Smith & Wesson Using Razor Blade Strategy to Win Army Contract?

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TTAG never holds posts for more than a day; even the “evergreens.” Not so fool.com. Writer Rich Smith’s post on the competition for the Army’s new sidearm sat on the sidelines for almost a week, during which time TTAG’s post on the Army’s decision to punt Beretta from the competition to replace the Beretta 92 appeared. His prose may be delayed by bureaucracy but he’s no fool, our Rich. Smith sees Smith & Wesson’s November hook-up with General Dynamics as part of a clever strategy to win the Army’s handgun contract . . .

General Dynamics is more than just a gunmaker. (It’s a tank maker, and a maker of nuclear submarines, and of surface warships, too). General D is also a major manufacturer of ammunition for the military, supplying hundreds of millions of rounds of small-caliber (and large-caliber) ammunition annually. According to General Dynamics’ most recent 10-K filing with the SEC, munitions and armaments contributed $1.8 billion in revenues to the company’s $6.1 billion Combat Systems business (data from S&P Capital IQ).

As such, the company is almost uniquely situated to cater to the Pentagon’s preference for a new caliber of ammunition more effective than the M882 9mm standard (.357 SIG, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP rounds are rumored to be under consideration), perhaps specially designed to work well in a new pistol from Smith & Wesson. Or, an alliance between the two companies might be able to offer the Pentagon a “deal” on the up-front cost of handguns, hoping to make it up later on selling the Pentagon bullets. Because as any gun owner can tell you, over the lifetime of a gun, you spend a lot more on the bullets than on the gun itself. (We call this the razor-and-blade business model.)

Meanwhile, the “discussion” on the appropriate caliber for the next gen military sidearm rages on. The comments underneath Rich’s post are rich with high caliber kvetching.

Not to poke that bear (much), but I reckon that “buy American” has political power and the military has an uncanny ability to pick the worst of all mil-spec options. I’m betting Smith gets the gig (over GLOCK and FNH-USA and the rest) with .40 S&W becoming the caliber of choice. You?

comments

  1. avatar Vhyrus says:

    It’s called loss leader. Have none of these supposed economics writers actually taken any economics courses?

    1. avatar JimmyDelta says:

      The loss-leader concept is for retail and does not exist in contracting. No one is trying to generate foot traffic into a General Dynamics bodega.

      1. avatar styrgwillidar says:

        Yep. Article summed it up pretty well- GD/S&W looking at the profit in terms of an end-to-end program including ammo/logistics vice just the firearm itself.

  2. avatar LC Judas says:

    Are we mispelling “GLOCK” on purpose?

    I don’t bet .40 and I love .40

    As an aside, I picked up a .40 XDM. Matt In FL would be proud.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Let’s all have a moment of silence in honor of Matt. Apparently the Bermuda Triangle claimed him as we never hear from him. 🙂

      1. avatar LC Judas says:

        You know there’s 16 of those places in the world like the Bermuda Triangle? It’s queer stuff called aluminum sulfide/sulfite.

        As for Matt, as I look at this center punched target cutesy of the only 16 round OeM mag in .40S&W to date, I say “Amen” for a man who preached the .40 gospel more tirelessly than even I myself.

        *chuckles*

    2. avatar JimmyDelta says:

      No one misspelled “GLOCK”; GLOCK uses all caps for branding.

  3. avatar Zora says:

    I don’t know what a GOCK is but it sounds hilarious. Also I stumbled across your reddit post about wanting your Battlefield 4 guns to match your real guns completely by accident and I thought it was funny.

    1. avatar Michelle says:

      Personally I’d like a GOCK 7 SF in .48 Long Bolt.

      1. avatar Sheepdog6 says:

        Is that the new bolt-action, triple stack, Sig Brace equipped GOCK?

        GOCK…Developing guns you don’t want and didn’t ask for for the last 10 years.

        1. avatar Robert Farago says:

          Funny guys. Text amended.

        2. avatar Al says:

          I keep my GOCK
          Holstered in a SOCK
          Next to my APPENDIX

        3. avatar jwm says:

          Al wins for the day.

      2. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

        88 magnum

        1. avatar John Butler says:

          It shoots through schools…

    2. avatar Roymond says:

      “I don’t know what a GOCK is . . .”

      It sounds like a high-caliber sex toy…..

  4. avatar dwb says:

    I strongly doubt the military will move away from the NATO standard 9mm.

