Category Archive 'Beretta M9'

11 Jul 2014

More on the US Service Sidearm

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Hollowpoints

Commenter Tim, at Gun Nuts Media, defends the Beretta M9:

The Beretta M9 has actually been a pretty good sidearm.

We’ve talked a bit about the Beretta 92/M9′s track record as an issued sidearm for the military and law enforcement before, but it’s worth reemphasizing here that the biggest problem the Beretta has had in military service is bad maintenance practices by the military itself. Springs don’t get replaced, parts that aren’t supposed to be reused get reused, and the military went out and bought a bunch of cheap magazines for them that didn’t work well. Remember that this is the same organization which preached minimal or no lube on carbines like Jimmy Swaggart on cocaine and then seemed somewhat stunned by the fact that guns shut down when used in combat. When you talk to people from units who took maintaining their issued M9 sidearms seriously, and who bothered to actually lubricate them properly, you hear that they were pretty darn reliable.

And he doesn’t think getting a sidearm chambered for a round larger and more powerful than the 9mm Parabellum will make that much difference.

40 S&W ball ammo, .45 ACP ball ammo, or .357 sig ball ammo is going to suck about the same as 9mm ball ammo.

One of the stated reasons for pursuing a new handgun is to get one that’s in a chambering with better terminal ballistics. That’s really a non-starter unless the military is willing to start using ammunition with expanding bullets. It’s particularly amusing to see the .357 sig in the list of considerations because the .357 sig is a .40 S&W case necked down to take a 9mm bullet…as if a .355 FMJ from a .357 sig is going to perform better than a .355 FMJ from a 9mm. If the Army wants better terminal ballistics, start issuing Gold Dots. No, dear reader, we’re not prohibited from using JHP ammunition by the Hague convention…and to paraphrase an exceptionally astute comment from a forum discussion on the topic, it’s patently absurd to issue hand grenades and shoulder-launched missiles and then wring our hands and fret over whether hollowpoints for handguns are “humane”. It’s ridiculous that in our society a police officer can shoot another American citizen with JHP ammo without any human rights concerns but somehow there’s a big problem if a Marine shoots some foreign dirtbag with the exact same ammo. You know, shooting him with a handgun rather than calling in an airstrike or blowing the whole structure the dude is hiding in to kingdom come with an Abrams tank.

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Tim may be right that drawing an ethical line at shooting foreign enemies with expanding bullets is silly when our own police get to shoot civilians domestically with hollowpoint bullets, but he’s mistaken about US obligations.

The Hague Convention of 1899 says:

The Contracting Parties agree to abstain from the use of bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core, or is pierced with incisions.

This Declaration was not ratified by the United States, but… “After World War II, the judges of the military tribunal of the Trial of German Major War Criminals at Nuremberg Trials found that by 1939, the rules laid down in the 1907 Hague Convention were recognised by all civilised nations and were regarded as declaratory of the laws and customs of war. Under this post-war decision, a country did not have to have ratified the 1907 Hague Convention in order to be bound by them.”

So, by the ruling of an international war crimes tribunal in which the US participated, everyone, including the US, is considered to recognize that abstention from the use of expanding bullets is one of the laws and customs of war.

09 Jul 2014

Firearm Experts Told the Army So

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ColtArmyRevolver
The Colt M1892 Revolver chambered in .38 Long Colt was found inadequate to stop a hopped-up, charging Muslim terrorist during the Phillipine Insurrection.

Russ Chastain observes that we seem to have a US Army that can’t learn from history, and is therefore obliged to repeat it.

Dear U.S. Army: We told you so.

When 38 bullets (actually .357 caliber, which is pretty much 9mm) failed to stop its enemies, the U.S. Army went in search of a bigger, better cartridge. The result was John Browning’s M1911 semi-automatic pistol and the 45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) cartridge for which it was designed.

As you can guess from the M1911 designation, the 45 ACP was adopted into military service 103 years ago.

In 1985, the U.S. Army took a huge step backwards when it summarily dumped the 45 ACP in favor of the underpowered 9mm Luger cartridge (a.k.a. 9mm Parabellum). Irony: The 9mm is not quite as powerful as the cartridge which the 45 ACP replaced about 75 years earlier.

Now, things have apparently come full circle. Citing combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, authorities are once again recognizing the advantage of using a more powerful cartridge.

True to form, the government won’t look back at what once worked well and embrace it. Instead they plan to spend billions of our dollars creating and adopting something they’re calling a Modular Handgun System (MHS). And they’re not just tossing out the 9mm ammo and firearms. They’re ditching whole heaps of gear, holsters included, and starting over.

They haven’t yet settled on a caliber, and are looking just about anything better than a nine. This would include a faster same-caliber round (357 Sig) as well as larger-caliber cartridges like the 40 S&W, 10mm Auto, and 45 ACP.

Devotees of the diminutive 9mm Luger cartridge are going to have a hard time swallowing the fact that their Precious has been found to be a bit, er, weak. …

Anybody think they’ll end up with some jazzed-up version of a 1911? Hmmmm…

Read the whole thing.

1911kit
John Browning’s Model 1911 design, chambered in .45 ACP, was consequently adopted to replace the too anemic .38 revolver.

05 Jul 2014

Army Wants a More Potent Sidearm

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1911A1-10
The sidearm they need has already been invented.

Military Times:

The U.S. Army is moving forward to replace the Cold War-era M9 9mm pistol with a more powerful handgun that also meets the needs of the other services.

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.

The MHS would replace the Army’s inventory of more than 200,000 outdated M9 pistols and several thousand M11 9mm pistols with one that has greater accuracy, lethality, reliability and durability, according to Daryl Easlick, a project officer with the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Ga.

“It’s a total system replacement — new gun, new ammo, new holster, everything,” Easlick said.

The Army began working with the small arms industry on MHS in early 2013, but the effort has been in the works for more than five years. If successful, it would result in the Defense Department buying more than 400,000 new pistols during a period of significant defense-spending reductions. …

One of the major goals of the MHS effort is to adopt a pistol chambered for a more potent round than the current 9mm, weapons officials said. The U.S. military replaced the .45 caliber 1911 pistol with the M9 in 1985 and began using the 9mm NATO round at that time.

Soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have complained that the 9mm round is not powerful enough to be effective in combat.

“The 9mm doesn’t score high with soldier feedback,” said Easlick, explaining that the Army, and the other services, want a round that will have better terminal effects — or cause more damage — when it hits enemy combatants. “We have to do better than our current 9mm.”

It shouldn’t take a long time to figure out that pretty much the ideal design already exists and dates back 103 years.


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