget about them, Dad was a squid, I was born on Oak Harbor NAS. The grounding reality is that the E-4 wingnut in the marine barracks didn't vote himself hardship pay – and wouldn't know the difference if he didn't receive it. The congressman with the most pull does the secret handshake with the general who has the most pull, and viola – some bureaucrat 2-star bean-counter in a mid-level office has new carpet six months after it's been replaced (because it doesn't match the new wall art, of course), while the ramp rats are turning over rocks looking for parts.

So what do you like, .40SW or .357Sig – I've got an SP2340 with both barrels, and each has its good points – but no bad.

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Kenny S February 15, 2008 at 12:33 pm

I personnally am issued an M9 form my MP unit. While I have no real complaints, and have never had to use it in combat, I would have to say that honestly I would prefer a slightly larger round. This is due to stories I have heard regaring stopping power. I personnally own a Springfield Armory XD-40 which I absolutley love, and it is available in 9mm, .40cal (which I have), and .45ACP, so, all the bases are covered there. It is comparable price-wise, dare I say less expensive than most other pistols out there and comes ready with rails, removable sights, etc… Any way that is my 2 "new private" cents.

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bruce McAlevy February 15, 2008 at 12:55 pm

If the military would just recover some of the 190,000 glocks and ak-47's that are missing and unaccounted for out of the iraq warehouse, they wouldn't need to buy any more guns for a while.

Of course if they hadn't lost them in the first place along with almost 300 tons of high explosives out of saddam's bunkers, we might not have as many problems in iraq as we do today.

I think I could equip a pretty good resistance with what we have so graciously furnished. Wonder how much ammo we have donated to the cause as well.

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Bruce McAlevy February 15, 2008 at 1:11 pm

And in case someone thinks I am a pacifist, after spending 9 years in the army my personal arsenal consists of 24 weapons. When they talk about bringing enough gun, my XD 45 springfield is enough gun for anyone. When I loan it out at the range, people can hit with it right off the bat. My Taurus 1911 is a great gun for the money, but that outdated technology doesn't hold a candle to the XD. Even the glockers admit it is a good piece.

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billy February 15, 2008 at 1:18 pm

Mr. Harry you are a good man. I carry a springfield 1911 and it's very reliable.It eats everything I feed it. I also have a glock 23 in .40 and I also carry it on occasion. The military would do well by itself to bring back the old warhorse .45. It's a proven weapon and has gotten a many ass out of a crack.They could always redesign ammo if it doesn't do what they want it to do.There's lots of options besides spending millions on a new pistol although there are some really great OTS.

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BR February 15, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Just wanted to ask Lucas Gray where all these "newest fanciest" weapons are that the Army has purchased? the M2 has been around for how long? and the M4 is an improved upon version of the M16a1 which is exactly what you suggested that weapon system has been around for about 40 years. I have been in the army for over 15 and the only new fancy weapon I have seen is the M240B…

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billy February 15, 2008 at 1:28 pm

I think what our troops need more then a pistol is scopes, night vision,a hell of a lot more body armor,I think I even read in SOF magizine that the 5.56 ammo being shot from the M4 ain't workin all that well cause it was designed for the longer barrels of the M16

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Thomas Weber February 15, 2008 at 1:32 pm

I am an x-armorer who has shot both the .45 and the 9mm and for knock down power and killing power, I would go with the .45cal.

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John Barmore February 15, 2008 at 2:00 pm

If the US military can buy M4 rifles from Fabrique Nationale of France instead of Colt, why not buy Para-Ord pistols and/or parts in kit form from Para-Ord of Canada and bring back the most effective combat pistol caliber below the magnum? Since they already own millions of M1911A1's why not spend the taxpayers money wisely and have them retro-fitted with Para-Ord's frame (very durable metal alloy frame adds very little to the width of the frame for a double stack .45)and magazines (the rest of the parts should be virtually interchangeable from memory)and a reliability package to minimise the feed jams (but still train for them!)? Face the facts, the only reason why the US military went 9mm was to make the pistol more female friendly and to make it easier to interchange pistol ammo with our NATO allies. But when the army started to make the transition Delta flatly refused to give up their .45ACP's. When SOCOM went looking for a new pistol their first specification was that it would have to be a .45. Why? When you hit bad guys with a .45 round THEY STAY HIT! Bottom line: if some of the most thoroghly trained and highly respected shooters on the planet stick with the ever-reliable M1911A1 it would be worth the money to explore the idea of retrofitting the current stock of pistols as described above or contracting Para-Ord as the new off-the shelf supplier. If the people we sent into imminant danger ever have to bet their lives on a pistol that can handle the field and a battle proven round (based on something other than PC acceptable standards for police weapons)a double stack .45ACP is the least we can provide.

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Bill February 15, 2008 at 2:13 pm

As a civilian I'd just like to thank you guys
fighting Islam.

Dont listen to Liberal nutcases back home.
I swear they want the terrorists to win!

PS whack one for me

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Preston Johnson February 15, 2008 at 2:38 pm

What the hell does the Air Farce know about combat pistols? This Marine says to go with with off the shelf GLOCK in .45 caliber. Pistols are defensive weapons. They just buy a grunt time to get to a real gun… a rifle. Don't waste too much time with handguns ladies. Think rifles! Urahh! Semper fidelis!

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Bill February 15, 2008 at 2:49 pm

500 magnum is 25% more powerful than a 308!

There are powerful pistols out there

Stops ragtops in their tracks

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Navigator February 15, 2008 at 2:53 pm

If this has already been mentioned, sorry. The high speed of the 9mm combined with the illegality of hollow point for military use means the 9mm round often goes right through the target, taking its energy with it. The big, fat, slow .45 stays with the bad guy and transfers all of its energy to him, knocking him down. Counterintuitive solution? Put less powder in the 9mm case.

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ghostsickle February 15, 2008 at 3:08 pm

We are all Americans. Each branch of our services has it's job to do. Each excels at it's particular duty otherwise it would not exist. Be proud, but not short sighted. For my personal sidearm a .45 cal weapon would be my choice and I grew up cutting my teeth on 9mm's. Chose an reliable off the shelf American weapon for your branch and invest in it, you may need it to save your life.

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CSARpo2 February 15, 2008 at 3:12 pm

"…And the guy who thinks his pistol is dead weight, you are not a warrior and do not belong around warriors, you will get good men killed with that attitude."

D.E. Hatcher
SgtMaj USMC (Ret)

SgtMaj Hatcher, with all due respect to your opinions and statements, the point I was trying to make (and admittedly did a poor job of it) was that only given one option for ammo (9mm), I chose to carry a smaller, lighter weapon. This allowed me to carry more mags for my preferred offensive/defensive weapon, my M-4. If I had the choice, I would have graciously carried a 1911 or a USP, but I didn't. In my situation, the bigger pistol was wasted space and weight. At no point would I ever be caught in a firefight without a secondary, be it .45, .40, or 9mm.

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ghostsickle February 15, 2008 at 3:24 pm

The pistol is generally a secondary weapon. In my case the choice being a 1911-A1 type. One hit, one kill and which when out of ammo can still make one hell of a club! God bless America!

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bill February 15, 2008 at 3:32 pm

If i remember correctly

9mm, .223 and the AK47s 7.62×39

are designed to maim and not kill

the idea being it will take 2
men to carry the maimed
off the battlefield

only problem, maimed can
still pull trigger

am i right here?

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ghostsickle February 15, 2008 at 3:55 pm

Bill
Combat is kill or be killed. One miamed and two stetcher bearers pinned down equal three who can be shooting back to kill you. We have dumbed our ammo down while most of our enemies have not. Know that a 7.62mm is a 30 cal. bullet while we field a 22 cal. Hitting a target in combat should not be about the theory of how many bullets you can put in the air but about where those bullets go and hit the targets. My personal choice would be to carry less, but heavier ammo and make each shot count.

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gimme3 February 15, 2008 at 4:01 pm

$5 million for a study!?!?!?
That's alot of 40S&Wx13 round Glock "compact" Model 23s! Same size as their M19 9mmx15 and M30 45acpx10 pistols. Each of those models are compatable with higher cap standard mags. (9mmx17, .40×15, and .45×13)
The socom was an attempt at an offensive, silenced, (threaded)exotic weapon developed by H&K for their combat swimmers.
The .40S&W gives 25% more energy than the 9mm. The .45acp is a capacity liability in other-than-glock designs.

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TDGARRY February 15, 2008 at 4:02 pm

I am a gun guy and a former soldier. I am also the owner of two Mark 23's. The most awesome kills with a handgun that I have seen is the .357 magnum. I have put over 20 deer down with handguns, and the center mass one shot king is the federal hydro shok. It will pulverize and turn to jello about the volume of a volley ball. Loud hell yes, recoil awesome, muzzle flash like you would not beleive. I use my Mark 23 to win bowling pin shoots. It is awesome, and I carry it as a ccw with a shoulder holster. I have owned and or shot most handguns used today, the .45 is my favorite, but the best is a dual extractor Peters-Stahl PSP 07 in 10mm with pre 1983 Norma ammunition. Now that is a handgun. Shot placement is the neccessary ingrediant in a fight ending hit.

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SPC ROSE February 15, 2008 at 4:28 pm

My comment is in regaurds to "Tanker's needing to have PDW's". Does the author of this article know the mission of all tank like weapons? For instance, a M113 and Bradly's both are just armored personel cariers. Yes the Bradly has some seriouse fire power, but the fire power is to provide covering fire for the 11B's dismouting and getting into a close combat siuation. and as many "Tanker's" say…The M4 is way to big and the M9 has about as much affect on a person as throughing a stone at them. I like the author don't have much millitary expirience with weapons, but on the outside world, I know plenty. I would take a .22 cal longrifle single action revolver over a semiautomatic 9MM any day of the week. I am not saying the Millitary should go to a .22 Cal I am justi saying for penatraion, knock down power, muzle velocity, and the rest of the specs…not to mention accuracy, the .22 is a lot better. The problem with the .22 Cal is that it is way to small to be effective at distances greater than 50 yards. and dropping a charging 175 lbs grown man would be imposable.

SO what would I chose for my PDW? a .223 Cal Thomson Contender slightly modified from single shot capasity to a 30 round magazine fed bolt action carbine. The Thomson contender chambered in a .223 cal comes in a 14, 18 and 24" barrel lengths. The 18" would be ideal for the combat situations, Mount a lazer scope and range finder on it…and you could have a Very efficiant, durrable, and accurate man killing weapon. and since it uses .223 ammo, the same ammo is used in the M16/M4 so we wouldn't need an extra set of ammo…The weapon could replace the M9, M16 and the M4. ohh and while we are at it…get rid of the M16 style sights and go back to the traditional fixed front sight post with a v notch rear sight post to get rid of the whole sight picture problems on the M16….just my oppinion there.

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Sid February 15, 2008 at 4:51 pm

Although I personally don't perfer Glock, I have used several as a police officer since returning from Iraq in 2004. They seem to be very reliable with limited maintenance. Having been the unit armorer and having replaced way too many trigger bar springs on the M9, this is very important. I also perfer a larger round, but the widespread use of the 9mm round would be a blessing if replacing the M9 with the double stacked 9mm Glock. I believe either H&K or Glock in 9MM would be a better combat pistol than the M9.

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CPO Mike February 15, 2008 at 6:09 pm

CPO USCGR (ret.) 28 yrs.
I never liked our 1911's. They weren't very accurate and were probable relics left over from the Korean campaign. The M9 was a great improvement for the Coast Guard and shooting expert was easy. I personally own a custom Browning 1935 Hi-Power practical that's sweet to handle and shoot, but is still old school. I also own a Sig P-229 in 9mm. I've had this piece about for about 9 years now and can brace rapid fire shoot the center out of a 15 yd. target. Needless to say, I was kinda happy that the CG adopted the P229 .40 cal. I also have a Glock 23 .40 cal w/ Sig .357 bbl conversion. It's also a great shooter. My buddy's nephew is a Navy SEAL and has told me he likes the Glock too. Like and old S&W .38, you can drop in in the mud, rinse it off, and it still works.
Maybe we should all just forward this forum to the Air Force as our personal study base on actual experience and split the 5 Mil between us.
Semper Pa, Semper Fi, Go navy!

Chief Mike, USCG, USNR, USCGR, (ret.)

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Bruce Johnson February 15, 2008 at 6:21 pm

I carried both the Colt and S/W 2" 38 cal. weapons in V.N. I qualified, however, with the S/W Combat Masterpeice. As a young Airman, I had visions of shooting it out with NVA if I ever got shot down. Now I realize that probably wouldn't have been such a good idea. Six shots, then I'd have been at their mercy. Older qnd I hope somewhat wiser, I believe that the weapon carried by Airmen for survival should be one that will provide him/her with an occasional meal until rescued. Perhaps large enough for protection from a vicious animal, but not something that will stand off a squad of infantrymen. The Combat Masterpiece, in my opinion, is the best weapon for that purpose. There are newer calibers, faster actions, etc., but let's face it, a downed airman's primary interest is escape and evasion. He/she is not capable of wiping out a squad of infantrymen. To try would be to make them pay a price for his/her life. OK, why not make the six available shots count. Put my vote in for the S/W Combat Masterpiece for the downed Airman.

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Vince Warde February 15, 2008 at 6:36 pm

I'm a lifelong gun guy, former civilian paramedic and current taxpayer. Here's my 2 cents worth….

1) Someone wiser than me said that handguns don't win battles – they save lives. To do that they have to STOP people. A .22 to the chest will kill anybody – eventually. That doesn't make it a good round for a military handgun.

To stop someone, you need to produce an immediate drop in blood pressure by rupturing major blood vessels (including the heart), a solid organ (liver, spleen, etc) or you need to take out the spiral cord or brain. The later can be done with a small bullet – but dropping the BP requires a big hole. A small round – even if you hit the heart – may give the other guy plenty of time to kill you.

2) In my opinion 9mm requires an expanding bullet to be a good stopper. Without one it doesn't make a big enough hole – even with "hydrostatic shock" – to do the job. With a well designed bullet – no problem. That is why it works for cops, but is marginal as a military round where "Ball" ammo is required.

3) The .45 is a great round – for those who can handle it. Most "gun people" can – most others can't. It's diameter also limits magazine capacity.

4) The .40 S&W makes a much bigger hole than the 9mm, and is much easier to shoot than a .45.

5) MOST IMPORTANTLY THE EXISTING STOCK OF M9s CAN BE CONVERTED TO .40 S&W! The .40 S&W was designed to be built on the same frame as 9mm's. Beretta makes the same gun in .40 cal. My guess is that converting the existing stock of M9s would cost less than half the cost of replacing them with a new design. Training costs would be much, much lower than a new design – where everyone would have to be retrained, new manuals written, etc.

Again – just my .02 cents worth.

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Joe February 15, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Bill Ruger was very smart he copyed the grip angle of the 1911 when he built his 22 auto, the grip angle is the secret to point and shoot. When I was flying in VietNam I carryed the 1911 (Helo's have more room) I wanted to know that what I hit stayed down. The .40 is good but the grip angle of the 1911 needs to be the base of any replacement pistol. And one more personal requirement American made. (If we still have the machine's to do that) we need to tell the folks in the goverment we are tirde of the political correct thing and get back to being American's Which means our weapons are American made, and designed.

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Beebo February 15, 2008 at 8:59 pm

Seems to me that a lot of the discussion on handguns is almost more about personal preference and the role of the weapon envisioned by the shooter than the gun/cartridge itself. Sort of reminds me of differences in piano players…everyone goes at the keyboard a bit differently.

I think that most of the guns mentioned in the comments are decent weapons and can be effective in defensive/limited offensive use if the shooter is up to speed. Some of the loads, like the ball 9mm are not very good compared with the S&W 500 Mag, but like everything else in life there are trade offs.

My Dad came up between the world wars as an artillery man and swore all his life there was no better deal than a French 75 field gun with a well trained set of mules for winning wars! This from a guy who did design work on the XP-37 (P-40), F-100, and many others. It was what he trained on and worked with so it suited him at the time.