    No matter what they pick, 2nd best is usually a better firearm, I’ll buy that.

    1. avatar Rokurota says:

      Yup. If police and sheriff departments are moving to 9mm to accommodate the most recoil sensitive shooter on the force, why would the services move away?

      1. avatar Jake Tallman says:

        Because soldiers are prohibited by the Hague Convention from using anything other than standard ball ammo, which is pretty much awful in small calibers. 9mm is a great round (though I personally am a .45 guy myself), but it’s only great when used with modern, high quality hollow points. Since the bureaucrats seem so hell-bent on following the Hague Convention (which is vastly outdated, and the US never signed, and which only applies if all warring parties are signatories), it’s better to go with a larger bullet that is more effective in FMJ.

        Plus, anyone can learn to shoot anything. I’ve seen women who are five feet tall and 90 pounds soaking wet shoot 12 gauge and .44 mag with no issues. Overall firearms training (yes, I’m well aware that both cops and soldiers receive a pitiful amount of handgun training) is far better among soldiers than among cops, and fitness does play a role in how well one can shoot large caliber firearms. Plenty of cops are extremely out of shape, but soldiers are simply required to stay in top condition, and they do.

        1. avatar JoshuaS says:

          This is not quite accurate. There is no per se ban on hollow points. Rather the US is signatory to an agreement not to use bullets that cause “unnecessary suffering” Legal opinions starting in the 1980’s opened the door to the use of some expanding ammunition.

          Hence open tip match ammo, JHP for military police, JHP for certain USAF crew, JHP for certain SpecOps has been approved.

          The real reason ball ammo is still standard for sidearms is reliability concerns.

        2. avatar neiowa says:

          Jake, I have 18yrs as an Infantry officer that says you vastly overrate the quality of firearms training and the fitness levels of our military personnel. Starting at the Infantry company and rapidly degenerating from there as one descends the REMF level.

        3. avatar fishydude says:

          Outside Pararescue and MP/LE, the USAF doesn’t do any firearms training. But every few years they are still required to go out and sit through “qualification.” That means you sit through a few hours in a class room then shoot 100 rounds. Only Airmen with private firearms shoot any more than that.

        4. avatar int19h says:

          Given that any sidearm for a soldier on a battlefield is strictly a weapon of absolute last resort, it doesn’t really make sense to go for marginally better stopping power (seriously, do you think that extra 2mm make that much of a difference in a non-expanding bullet?) at the expense of having to rebuild the existing logistics chain for 9mm.

        5. avatar int19h says:

          Joshua, it’s the Hague convention of 1899, and it’s more specific than “cause suffering”. Here’s what it 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 is pretty much the definition of JHP (and also OTM).

          The reason why US military is using OTM, is because the govt lawyers basically claim that this only applies to bullets that are intentionally designed to “expand or flatten easily”. If the design pursues some other goal but just conveniently happens to also possess these qualities, well, that’s too bad. And military OTM, like Mk 262, is designed for precision, and that open tip is just an artifact of the process necessary to manufacture ammo within those specs.

  5. avatar Chadwick P. says:

    Yeah I would rather see a glock or even better and fnx-45! There is one thing though. The military has been known to use some pretty cheapo looking tools so why not use s&w. Sorry I just don’t like the way they look and the one pistol I owned was not very awesome. I actually think I would take a kel tec before most s&w autos.

    1. avatar mike oregon says:

      I have a S&W M&P pro 5″in 40cal. after 2years and around 3500 rds. I have no complaints, granted that is the 600$ S&W not the 295$ version.

  6. avatar jwm says:

    I don’t see them moving away from the 9mm. The operators pretty much get whatever they want. Regular line troops are just as well served with the 15+ round capacity and easy control of the 9mm.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      If I had a 9, I would loud it with hollowpoints. If that got me in big trouble I would make a stink about it. That, and dumbass Gun Free Zones on bases, are why I’m no longer in the military. I’m also not a fan of our CIC.

      1. avatar dwb says:

        Good luck with that. First, in a far away place you are hostage to military supply chains. Second, there are international treaties covering what kind of ammo soldiers are allowed to use.

        1. avatar Alaskan Patriot says:

          By “international treaties” I’ll assume you mean the Hague Convention. People often make the mistake of thinking that it was the Geneva Convention that forbid the use of hollowpoint ammunition, but it was in fact the Hague Convention of 1907 that declared that, in any war between signatory powers, the parties will abstain from using “bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body.”

