Calibers

size0 (3)                                                                                            Photo courtesy of U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Adam Stone

U.S. Army paratroopers recently got some foreign weapons training as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

The Polish Land Forces 6th Airborne Battalion, 6th Airborne Brigade trained members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade on Polish weapons at Drawsko Pomorskie training area.

The American paratroopers assembled, loaded and fired the Polish RPG-7B, a reusable rocket- propelled grenade launcher. They also got hand-on training with the M1996 Beryl 5.56mm rifle, the UKM-2000 machine gun, and the Polish M-83 9mm pistol.

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Reconnaissance Marines train with close-quarters battle pistol

Because they work in smaller numbers Marine Corps Recon units have always favored .45s as their Close Quarters Battle Pistol over the 9 mils issued to the rest of Marine infantry.  The stopping power advantage of the .45 is well documented, and it makes sense that Recon would want those at the hip.

Until recently Recon’s .45s were made at the Marine Corps’ Precision Weapons Center in Quantico, Virginia.  “They were like a racecar,” said Master Sergeant Cory Paskvan of the Second Reconnaissance Battalion at Camp Lejeune, NC.  “They were effective, but you’d go out and do a mission and then have to do a lot of maintenance on it.”

The new .45s are made by Colt, the first 1911 models they’ve provided to the U.S. Government since the end of World War II.  Features include a Cerakoted Stainless Steel Receiver and Slide, Novak® 3 Dot Night Sights and Flat, Serrated Mainspring Housing with Lanyard Loop. The pistol also features an Enhanced Hammer, Colt Tactical Ambidextrous Safety Lock, a 5” ‘National Match’ Barrel, and a MIL-STD-1913 Accessory Rail.

In addition to the .45 Recon uses the M4 A1 carbine instead of the standard issue M4 and M16A4.  The M4A1 has a heavier barrel and a full-auto trigger.  Recon tricks the close quarters carbine out further with a suppressor and a holographic red dot site.

“You don’t have to have perfect cheek load,” Paskvan said.  “Wherever the red dot is, that’s where the bullet is going.”

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3235Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. just unveiled its new LC9s pistol, a striker-fired version of its compact, LC9 9mm pistol.

Like the LC9, the LC9s is a slim, lightweight, personal protection pistol, but it features a newly designed trigger mechanism with a short, light, crisp trigger pull that improves accuracy and performance, Ruger officials say.

“The Ruger LC9 set a high standard for reliable, lightweight personal protection,” said Chris Killoy, Ruger president and CEO of Ruger. “The LC9s™ follows the success of the LC9, yet provides a new option for shooters who prefer the short, crisp trigger pull of a striker-fired pistol,” he added.

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The U.S. Army may is trying to replace the M9 9mm pistol, but it’s still buying new Berettas.

Beretta Defense Technologies announced today that the Army will spend “a quarter million dollars worth of additional M9 pistols from Beretta U.S.A. Corp, according to a press release from the Beretta.

The Army acquired the additional pistols by issuing the 6th delivery order to date against a contract for up to 100,000 pistols awarded by the Army to Beretta U.S.A. Corp. in September 2012, the press release states.

The Pentagon adopted the M9 in 1985. It has been in U.S. production since 1987 and is manufactured at the Beretta U.S.A. facility located in Accokeek, Maryland. To date, Beretta has delivered over 600,000 M9 pistols, with 18,000 already scheduled for delivery under the new 5-year contract.

As the lead agent for small arms, the Army will hold an industry day July 29 to talk to gun makers about the joint, Modular Handgun System or MHS. [click to continue…]

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency recently conducted the first successful live-fire tests demonstrating in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets, program officials maintain.

The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance program, known as EXACTO, is being developed to “revolutionize rifle accuracy and range by developing the first ever guided small-caliber bullet,” DARPA officials maintain. “The EXACTO 50-caliber round and optical sighting technology expects to greatly extend the day and nighttime range over current state-of-the-art sniper systems.”

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I have received a lot of email responses from my July 3 article on the Army’s Modular Handgun System praising .45 caliber as far superior to 9mm.

Pistol-caliber choices are personal and everybody has an opinion. But opinion isn’t fact, and there is some misinformation out there that needs to be addressed.

Many readers are under the impression that U.S. special operations forces have returned to using .45 caliber pistols since the adoption of the M9 9mm in 1985.

This has some truth to it, but in most cases SOF units use 9mm, experts maintain.

The Army’s Delta Force adopted .40 caliber, but the elite unit is having the same problems as the FBI – the heavier caliber is causing excessive wear problems in guns that were originally designed to be 9mm. Delta is now using 9mm Glock 17s, 19s and 34s.

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130606-A-NQ567-052I posted an update story on Military.com this morning looking at the Army’s Modular Handgun System effort. The service is holding its second MHS industry day July 29.

This is not the first story I have written about the Army wanting to replace the M9 9mm pistol with a larger-caliber weapon, but the weapons officials seem set on doing just that.

Army weapons officials from Fort Benning, Ga., say the joint MHS effort will result in a “new gun, new ammo, new holster, everything,” according to Daryl Easlick, a project officer with the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Ga.

“We have to do better than our current 9mm.”

The MHS will be an open-caliber competition that will evaluate larger rounds such as .357 Sig, .40 S&W and .45 ACP.

The story also points out that the FBI and several major police departments recently decided to return to using the 9mm round after finding that .40 caliber ammunition was causing excessive wear on its service pistols.

The heavier bullet and greater recoil over time resulted in frame damage to well respected makes such as Glock and Beretta, according to Ernest Langdon, a shooting instructor and respected competitive pistol shooter.

“Most of the guns in .40 caliber on the market right now were actually designed to be 9mm originally and then turned into .40 calibers later,” Langdon told Military.com.

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