I like the M9 but it is not my favorite. I was in Italy when we bought it and remember all the NATO jumping up at down about the Italians buying a ton of U.S. stuff and we bought dink of their gear…so fair is fair. Not quite true, as I was killing the Sambuco Negro and Compare in those days.

Anyway, I think it is more to do with the shooter than the gun. If the shooter is up to speed odds are that he will be happier with the cigarette afterwards. No one uses a handgun if you have a choice to use anything bigger and better for the purpose anyway. And even the ideal weapon will not save your ass if you are not up to speed.

I remember one night in Nam when Bubba and Charlie both emptied magazines at each other at twenty feet in a "surpise you're there!!" scene and the rest of the fire team had to take care of Bubba's business. Bubba was not big on being prepared.

Opinions: Five Million is not too much for continued hunt for perfect military handgun for all purposes. No handgun will always save your ass…they are things of last resort. If you are attacking enemy with just handgun, you made a mistake or got behind power curve recently. I have a lot of fragments in thorax, but was never shot by enemy. I never was able to hit enemy with handgun fire that I know of for sure. I got away too fast to check results every time/both times.

My personal carry weapons vary, but I favor a S&W model 1917 in .45 ACP for concealed carry. Simple, rugged, accurate (as modified) and no safety at all to confuse me in the heat of the momment.

Good discussion. Enjoy reading the different views. Play on!

Beebo

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Johnny February 15, 2008 at 11:22 pm

The military need to sort out its gear priorities and decide on a "final gun" so to speak, at the moment there is no need to switch out any weapon that we carry, or allow the private purchase of fire arms by solders. They military spent millions of dollars creating the XM-8 which was suppose to replace the M16A4 assault rifle as our main battle rifle, it was suppose to be more reliable by removing the recycling gas operation that assists the movement of the bolt back to cycle the weapon. It also had special optics that came with, and it was modular and could be converted in several different weapons. The army has failed to realize that right now there is NO need to replace the M16/M4 rifle systems. It's debatably a GREAT rifle system and one that I would be more then confident with if and when I am in combat. It fires debatably the perfect round, its flexible and can add accessories to fix your needs in combat and it's accurate enough to be used as a sniping weapon if needed.

Now what does any of this have to do with side arms? It's quite simple they need to find that ONE great pistol and stick with it. In my opinion the M1911 was a great firearm and did not need to be replaced in the first place. In fact many reports coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan is that the soldiers fighting need more stopping power then the 9mm. My father has only ever used a .45 all his life, he served in the sheriffs' department for a long time before enlisting in the Army and in his ventures has seen several delusional, desperate, or junkie suspects take 1 or even 2 9mm rounds to the body and not break stride. However with a .45 round you acquire larger stopping power because of the larger round. But the great thing about a 9mm is that you can shoot your target 15 times and acquire the same end result. Now here's where you run into problems and the target of LARGE debate, because of the size of the round you limit the capacity of the magazine. That's why Berettas can carry 15 rounds, the trade off is power. So as a soldier or bodyguard or police officer you need to decide what is best for you? Do u need extra stopping power, penetration, magazine capacity, or recoil control? And find the weapon best suited for you.

Now as a soldier you don't really have an option you get what you get, BUT allowing the purchase of private firearms is a EXTREMELY bad idea. Here are a few reasons why, now while I agree that the purchase of private firearms would be cool you run into a few problems.
1. There is a HUGE liability issue with the gun manufacturers and the military. Ok let's look at a hypothetical situation. Private 1st class John Smith purchases… say a Kimber .45 automatic. Now while the military tests weapons they test for not only accuracy, stopping power vs. magazine size they also look at element reliability. So PVT Smith is in Iraq where sand gets every ware a soldier's worst nightmare. It is in his boots, his hat, his helmet, his eyes. It is also in his gun action which drastically effects accuracy and increases on jamming of the weapon. A dusty shell extracts slower which means its less likely to clear the ejection port before it jams. Plus when you get dust in a magazine it refuses to feed properly. You need a gun that you can bury in sand for a week and dig up and fire without issue. What if there is some kind of manufacturing defect and the gun explodes or is damaged because of poor manufacturing? That's the company's fault, now what if in a confrontation PVT smith is killed because his weapon broke, or failed to fire? Now I understand that that can happen with any weapon but military spec weapons are FAR different then civilian issue weapons. In terms of inspection and care in manufacturing. I KNOW that Colt tests EVERY M16 during the assembly process. As all M16 are hand assembled at the factory. If a weapon broke in the line of duty as a result of poor manufacturing the company and our poor soldier got killed as a result of this there is a problem now, our military just lost a soldier because of crappy craftsmanship the company that made the weapon might be at liability. What if the family sued the military for allowing him to carry a 2nd rate fire arm? ( I have nothing against kimbers I just used it as an example from what I've seen kimbers are great guns)

2. Ok assuming that PVT Smiths weapon is in perfect condition… now who is going to train him on proper use of his fire arm? Or train him on developing muscle memory when drawing or firing his weapon. We spend a great deal of time in basic training and entirely throughout our military carrier training and qualifying on a specific fire arm. The drill sergeant cant possibly spend the time to train each individual in the proper care, use and maintenance of his specific fire arm. For example there is only one way to acquire a target with a M9 and each different M9 has the same sight picture but what if you get a weapon like styers newest hand gun that has trapezoidal sights or even the colt 1911's smaller thinner sights. You create a entirely different sight picture and that makes it difficult to train your soldiers in use of his gun. Unfortunately you apply the training that u learned with a M9 and apply it to a weapon like the FN Five-seveN.

3. Lastly it creates enormous cost with either the military or the soldier. You cannot expect the military to buy, stock and be able to ship a dozen different types of ammunition to each individual soldier. What if you're carrying a FN Five-seveN which shoots a exotic 5.7x28mm miniature rifle cartridge because of its armor piercing capability? And you don't have any ammunition to use in the field? You then have a LARGE issue if you platoon doesn't have any side arm ammunition.

In my opinion our military needs to find a reliable side arm that shoots a medium sized cartridge. Like maybe the H&K USP or Glock 22 in something smaller then a .45 like say a .40 S&W. unfortunately most people can't shoot a .45 with any accuracy because of its large recoil. I have experience shooting a .40 S&W and it's a great round to use. Anyways the point is we need change… we just need to find the greatest gun we can find or develop the greatest gun and keep it. The Beretta M9 is FAR from the perfect side arm, neither is the Colt 1911. They both have their issues but when it boils down to it, it's all self interpretation on which is the best fire arm. They all have the same end result.

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A. S. February 16, 2008 at 12:05 am

Overall, good points about your basic side arm. Personally, I prefer the 1911 and always will. I've seen M9's come apart as mentioned in the article, and I've also seen the slide come off when in use. Its not a very reliable weapon. The 1911 is heavy enough to withstand the worst treatment and conditions in the BZ or long humps, and it works well enough as a blunt object to be used to cave an opponent's head shatter bones if he gets close enough to you so you can backhand him or flip and pistol whip him. Also, the really nice thing about the .45 is when you hit your target it'll pick him up and throw him back and worse–the .45 is a brutal round to get shot with. A 9mm won't do that. The main reason they went to the M9 and 9mm ammo is for two reasons: cost and the ability to utilize captured ammo. Personally, I think it was a mistake in both lines of reasoning. If it ain't broke, don't fix it–but most definitely improve upon it; replacing the 1911 with that piece of junk was the farthest thing from an improvement.

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Johnny February 16, 2008 at 12:23 am

Oh dont get me wrong im not saying the M9 is better then the 1911 im just saying that there is better guns to be found… my dad got issued a 1911 in germany in the 80's and when he shook it parts came off HA =)

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Johnny February 16, 2008 at 12:26 am

i guess the point i am making is that while the 1911 is a great gun its old and needs either a succesor thats better (not cheaper BERETTA!) or just improve on the basic design like kimber has

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Bill February 16, 2008 at 1:01 am

Why the need for a new pistol? I mean… the AIR FORCE… does most of its fighting from the AIR correct? Handguns are secondary/backup weapons. Primary weapons for the AIR FORCE should be the multi-million dollar AIR-craft they are provided with.

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Blue February 16, 2008 at 2:30 am

I used to think the same Bill, but the time I spent in Iraq I worked with Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airman on the ground. I do agree that the US military as a whole needs a new sidearm, but at this point in time I don't think it's a priority. There are plenty of other things we need more.

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Oz February 16, 2008 at 3:29 am

Chris,

You said, "There is a reason why the entire rest of the world uses 9mm. British SAS and SBS do not complain about 9mm "not being powerful enough", neither does German GSG-9, neither does the Navy SEALs, nor DELTA force."

The last two are the ones who came up for the requirements for the Mk-23, so, yes, they did complain about 9 mm.

The SAS and SBS complain, but only amongst themselves — they are prohibited by command policy and doctrine from making public comments about pretty much anything. GSG-9 is limited by law to native gun makers (but that's likely to change soon) and the German gunmakers only make 9 mm. Long story…

After Germany occupied Norway in 1939 they forced part of the Kongsburg company to convert to manufacturing copycat M1911A1's. Why? German law and policy wouldn't let them manufacture .45's (still a little pissy after the failed deal with the US earlier in that century), but Norwegian law applied to Kongsburg, so the German procurement officers could get what they wanted instead of what was made and issued in Germany. Now 70 years later that Kongsburg copy of a 1911 with a swastika stamped on the frame is one of the rarest firearms of its kind and highly sought by collectors. No, I don't own one, but I have handled one.

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Ted Dentay February 16, 2008 at 3:38 am

I am both a 'gun guy' and daily user of all arms.

All these discussions fail to really address the mission specific criteria of handgun carriage.

For example, as a writer I have had cause to consider the realities of carrying while on the job, even tho' we're not 'supposed' to be armed.

One time some years back I was interviewing some nasty guerillas in S. America who had a bad habit of kidnapping 'us'.

There was no way I was going to go unarmed but with what was the question. My .45 Combat Commander? Nope. After muchg thought I came to the copnclusion that this was going to be a last ditch -in your face- scenario. A couple of rounds to centre of body mass then cut and run. No protracted firefights. No body armour. What did I choose? The gun I could put in my pocket with my loose change and keys and ALWAYS have with me. The final choice? A Beretta 'Minx' in .22 Short. Don't need double-stacked anything. Don't need knockdown. Just a fatal distraction to let me get on with things post-haste and save my sorry ass.

So it was mission specific for me. A handgun is a last resort, by my way of thinking. Not only is it whatever works but your ability to deploy it effectively and without hesitation. i.e. be damn good with whatever you choose cos it's always bullet placement that'll save you bacon.

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****STICKS February 16, 2008 at 3:43 am

some of you should shut the **** up the only combat you seen is on cnn call of duty 4 or from the f.o.b. I know it was scary riding with SGM T.A.C. as oppsed to SGTMAJ but thats a diffrent story but grow the **** up. Lemme tell you what we used pistols for over there on o.p.'s to secure the entry way and to make kids stop throwing rocks. Lets work on getting a new rifle, **** I will even take a FN FAL but please stop talking like your john wayne or wyett ****ing erp and you have 10 kills with your beretta!!!

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IKE February 16, 2008 at 3:43 am

All,
I am an AF and IZ veteran. I carried the M9 and placed several well aimed rounds into an unwilling participant. He was still walking?!?!?!? So regardless of what you choose please make the military handgun 40cal, 10mm or 45. (I prefer 45, because if I am shooting at you I don't want you to live and I want you down in 1 shot.) After my M9 experience I got a Glock 30 sent to me….we won't talk about how…and I never carried the M9 again. Oh, the 45 cartridge does drop someone first hit, I can attest. So…just make it a 45 and save solider, sailor or Marine's life. As for the inter-service rivalries here…everyone should COOL IT! We are ALL AMERICANS and that is all that really matters! PERIOD…

For the record a 1911 or Glock in 45 would be just fine. Both are solid and reliable.

Semper Fi
IKE

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charlie February 16, 2008 at 4:58 am

i think that is a waste of tax payers money the airforce knows what they what let me get it like the marines and the other branches

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Disabled, kicked to February 16, 2008 at 6:51 am

"The U.S. Government has entrusted the U.S. Air Force with weapons that could kill the entire world within an hour 10 times over, no other branch could handle or have the lucid of mind to do it 24/7 365 for over 50 years.
Justify our existence, please no other entity could do what we do." –Joe Noplis

While we didn't have a lot of use for handguns aboard (thank God), it does appear that our Air Force friend has never heard of a Navy Ballistic Missile Submarine– which, come Armageddon (and all the USAF bases are just glowing dust) will be the only nuclear weapon systems left on the planet. Deep under the sea, where no one can find them, but they can find everyone (if anyone's left, of course).

No, Joe, when you write "no other branch could handle or have the lucid of mind to do it", I worry about your own lucidity of mind… unless you simply never heard of the US Navy.

(By the way, we have our own 'air force' as well, with constantly moving 'air bases'–carriers– making 'em harder targets for bad guys to hit, even if they don't have new carpeting. Combine that with our Marine Corps, and we cover the air, the ground, the surface of the sea and the bottom of the sea. This isn't to say that the Air Force doesn't have a function, and that they're not good at what they do. Just that they aren't as unique as friend Joe claims.)

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val sanchez February 16, 2008 at 7:17 am

I am non military as far as service goes but have great respect for all your troops, i have handled small weapons, however, am not quite clear as to what i loaded..how would i find the handgun that was used in assaulting and terrorized me? small 9

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ShopMonkey February 16, 2008 at 11:42 am

I've been apprenticing in gunsmithing for a few years and just started seeing a huge influx of the Springfield XD series pistols. I picked up an XD9 and and XD40 in OD green as well.

I know they come in .45ACP, .40SW, 9mm, and .357 Sig in 5" Tactical, 4" service, 4" compact, and 3" subcompact sizes with a trigger block and grip safety, and no external hammer (DA/SA)

In 3 years of gunsmithing, I think my preference is for Springfield's and Sig's as far as ease of maintenance and weight.

Any comments on the possibility of seeing them put into service?

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Neal Jefferis February 16, 2008 at 5:15 pm

You have a hard time beating a good ol’ 1911-A1. Points to consider:
* Documented knock down power of the .45 ACP. Along with the .357 Magnum, a long strong history of one-shot stops.
* Documented history of success in combat. Pick up a book on Congressional Medal of Honor winners. Almost every CMOH account from WW I to Viet Nam that includes a military member, armed with a pistol and having to stop the enemy, reflects on the heritage and effectiveness of the John Browning design: 1911 and it’s follow-on of 1926, the 1911-A1.
* Modern selection of a side arm by organizations such as LA’s SWAT (and replacements) show that people who need a round they can depend on depend on a .45ACP.

The only reason the M9 was chosen as the Army’s standard side arm to replace the 1911-A1′s was $$$ and standardization with NATO. NATO followed the US’s lead in rifle calibers; the US therefore followed the lead of our Allies in adopting a 9mm round for logistical ease in case of the big, all-out war in Europe.

Bring back my 1911-A1 and .45ACP. (Oh, by the way, I am a retired Navy Gunnery and Weapons Officer who learned to trust the 1911-A1 in the service, qualified Expert with a 1911-A1, and is now an NRA instructor and a Range Safety Officer who wears one on the job … along with the retired USMC LCOL and several others at the range.)

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Aaron England February 16, 2008 at 12:54 pm

One thing I have learned about the 9mm pistol is that it is a great "Chow Hall Weapon" for the Marine corps. If you don't want to take your M16, take the 9mm. It is under powered, needs to be retired from military service, and replaced with a heavier caliber hand gun.