          However, it was never ratified by the United States; thus, we are not a “signatory power” to that treaty and are not bound by its declarations.

          Nevertheless, we acquiesced, and the United States military, by and large, does not use hollowpoint ammunition. But we could if we wanted to.

      2. avatar jwm says:

        In my time practically everybody had non issue, non regulation sidearms. We loaded them with whatever we could get. Hollowpoints for pistols were pretty much hen’s teeth in those days, tho.

        Ditto on the cic. And his mildly retarded vp.

        1. avatar troutbum5 says:

          Mildly?

      3. avatar Grindstone says:

        And your respect for rules & regs and authority would get you very far in the military…

        1. avatar Chadwick P. says:

          Yeah I guess he might be able to tie his shoes without being ordered to first bend over and then commence tying.

      4. avatar Charles Thompson says:

        Normally I agree with a lot of your comments, but not this one. Let’s think about this for a second. If you brought unauthorized ammunition onto base, you would be committing a crime. Also, loading said ammo into a government issued weapon, that it is not specified for is also a big problem. If you were one of my troops, it would not end well for you.

        1. avatar Rimfire says:

          But he might well be the only one left in a serious firefight! Better to live and fight another day than to be a victim of antiquated thinking; just as in the past the guy on the ground knows his enemy and what works.

        2. avatar ken says:

          How alive might he be when the unauthorized ammo is found on him long before there is ever any firefight, and he goes to the stockade and is never allowed a weapon again? Just how useful will his “special” ammo be then?

  7. avatar ST says:

    Forget the caliber. We need a contract for more training among the non-frontline troops. As it stands, a basic NRA class graduate is light years ahead of the usual military member in terms of pistol knowledge.

    1. avatar Charles Thompson says:

      This.

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      Forget about the cap guns. The Army needs riflemen not pistoleros.

      Wars/battles are fought (in order) with artillery (including bombs if the AF can be bother to show up and can hit the earth), maneuver (tanks etc) and then small arms.

      The Infantry company needs WEEKLY range instruction/practice/qualification o assigned small arms. With an unlimited ammunition allowance which is stored in company arms rooms. Better yet the rifle are in racks in the squad/platoon bay as in granddads day. Nothing in the Army structure that allows any of this. Then improve the rifle training for the other 80% of the force (REMFs). We will spend $1000s recruiting and training a grunt but can only allow $50yr in ammunition for his M4/M16.

  8. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    I just do not see the money being available for this program. The military has played with new rifle and handgun designs and proposals for some time. Heck, the Pentagon has problems producing their wonderful F-35. The military would be better served by having a rifle which fires a more powerful round with advanced optics. More small arms training would go a long ways as well.

  9. avatar flatfootedman says:

    Whatever happened to. 38 Super? Similar power & recoil profile to 357Sig, case is long instead of fat – would require 45acp or 10mm sized magwells, but capacity will be same as 9mm

    1. avatar Charles Thompson says:

      I have always been intrigued by that round and have oft’ considered purchasing a pistol in that caliber.

      1. avatar Avid Reader says:

        I just did that recently. Wish I’d done it years ago.

    2. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

      Never thought I would say this, but 357 sig is a more common cartridge.

    3. avatar JOe BigDoe says:

      38 Super is semi-rimmed which is less than ideal.

      1. avatar John Butler says:

        There’s .38 Super Comp, a rimless variant of .38 Super.

        1. avatar Robert W. says:

          In either case, we are talking about rounds capable of being loaded to much higher muzzle velocities and recoil than the 9. Personally, I think Super Comp is an awesome round but it can be problematic feeding, it’s aspect ratio is quite large. If the military were to just modernize the 9mm round by stamping it with slightly stronger brass you could up the standard pressure load past the realm that even 9mm +p run at, and get a nice velocity boost. Also they would do well by removing about 2/3 the case taper, it is largely unnecessary.

  10. avatar joelT1 says:

    So, is this the time to look into Smith & Wesson stock?

  11. avatar Ryan says:

    *Yawn* the Beretta is just fine. The fact is that for the most part a pistol is only used for when you lock your rifle in your wall locker and walk down to the chow hall at the FOB.

    Pistols were fantastic at making E5’s E4’s after they blew up a clearing barrel, though. They probably killed more careers than people in Iraq.

