25 Sep 2006

Bad News: Defense Department Cancels Search for New .45 ACP Sidearm

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Jim Dunnigan’s Strategy Page reports:

September 24, 2006: Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Defense began a search for a new .45 caliber combat pistol. Now that search has been mysteriously called off. The Department of Defense has announced, without any explanation, that is no longer looking for a new combat pistol.

Big mistake.

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Dominique R. Poirier

I guess I am experienced enough about the matter to add my contribution to this information.

On the one hand, it is regrettable that the U.S. Army is equipped with an Italian pistol while the United States is indisputably the biggest arms producer in the world, and has all required capability and competencies to provide its army by its own. The same deserves to be said about the M-16 that is produced by the Belgian arms manufacturer FN-Herstal.
For the record, Colt lost its M-16 contract with the Army mainly due to shortcomings owing to a sizeable extent to labor union organized strikes that lasted 4 years; the longest in U.S. history.
As a result, Colt is today the shadow of itself though it is the best known arms manufacturer in the world according to a poll performed in June, 2006. One may deeply regret that, surprisingly enough, organized strikes never affect junk guns manufacturers where workers are usually expected, individually, to produce an astounding average of 1,440 guns a year… May we be authorized to deduce from these facts that some labor unions are waging war against everything is good for this country only, since the same problems seem to occur in U.S. owned carmakers’ plants, for the benefit, in turn, of foreign carmakers? Any explanation from labor unions representatives about these oddities would help us to understand this fact.

On the other hand, I make a call to other’s point of view to determine whether the .45 ACP caliber is to be considered as part of our country’s legacy. If yes, why not the 30-06?
I had had the opportunity to perform some tests on a car with different calibers and types of guns, and those tests demonstrated that the .45 ACP ranks well behind the 9mm Parabellum in performance when it comes to penetrating power.
Shoot with a 45 ACP pistol in the trunk of a good American car from a distance of 20 yards only and its occupants will just have to hide behind their rear seat to be sure they will get unarmed.
A solution consisting to raising the velocity of a .45 ACP bullet would produce stronger recoil which, in turn, would be detrimental to the capability of the shooter to shoot again as fast as he could do with a 9mm Parabellum in the same circumstances. My experiment demonstrated that nearly all 9mm bullets shot from the same distance pierced everything in the car until being struck in some part’s component behind the dashboard. These tests were performed with standard military ammunitions of U.S. origin.
Strikingly enough, shots done at the same distance with a .22LR rifle and Remington Hi Power cartridges provided the same results than those obtained with a 9mm pistol.
As a matter of complementary information, .30 NATO, 30-06 and 8mm Mauser continued their flight after they got their way out of the radiator or a front light when they didn’t get struck by a steel component in the engine.
Some may argue about stopping power while pleading the .45 ACP case, but, regretfully, stopping power tests in real case scenario are difficult to perform for obvious reasons; and all testimonies made by soldiers or police officer are too subjective to be seriously taken in consideration. Since no police officer expect to see one the bullets he shot on the loose in a crowded street, my personal point of view about it is that .45 ACP may be fit for law enforcement, but certainly not on a battlefield.

As a conclusion, I would say that American Firearms Companies just have to invent and propose something else than the Colt 1911 cal. 45 ACP since the Army doesn’t want it anymore; perhaps in inventing another caliber than the 9mm and .45 ACP. They have quite the skills for.
As hypothesis likely to explain the uncommented change of mind of the DoD, I suggest also that the matter could possibly owe to trade balance agreements between Italy and the United States. Perhaps Italy would buy some U.S. manufactured stuffs for its defense, and so, in return, the DoD would buy its pistols to Beretta.


The US military switched from the American .38 Special pistol cartridge (similar to the 9mm Parabellum) to the .45 ACP originally because of discovering in the course of the Philippine Insurrection that the former cartridge was lacking in knockdown and stopping power.

A sidearm is basically a last resort weapon, and the ability of the round in its chamber to put the crazed Muslim wielding the edged weapon on the ground is more important than its ability to penetrate automobiles.

Read this old post:



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