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Marine Grunt LCpl February 16, 2008 at 1:00 pm

this is coming from a Marine, who obviously (at least according to the AF dude) can barely tie his own combats and only speaks in loud harsh noises unrecognizable as words…
I know everyone has already said everything, but what I haven't seen except for "joe noplis" or whatever the chairforcers name was, is that the AF knows it is no longer as "required" as it once was, ergo it is putting itself out there in a combat way just to say "hey, we can run with the big dogs too!" Now don't get me wrong, I've got friends in all branches, and there are good and bad in them all, but just face it, the idea of the airforce wanting any millions of dollars to talk about small arms when I'm still using a bleeping m16 (and no I don't give a mouse's mule whether it is an a1 a2 a4 m4 or any other variant) give me something with knockdown, in both rifle and handgun. I don't know about the other services, but I'm a Marine and a grunt so I KNOW I can hit what I point at, if you think you need a bigger mag 'cause you might miss or 'cause the first shot (or maybe two) doesn't do the job – your weapon is WRONG.

what it boils down to is the same issues as our body armor, even the guy that invented it says it is obsolete, however we are still using it. Why? your guess, but there are some retired generals on the board of the company that gives us that wonderful, heavy, unwieldy, bulky, hard to move your arms to get to your ammo, armor called interceptor that we wear.

I guess I'm just griping now, but the whole point is moot anyway, the AF (as a whole, don't get your knickers in a twist) needs to research a sidearm like I need to carry an accordion into combat!

let's just go for a 6.5 or 6.8 something along those lines, for rifle, and 45 or something comparable in a handgun, recoil shouldn't be an issue, I'm sorry and it's gonna sound sexist, but most of the upfront combat and therefore fighting and dying is done by members of the XY chromosomed, ergo give us a weapon a man can use, maybe you can find a smaller vs for the women. anyhow, you probably aren't going to be using this sidearm for extended periods so should be able to suck it up for the time you are using it- it might save your life…
oh and by the by, I will put my scores up against any af-ers, I joined the grunts because that is what I WANTED, I could have joined any other branch and maxed out there bonus on ANY job (even pushing pencils in the af or working with nukes in the *dramatic pause* navy lol. hey we all work for the same goal, some of us just work harder at that goal… oorah Semper Fidelis USMC 0311's

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Chris February 16, 2008 at 1:01 pm

I keep posting the same damn information because no one seems to take notice. The vast majority of you are civilians with no combat experience let alone killed someone with a handgun. As for all the veterans, I thank and honor you for your service but there is always going to be someone more experienced and trained. My instructor has killed more people than many of you will kill in a life time. Of course "triple-tap" does not gaurantee a kill, that wasn't the point. The point was that you keep shooting him until he goes down and a .45 will not do any better than a 9mm at doing that. Take notice from someone who actually knows what the hell they're talking about. You people talk about knockdown power and you cant even figure out that it doesn't exist in pistol calibers. You think that if you shoot someone with a .45 then he's going to fly back into a wall. The concept of a combat handgun is not to take the biggest pistol you can hold strait into a fight. You will get yourself killed bringing a .500 S&W into a gunfight. As an all around tactical caliber, the 9mm is the best. And again I'm not against the 45. I'm just against the misconception that many of you have that the .45 is the ballsey caliber and the 9mm is the "miniskirt caliber" and that the 9mm isnt powerful 'nough and "won't do anything". I believe in what works for YOU. Many people I've seen that think they can shoot the .45 effectively are not able to do so in a combat scenario. I own many .45s myself and I can shoot them effectively but I would not use them as my first choice for a combat handgun. The 10mm actually has double the energy of a .45 and better ballistics so if you can go bigger then go to a 10mm. But be sure to take a gun class and learn to shoot it properly.

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Crypy Commander February 16, 2008 at 1:04 pm

Have carried a .45ACP Colt combat commander for years.
No complaints; it is mission capable. It's not star wars, but we ain't there yet.
The only thing that the Department of Defense is highly seems to be proficient in accomplishing is throwing away money and lives with procrastination. Since todays armed forces are Joint, the Joint Chiefs need to conduct a 10 day or less study and make a Joint "reality" decision. Use the 5mil to buy hardened vehicles for our brother & sisters in arms and harms way.

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Chris February 16, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Oz, that is incorrect. Britishg SBS and SAS do not complain because the one who instructed me and gave me the information that I'm trying to convay to you is SBS. The rest of the world laughs at us because we are so caught up in hollywood with our "big gun" mentality that most of us are blind to facts and ballistic data. Navy SEALs and Delta use whatever they want but most of the Navy SEALs use their Sig 226 9mms while Delta seems to prefer either a Glock or a sig and yes some do employ a 1911. The SEALs were the ones who asked for the SOCOM but they were also the ones who rejected it….

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Neal Jefferis February 16, 2008 at 1:15 pm

You have a hard time beating a good ol' 1911-A1. Points to consider:
* Documented knock down power of the .45 ACP. Along with the .357 Magnum, a long strong history of one-shot stops.
* Documented history of success in combat. Pick up a book on Congressional Medal of Honor winners. Almost every CMOH account from WW I to Viet Nam that includes a military member, armed with a pistol and having to stop the enemy, reflects on the heritage and effectiveness of the John Browning design: 1911 and it's follow-on of 1926, the 1911-A1.
* Modern selection of a side arm by organizations such as LA's SWAT (and replacements) show that people who need a round they can depend on depend on a .45ACP.

The only reason the M9 was chosen as the Army's standard side arm to replace the 1911-A1's was $$$ and standardization with NATO. NATO followed the US's lead in rifle calibers; the US therefore followed the lead of our Allies in adopting a 9mm round for logistical ease in case of the big, all-out war in Europe.

Bring back my 1911-A1 and .45ACP. (Oh, by the way, I am a retired Navy Gunnery and Weapons Officer who learned to trust the 1911-A1 in the service, qualified Expert with a 1911-A1, and is now an NRA instructor and a Range Safety Officer who wears one on the job … along with the retired USMC LCOL and several others at the range.)

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Chris February 16, 2008 at 1:17 pm

I do agree with all of you that the M9 is a terrible gun. The 9mm however is the best all around combat caliber. We need a better gun that shoots 9mm and we will see the results. The M9 came in dead last place in the DOD handgun trials. Here's the story: Berretta was going to buy Colt and the military didn't want it's number one firearm manufacturer to be owned by a foreign company, so they made a deal with Berretta by adopting their M9. The worst decision made by DOD. They should go to a Glock 34 or a Sig 226 9mm and you will see results.

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Bradley February 16, 2008 at 1:22 pm

I was the Test Officer for the Compact 9MM project to replace the snubby .38 in the early 90s for DOD at the Army MP School. We had complete cooperation from the Army and Navy to include sending CID and NIS personnel to Benning to test fire the available weapons. It's a long story but the Air Force declined to participate in the project. The result of our data was the procurement of the Sig Saur compact 9mm. Things never change!

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Chris February 16, 2008 at 1:22 pm

No I don't have a hard time at all. You are completely basing your argument on emotion and no facts. You're argument is to keep the 1911 .45 in service because its old and it's a tradition of "being American". The .45 does not have a long history of one "shot stops". The .45 was the only thing US GIs had so they made good use of them. I gaurantee that they would be much happier with a 9mm. Stop blindly following a "tradition" without seeing the facts and the reason.

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TDGARRY February 16, 2008 at 3:53 pm

A full metal jacket 9 mm is not a hydra shok or a silvertip 9 mm. Yes a hollow point 9 mm is effective, but we are not allowed to deploy these rounds as per the Geneva Convention. I thought the Geneva Convention banned shotguns, but we are deploying them.

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TDGARRY February 16, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Also, the really nice thing about the .45 is when you hit your target it'll pick him up and throw him back and worse–the .45 is a brutal round to get shot with.

I am a .45 guy, but in order for a bullet to pick some one up and throw him back it would have to have the same recoil because according to Newtons laws "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." I have seen people hit with rifled slugs and they just go down, not thrown back.

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Daniel P. Carstens February 16, 2008 at 6:57 pm

I believe in the 1911-A1, .45 ACP and would state my life on one if I had too. While serving in Seoul Korea at Camp Yonsan years ago as an Army Civilian GS-11 Government employee.
I came across a sign marker on this hill at the camp telling a story about this infantryman nicknamed scooter in the Korean War who took out two North Korean machine gun nests on this very hill with either the 1911 or the 1911-A1, plus other North Korean infantrymen around that hill before being wounded. He won the Congressional Medal of Honor and did it with the stopping power of the 1911 .45 ACP.

The 1911 has been given a bad wrap because the U.S. Government never requested new orders for the weapon which was used in WWI, WWII, Korean War, and the Vietnam War (my war exposure). Many of the same guns left over from WWI and WWII, although worn out, were used again and again in Korea and Vietnam without any servicable parts being replaced. This is why used .45s got a lot of blame for not being accurate when shot or jam when trying to shoot. If your unit gets the 1911 A1 or A2(s), demand that they are newly manufactured guns and not something left over from WWII or Korea. Thank you!

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Ray Woodruff February 17, 2008 at 3:15 am

Handguns are for one thing "up close and personal". After 20 years in the Air Force and the past 14 years as a police officer, 4 of those as a K9 handler, one thing has remained the same, no body likes change. I too didn't like the Glock. After my department issued the Glock in the 40 S&W, I fell in love with it. I have fired thousands of rounds through it, as have the other 250 members of my department, without any major malfunctions. As far as the safety system, keep your finger off the trigger and it won't fire! As I said before, handguns are for upclose and personal. I have carried an AR-15 in my vehicle religiously ever since the N Hollywood shootout and have deployed it countless times. I put my life behind those 2 weapons everyday and I have NO doubt that I am better equiped than the dirtbags I deal with everyday.

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Al February 17, 2008 at 7:33 am

Let me throw in a 2-cent argument since everyone else has covered the map on this issue. Yes, we all like to think that exploring a new hand weapon is money better spent on more defensive protection gear and better benefits for the troops. But consider this – all the ballyhoo over .45, 9mm, etc. overlooks the fact that just about every serious weapon in the hands of military and civilians today has the results of military research dollars to thank.
Yes, it was the many developments of John Browning, John Garand, and all the other names I can't think of right now that gave us the venerable (even if "old") designs that we still debate about today. And why did they design these weapon systems? The military had a need and they answered the call for something new and better (to sell, of course). If the military decision makers had not spent money for new weapons (even if only to give the edge to their troops over their enemies) this whole debate would still be centered around the venerable Brown Bess vs the Sharps, whether the .50 Minnie Ball is superior to the .54 round lead, and is 3feet the best length for bayonets.
Most every handgun, rifle, helmet, flack vest, body armor, boot, cammos, tank, humvee, and fighter jet is here today for us to debate over because somebody asked for something completely different to be developed. The civilian market is highly attuned to where people will put their dollars. But unless the police or military forces lead the way to new things, few companies will invest time and money into unproven designs and will continue to sell only what sells.
Also, most of the civilian community follows the military and police as "the experts" when it comes choosing weaponry. So debate away – it's your civil right to have an opinion – bought and paid for by our military troops and police officers who deserve the best, newest and most effective systems our research dollars came come up with.

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Corey S. February 17, 2008 at 8:43 am

The bottom line is that sidearms should not be an issue, period. If you have to draw a sidearm in combat, its already too late. You screwed up and didn't do your freakin job to begin with. Your RIFLE is gonna save your life, not an underpowered "last resort" pistol. The real emphasis should be on improving the deployment and functionality of the M4 and the M16, not crying about pistols!

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salty February 17, 2008 at 9:56 am

My take on Pistols:
1) For the Military, pistols are a secondary weapon. When your primary weapon doesn't work, wip our your pistol
2) While my only modern pistol is a a P38 that shoots 9mm, my next gun will be 40S&W.
3) Don't like Browning Tilting barrel found in most pistols today, so next pistol will have either Walther dropping block or Cougar rotating action. The tilting barrel causes force moments that reduce accuracy and require longer to bring the gun back on target.
4) want a heavy all metal gun.
This makes it durable and weight reduces recoil effects
5) long barrels reduce recoil and increase accuracy.
6) Exposed hammer is a must, so one can thumb it back
7) double and single action for speed and accuracy depending on the time you have.
8) a load indicator in the back (like the P38) not on the side
9) captive springs so you don't have to search for parts
when you screw up when field stripping. (a real downer is the browning tilting barrel action's pin that has to be removed to field strip, just another small part to loose in the field.

Ultimately the military needs to standardize on cartridge and let the individuals buy their own guns. If someone wants a plastic Glock because it doesn't weigh them down, let them have it.

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Keith February 17, 2008 at 11:00 am

I have fired the 1911, the M9, the SIG229, and the SOCOM. Out of all of these weapons the SIG229 seems the best, but it doesn't make for a field sidearm. As a primary carry weapon, it is an excellent pistol.

For field operations I chose an HK USP tactical .45ACP. I can attach an silencer, they make a thread protector for it if you smack your barrel around alot, and it fit 12 rounds, with a proper saftey in an SA/DA design. Plus it has removable/adjustable sights. By far the best .45 pistol I have fired, with the exception of one thing. If you are not firing full metal jacketed rounds it tends to shave off the lead which jams the weapon. Pull the slide the rest of the way forward and she will still fire accurately, but even the manual says do not fire lead ball. Gee I wonder why. But, on the plus side; Geneva-convention states the military will use FMJ ball ammo anyway, so its a moot point. By the way; FMJ hollow point 180-grain ammo works just fine, in the USP; it just HAS to be FMJ. My one suggestion is the HK tactical rail on the bottom, just make it a picadilly type like on everone elses pistol and it would be fine. The HK propiatary type limits the accesory options. bad Hecklor bad Hecklor!!

As far as .9mm go; I like the extereme reliability and acuracy in the CZ-p01 compact. What a suprize this compact was. $400 and a copy of russian design and that little pistol is the equivalent of the AK47. You could take a baseball bat to drive this thing in the mud, and the CZ -P01 will still fire with accuracy. Best thing is its AK-cheap.

For the airforce I would go with the USP however; pilots could use the silencer when shot down. Too often its 400-1 odds for a downed pilot. Silence and stealth during retreat is golden when trying to stay alive. Plus, its COTS…the draw back is price, but whats $1000 for a sidearm, when your flying a $14,000,000 plane. Just put the damn thing on a thigh-holster and there is your field pistol.

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steve p February 17, 2008 at 11:16 am

I have 21 yrs in and sum change, marines, army, and air force
Each branch is needed ,and for diferent reasons.
All branches has its cry babys and its scates.
Each branch has there own rules that make the mind set for each branch.
There is a time to think, A time to act. AND a time to just kick but.
There u are like a bug in a jar no mater where u go there you are.

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John February 17, 2008 at 1:22 pm

First, if we were not smart, we would not be entrusted with guarding embassies, and most importantly we would not be where we are today. But the most important thing is that if we become our own branch, then we'd lose our flavor. We rely on the Navy for transport and other support functions. Consider this: Arty is the king of battle, but the king can't swim. That's where the Navy comes in. If we went solo things would get more complicated, we'd probably increase in size and then we'd lose our uniqueness. We would not be an elite anymore. We'd be more like the Army. We could also lose our perpetual state of readiness. That would be bad, because the Navy-Marine Corps team can get anywhere in the world within 96 hrs. If you can recall the saying; Speak softly and remember that you have the biggest stick in the world. Well, we are the stick. And one more thing; MANY PRESIDENTS HAVE TRIED TO DISSOLVE THE MARINE CORPS. However, we exist because the american people want us, they do not need us. That was the general consensus until recently (the fall of communism). We had to justify our existence to the american people. But oh, how things have changed. Now it's the Air Force, Army and Navy that have to justify their existence to the american people. The beauty of it is, that these organizations do not make sense to their leaders as well. They don't have a well defined mission. They are trying to change and copy us. By the way, we still do what we have done for over two centuries. I know you will come up with something to say, especially about the fact that the Air Force has to justify its existence and the Marines don't, so let me point out recruiting numbers. Most americans hate the war in Iraq. As a result, recruiting numbers have gone down and the military could not meet its quota. The marines have always met their quota. We were turning people away, even when we were expanding by 1,000 more marines. The people we turned away, went right next door to the Air Force recruiter. Now that's got to hurt. Well, there's a little service rivalry for you. Don't mess with the marines, unless you are one. Because as everyone knows there are only two groups of people who have a firsthand knowledge of the marines; the marines themselves and the enemy. Everyone else has a secondhand opinion. Semper Fi.