    Our money would be better spent on training. Most soldiers are handed a pistol and a couple of magazines on the range, told to shoot and they don’t see the pistol again for another few months.

    It’s a poor carpenter who blames his tool.

    1. avatar Grindstone says:

      This guy begs to differ: media.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2005/mar/marines/kasal_large.jpg

  12. avatar DickDanger says:

    I guess a horrible stock trigger was one of the things the military was looking for…

    1. avatar Charles Thompson says:

      That trigger is an embarrassment for a a company that thrives on the reputation of its revolver triggers.

      1. avatar David PA/NJ says:

        Workers just fine for that cop in Austin

        1. avatar David PA/NJ says:

          *Worked

  13. avatar Lance says:

    I doubt we leave 9mm much as I doubted leave 5.56mm during ICC. 9mm is NATO standard and is used by all Pacific US allies. Wimpy feminist women who are running the military as is will not like recoil of modern .40 and .45 calibers. we will stay with 9mm. It makes no sense to goto another pistol in 9mm. Unless we buck the PC idiots and women who run the DoD we will not go beyond 9mm NATO.

    Overall there nothing wrong with the M-9 no reason to ditch it.

    1. avatar Texas Anomaly says:

      I agree and disagree. The M9 is dated. Heavy when compared to polymer frames and relatively low capacity compared to newer service arms. It’s not a bad gun, but there are a lot better out there.

      As far as the 9mm goes, I tend to agree. I don’t think that its the fault of wimpy people, but a unwillingness to increase range time, which would be all but necessary for the 357 SIG or 40. 45 is to large to be practical. It’s a five hundredths increase in size and vastly reduced capacity.

      If 40 is chosen, I would suspect that a less snappy loading will be ordered.

      1. avatar Charles Thompson says:

        The M9 is not relatively lower capacity. It is issued with 15 round magazines because that is what the government specified, not because that was the full potential. Many newer Beretta’s ship with 17 round magazines and the OEM makes flush fitting 18 round magazines.

  14. avatar Javier says:

    If they are going to keep 9mm then CZ P-07 duty is a good go to gun. Good quality and less expensive then the Beretta.

  15. avatar Gregory says:

    The M&P is a POS. The internals are delicate. The magazine release is horrible. It takes too little pressure and movement to drop a magazine from the gun.

    1. avatar Drew says:

      That’s some pretty funny trolling there greg

    2. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      I hate Glocks but that doesn’t mean they are crap. I have shot 4 m&p 40 and .45 compact and full size, just got a shield this weekend and have no problems with a magazine ever dropping free and only after appropriate pressure on mag release button., The internals look a little chincy but still hold up well after thousands of rounds. The trigger on my full size was better than most but that could easily be fixed with a government contract. With that said I love .40 but do not think our military would go to a round other than 9mm or .45

    3. avatar John M. says:

      Google “M&P dead trigger”. It’s pretty unnerving when it happens.

  16. avatar Gary B says:

    Anything other than 9MM is going to be Non – NATO, Non – United Nations and Non – Anybody else anyway, so it doesn’t matter all that much. The 10MM gets little mention, yet should be a viable choice.
    The Austin Police officer who made that single104 yard shot with a S&W M&P .40, to kill a terrorist gives some testimony to the effectiveness of the M&P and the .40 caliber.
    As someone mentioned training in handguns is way more important.
    I would like to see S&W, Colt, Ruger, even Kel Tec get the contract.

    1. avatar David PA/NJ says:

      I heard he hit the guy in the heart. A .22 would have the same result

  17. avatar LTC F says:

    In the Army at least the problem with pistols is that they tend to issue them to people who do the least amount of shooting. Doctors, Lawyers, Commo guys etc. The people who in WWII got an M1 Carbine. The rest go to armored vehicle crewmen, crew served weapons gunners, and special folks.

    Having said all that, I hate the M9 with a purple passion. I’ve had two fail due to a broken trigger return spring. Both times in Iraq, thankfully on ranges not in anger. (I’ve never actually fired a pistol in anger. M4 yes, M9, thankfully no.)

    I have seen Glock 21s issued to some special folks. The Army could (and no doubt will) do worse.

