Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

The Army is looking for a new service pistol to replace the Beretta M9, and it’s an interesting search.  Here’s an unintentionally ironic comment:

The Army’s main handgun — the M9 — is a 9mm semi-automatic intended as a last-ditch, defensive weapon. It was first issued in 1985, and critics say it’s too bulky for small-handed shooters. Troops who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan complain it’s not as hard-hitting as they would like. And it can’t easily accommodate the accessories now common in the civilian firearms market, such as swappable gun-sights or gun-mounted lights.

“It’s a little one size-fits-most, and not everybody is one size,” said Rodney Briggs, a firearms instructor and former military policeman in the Army National Guard. He carried the M9 during two tours of duty in Iraq. “It’s been around for a really, really long time, and it’s just old and outdated.”

It was issued in 1985, and now it’s “old and outdated?”

colt1911_5357Kudos, then, to John Browning, the DaVinci of firearms, who designed the M9’s predecessor, the famous and nigh-immortal Colt 1911.  That worthy sidearm served officially for 74 years, almost a half-century longer than the “old and outdated” M9.  It’s still in use by some U.S. forces who want more hitting power than the anemic 9mm hardball round offers, and it is the design basis for maybe half of the semi-auto pistols in use today – almost every major manufacturer (and plenty of smaller ones) make a 1911.

The Old Man in 1945, his 1911 at his side.
The Old Man in 1945, his 1911 at his side.

Why not just go back to the 1911?  It’s powerful, reliable, infinitely accessorizable, and tough, tough, tough.  It can be made to be very accurate; lots of serious target shooters use accurized 1911s.

There are other good candidates, of course.  I wasn’t a big fan of Gaston Glock’s design until I bought one, then another.  My Glock 36 is a near-constant companion when I leave the Casa De Animal, and I’ve become a fan of the Glock 21’s big double handful of 13 .45ACP rounds.  I’m a .45 guy, and Glock makes some good ones.

But it seems kind of silly to spend a lot of time and taxpayer money flabbling over the next service pistol when an ideal model has been readily available for over a hundred years.

And then there is this comment:

The Army has a lengthy list of requirements. Among them, it wants a handgun with an adjustable grip that can easily fit large or small hands. That way, shooters don’t have to adjust their grip mid-fight to operate hard-to-reach buttons or levers.

If small or large hands is an issue, why not simply allow service members to carry a personally owned sidearm if they desire?  Restricting them to an issued cartridge makes some sense, but so does injecting some logic into the selection process.

Maybe someone in the Pentagon will have a sudden rush of brains to the head and give this idea some serious consideration.