Marine………I have protected Air Force One and four Presidents, three joint commands in my Air Force career.
I was in charge of Marines, Sailors and Soldiers, the U.S. Marines have there purpose, for instance if you tell a Marine to take a hill, he will say yes sir and attempt to take it at all costs, I respect the U.S. Marines but……in my years of experience supervising all four branch's I would rather have a thinker than a military man who just says yes sir for the sake of saying yes. A troop who thinks will get the job done and not take chances just because he has been told he is invincible.
The U.S. Government has entrusted the U.S. Air Force with weapons that could kill the entire world within an hour 10 times over, no other branch could handle or have the lucid of mind to do it 24/7 365 for over 50 years.
Justify our existence, please no other entity could do what we do…..we are self assured in who we are, we don't have to look over our shoulders………..ever!
The U.S. Marines as you know are a small branch and the others are much larger, I was a recruiter for 6 years, we only took the top 12% of High School seniors, our man count was four recruits a month, we always had that met three four months in advance (on average).
I came in the Air Force in 1984, when I was 18 I went to the recruiter row in Pensacola every day at different times for two weeks, the Air Force recruiter was never there, but guess who was always standing out side? You guessed it a Marine and a Soldier, telling me how great there branch was and why is that you my or may not wonder, the Navy and Air Force recruiters had already met there man count and were playing golf.
"recruiting numbers have gone down and the military could not meet its quota."
The Air Force has always……….yes for the last 50 years met its man count.

Getting back to the original issues-
The Air Force does live better, it's just the way we conduct business and the U.S. Government takes care of its favorite sons.
I'm a civilian now and live in Tampa, I work as a Law Enforcement Officer, I'm a Sgt and have 8 LEO's that work directly for me, 6 of the 8 are prior service, I have two problem children, guess what they are both former Marines.
They both are retired and have had an issue with adapting and leaving the Marines behind; I receive at a minimum two calls per month from citizens complaining about harassment or excessive force from them.
The other 6 maybe one or two a year.

I'm just stating the facts.
BTW…..The Glock .40 is the way the Military should go!

Semper Fi my friend.

DUDE GET REAL the Air Force is the puppet of the US Army when the shit hits the fan! Don't forget "U.S. Army Air Corps" The name has changed but the Army Generals at the Pentagon still call the battlefield shots, and ultimately control the Air Force! SMILE!

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Jeager February 17, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Warning!
Remember: it's the Air Force who decided on the M-16!

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KCH February 17, 2008 at 2:49 pm

I would not leave it to the Air Force to do the research for the next small arm of the millitary. No offense fly fly boys/gals. We have special forces all over the place find out what they want and let them have it. Ask the Marines and Grunts in the desert and find out what they want and provide it. The problem is, is that the people who make the decision that affect the majority of the millitary are sitting in an office somewhere getting advised by someone else in a office somewhere else and so on down the COC. Since when did budget become more important than personnel? Armour, Weapons, Bullets, no questions asked give them what they need to do what needs to be done so they can come home. Why doesnt the US Military learn from local law enforcement. Who most of have gone back to the .45 or gone to a .40. In the military an over whelming theme is learn for others mistakes and dont repeat them they should follow their own advise and follow suit and get rid of the M9 and devolope a new 7.62 long range weapon to replace the M-16

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Anonymous February 17, 2008 at 3:40 pm

Does anyone think it would be possible to develop a handgun where you only need 1 frame/receiver combination and just change out the barrels and magazine for a different caliber?

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Dave February 17, 2008 at 4:06 pm

Chris you need to do your homework as to why the .45acp Cartridge was developed in the first place. While I'm not a huge .45acp fan it can not be ignored that it has one of the best "one stop shot" records of any pistol cartridge in history. If memory serves me correctly it has around 96% or 97% one stop rate in police records and it's only behind the .357mag by about 1%. That's one heck of a record not to mention a very long and successful military history.
I don't think the military should use it as their standard pistol cartridge but you simply can't say that people are simply " blindly following a ""tradition"" without seeing the facts and the reason" in it's support.

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PFC Bell February 17, 2008 at 7:24 pm

i see alot of people on here pushing the glock. while it is an excellent fire-arm. it lacks sufficient safety mechanisms. the springfield XD line is just as tough and reliable as the glock, if not more so, it comes in the 45acp, 9mm, and 40s/w it can hold up to 17 rounds depending on model and caliber. and it has a dependable safety. the XD should be the next line of service pistols for the Army.

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BPW February 18, 2008 at 1:40 am

A lot of you like Glocks. I once fired about 5 mags through one, the Glock dealer provided me with a large magnet to go retrieve the front site. It may have it's purpose, but not for me. I have 40 months boots on the ground in a combat zone. If you gotta pull a side arm to defend yourself, your in a bad way already. Let's not add to it. If you got a bullet through one part of your body, normally most your attention is drawn to that area. I don't want to have to think, I want to do as little as possible to shoot the guy that just shot me. Pull, safety off, pull the trigger. If you make the .45 ACP, 1911A1 with a double action, I can shoot through the car door instead of watching the 9mm put dents in it. 9mm will keep his head down, but some just are afraid of a 9mm at most than 50 feet.

Double action .45 ACP Colt or SW… way to go. Yep… all ARMY.

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Paul February 18, 2008 at 2:03 am

First off, thanks for your service. I am grateful that I live in a country where men and women will selflessly give of themselves in defense of others and the protection of our freedoms.

and Thanks for an informative and entertaining post. But, I'd just like to point out a few "typos" that I hope you can correct:

Automatic or revolver? Yes, it seems a bit antiquated to ask the question, but it's as good a place as any to start. In terms of sheer reliability I would THING [I think you mean "THINK" here] there would be nothing more reliable than a revolver. Up until the introduction of the M9 in fact, aviators were still issued a .38 revolver. They were small, easy to operate, and very reliable. On the down side however, I would think that, unless you trained regularly with one, reloading one under combat conditions would be something of a disaster waiting to happen (I have visions of Stanley Baker as Lt. Chard in Zulu trying to reload his revolver with shaking hands) but the same could be said of any weapon I suppose.

Then there's:

If tankers really needed a "bail out" gun, and there is a compelling argument for such a need, especially with all the urban action going on (though seriously, unless the tank's on fire, you've lost turret power, none of your MG's work, or YOUR ["YOUR" is possessive. "YOU ARE" or "YOU'RE" is what you mean here.] stuck in front of an enemy ATGM factory, you are generally safer inside the tank than outside) there are plenty to choose from.

Nit-picky? Maybe. But I'm a writer by trade. And minor flaws like that mar an otherwise very fine presentation.

Again, thanks.

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E. Myers February 18, 2008 at 7:17 am

I concurr. 5 Mil to figure out….Rubbish! Off the shelf top grade stuff already there for the pickin'. Grow up boys and adapt.

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Scott February 18, 2008 at 9:14 am

Chris,

I'd like to take on a couple of your statements. (bullet date taken straight from the Corbon webpage and is for +P ammo)

"The .45 cartarige is a very impractical and ineffective cartarige for combat use. It travels at a sub-sonic speed and the energy difference between it and the 9mm is less than 30 ft pounds."

*True and false. If you compare a 115gr 9mm (450ftlbs) and a 230gr .45ACP (461ftlbs), then you're right. What no one has brought up is that there are lighter .45ACP bullets out there. A .45 with a 165gr bullet at 1250fps = 573ftlbs which is a big difference. If that bullet is too light, jump up the 185gr @ 1150fps and 543ftlbs. That's still nearly 100ftlbs more than the 9mm.

"The 10mm actually has double the energy of a .45 and better ballistics so if you can go bigger then go to a 10mm."

*Wrong. A 10mm and a .45 both fire the 165gr bullet at the same muzzle velocity, so therefore the energy would be the same.

As for the choice of firearm, IMHO there are two types of pistols…1911s and everything else. I spent 6 years in the Marine Corps (0331) and carried a pistol for about 4 of those years. I won't argue that the 1911s we had were all worn out, they were ancient. The oldest one in my BN was made in 1917!! A modern 1911 like a Kimber would be an excellent choice. I also had the opportunity to carry a S&W M19 (.357) while on Embassy Duty and I found that a fine weapon as well. I wouldn't have a problem going into combat with the M19 on my hip.

I am a gun aficionado and have owned 2 Glocks (19 and 21) and a HK USP40…and have sold all of them. They were OK, but never felt right in my hand. I still own 3 1911s and a P38, and would choose the 1911 every time. First choice: issue 1911s and maybe 185gr bullets and you have a much better platform than the M9 or any other 9mm.

Regardless of what is issued, proper training is mandatory. A trip to the pistol range once a year isn't enough. We should spend much more time training the people that carry them, and more often than once a year.

As many have posted, the real question is why the AF needs to spend $5 million to decide what they need. That's just insane.

Semper Fi
Scott

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angelo February 18, 2008 at 10:16 am

Time after time this issue has come up over the years. And everytime in comparison tests there is but one round that is at the top of the list or in the top two and that is the 45ACP. I will not argue specs, because Scott already has and Scott is correct. Use the proper bullet and load for the circumstance and stick with the best all around close quarters combat weapon/round ever made; the 1911 45ACP (or clones). If you are stuck with FMJ and Generic load you are definetly screwed with a 9MM.
My Kimber Combat Custom, my Kimber Custom and my Colt has "never" stove piped and I can count the malfunctions with one finger and that was on the Colt and each has seen thousand of rounds.I own pistols in about every pistol caliber and some LR calibers my carry weapon will always be a 45 ACP.Once you go 1911 (or clone) you won't go back.

God BLess, Semper Fi,
Angelo.

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bill February 18, 2008 at 11:37 am

In combat 8 months in Hobo Woods, Boloi Woods, cambodian border. Some hand to hand. Pistol inconvenient. Different ammo another piece of equipment to tote and maintain. took to carrying 21 mags for m16, along with frags, radio, rations. AND the rifle makes a good club.

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Eric Belisle February 18, 2008 at 12:48 pm

For all you 1911 fans. Enjoy that age old gun and hope you love driving your gas guzzler. 1911 is old, less reliable then modern 9mm & 40S/W. The 1911 is a nice defensive pistol but is no longer a viable combat pistol. Bullet tech has advanced so far in the past 10-15yrs that 45 is no longer viable for combat. I have shoot and killed people with both 9mm and 40S/W. If the new combat handgun is going to be a 45 then it has to be double stack which equal big and bulky. Single stacks suck and seeing that most of you nimrods miss 80% of the time having more ammo is the key. That is a fact! Lets talk about money, Glock, S/W, Sig and Springfield field great polymer pistols. They area reliable and easy to fix, repair and clean. Polymer is here to stay. The 1911 single stack is nice if your defending your self at home but its no longer a combat handgun. Stop living in the past and embrace the better plastic guns. You will never satisfy everyone and the new pistols of today meet most of the demands needed.
By the way I been shot with a 45 1911 and it sucked but I killed the guy with my 9mm Glock. If you think 45 is better then 9mm, let me shoot you with a 9mm, then tell me how sucky they are! haha
By the way, keep thinking the Marines are the best but Rangers always lead the way! Only thing I like about Marines is they keep using old Army S&$% and it nice to see my old crap found a home! haha

Eric

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Eric Belisle February 18, 2008 at 1:05 pm

By the way… If you cant shoot a Glock,Sig or XD that same as a 1911 then you SUCK as a real shooter. Stop blaming the firearm and relized you are not a shooter just a winer. Are you the guy to compain if your AR goes bad and you pick up an AK and cant protect your brother/sisters warriors! Adjust fire and see the problem lies with you not the gun. This is the reason we have the old m9's and cant get new stuff. Too much complaining about the firearm not idiot shooter.
Buy the way, I like Glock 35's and Sig 229's in 40S/W. I shoot them both the just as well.. I personnaly carry a Glock 26(9mm) for self defense. If killing is the final grade in combat and self defense. I WIN!! Its not because of the type of gun I was using.
Lets drop the old and embrace the new. Lets get a new combat pistol that meets the needs of our warriors not the single mided ideas of the few. If the AirForce has 5 million to spend on research, who is it going to hurt. Lets just get a dam new pistol to our troops now. I will be in Iraq this June and I would love to get a new combat pistol. I wont bitch, I will defend my fellow warriors and defend my country no matter what I have. I will take the time to train to be better then you and the enemy.. Thats what it is all about..
Stay safe brothers… See ya on the objective..
Eric

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Ken Harrington February 18, 2008 at 4:41 pm

first of all i'd like to say that I read your artical and then bypassed all those whom had any kind of retort. as both a former Marine and combat vet 9plus years 0321 and 0351 I think it't a crime to disband the Force Recon!!!!, and as large fan of pistol sports. I most remind people that a good pistol is almost always 2nd most to a good knife in most combat situations. I know this will upset people but truth be told the only time I shoot some one with a pistol was because I made a dedicatated effort to use my handgun VS my rifle in close range. even choked up a rifle in wil almost alway out perform a handgun. ps i've also clugged the shit out of bad guy with my old m-16a2 and the extra leverage of a rife vs pitol is mote.
RS K.R.Harrington
I also keep a loaded handgun and home, but it's secondary to a Supet 90 shot gun.

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Rob February 18, 2008 at 7:58 pm

Well this certainly sirred up what is really an old argument. It is exactly the same arguments that were put forth back when the military decided to go with the 9mm over the 1911 many years ago. 1911 is more durable and much better stopping power, 9mm allows a high volumne of fire. I go with reliabilty any day. There's been too many reports of 9mm failing with bad clips, etc. But this doesn't require a new "study". Many excellent different 1911's copies are out there. Lastly, the main reason there aren't more elaborate sights on the combat sidearm was that it was a tradeoff on not getting sights caught up in a holster when trying to draw during a crisis.

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Rod February 18, 2008 at 8:38 pm

Air Force's $90 million request for new pistols getting nixed and instead they were granted $5 million to "study" joint combat pistol
NOTE : When someone Get's
Their Head out of there Behind..Do you know How many Glock 40. cal they can Buy !!! Also the Glock is like an "AK-47" it will go "Bang" everytime when needed !

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bhodie February 19, 2008 at 12:30 am

Chow Hall Weapon – that's rich

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Kook February 19, 2008 at 3:29 am

As a soldier and veteran police officer, I have seen numerous people killed with small knives and many survive after being shot in the head and torso with a 9mm. Think this comes down to being profficient with what you have. BUT; using a caliber of .4 or greater is more "forgiving" of bad shot placement.

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USMCguy February 19, 2008 at 3:38 am

Shot an Iraqi with my 9. He was as dead as the ones I shot with my M-16. It took one round. You guys that are saying it takes two an three rounds……where you guys hitting?

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TOCRat February 19, 2008 at 4:26 am

Hmmm Same old points of view. Everyone is different, we all have different body types, we all have different talents and levels of skill as well as job duties. The PDW/sidearm w/e you want to call it, isn't going to be perfect for everyone. It's not going to fit everyone's hand, it's not going to fit everyone's feel for kick or aimpoints. In fact as I sit at this keyboard and type, I'm thinking, "Damn, I wish this keyboard were bigger. It's hard to type on these tiny keys." That's just the reality of being part of a large entity.

I have a Beretta 92. I like the feel, I like the kick, I like the sights. I like the fact that I can shoot and shoot and shoot before having to reload. I also like that i can go to the store and buy 50 9mm rnds for the price of 20 .45 rnds. That's nice. However, in combat, I would want a more sturdy frame and a slimmer fit, one like the 1911.

So the debate: The M9 vs the 1911 vs the entire gun market. I think first the DoD needs to decide on a standard ammo type. More of the worlds armies use 9mm ammunition for PDW (both pistols and submachine guns). One reason that we switched to the M9 was due to this fact.

