Despite what some would of hoped would result in a new service pistol for the US Army, recent research into replacing the Beretta made M9 pistol have resulted in the ordering of another 100,000 of the pistols over the next 5 years, thus entrenching the 9mm pistol as the de facto standard sidearm for the foreseeable future.
I have nothing against the M9, to tell you the truth I never really had to use one other than qualifying with it one year (grabbed an expert badge for it the first time I ever picked one up and shot it that day!) back while I was still in the National Guard. I think its a big pistol for the caliber and the grip is too big for some shooters with smaller hands. I also am not a big fan of the slide mounted safety/decocker (Taurus copies the M9 as the PT92 uses a frame mounted safety which I think is better, just my two pennies worth...). Other than that the larger frame and weight does help in managing recoil, the pistol is well made and strangely attractive in its appearance. It uses a double/single action, hammer fired, delayed blowback design (first shot it double action if carried with a round in the chamber and safety on, all consecutive rounds are single action). It has a 15 round magazine (a source of much controversy of the weapons reliability depending on the manufacturer of the magazine) which is ample for its normally intended purpose as a secondary weapon to a rifle or carbine.
Then there is the caliber debate.... The 9mm round does not necessarily have the reputation for being a fight stopper in the hands of our troops. A lot of folks were hoping that a pistol in either .40 or .45 would be picked over the existing round in use. Matter of fact, the Marines just adopted the 1911 again for special ops types (including their MEU-SOC guys), in part because of the caliber. For me it comes down to two basic root causes, ammo and training.
We are still clinging to a clause in a document we signed over a hundred years ago that forbids the use of hollowpoint ammo as being designed to produce excessive wounding. Yet in that same 100 years we have developed weaponry that does much more horrific damage with a solid bullet than any hollowpoint could have been dreamed of doing in 1907. We routinely arm our police officers with hollowpoint rounds even though our own Constitution forbids "cruel and unusual" punishment. HP rounds work, in fact you could make the argument that they would extinguish a targets life faster than an round nosed bullet, thus actually reducing the amount of suffering. But I digress, as long as we issue our troops +P solid core, round nosed bullets (our current M882 9mm round pushes a 112gr. FMJ at over 1250fps) we are going to keep punching nice little round holes in our enemies without effectively producing any stopping effects unless they hit bone or a CNS item (brain or spinal cord). We have found out that psychological stops against our enemies don't happen all that often. Lets get our troops some Hydrashoks or PDX-1 rounds and let them end the fight when it starts.
Secondly, its training. No matter what round you give them, without proper training in using that weapon we could be shooting 105mm rounds at the bad guys and it doesn't matter unless you actually hit them. That and hit them center mass and where it counts to make those bad people sit down and think about their evil ways. As far as I know, pistol training has never been very good in the Army. Maybe that's changed recently and I just haven't noticed, but the people primarily given pistols (officers, medic, mortar gunners and the like) generally had other duties that precluded the active engagement of the enemy with their sidearms. The general concept as I saw it happen was that the individuals would draw their pistols, be given a quick refresher on loading them so that they didn't shoot themselves or someone nearby, and then be put on the range to qualify. The qualification standards weren't exactly like shooting an IDPA match either. Like I mentioned before, the first time I ever picked up an M9 I took it to the range and qualified expert with it. Hopefully, we are teaching our warriors better and I just have missed it being retired and all of that.
|Can't be training...its not raining (how many of you remember that!)|
Anyway, well congratulations to Beretta on getting another lease on life with the US Army and for producing a genuinely fine product worthy of being on the hip of our service men and women.