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 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

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Steyr Arms is now offering a .40 S&W version of its full-size L-A1 service pistol to the U.S. market.

The L40-A1 is a striker-fired pistol that features a full-length slide, 4.5-inch cold-hammer-forged barrel and 12-round magazine capacity for .40 S&W.

“The new L40-A1 is nearly identical in form and function to the L9-A1 and other handguns in the Steyr line, which combine unparalleled ergonomics, a low bore axis, remarkable safety features, extreme reliability and amazing accuracy—thanks to a consistently crisp trigger break and short, distinct reset,” Steyr officials maintain.

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The U.S. Army has invited gun makers compete for the chance to build a compact version of the service’s M110 Semi Automatic Sniper System.

The service released a formal request for proposal which could lead to a contract award of $44.5 million to buy about 3,600 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper Systems, or CSASS. Gun makers have until Oct. 10 to submit proposals.

Here’s a look at what the Army wants:

– All external and visible surfaces shall be of a rough, dull, non-reflective Flat Dark Earth.

– The unloaded rifle with forward rails for concurrent mounting of required accessories but without suppressor, magazines, accessories, and/or optics shall weigh no more than 9.0 pounds.

– The maximum overall assembled length of the rifle shall be not greater than 36 inches with the stock at its shortest position and no sound suppressor mounted. The stock shall be in the unfolded position if a folding stock is present. The length of the barrel shall be no less than 16 inches.

– The stock of the rifle shall be adjustable for length-of-pull. The length of pull in the shortest configuration shall be no greater than 12 inches. The length of pull in the longest configuration shall be no less than 16 inches. The minimum travel of the stock adjustment shall be no less than 4 inches.

– The rifle shall incorporate a muzzle brake or combination flash hider/muzzle brake.

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Tactical Revolution recently unveiled its AJAX Armor System that’s designed to give dismounted machine-gunners frontal armor protection they can mount directly onto their MGs.

“While armor plates perform extremely well against high-velocity ballistic threats, they only cover a portion of your torso – typically your chest, back and sides. But what about your shoulders, face and neck? This is where the AJAX armor system comes in,” TR officials say.

It’s an interesting concept, but the special brackets and compact steel plates will add about 10 pounds to an MG like the “lightweight” MK48.

TR maintains that the system “you to take your side plates from your vest and attach them to your weapon-mounted rail system.” The website says that the .308 plates will protect against M80 7.62x51mm ammo.

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In Shanghai, police officers walking the beat are now packing heat, a decision that follows last month’s fatal knife attack in another part of China.

This week, more than 1,000 cops in China’s largest city were given 9mm double-action revolvers — the first armed law enforcement officers in the city in 60 years, according to a report on the central government’s website.

“Violent crime and the extreme behavior of some individuals have become real threats to public security and people’s safety,” said Rui Minghua, a police official, according to the article. “From now on, Shanghai police can open fire to stop violent crime if faced with situations like the Kunming attack.” [click to continue…]