Police weapon VS military weapons is an invalid argument: Yes, there are better weapons and better ammos. New equpiment is coming out all the time. But the military doesn't have the same flexibility that a police department has (I detest the use of police weapons as examples for a discussion about military weapons). The US Military is not the Puxatony PD. A cop can go down to his local gun store and purchase a department approved sidearm. He can teach himself how to care for it or send it to a gunsmith for maint. or customize and so on. When the cop retires, he can put his sidearm in a cute little box and give it to his grandson when he joins the force…

There is the issue of ammunition. A police officer can carry a loaded gun and two mags on his belt, and 99% of the time that's more than enough ammunition. So the use of 10mm or .40 can be viewed as appropriate. Uncommon ammunition like this, in my humble opinion, has no place in today's military.

Uniformity… anyone ever learn that word in the military? The military issues firearms to several thousand troops in the blink of an eye. Now, there has to be a standardization for instruction, use and maintenance. And when a soldier no longer uses that weapon, it is passed on to the next new troop until the S4 deems the weapon is longer serviceable. I can walk into a new unit, get my M4, set my sights 7 clicks to the left and 2 down from battle sight zero and I'm ready to qualify. The use of personal weapons, though I do not disapprove is not a good idea. I would have loved to been able to take my personal weapons with my to the desert, but I see the reasons why this is a bad idea – there are safety/maintenance and an overall logistical nightmare… "Hey Sarg! Can you order me some .454 ammo for my gun…" No… sorry bad idea. When people use a weapon, they become familiar with it, the feel, the kick, the problems, the strengths… If you are not thoroughly training and comfortable with the standard weapon … you're going to have problems. Some might say "let them bring their own weapon, it's not my problem." Well, it is. The moment that individual is in a foxhole next to you with grandpa's squirrel rifle, duct taped together because he can "take the wing off a fly at 200 yards" with it. I'll leave that one where it is, I'm sure you can see where it's going.

In combat, you have a limited supply of ammunition; don't make it worse by training yourself through and through on a weapon that using an ammo-type that you have to special order. If I'm out and I've got a .338 Lapua sniper rifle, with a SOCOM and a UMP subgun… Oh, yeah! I'm the man. You could probably use the imagery for a super cool Hollywood action flick … until I run out of ammo. On the other hand, let's say there's a Joint Operation and I'm sent off to work with the Brits, my M4 can use their Enfield ammo, my M24 can use the same ammo as their L96A1, my PDW can use the same ammo as their PDW. 9mm is simply a more accessible round as is the 5.56N and the 7.62N.

I'm not discounting the need for special weapons/ammunition for specific mission oriented tasks. I see the biggest problem with arming our troops today is the "Army of One" mentality. So, many want special treatment and attention. The weapon you carry is NOT supposed to be a status symbol.

We are better than that. We're the military of the most powerful nation in the world. Everyone in this military has a job to do, and we should have the appropriate tools to do the job. However we must also recognize that we are a team – unto ourselves and part of a coalition of other nations' militaries. So, as long as our military continues to ally ourselves with other nations armies and work with them, we need to, at the very least, maintain an ammunition standard. The firearm itself is 2nd to that. Give a soldier a Ruger 10/22 and a fire-poker and he'll complete the mission.

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GARY OKUPANT February 19, 2008 at 5:25 am

I recommended (20) years ago to ordinance(US Army) to update the 1911 to 38 super. Just change the slide and barrel. Ballistics almost the same. Flat trajectory and penetration power over a longer distance. The side arm should not only terminate w/one shot, but most of all, NOT ALLOW return fire! With the patterned ball jacket and material under the ball jacket; knock down efficiency would be doubled.
Most of all keep American American. What America shoot's can't be reused against us. And it's always based on cost, cost and cost; ever! When it comes to the soldier/airmen/sailor. If not we'd still be shooting 308.

As an ex Air Force and Veteran Army soldier, in Aviation(helicopter and Fixed), Armour, Logistics, supporting Marines, I wanted something when pulled SHOWED THE ENEMY he's dead, thus duck, thus no return fire. Dependable in all conditions, and termination with the least amount of rounds as, when the side arm is used, you probably are considering ammo usage! Weapons have both psychological and physical impact. When faced with a known image of the 1911, one knew one was in DS. When confronted w/Baretta; one knew one still might get the SOB in front of him, if only he had his trusty .45. Remember FBI stopped the 9mm, after it's agents where shot up after hitting their opponents. The opponents never used 9mm. Patton always used a 45 and or 357 revolver, or 1911. The latter being slim and deadly. Airmen especially Pilots never cared about side arms; they shot with cannons not side arms, or the Army / Marines protected them. Unscientific, just common people study. The 1911 is known world wide for it's stopping power(image when pulled). Change the round improve the frame, okay. Otherwise replace the B-52.
.

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Jeffery Davis February 19, 2008 at 6:40 am

Glocks are great guns, but they have a tendency to decock themselves when jarred. Just ask the NYPD. As for the author saying that tankers need something more compact than an M4, and bigger than an M9… it's called a submachinegun.

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Deployed... February 19, 2008 at 7:33 am

First off, I have to admit I am a dedicated "gun guy". I own a Beretta M92 (civilian M9) three Glocks, and 3 Springfield 1911's in various configuations. I shoot 9mm, 10mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. I enjoy shooting all these guns and they all have positive and negative aspects. I don't believe any of them would make up the perfect fit for every service and every mission, but the one that I own that probably is the best mix of all of them is the Baby Eagle made by Desert Eagle or Isreali Weapons Industries. Mine is chambered in .45, but they make them in 9mm and .40 as well. If you guys haven't checked one out, you should. Israel obviously put alot of thought and practicality into picking out a combat handgun and they damn sure did not spend $5 mil doing it. If you like the feel and size of a Glock, the ruggedness and simplicity of the 1911, and the DA/de-cocker/safeties and accuracy of the M9, the Baby Eagle has all of it.

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Greg February 19, 2008 at 8:53 am

For years before police retirement, I was a law enforcement firearms instructor. The last advanced firearms instructors course I attended had 4 Sigs, 3 HK's and 24 Glocks. Each officer fired a minimum of 2000 pistol cartridges in 2 weeks, not counting MP3's. The only handguns that had not broken springs or firing pins by the end of the program were the Glocks. I fired 2500 rounds through my Glock without cleaning it and with no malfunctions. Glocks are simply the best available handguns.

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harry B February 19, 2008 at 3:47 pm

The Taurus 24/7 OSS is the pistol they should use. Its freakin amazing. Downside is it aint cheap. But still, it was built as a replacement for the M9 and taurus poured a ton of money into it.

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steve February 19, 2008 at 5:38 pm

Forgive me if someone already talked about this but I was getting sick of reading through all of the bs. Everyone on this post is talking about stopping power. I pose to you this question then; Why does the military use Full Metal Jacket rounds instead of hollow points? Hollow points cause much more damage than FMJ, the answer is easy. The military uses them because back in previous wars the military wanted to injure the enemy not kill them. You kill a soldier and what happens for the time being, someone moves the body to a secure location until it can be removed. Now if you injure someone, they are depleting the enemy's resources. They will need to have a medic treat them and someone guard the body. By injuring one person, you are taking at least 5-6 more people out of the fight. Take in point the introduction of the 1911 it was originally used in the Phillipeans (sorry for the spelling) because the military needed a round that would not just go through an extremity but blow it off. The natives were getting doped up on a form of acid and tying tourniquets to their extremities and attacking US soldiers. So a round was needed to cause excessive blood loss. A 9mm to an arm will merely go through it but a 45 will blow the whole arm off. Now the military needs to go back to something with some stopping power like the 1911. Solders for the last 60 years having not been going house to house conducting search and cordons. The need is back for a weapon with some stopping power.I am not claiming to be in SF or some other crazy SO unit. I am just an ADA Warrant who loves guns.

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Todd Stevens February 20, 2008 at 2:59 am

One alternative I haven't seen is the Cor-Bon 400. The M1911A1 is easily modified to accept this cartridge (it's a bottlenecked .45ACP) – Cor-Bon makes a kit for it. The mod kit is a drop-in and the magazine needs no modifications. As to the ballistics, what I remember is that the slug is 160+ grains at over 1400 fps. This offers a simple, quick and highly cost-efficient solution. But, as has been remarked here, that wouldn't allow massive, ridiculous, wasteful and highly politicized projects to be done.

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Robert February 20, 2008 at 4:10 am

I think the 9mm and the colt is the best handguns ever but this gun is alrigth and the Marine Corp Should Be Its Own Branch not Some Small Part Of the U.S. NAVY!

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Gene February 20, 2008 at 11:11 am

There is no such thing as knock-down power. The .45 does not "blow off" extremeties. There is no such thing as a guaranteed one-shot stop in a handgun. The handgun is a defensive weapon, and is not intended to be a fight stopper, just a fight slower-downer…
This article is about the pistol, not rifles, or whether the Marine Corps is smarter/dumber than the Air Force…If you want to argue that, go to the argument forums….

The ammo used in the military is FMJ, and, I don't see it changing in the near future, so stop with the "my pappy handloads his .500 S&W with mercury-tipped-flechette-explosive rounds, and it'll vaporize Godzilla…".

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Brad February 20, 2008 at 11:55 am

I did not read all the comments since there are a great number of them but I feel I should put in my 2 cents.

Did anyone mention the new 90-Two that Berret made? It is an improvement in the old 92 (which is the civialin version of the M9). It has improved in reliability, hand grips, durabilty, and comes now in both a 9mm and a .40 version. I see the Army and other services going to this new 90-Two in the .40 version since it is similiar to the old M9 and will be easiest for personal to retrain in it.

Berret made a good dicison finacally by redisgning the 92/M9 and marketing it as an improved upgraded version of its older self.

Yes the DoD is probably wasting the $5 million dollars to research pistols when they are a secondary weapon used in emergencies but that is what the DoD does.

Well that was my 2cents….they will probably go with the newer verison of the M9/92. The Berreta 90-Two.

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DWoroner February 20, 2008 at 5:20 pm

I liked the article and read it because of one reason. The gentleman writing it said what his knowledge was, straight up. No claims of being some guru. The world has enuffff gun guru's to last a few centurys.
All of the guns I saw mentioned were and are excellent pistols. 1911's, M9's, Sigs. The Glock is a great pistol and have carried it. However, I do understand the trigger "safe action" safety dissapproval for military use. Its still great. Bottom line, the military is happy with Beretta. They will remain the supplier for the foreseeable future. Then the A1 Ber. Vers. will be integrated and it will be around for another X amount of years.
With all that said. I would like bottom line to see the "flawless functionality" of the M9, using a .45 (and in my dreams a .50 ) caliber bullet. The 1911 was created to drop drugged up phillipine "insurgents" early last century. The .38 would not knock them down. The .45 did, and was proven and distinguised as a "dropper" in history, no questions.
In the end, there are two issues. One is safety, I don't want a team member of mine carrying something behind me he may acc. pop me w/ due to adrenaline. Yet thats a possibility no matter what, but it can be mitigated by pistol choice. Also, team mates should be carrying "like pistols" so mags are available (nothing like being stuck somewhere with two pistols and two calibers,etc.)
The 9 mm is a good gun. Although the UCMJ forbids hollow points, there is no mention of the bullet I recommend and carry and have fired thousands of and never a stoppage and always expansion. The EFMJ (Expanding full metal jacket) it is not a hollow point so it feeds perfectly, plus, the striations in the bullet allow expansion in tissue, clothing, yet still penetrate drywall and the like.
Yep, its a huge merrygo round and whatever the answer we'd like to hear just aint a comin', though, the M9 is fine by me. (Also, I have a preference for chest mounting as thigh rigs snag on everything.) < Thigh Rigs were dev'd. by the GSG9 because of their rappelling activities. Other than that, its the wrong place to wear it. (Wheres it easier to grab from? your leg or your chest?) < nobodys gettin' offa my chest without havin a real bad day…… : ) my two cents (well, maybe 25 cents..)
Dave W

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j.p. savage February 20, 2008 at 10:42 pm

The most use that either the 9mm or .45acp received was in wwII. Anecdotal evidence from the G.I>'s was in a nutshell that when shot with a 9mm a man would keep on comming while G.I.'s reported that when shot with a .45 the opponent was down for the count. This is of course anecdotal and unscientific but many police agancies that went to 9's are switching to .40 S&W and even the antequated .45 colt ammo due to apparent problems with knockdown effect. The 9 will kill but the issue as always is when? and after how much damage your opponent will inflict on you or a buddy. Size does matter and when your talking handguns you aren't looking at wound cavity measurements etc. as in rifle ammo but pure punch. Fat and heavy seems to be the recipe for a good bullet and the .45 has both as well as a proven track record in combat in all theaters including the good ole' U>S>A>

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SFC Cheryl McElroy U February 21, 2008 at 1:21 am

Hell, I would've prefered to carry my own personal weapon. What Soldier wouldn't?

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Joe Shelnutt February 21, 2008 at 4:16 am

Mr. Daniel,
Your fundamental point is well made, and, indeed; true. However, I would like to suggest more thoroughly researching your topic.

As I'm sure you are aware, this is an intensely debated topic. Mostly by AD and Vets who ARE "Gun" people. I am one of those people.

I won't bore you with velocity and energy stats(even though they fascinate the hell out of me.),but, I will share my opinion on the service handgun I would like to see adopted: A polymer-framed, high capacity, fixed-sight(with Tritium) handgun that is accurate and reliable and striker-fired. The ability to attach a high intensity light would be nice also. Brand? No preference. Caliber? Anything larger than a 9mm.

Thank you for your article and the matter in which you explain to those who do not know or understand.

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Adam February 21, 2008 at 9:21 am

Tritium or other illuminated "night sights" are a military no-no in the age of nightvision. Even a modest nightvision scope can pick up the illumination from night sights. At the expected close engagement ranges of a backup side-arm their usefulness is diminished further. Do not forget, there is the distinction between law enforcement's Duty Pistol (primary firearm) role and the military's side-arm (backup firearm, seccondary to rifle or carbine) role. Tritium sights are also surprisingly easy to break (I've broken a set myself). Features that seem indispensible for a primary firearm Duty Pistol might not make the cut when we are talking about a seccondary or back-up firearm.

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Dan Alcaraz February 21, 2008 at 1:47 pm

The Air Force should be given a slection of 3-4 guns to choose from:

The Glock
Dessert Eagle
.45 SOF
M9 Beretta

Then just like with their planes they choose their instrument.

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MJ February 21, 2008 at 2:18 pm

If the army would actually train people, the glock would be fine. I have a lot of time on many guns, but the glock, in my opinion, is one of the better out of the box pistols.
I would suggest a glock 19. It is much smaller than the m9, but it holds the same amount of rounds. It's easy for most to shoot. Only those with obnoxiously large hands have issue. It is nine mil., which is ok for a back up weapon.
Ball ammo makes most any caliber less effective.

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Richard February 22, 2008 at 1:37 pm

Thank you Gentleman for your distinguished service and enlightening insights. As a prosperous pistolero gun buff who has owned and borrowed on the range line all and more of the equipment evaluated, IMHO go with what the Veterans prefer, obviously a .45 in an updated 1911 with fewer small parts and "new" refinements (ig, one piece ramped barrel replacing swinging link system) and an updated metallic material, such as titanum versus plastic or steel. My combat experience has been limited to threat projection. For over 30 years the street scum backed off me as a potential hold up victim because the buzz was that I packed a Colt 1911 .45 with the big bullet, while colleagues and competitors had to prove the point in actual shootings armed with .38 snubs and pocket .380s. I was never challanged to a hold up do or die because of the preceeding reputation of what I carried.

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Mike February 23, 2008 at 3:36 pm

I would agree to a new pistol, however if you are going to submit the Glock as one of the choices then you may want to increase the amount of times a year they will actually fire (LIVE) the pistol. Thats the reason there is a Decocker on the pistol. Most non shooters would stick there finger on the trigger and go BANG. As for caliber lets go back to the tried and true in COMBAT 45 Caliber. Its gotta fit small hands hold a minimum 15 rounds etc etc… The Air Force is the only branch that loads one in the chamber and safety off whether in combat or home station. So sure change the pistol and go to 45 caliber. As for all the other branches and all the in fighting. We are all Americans get over who is better. We all have a job to do. With or without the service amenities. We need the Army/Marines to take and hold the ground, yet they need the Navy/Air force to gettem there in that 96 hour window. Oh and dont forget the Air support. So yeah we need each other.

