All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


New Gun?

The American military establishment has decided that after almost 30 years of use that the 9mm Beretta isn't the best possible handgun for military personnel. I was around in 1985 and remember several people saying that exact same thing at the time.

In 1985 the 45 ACP in model 1911 was 74 years old.  It hadn't changed much in that time.  True there had been some improvements in manufacturing tolerances, stronger springs etc but basically it was the same gun that saw action in WWI, WWII, Korea, Viet Nam and other places.  It was the 80s.  We had to have something new and improved, like New Coke.

Now I've never shot a half starved 98 lb Japanese Imperial Army soldier who was charging me with  his families katana.  I hear its an exhilarating experience.  It would seem, and I would agree in theory that its probably best if the first shot stops the attack.  I also hear that this is why god himself invented the 45.   

In fairness I also understand that having the same ammo as your allies makes it easier to resupply troops on the battle field.  Given the option, I'd go along with the "more bullets is more better" line of thinking too.

That would put my opinion someplace between the two camps.  I've owned two 9mm handguns.  They have their place.  I'm not sure that place is on the battle field.  That said, I'm sure the US military can be counted on to make as much of mess out of finding a replacement for the Beretta as humanly possible.

I think this nails it on the head.
Fresh off a failed attempt to find a new primary service rifle, the Army is set to help the Air Force replace the sidearm the U.S. military has used for three decades.
Why in the name of all that's holy are we letting the Air Force pick out handguns?  Sure I trust the Air Force to know something about fighter jets, Area 51 and the Stargate Program, but hand guns?  Come on now.  The reason the troops don't like the 9mm is knock down power, or more accurately a lack there of.  What's going to happen when the Air Force tries to find people to test the new gun? 
I'll tell you what's going to happen.  Somebody, probably a general in charge of diversity and inclusiveness, is going to break a nail.  That's going to lead to focus groups and a committee that will decide that guns are bad and that if we have to have some, they should be powder blue to match the uniforms.  The Navy will retaliate and issue a directive requiring all of theirs to be soft pink.
This won't have as much impact on the Army as you might think.  If you're driving around in an M1 tank, you tend not to be as focused on handguns.  In that case your secondary weapon is a 50 BMG and well, that beats the crap out of a 45.
I've got a couple of ideas.  One, let the troops carry whatever personally owned and supplied handgun they want.  Two, under no circumstances allow Air Force, Army or Navy brass to pick out any new handguns, unless they do so under idea number one.
I suspect that no one will listen to any of these ideas.  Which leads me to the conclusion that our boys will end up with either, brand new but slightly better designed 9mm or we'll see the 40 S&W on the battlefield.


  1. What do you bet its even more wimpy like the five seven?

  2. The .40 is a better choice and I would imagine they would go with that. They could look to the experience cops have of gunning down unarmed civilians, err, I mean armed and armored criminally insane villains. Its got the balance between the .45 and 9, meeting that need for higher stopping power than the 9mm and more ammo than the .45

    Other options might be the .357 Sig or the 10mm.

  3. As I see it, there are two major factors that are performance related, knock down power, and magazine capacity. There is the issue of universal conformity and resupply. Then there is the issue of recoil/controllability.

    The calibers listed each have their good and bad points given the criteria above. The 45, 10mm, 40 S&W and 357 sig all meet the performance requirement. The 10mm is regarded by many as more difficult to handle than the 45. During WWII many of our allies accepted the 45 ACP in a weapon platform, mostly because we were handing them out like candy to anyone who would accept them. Afterwards they focused on supply management issues and went to the Germans 9mm.

    Whatever the Beretta's design short comings are, I think is not really part of the equation. We can build great guns in any standard caliber.

    I'm eager to see WB and Hales input.

  4. WaterBoy1:47 PM

    Res Ipsa: "One, let the troops carry whatever personally owned and supplied handgun they want."

    Extremely bad idea. When even men in the same platoon can't share the same ammo, logistics becomes a nightmare.

    A supply depot, somewhere in Afghanistan:

    "You want what, now, son?"

    ".41 Long Colt, Sarge."