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THOMAS ROBINSON February 24, 2008 at 5:15 am

By law the military is required to use ball ammo and with that said a bigger bullet is better. I would suggest the .40cal as this caliber is bigger than the 9mm but has more controlable recoil than the 45cal. I can hear the growns now defending the .45 as not having that much recoil. But face facts lower recoil means a faster follow up shot,and while using ball ammo this might be the case even with the .45cal. As for what Brand of handgun should be used this is a no brainer either a SIG or H&K USP both these brands of handguns have a reputation as being reliable and very rugged. The only addition that either of these fine guns would require before being issued is the addition of trigicon night sites for use in low light condition. In conclusion, I think it is a waste of time for the military to reinvent the wheel; there are already a lot ballistic studys out there comparing different calibers, and other studies showing the servicability of different gun brands so why start from scratch in the serch for a new service handgun?

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Oz February 24, 2008 at 2:26 pm

Tritium is a non-starter for any major military weapon acquisition. In addition to the aforementioned problem with night vision technology, the logistics and cost of buying and distributing to troops a radioactive isotope is a nightmare. I did it for the GLDNSM. I learned the hard way. But I did it for USSOCOM and they are, indeed, "special" (though USMC is now getting some of those sights, thanks in part to the skids being greased beforehand). The big services are not going to touch the stuff in their big quantities.

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Jack Zeller February 25, 2008 at 2:22 am

Just go to 10 mm auto on a reliable 1911 platform. Problem solved.

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William Johns February 25, 2008 at 4:08 am

I carried what the army gave me which was a 45. I used to look down my nose at other pistols because the 45 had excellent balance and was accurate and safe and I fired expert every time I had to qualify. I was in the military police and had confidence in the weapon. Only complaint I had was it seemed light on how many grains the bullets had. I've always heard the 45 caliber goes in like a pencil and comes out like a bazooka on the other side but unless the army was saving on amunition by lowering the grains in the bullets I carried the forty five seemed weak to me. I've heard a 357 can crack an engine block and I've seem some newer higher caliber pistols that look like they would be good for stopping power but they seem to kick like a mule. If the army had something with more hitting power maybe more American soldiers would survive combat. I don't know. My father was in the Phillipines and the South Pacific campaigns with the Tenth corps during the second world war and he said the forty five jammed in combat so they carried thirty eights. I carried a thirty eight as a police officer with the federal government but couldn't hit the side of a barn with it. Maybe it's what you're comfortable with but if all the federal agencies and armed services are picking different weapons maybe it's time for AMC and other research institutions to look at the service pistol and think about a new design that is accurate, comfortable, safe, reliable and deadly. The pistol is low tech but in a crisis I would not want to be trying to match ammunition with a pistol because everybody had gourmet tastes for something designed to kill people. I never carried one but I hear the plastic nine milimeters don't have the safeties the forty five has. For that reason alone I would not want it on my hip because I've seen too many cowboys put a bullet in their own or somebody elses foot.

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Gene February 25, 2008 at 8:25 am

Hmmmmm. That trashy Glock 9mm seems to work just fine for the Israelis…..

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Bear Grass February 25, 2008 at 10:43 am

Why so few comments on the FN fiveSeven? With military SS190 ammo, they'll punch through most anything.

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Steven February 27, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Like I said earlier the P90 is small enough but big enough to do the job. The 5.7 round has good penetration,for most armor out there. Also FNH has pistols that fire same round so resupply is easier. That would solve the debate between the 9mm and the 45cal.

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mehmet February 28, 2008 at 1:22 am

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Other Ben February 28, 2008 at 11:14 am

A good discussion like this seems to prove only one thing: – we're never gonna please everyone!
I know we're talking about pistols here but as a Brit I have to say that we weren't at all happy to abandon our old L1A1 NATO 7.62x51mm rifle for the new NATO 5.56mm round. So you all seem to disagree with NATO standardization, and so do a lot of us.
I've never discussed guns with any other flavour of European, but please don't put everyone on this side of the pond in the same bag. I think most of us prefer the thought of a heavier calibre even though we know that we can carry more smaller bullets.

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Tom M March 3, 2008 at 9:25 am

Well, I see a lot of self proclaimed experts knocking down other self proclaimed experts. Experience is always the bottom line.
I’m sure that many of the people expounding their opinions here are hunters. I have hunted all my life and served in the Marine Corps. I went to Beirut with BLT 1/8, 24th MAU and served in combat (yes, I rate the Combat Action Ribbon). Does this make me a pistol expert? Not bloody likely, but it does make me experienced. I have never shot any people or critters with a pistol, rifles are my first choice for those matters. However, I do know this:
1. A well placed shot from any firearm is lethal.
2. In combat, rarely does one have time to place a shot exactly – especially at pistol ranges.
3. There is such a thing as knockdown power. Does anyone hunt grizzly bears with a .22?
So, enough of the blah, blah, blah.
Center mass, that’s where I was taught to aim by my Marine Corps rifle instructors. Add body armor to that equation and anyone can understand why hitting an assailant with a freight train instead of a BB might be important. A lot of people here seem to like .40s and from what I’ve read, they seem to be capable. I myself like the proven track record of the .45 and it remains my personal choice. My 2 oldest sons are US Marines with multiple combat tours in Iraq and they have no faith in the 9mm. I would rather they had a proven man-stopper in their hands then the M9s they were issued. I have read stories of military and law enforcement situations where 9mm failed to stop an attacker. My dad was a law enforcement officer in Detroit during the late 60s and early 70s. He has personal knowlege of similar failures. His service revolver was a .357 mag and he now carries (and hunts deer with) a .44 magnum.
Experience.
Semper Fi
Tom M
USMC Beirut 83

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Tom M March 3, 2008 at 5:25 am

Well, I see a lot of self proclaimed experts knocking down other self proclaimed experts. Experience is always the bottom line.
I'm sure that many of the people expounding their opinions here are hunters. I have hunted all my life and served in the Marine Corps. I went to Beirut with BLT 1/8, 24th MAU and served in combat (yes, I rate the Combat Action Ribbon). Does this make me a pistol expert? Not bloody likely, but it does make me experienced. I have never shot any people or critters with a pistol, rifles are my first choice for those matters. However, I do know this:
1. A well placed shot from any firearm is lethal.
2. In combat, rarely does one have time to place a shot exactly – especially at pistol ranges.
3. There is such a thing as knockdown power. Does anyone hunt grizzly bears with a .22?
So, enough of the blah, blah, blah.
Center mass, that's where I was taught to aim by my Marine Corps rifle instructors. Add body armor to that equation and anyone can understand why hitting an assailant with a freight train instead of a BB might be important. A lot of people here seem to like .40s and from what I've read, they seem to be capable. I myself like the proven track record of the .45 and it remains my personal choice. My 2 oldest sons are US Marines with multiple combat tours in Iraq and they have no faith in the 9mm. I would rather they had a proven man-stopper in their hands then the M9s they were issued. I have read stories of military and law enforcement situations where 9mm failed to stop an attacker. My dad was a law enforcement officer in Detroit during the late 60s and early 70s. He has personal knowlege of similar failures. His service revolver was a .357 mag and he now carries (and hunts deer with) a .44 magnum.
Experience.
Semper Fi
Tom M
USMC Beirut 83

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DON SCOTT March 4, 2008 at 5:26 am

I HAVE A COMMENT ABOUT THE BARETTA M9 AND THE 1911. THE BARETTA MAY BE A NICE WEAPON BUT I USED IT IN THE GULF AS A SUPPRESSIVE FIRE WEAPON, AND USED MY 1911 AS MY PRIMARY KNOCK DOWN WEAPON. BUT EITHER WAY, NEITHER ONE OF THESE WILL DO US ANY GOOD IF OUR GOV'T DECIDES TO DO WHAT THEY'VE WANTED TO DO FOR YEARS. TAKE OUR WEAPONS AWAY, OR JUST MAKE IT HARDER FOR US TO TARGET SHOOT, OR USE THEM IN SEKF DEFENSE. THEY'VE BEEN RAISING THE COST OF AMMO SO MUCH ITS GETTING HARDER TO BUY THE STUFF, AND THEY'VE RAISED THE COST OF THE RELOADING MATERIALS.

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Tom M March 5, 2008 at 5:11 am

Amen brother. Don is right, none of the above matters if our second amendment rights continue to be infringed upon. Our government seems hell-bent on taking our right to keep and bear arms because they realize that the second amendment was placed right there at the top of the constitution to afford Americans the ability to defend themselves not only from foreign aggression, but from tyrannical government here at home. The US Constutution is one of the most insightful documents ever written. Our Founding Fathers foresaw the government intrusions on personal freedoms and wrote the constitution is such a manner as to prevent it. However, our government sees fit to steer around the constitution at will and once the ability of the citizen to resist is vanquished, domination will be complete and total.
Once again Don, point well taken.
Tom M

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Sgt James S March 10, 2008 at 9:29 pm

The US Air Force wants to study the requirements for a new "Joint Combat Handgun," GREAT! Let them. For one, the purpose of a study is to find what will work best for the entire AF and Army – this means (as of July 2007) all 855,051 men and women in the two services (60% of the total manpower of the US). To that end this weapon needs to be useful in all roles the two services may need it in and by all individuals who may find themselves in need of it. Just as in the study that determined the M1911 was better than the Luger, the needs of the services have changed over the last century. Therefore, a study is needed. Who knows, they might find that COTS is the way to go, but they will only know after a study of all the options. All of you who responded to this had plenty to say about what YOU like best and what YOU think would be best for everyone else to be forced to use, but let me explain something. The study would determine the best ammunition for use in a handgun in Air Force and Army roles – it might even determine that a service/mission adaptable handgun is needed (something that can be 9mm for the AF guys and .40 or .45 for the Army guys). But they will never know until the study is completed.
The handgun is THE close quarters combat weapon of choice. It allows lethality in a fist fight as well as at range; more importantly it allows quick reaction in either situation. The SMG has its uses in CQB, but the short length of the handgun allows for better maneuverability and, if handled correctly, it can be utilized against an opponent in hand-to-hand combat without having it stripped away. The knife is popular; however, unless absolute stealth is required, the knife has serious limitations on its effectiveness (range for instance). Slashing with a blade does minimal damage to an opponent (it hurts, but is not deadly) and is worthless against armor; stabbing causes blood loss and is more lethal, but it lacks the true stopping power of a bullet (it penetrates, but is slow and does not halt the attacker). The handgun has the advantage of being lethal when the target is at range as well as in hand-to-hand combat, when handled by a trained professional.
The M9 has lasted so long strictly based on its rate of fire and the commonality of its ammunition on a world stage. I use the USP Tactical .45 with no sights – I removed them. Granddad always used to say (and it is parroted by my chief), "if you can point at your target at those ranges you will hit him." So what do I think is needed in a "combat handgun?" Fast rate of fire and high capacity magazine (so I can put a lot of lead in many directions in a short amount of time), accuracy (so I can hit what I point at), reliability and durability (so I know it will work when I need it to in the environment I find myself in), and small size (for use in close quarters) – find a way to give me a handgun that meets those requirements and I will jump at the chance to use it!
Tom M: "In combat at pistol range, nobody is paying attention to sights, it's point and shoot." True! But even more so, in combat, I never used my handgun at distances greater than 4 yards. I never used my sights. More often than not, it was within 2 to 3 feet and then it could quickly become a wrestling match in which training allowed me to maintain control (and lethality) with my handgun. ("Bringing a pistol to a knife fight, if you will.") All you Marines want your rifle so badly? Try shooting a man with it inside of two feet (of you not of the end of the barrel)! You can't, you have to push him away or beat him to death. That eats up time and energy and puts you at risk when faced by more than one attacker!
Don Scott and Tom M: The point of the article above is the development of a COMBAT HANDGUN for use by the military NOT civilians. It is true that many military weapons find their way into the civilian market, but the weapon developed would be used by the military of the government you are talking about. They could still take away YOUR weapon, develop this handgun, and use it to oppress you further. Should they take away the second amendment they will still issue handguns to their soldiers. In case you forgot, they took away your constitutional rights when you enlisted – once you signed the dotted line you accepted the UCMJ as your system of law.
gh: As for the Air Force reinventing itself: check your history the Marines have reinvented themselves several times in their existence as well – from naval security (1775-1798) to boarding parties (1798-1918) to an almost-retired army-like Corps (1918-1942) to amphibious assault (1942-1990) to a Multi-Purpose Fast Reaction Force (1990-Present). In fact, the Corps original mission of providing shipboard security finally ended in the 1990s, when the last Marine security detachments were withdrawn from U.S. Navy ships. So if the Corps has been allowed to reinvent themselves as time and technological advancement requires, why can't the other branches reinvent themselves as well?
Each of the branches of service serves a purpose and they can all work together in joint roles. The Army is the land-based, ground claiming and holding force. The Navy is the naval warfare and amphibious warfare branch (namely lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions). The Air Force was separated from the Army to give the US an air superiority and long-range strategic capability and although it is true that many countries do not have separated Air Corps, the US Air Force is a true aerospace power that has both air and space assets that set it apart from the air assets of all other countries.
The Department of Defense didn't separate the Naval Aviation Groups from the Navy; it separated the Army Air Corps from the Army. The purpose of Naval Aviation is the defense of the fleet and naval ground forces (marines). What the Marines do is NOT unique! How the Marines do it – THAT is unique! There is no more blindly aggressive force in the world than the USMC! The Marines ONLY remain a "branch of service" because the folklore of the US has created such a mystique around them. Their individuality is not guaranteed by anything else. The Army, Air Force, and Navy can do all the same things the Marines do as a joint operation. Let's just put the Corps back on ships and make them the amphibious assault guys again so the Army can take over ops after the NAVAL marines make a beachhead.
TJ: Since "…those that do know… don't give a crap about your theories," why are you bothering to write? As for your "bazooka" (?) have you ever been able to use it at less than arm's distance without killing yourself? Go back to your game of D&D and leave the talk to the big boys.

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Sean N. March 17, 2008 at 6:43 am

First and formost on reading this artical. Many have stated that GLOCK has no safty but lets not forget that GLOCK was designed as a militarty pistol and is in military service around. Second Sig firearms are another firearm that was beveloped for the military. There are many guns out on the market and you have to break then down into two groups. Militray (guns designed for military purposes) and civillian (guns made for your every do joe) once you have seperated these two catagories you get a better perspective on how the market changes a style of weapon. There are many guns out of the civillian market that would not hold up to the military demand of use or are just to complicated to take apart and reasemble. Next ammo playes a major part in selecting calibar. Many think that the 40 cal has briged the gap of the 9mm and 45 ACP but there are may out there that if they have tindernitice or carpoltunnel that can not shoot the 40 as this agrevated the problem. Many lawiforcement officer's that have been around for a while will tell you this. This is why that either they carry a 9mm or 45 AUTO. Also 40 cal has a quick recoil so many small woman cannot control the recoil. So is is back to either the 9 or 45. Or something totally new but you have to remember that changing from either of these two calibers will cost the gov. MONEY. as you will also have to get or have NATO approve the change due to this will affect then as well. There is not one weapon for everyone, all the gov. can do is find one that will fit most of its military personel. I would rather be carring a sig 226, 220, glock 19 or a HK Tatical in 45. to me this is the all round weapon that I have used and I just love it. It covers pretty mutch everything that I am looking for in a military weapon. Adjustable sights, double stack in 45, ambi mag release, good balance and if need be the safty can be converted to left or right. You will find more of these in the SF community the the more expensive MK23 and plus the Tatical has a better trigger. Go figure. The reason that you don't find alot of MK23's is the qualification testing that they have to pass. So to get a weapon out to SF is pretty slow.

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Sean N. March 17, 2008 at 10:43 am

First and formost on reading this artical. Many have stated that GLOCK has no safty but lets not forget that GLOCK was designed as a militarty pistol and is in military service around. Second Sig firearms are another firearm that was beveloped for the military. There are many guns out on the market and you have to break then down into two groups. Militray (guns designed for military purposes) and civillian (guns made for your every do joe) once you have seperated these two catagories you get a better perspective on how the market changes a style of weapon. There are many guns out of the civillian market that would not hold up to the military demand of use or are just to complicated to take apart and reasemble. Next ammo playes a major part in selecting calibar. Many think that the 40 cal has briged the gap of the 9mm and 45 ACP but there are may out there that if they have tindernitice or carpoltunnel that can not shoot the 40 as this agrevated the problem. Many lawiforcement officer’s that have been around for a while will tell you this. This is why that either they carry a 9mm or 45 AUTO. Also 40 cal has a quick recoil so many small woman cannot control the recoil. So is is back to either the 9 or 45. Or something totally new but you have to remember that changing from either of these two calibers will cost the gov. MONEY. as you will also have to get or have NATO approve the change due to this will affect then as well. There is not one weapon for everyone, all the gov. can do is find one that will fit most of its military personel. I would rather be carring a sig 226, 220, glock 19 or a HK Tatical in 45. to me this is the all round weapon that I have used and I just love it. It covers pretty mutch everything that I am looking for in a military weapon. Adjustable sights, double stack in 45, ambi mag release, good balance and if need be the safty can be converted to left or right. You will find more of these in the SF community the the more expensive MK23 and plus the Tatical has a better trigger. Go figure. The reason that you don’t find alot of MK23′s is the qualification testing that they have to pass. So to get a weapon out to SF is pretty slow.

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Oz March 18, 2008 at 3:58 am

Sgt James, +1 to almost everything you said. One note, however: The Navy and its Marines (and the Coast Guard) have a constitutional mandate. The other branches do not. The "army", under the as-framed constitution, was to be comprised of a volunteer militia. BTW, the biggest piece of the defense budget pie STILL goes towards "strategic" systems, e.g., ICBM's.

All branches have been "re-invented" many times. Reasons vary from changing foes to power / budget plays.

To Sean,

"So to get a weapon out to SF is pretty slow"

True, SF (USSOCOM) has to follow the same big service rules for fielding weapons and ammo. Fielding of the Mk 23 was a new speed record, since then broken by Mk 47 and a couple M4 variants.

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Chris March 19, 2008 at 12:49 pm

"If you compare a 115gr 9mm (450ftlbs) and a 230gr .45ACP (461ftlbs), then you're right. What no one has brought up is that there are lighter .45ACP bullets out there. A .45 with a 165gr bullet at 1250fps = 573ftlbs which is a big difference. If that bullet is too light, jump up the 185gr @ 1150fps and 543ftlbs. That's still nearly 100ftlbs more than the 9mm."
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Scott there's only one problem. .45 bullets below 230 grain and especially below 200 grain have a heart attack trying to cycle the gun, especially 1911s, therefore that would be a disaster waiting to happen and the 10mm still out-perform the .45. Not to mention that corbon's 10mm 180grn bonded core SP has 696 ft lbs at the muzzle. I WILL SAY THIS AGAIN because some here are not taking note! The .45 cartarige is a very impractical and ineffective cartarige for combat use. It travels at a sub-sonic speed and the energy difference between it and the 9mm is less than 30 ft pounds. With that said, take a standard 9mm handgun which has a 15 round magazine and a standard .45 caliber handgun with a standard 8 round magazine. Multiply the energy of a Black Hills +P bullet of 9mm(431 ft lbs) and a .45(460 ft lbs) with the mag capacity and you will see that the 9mm has more total firepower. Of course the ballistic data varies from manufacuturer, however the ratio of energy remains mostly the same, a less than 30 ft. pound difference. Secondly, no handgun round except the 5.7×28 has Hydro-Static Shock or (HSS) but handgun rounds have Permenately Crushed Cavity (PCC). HSS is what most people call "Knock-down power" and it only exists in rounds that travel at least 2000 fps. In other words it only exists in rifle calibers. Therefore in a pistol caliber it doesn't matter how big the bullet's diameter is (in a rifle caliber it would be). But a 9mm penetrates 14 inches of ballistic gelatin while a .45 only penetrates 6 inches. The 9mm, because it is supersonic, is much more ballisticaly superior to the 45. I WILL ALSO SAY THIS AGAIN, the incident in Miami was with 147 grain 9mm rounds not the normal 115 grains. mossad aboob (ayoob) mistakenly posted an article claiming that it was with 115 grain ammo. The 9mm does not overpenetrate, the .45 underpenetrates. A Texas highway patrolman shot an overly obese suspect reaching for a shotgun with a .45 at a slight angle and it stopped in the fat layer before it reached any of his organs. He simply said "what the f**k!". A 9mm, penetrating 14 inches instead of 6-8, would have killed him. The only way for another individual to die from a 9mm penetrating through another body is if they would stand right behind him, which IN A MILITARY CONTEXT would not matter. Most of the energy is disipated passing through a body full of WATER.

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staff sergeant jim p March 26, 2008 at 2:06 am

ok simple solution to the stupid sidearm issue. Springfield XD service pistols in .45ACP, it will give the safety and reliability needed in a military side arm. Polymer pistol, so is light weight. the grip is slightly smaller in diameter than the Glock 45, it gives you 13+1 of .45ACP. The magazine release is ambidextrous on the weapon, so nothing needs to be switched. it has an obvious loaded chamber indicator, one only need slide thier hand over the top of the slide to feel the indicator sticking up. It has a cocking indicator that protrues from the rear of the slide, if you see the little silver nipple, the weapon is cocked. the grip has a grip safety just like the old 1911, the gun cannot fire nor can you operate the slide with out the grip being engaged. The trigger is similar to the glocks, in that the trigger cannot travel rearward unless a finger goes into the trigger to pull it. It also has all the standard drop safeties, firing pin blocks. the sights can be removed and replaced from the drift adjustable to user adjustable, night, high visibility, etc. The pistol comes also with the rail molded under the slide on the frame for the attachment of lights, lasers or any other item you want to put on it.
the thing that i would say that it doesnt have that the military would have a cow over is that there is no manual safety. if you load the gun, rack the slide and pull the trigger, the gun will go off, very reliably. a simple solution would be to train soldiers to keep thier $#%^*&^ finger out of the trigger unless they are going to shoot something. Finally the weapon uses the powerful .45ACP cartridge, gives you 13 in the magazine that has a smaller grip than the beretta. The weapon is more reliable, lighter, powerful, higher capacity (bullet weight vs number) and the pistol retails for about $525 dollars WITH a polymer holster, two magazines with polymer magazine pouch, gun lock, gun box. The magazines are nickel plated and are self lubricating so they eject energetically and as it is a double stack into single round feeding magazine, it is easy to reload quickly with the whole small end goes into big hole. I have one of these amazing pistols and it cuts through all the crap. if the government doesnt go to these pistols, its because they are just wanting to waste money and keep some waste of space individual "evaluator"-who is clueless in a job.
to make this weapon usable with a suppressor, all you need do is replace the barrel. your average .45 round is subsonic anyway.
I guarantee once you hold one of the 4inch barreled service Springfield XD .45s in your hand, you wont want another weapon. while the 1911 is old and reliable, the XD blows it away in fit, function convenience, safety, capacity, weight, options, accessories. (p.s. i used to be a GLOCK guy, glock glock glock, i got my hands on one of these and couldnt get rid of my glocks fast enough) and the beretta is a overly complicated, oversized, overengineered piece of junk.
shoot the bad guy with 2-115 grain ball rounds or 1-230 grain ball round. i like the .45 thank you. so think about that 15 9mm or 13 rounds .45ACP. which would you choose? (i have also cycled cases of ammunition through my pistol and it has NEVER jammed. i challenge you.

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Brian Petrie March 29, 2008 at 8:55 am

I got tired of reading halfway through this so I'm not sure if this was touched on. I personally own a Sig P226 in .40 and I couldn't be happier but as with every gun it exists with its own set of concessions. That being said the ability to use .357 or .40 with only a 20 second barrel swap is a positive note. However I do agree these puppies have a finish issue when it comes to moisture.

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Boyo March 30, 2008 at 7:16 am

I was 10 months in the bush and in 25 or 30 serious firefights and I never saw anybody unholster a pistol.

In my opinion, pistols are for Hollywood.

Pistols are inherently inaccurate and nearly useless on the battlefield except in extremely rare circumstances.

My pistol instructor's advice if I had to use my .45 was … "Get in close and keep pulling the trigger."

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Clint April 4, 2008 at 8:38 am

As an experienced World of Warcraft player (level 54 war elf) and a Call of Duty 4 professional, I can say (with experience) potato guns are the wave of the future!! Due to the budgetary stresses, DOD and DHS are going to start issuing potato guns to launch spuds at the enemy. Due to the weapons size, many different types of ammunition can be used. Such as: stray cats, discarded shoes, trash, and butter. Because what is more dangerous than a pissed off cat covered in butter fired at you from a potato gun?? That's right…. nothing!!

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Chris April 13, 2008 at 3:23 pm

shoot the bad guy with 2-115 grain ball rounds or 1-230 grain ball round. i like the .45 thank you. so think about that 15 9mm or 13 rounds .45ACP. which would you choose? (i have also cycled cases of ammunition through my pistol and it has NEVER jammed. i challenge you.
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Jim, you obviously didn't read all of my post or you would already know most of this information. You will not stop an enemy with one shot of 45ACP. If you look at the ballistic data of the two rrounds, the 230grn .45 has less than a 30 ft. pound advantage over a low end 115 grn 9mm. Some 115 grn 9mm rounds even have more energy than a 230 grn 45. But that's beside the fact. You have 13 rounds of 230 grn 45 while a standard 9mm which has on average 15 rounds (Glock has 17) the 9mm will still have more total firepower than your XD will ever dream of. You obviously didn't read the part about the cycling of 45 rounds. I said that if you use a 45 caliber round that is less than 230 grn and especially less than 200 grn, the gun will jam. I was not referring to 230 grn, next time read the entire post before replying…..

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Gunfighter April 30, 2008 at 10:24 am

Oh, for God's sake. Just pick a pistol!

Ergonomics, foot pounds of energy, caliber, blah, blah, freakin' blah!

None of this matters if you can't hit what you are shooting at… and truthfully, military pistolcraft is some of the most abysmal I have ever seen.

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Chris May 1, 2008 at 4:45 pm

Agreed…… Pick the pistol that works for YOU. Don't get caught up in the caliber size. "Get what works for YOU" is the point I've been trying to make….

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Steve June 3, 2008 at 11:27 am

Addressing JUST the original article, IMHO the best way to go would be to adopt the FN 5.7mm USG as a sidearm, and issue the P90 for armor dismounts and personnel not expected to be in combat. Not only would this create a light personal defense weapon for vehicle crews, but could also be carried by REMFs in case their rear comes to the front. Losing the weight of the M4 and its associated junk would be a boon to medics and other front line personnel who's primary job isn't pulling triggers and exchanging it for a CQB weapon with some long range (out to about 300 meters) capability is better than having them continue to lug heavier weapons and their ammunition around to the detriment of equipment more apropos to their table of common tasks.

The military (not the lamed civilian) loads for the FiveseveN and P-90 are MORE than acceptable for such a weapon, and the mass procurement of P-90's would mean that fewer M-4's would have to be replaced by the Advanced Combat Rifle candidate, whenever that project actually produces tangible and reasonable results instead of pie in the sky dreams.

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Steve June 3, 2008 at 1:34 pm

After reading most all the comments here I have ONE question and some worthless blather, so I'll start with the question :

When the HELL did the Army stop allowing its troops to use and carry personal weapons? My command (3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment) was fine with it.

I carried a S&W Model 59 and a Colt CAR-15 as a tank crewman until I convinced the armorer to issue me an M-203 that wasn't in use (instead of one of the POS 1911A1's and M3 or M3A1 "grease guns" [yes, we still had original M3's]). Hell, I even drew live ammo for the 9mm for field exercises ( I really don't like snakes ).

I was "retired" e.g. kicked out on a service connected disability after only a few years, signed up for active service on Pearl Harbor day '79 last service in like '83 late in the year; was an E-3 in the 3rd ACR for most of my career and only got promoted to SP4 in a combat engineer unit shortly before I was invalided out, so I was no big shot or had tremendous pull, but I NEVER had trouble with adding personal weapons to the arms room or getting them out when needed.

I COULD have just had a particularly indulgent troop commander, who had to sign off on personal weapons, but then I did the same thing when assigned to the Headquarters troop near the end of my active service. In fact I served IN the Headquarters itself, answering only to the Lt.Col commanding the squadron and to the squadron CSM (I was an E-3 filling an E-5 slot as a 72L there temporarily until I ETS'd or they got a real one).

I even had a sword in my office I carried in to some field grade Article 52 hearings in case someone who was potentially belligerent should go for my CO. Never a problem.

Since I was invalided out I've stayed FAIRLY current as far as personal weapons go. I held at various times 2 primary combat MOS's and 3 secondary MOS's, one of which was a non-combat position (legal clerk, and it took direct orders to make me do THAT). I've done tanks, been a cavalry scout, mortar crew (though I never actually finished my qualification on that secondary), combat engineer, and a legal clerk, albeit with a line troop. I have SOME idea of what the guy on the ground in the front needs, what the vehicle crewman needs, and what the REMF needs. My earlier recommendation of adoption of the 5.7x28mm and acquisition of the FiveseveN USG and P-90's stands, HOWEVER :

I have a FiveseveN for concealed carry (you can conceal quite a bit in a wheelchair) BUT, with respect to weapons for NATO or US Army affiliated paramilitary type service, a Glock 34 Tactical for a combat sidearm, with long arms depending on the situation. an FS2000 for close/medium quarters (I am a lefty and the front ejection is handy) and an M1A (M14 semi only) for moderate ranges. Although I like the P-90, due to unfortunately legislation I can't own one (and no, the PS-90SBR is NOT a replacement), and so have an MP5SD-3 for special roles. My wife uses an M4 clone (semi only, and we can swap magazines in that caliber) for close up an FAL for moderate ranges, and her special purpose weapon is a Barrett M82A1 (she can deal with the weight).

NOTE: If the 5.7×28 was accepted by NATO I'd carry the FiveseveN instead of the Glock and the P90 with a suppressor and some subsonic instead of the MP5SD3. (assuming they revoke that stupid 1985 law and let civilians, or even just us poor bastards stuck half in and half out of the military, get modern arms).

ALL of those weapons use standard NATO ammunition. True, level 2 maintenance is maybe an issue, but think about it. If you're in combat and your weapon breaks to the point where clearance procedures won't bring it back, level 2 maintenance is the LAST thing on your mind. You need another weapon, IMMEDIATELY, and until you can find something better laying around, a sidearm is a comforting thing to have.

What the military needs to do is standardize around a set of AMMUNITION and then let the individual service members select the actual weapons they want to carry, and insure they train armorers as gunsmiths at the company level rather than drafting anyone with a relevant combat MOS for the role.

As long as there were a reasonable range of calibers available I'm sure that darwinian selection will determine the best weapon load for any given mission, even if we do have an increase in the number of weapons in the arms room per individual soldier, it's not like we don't have the logistical tail to deal with it.

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Tim Parker July 11, 2008 at 6:49 am

I think that the .45 ACP is the perfect round: lots of kinetic energy/knockdown power, makes a huge hole it whatever it hits, does not over-penetrate, and is time proven.

The .40 and .357 SIG are not a comfortable weapons to shoot, have too loud of a rapport, and you have to worry about over-penetration.

Let's face it: The rules of war require the use of ball ammo…until that changes, the heavier the bullet the better.

I have a Springfield XD .45 5" tactical. Great gun.

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Tim Parker July 11, 2008 at 7:16 am

Another point…I joined the Air Force in 1979. I qualified with the M-16 with a .22 LR conversion kit!!!

The points that are being made about training are so true. Practice, practice, practice…That's the key. Good shot placement is important, but taking time to carefully aim seems impractical in combat. It seems to me that you want to hit someone and him/her not get up.

That's why I like the .45 – big, heavy bullet…makes big hole.