  5. WaterBoy1:57 PM

    Other than that, I have no opinion on which they should choose. I'm just not that knowledgeable about the actual mechanics of it.

    They DO need to pick one standard, and it needs to be consistent between ALL the services. Not just for logistics already noted concerning ammo/mags, but for purchasing, maintenance, and training as well.

  6. I agree with you on the supply and logistics aspect requiring standardization. However, letting the troops carry what they want doesn't mean that the military will resupply whatever they want.

    Exactly how many Air Force personnel carry side arms as part of their normal duty? I suspect that MP's do as well as any other security personnel. I imagine the Para Jumpers and other special teams, get whatever they want for arms so they wouldn't count towards the total anyway.

    Even in the infantry not everyone carries a sidearm. I'm OK with changing this and letting everyone have one all the time.

    I'm just saying that the men who are most likely using the handgun as part of their duties should be men that are trained to utilize a harder hitting weapon and we shouldn't need to reduce the recoil requirement to the lowest common denominator.

  7. WaterBoy4:29 PM

    Res Ipsa: "However, letting the troops carry what they want doesn't mean that the military will resupply whatever they want."

    Unfortunately, it has to mean exactly that. A soldier in the field cannot exactly waltz down to the local Sportsman's Warehouse and pick up his own ammunition. :)

    And if you're going to allow umpteen personal calibers, you have to resupply all of those umpteen calibers. Otherwise, you have soldiers running out of whatever personal ammo they brought with them and lugging around an empty weapon is just useless dead weight. The only thing such a weapon is good for at that point is maybe to throw at the enemy -- it might make them blink, and it gets rid of the dead weight.

    Similarly, allowing combat troops to use their personal weapons at home but requiring standard issue while deployed is also asking for trouble. Having trained on personal weapons in preparation for combat, then switching to an unfamiliar weapon when actually going to combat is folly, as you can surely see from your own tactical training.

    Remember, we're talking about mostly combat troops, here. As you rightly noted, the average Joe Airman walking around Anywhere Air Force Base isn't going to be packing a sidearm. Most bases (at least AF bases) require you to keep your personal weapons at the base armory if you live on base; you check them out to go shooting/hunting/whatever, and bring them back when you're done. Otherwise, they're typically not allowed. It's great that you think it should be otherwise (and I agree)...but until that changes, we need to deal with the here and now.

    No, as much as a single standard weapon might be a lowest common denominator item, I still think it's the most effective for the greatest portion of users.

  8. Res Ipsa5:50 PM

    I assume that most guys if allowed a person side arm would do so with ammo supply in mind. I also assume that if most of the guys in the platoon used a gun that accepted a standard sized magazine than that's what the men would choose too.

    I noticed you didn't comment on the powder blue vs soft pink. Which color do you think they'll go with?

  9. WaterBoy9:32 PM

    The Air Force will go with gleaming, polished silver embossed with a stylized blue-and-white wing symbol on the grips. It will cost 50 times the base cost of the gun, will leak lubricant profusely until enough rounds have been put through it to pressurize the seals, but will be accurate out to 10,000 yards with the correct laser-guided smart ammo (which is still in development).

    The Army will paint theirs in desert camo, leading to a 25% lost weapon rate. It will cost 10 times the base rate, but will constantly jam.

    The Marines will go with standard black. It will cost 5 times the base rate, but will be waterproof, mudproof, sandproof, iceproof, and heatproof. It can be used to open older C-rat cans as well as slicing open MRE pouches. It can dig a foxhole or a latrine hole, hammer in tent stakes, and double as a pillow at night.

    The Navy gun will be pure white, and cannot be used unless wearing white gloves. It will cost 100 times the base rate, and will try to incorporate all the features of the other services' weapons, being waterproof (but only to 20m), mudproof (with appropriate packaging), sandproof (when stored in an airtight container), iceproof (arctic version only, requires additional battery pack), and heatproof (up to 80°F). It will also fire smart ammo, but it will return to the gun to be reloaded if it doesn't hit its target. And it will float if dropped long as the magazine is empty.

  10. That was pretty good!