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Inspector Gadget July 11, 2008 at 9:21 am

I am Navy that Served with an Army unit. I have been trained on 1911's and m9's plus a lot of other that are not applicable to the discussion. I have shot a BG with a Bomb vest in AF with a M9. It did not stop him …… fortunately the guy on overwatch had a 240. I saw the hits, they were good center mass and did splatter blood. I have never shot someone with a .45 nor do I plan to. But I will never – ever – ever trust my life to a 9mm again. I carry a 3in 1911 for personal defense.

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Jason July 12, 2008 at 12:44 am

I shot both the M9 and the 1911 in the infantry back in the 90s. I couldn't shoot straight with the 1911. Finding center mass with the sights was never good. Mine always shot low and left.

My groups were better with the M9, but same problem. I believe adjustable sights are the way to go.

When I got out I worked personal security for individuals. I had to take 3 levels of fire arms qualification classes. Even with my experience several of my instructors asked me to try the revolver (yes I am going there)

I was skeptical. But in their opinions (all were similar), if I got the **** scared out of me I would be more accurate with a revolver. I went to a gun shop after doing some research and picked up a S&W Model 66. Stainless steel, .357 Magnum, and adjustable sights. Night sights too.

I started practicing with it every night for about an hour during my courses and would shoot both types of firearms. No question I could get two in the chest and a head shot (had to unlearn that per my instructors, though…) even when worked up (we did push ups, sit ups and ran in place and then went into shooting scenarios and drills at the sound of a wistle).

In my very few engagements I felt 100% better with the Revolver. Stainless steel doesn't rust and conceals nicely when not in use. Speed loaders are exceptionaly fast to load when taught the right technique. And a .357+P hollow point round will mess the BG up.

Besides aren't almost all of these engagements where you switched to a pistol for whatever reason CQB. You are going to end up stabbing the BG in the head chest anyway when the gun is empty, reloading is unlikely.

I know the instructors who taught me had rarely seen statistics that involved a successful engagement between two combatants where the winner (good or bad) had fired many more than 3-6 rounds. Anything with more shots than that fired usually involved one or more of the combatants retreating and looking for cover. with someone or both wounded. All instructors (to my best recollection) had fired their handguns successfully as I remember. That is what made me pay such good attention.

But that was back in the early 90s when I was into this stuff; and I never delt with insurgents in body armour or hopped up on drugs.

God bless the fighting men and women. May they "strike hard, strike fast, no mercy" their way back to us.

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John Doe July 12, 2008 at 1:36 pm

The U.S Coast Guard did recently adopt the SIG-Sauer P229R DAK in .40 S&W, however the Coast Guard's Deployable Specialized Forces (DSF) units still continue to carry the M9. Since the DSF units receive the most weapons training, it was determined that they would expend the remainder of the 9mm ammunition left in the inventory. The complete 9mm phase-out shouldn't be complete until 2010.

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John L Peterson US A September 24, 2008 at 9:30 am

First,in the matter of The authors 'stovepiping" problem,that is not a problem with the 1911,that is caused by the lips on the top of the magazine,quite simply being too far apart,but most people do not know that 95% or better of feeding problems in semi-auto pistol are cased by the magazine, Second,I have fired the SOCOM 45 and found it to be magnificant! Absolutely! Third I would never trust my life to a Glock POS,ask yourself, why are almost all Agencies now getting rid of glocks by the thousands-Don't believe it?? Look on line at how many there are for sale! And Fourth Let the soldier decide what he will carry to protect his ass. The Imperial Officers Corps have fought this idea tooth and nail because they are all ready afraid of the soldiers,they won't even allow them to carry knives,much less guns!! But if the decision were left up to the soldier,the service would save millions of dollars.Todays Soldier is for sure intelligent enough to pick his own sidearm,and he/she makes enough money to afford one.Perhaps limit the caliber choices to,say 3 or 4, and the supply system could supply ammo. And while were at it,let's get rid of that varmint rifle and issue the M-14, a real battle rifle, or another choice would be the FN-FAL.

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william messner September 24, 2008 at 4:06 pm

Try to fire one after a M48-A5 has run over it. Couldn't even get the mag out of it.
So much for national guard .45s!

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1stIDFMP September 24, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Chris posted – "I WILL ALSO SAY THIS AGAIN, the incident in Miami was with 147 grain 9mm rounds not the normal 115 grains. mossad aboob (ayoob) mistakenly posted an article claiming that it was with 115 grain ammo."

Chris, the FBI used 115 gr. bullets (Winchester Silvertip) during the "Miami Shootout." It was as results of these studies that the FBI "decided" a slower, heavier bullet was required for deeper penetration. As result, the 147 gr. sub-sonic was recommended. Later, the FBI recommended the 10mm, which in turn led to the development of the .40 S&W.

I know it was the 115 gr. because that's the same bullet my police agency was carrying at the time, and we went to 147 gr. as result of the FBI recommendation. Going to the 147 gr. sub-sonic just gave us a high-capacity .38 special! Thankfully we are carrying a caliber that starts with a "4"!!!

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DedBob September 24, 2008 at 11:35 pm

First – personal to Steve: you're in a wheelchair (thanks for giving of yourself for our Nation!), so why are you concerned about handguns when you can fabricate a nice mount and put a Ma-Deuce on board? As to standardized military handguns – first comes the question from the dumb-assed Misguided Child: the 1911A did a job for decades; which D.C. Phat-cat got paid how much to switch over to the Tick-tock? Like as not and typical of anything done for the Military, decisions were made by non-Veterans. Rant over. I fully agree with several folk in this forum: using civilian L.E. expereince (e.g., R&D) is a cost-savings. But pare that down to the research done by highly-respected civilian LE S.W.A.T. units. LAPD, for example, and especially their SIS Unit ("elite" doesn't begin to describe the quals of these Pros), has some of the finest life-taking lifesavers available. And their selected tools work under even the worst of conditions. Read up on the Kimber SIS developed hand-in-glove between Kimber and LAPD SIS Operators. Result: an excellent tool capable of taking about any abuse heaped on it and still doing what it was designed to do. Of course, this and all the other ideas shared, beginning with the Author's 'fire-starter,' is an excercise in auto-manipulation, since Defense spending (for ALL branches) will be non-existent now that we have to bail out the banking clowns so their CEOs can get their $multi-million Golden Parachures.

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Chris Brown September 25, 2008 at 1:34 am

A few things you guys need to remember about the Air Force Security Forces or in my day Security Police and the M-9 Personal Defense Weapon. We never carried the weapon on "safe". Since we carried the Smith & Wesson Model 15 Combat Masterpiece, .38 special caliber revolver, (which has no safety), the higher ups stated it would defer in our safety to have to learn how to flip up the safety in a combat situation. So the safety or lack of one isn't an issue as far as the Air Force is concerned. When in comes to knock down power, I love the .45, .40, 10mm, hell even the 41 Magnum. Just remember, an Air Force Security Policeman, shot and killed an insane individual shooting up an AF Medical Clinic at Fairchild AFB, Washington. The suspect was armed with an SKS Carbine (7.62mm). Airman First Class Scott Brown was armed with the Beretta. He put the assailant down with his 9mm shooting him past the range we were taught to engage a target at. So if you look at it realistically, Gun Control is how you handle your weapon is a stressful situation so you can engage and kill your target. I just also wanted to state, no Uniform Branch of the Military is better or worse than the other. We all have a job to do, we do it well, and we have to come together to eliminate terrorism. Thank you and everyone stay safe.

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D Fappiano MSG/E-8 r September 25, 2008 at 1:57 am

handguns are are like clothes, nobody likes a one size fits all.

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Michael Basedow September 25, 2008 at 5:43 am

There is no such item as a "Combat Handgun" (like jumbo-shrimp). If you need to resolve to a handgun, other then being a tunnel rat, you may as well take a closer step and use a knife. Stay with the rifle! Enough said.

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Carper September 25, 2008 at 6:38 am

The truth is there are many types of weapons ranging from size to calibuar that would be more than adequate but the issue is "what objective to accomplish?" If your objective is "covert" element of surprise is vital so a high-powered .45 or .50 cal. pistol is not ideal because of noise, even if used with a silencer, it would still be louder than a 9mm. If your objective is "survival" than the more the marrier, double-stacked or extend clips ideal, with a larger pistol.
But with all of these new technologies in place we have to remember the lessons learned from the passed. Ideally ALL ALLIED FORCES should use same ammo just in case worst case senerio which tends to happen when everything else goes wrong.

In short the project should be aimed at finding the middle ground ammo (.40/.44 cal.) with numerous models in size. Glock has that now and so do a few others all been field tested by other Armed Forces and civilian acgencies.

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chad September 25, 2008 at 7:59 am

Also has something to do with what your talking about with some photo's http://www.chadsarmory.com/2008/05/air-force-lays

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Mr. Brian Pham September 25, 2008 at 8:05 am

I think this is very important type to each US soldier, this is very help full to the US soldier when they are not on duty and they can used this for self protection.

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chris smith September 25, 2008 at 8:14 am

Ok what is with 9mm? What is the point of capacity with no knock down power? At least the Coast Guard smatend up, and went with a .40 Sig. Honestly I have shot a lot of makes, and calibers of pistols. If the Governmet was smart, they would go with CZ. I have owned three now, and honestly would not buy anything else. They are Nato approved, and alot of Middle eastern, and European nations carry them. A .45 is great, but all you really need is a .40 with hollow points. A hollow point will do much more damage, and less chance of the round exeting and hitting someone else.

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DOOGASH September 25, 2008 at 10:11 am

WOW!!TALK ABOUT OPENING THAT BIG CAN OF WORMS…WELL, HERE IS MY 50 CENTS…A MILITARY HANDGUN MUST BE USABLE BY A LARGE NUMBER OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE USUALLY WITH A MINIMUM OF TRAINING/EXPERIENCE. BIG WHOPPING MACHOS AND DAINTY LADIES AND SOMETHING IN BETWEEN? ANYWAY, LOOKING AT WHAT IS AVAILABLE OTS IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THE GLOCK 22/23 IN .40 WITH THE HEAVY NYPD TRIGGER WOULD GIVE ABOUT THE SAME EQUIVALENT TO A REVOLVER IN A MAJOR CALIBER. THERE ARE NO SAFETIES TO DEPRESS OR ENGAGE IN A FECAL FAN ENVIRONMENT. THE FRAME IS UNIVERSAL ENOUGH SO SMALL AND LARGE MITTS CAN HOLD IT. IF THEY HAVE TO HAVE A PISTOL AND CAN'T HANDLE THIS SIZE MAYBE THIS PERSON NEEDS TO BE IN GRADE SCHOOL INSTEAD OF U.S. MILITARY. NEXT, BY ALL MEANS ALLOW PERSONNEL TO PURCHASE THE SAME CALIBER/TYPE PISTOL AS ISSUED. QUALIFY, CARRY, PRACTICE..REMEMBER THAT TRAINING/EXPERIENCE THING? IF YOU ARE DRIVING A TRUCK AND HADJI TRIES TO JACK YOU..WELL, THAT PISTOL LOOKS MIGHTY GOOD…PRACTICE: OWNING THE PISTOL CAN ENCOURAGE THIS…PROVIDING PRACTICE AMMO ALSO A BIG PLUS..AS IN THE VN THE"WAR ON TERROR" HAS NO "LINES" AND ANYONE ANYWHERE COULD BE INVOLVED IN A PUNCH UP AND IT'S RUN WHAT U BRUNG. TRAINING: ADVANCED BEYOND BASIC..THIS SHOULD BE A PRIORITY BUT…TOO MANY DECISIONS ARE MONEY RELATED INSTEAD OF EFFECTIVENESS RELATED…JUST LIKE THIS BOONDOGGLE OF 5 MIL FOR A WHIZZABANG GOLLY GEE SUPER GUIDED-BULLET JDAM BY DAM GETSUMEVERTIME pistola. IT KEEPS SOME BEAN COUNTER IN A JOB..AND MONEY FLOWING INTO SOMEBODYS' BANK….AND THAT FRIENDS IS THE BOTTOM LINE…..$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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Gallowglas September 26, 2008 at 3:35 am

Browning Hi power P-35 in 9 mm or .40 S&W.

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Rhyno327 September 28, 2008 at 4:29 am

The Five-seveN is starting to get noticed. The round is the same as the kind used in the P-90, and it punches through kevlar. Its worth a look, since the mag holds 20 rounds. Thats plenty to get you out of a bad situation. I have 2 Springfield XD's, ones a 9mm sub, 16 rnds, and a .45 tactical, 14 rounds. Its the pistol the Croation Army uses, and its a good piece. But, I think the Five-seveN needs to be looked at, closely.

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NAGARAJU February 22, 2009 at 8:31 pm

verry nice gun

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Pat Hagan March 27, 2009 at 4:58 pm

We have 5.56 with us. I have seen some pretty small sidearms that can fire that.
How small can one be made that could fire 5.56?????
best of both worlds??

Reply

Pat Hagan March 27, 2009 at 12:58 pm

We have 5.56 with us. I have seen some pretty small sidearms that can fire that.
How small can one be made that could fire 5.56?????
best of both worlds??b

Reply

Pat Hagan March 27, 2009 at 12:59 pm

We have 5.56 with us. I have seen some pretty small sidearms that can fire that.
How small can one be made that could fire 5.56?????
best of both worlds??

Reply

Pat Hagan March 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm

We have 5.56 with us. I have seen some pretty small sidearms that can fire that.
How small can one be made that could fire 5.56?????
best of both worlds??

Reply

R.D.Wylie May 24, 2010 at 10:30 am

The 45Acp has always been a good choice, as far as the 40 or 10mm the FBI had problems as you know they had people that couldn't handle the 10mm but could the 40 cal.It's all a matter training. I handled and careried
a S&W 29 with 240 gr REM and shot it with one hand point shooting it's all a matter what you train your self
to do!!

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R.D.Wylie May 24, 2010 at 10:38 am

As you well know it's impossible to make everyone happy,as far as the Glocks I think they would also find
out they won't hold up in the desert,and the triggers aren't designed with the military in mind!!!

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R.D.WYLIE May 24, 2010 at 10:51 am

Yes the 40Cal would be the most logical choice, When I got out in 83 they were in the process of changing to the M9 and it's a joke the only reason the military switched so they could be" BARF- Be POLITICALY CORRECT

WITH NATO,AS FAR AS I CAN TELL IS *******' Who cares about being correct if it don't stop you inteneded

targets who cares!!!

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Mel May 24, 2010 at 3:27 pm

John, The problem with individual weapons is the ammo availablity and repair parts in a combat zone. Very few gun stores in the desert or jungle.

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Dale Smith May 25, 2010 at 8:01 am

If using military FMJ ammunition bigger is better, also in the military handgun is a backup weapon. So .45 is a good choice, I carried a 1911A1 as a MP and other then being single action (double action is easier for close up shots) and the requirement to be carried with an empty chamber it was a good weapon. Police use hollow points so that changes the effectiveness of police calibers. M9 is big and bulky for a 9mm, Glock 19 is a better size if stuck with 9mm. No matter how big the round, its still a handgun and the effectiveness is limited. Keep shooting until the threat is eliminated.

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Nick July 1, 2010 at 3:53 am

Mr. McIntyre,

I heard you on the Jim Bohannon show tonight and was intrigued by what you said there so, I decided to check out your blog and wasn't disappointed. I think point number 8 is particularly important. We're fighting to kick the Taliban out of the cities, again, and hope that will bring them to the peace table. While everybody is talking about victory nobody seems willing to discuss what that means short of the elimination of the Taliban as a viable force in Afghanistan. Thank you for your insightful comments and keep up the good work.

Semper Gumby,

Nick

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Chris January 29, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Please give me a report that didn't originate with Massad Ayoob and then you might have something. The FBI used the 147 grain 9mm rounds in Miami.

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Larry November 9, 2011 at 8:12 am

I want a lot of ammo, a well made gun and stopping power. SIG .357 does all that.

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Ol' Redneck November 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Please STOP YELLING (all caps)

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