    1. avatar Paul says:

      FWIW which may be nothing, a former military surgeon, who had small hands, by the way, the better to pull the macerated guts out of a wounded soldier, told me that he had trouble physically handling the 1911 but found the Beretta to be controllable to the point that after he left the military he bought one for his own. So if some soldiers, whether doctors, women, whatever with small hands are going to be the norm, then 9 mm it is. I can’t comment on the brands because I never tried a Beretta, did not like the full size S&W, found the Glock OK but not great. Really like the Ruger that I own and the Springfield XD that I have rented, but I don’t see those in the running.

  18. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    I have a hard time believing that the rubber over-molded sections of the M&P grip would hold up much in military use. Thats one of the reasons I passed on one back when I got my first pistol, just didnt look durable. That and I couldn’t stand the looks, the slide is nice all with aggressive serations but I cant stand the grip shape texture, angle, lines, all of it. S&W will get the deal because history has proven that they are in bed with people in the right places, and what Robert said, the whole Military tends to pick the worst options available thing.

    So yeah, my bet is on M&P in 40 Smith… a match made in heaven, and by that I mean, a match made by government pencil pushers looking out for their own special interests and after Smith and Wesson means ‘Murica!

    1. avatar Charles Thompson says:

      I disagree. I think the way S&W configured the safety is going to be a serious detractor and the trigger will be despised by the testers. Also, I seriously doubt that the .40S&W round will win either. As you said, pencil pushers make the decisions and all the anecdotal evidence of premature wear from the hotter .40 round will be a big red flag for them.

  19. avatar GaPharmD says:

    I also don’t see them moving from the 9mm. They tried and dropped the 45, and the .40 and 357 sig have there disadvantages as well as increased price. I don’t own a S&W so I can not comment on their use. I just hope for the sake of those enlisted that they make a wise choice and it proves more effective than whats currently in use.

    1. avatar Charles Thompson says:

      I’m not arguing one way or another for any caliber, but to be fair, the price issue you mention is only a problem right now for the civilian market. A military contract would bring the price down considerably.

  20. avatar Greg says:

    S&W and FN are the only companies with a chance anyway, if we just don’t say fuck it and go back to Beretta

  21. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    9mm NATO isn’t going anywhere.

  22. avatar Steve says:

    I don’t see us moving away from the M9 platform; there’s very little reason to as each and every complaint levied against the M9 can be fixed and it would STILL save money.

    However… imagine the CMP selling all those surplus M9s! They’re about out of M1s, so they need to find the next thing.

  23. avatar Tom W. says:

    Gee, again with the .40 bashing. I guess it’s just engraved in those that want the wonder 9? Or those that want the wonder .45. OK, I’d like to see a duty .45, with better training.

    The ballistic debate is getting rather exhausting at this point. Too many inmates and survivors proud of their 9mm scars boasting about them.

    What the old phrase?
    A real handgun caliber begins with a .4?

    Flaming to commence, in 3,2,1,….

    I enjoy my 6906 S&W 9mm, my M&P .40 full size and compact, my 1911, .45, my FNP-9, even my 1916 DWM German Luger in 9mm.

    The mil is just exploring ways to justify their budget. Same as the M4 debate. not a big deal, training means more than the caliber.

    1. avatar Jake Tallman says:

      Folks don’t like .40 S&W because it’s a dumb round. Compared to the 9mm, it’s got more recoil and fewer rounds per magazine, but compared to the .45, it’s got vastly inferior terminal ballistics with a comparable magazine capacity. It’s a round that combines the disadvantages of both rounds, with the advantages of neither. It’s a castrated 10mm, and anyone considering a handgun in .40 S&W should simply go with 10mm, because that actually IS a great round. More power than .45, higher magazine capacity than .45, flatter trajectory and WAY more power than 9mm…. Given that any pistols issues to US soldiers will be loaded with ball ammo (as per the Hague Convention), 10mm would actually be an excellent choice (though given that 9mm is standard with basically all militaries of the western world, it won’t happen). Though I absolutely do agree with you that training matters more than caliber.

      1. avatar me says:

        The petite women won’t be able to shoot the 10mm. It will knock them over lol

  24. avatar Steve s says:

    I was Army when they had either the 38 special or the .45 acp 1911. Then they changed over to the 9mm because of NATO requirements. That didn’t go over well then and still doesn’t today. I oven several makes of the .45 acp 1911. I carried one for ccw purposes until recently . Due to physical issues, I switched to the Springfield Armory XD Mod 2. But my back up in my truck will be a 1911. The Army should either go back to the 1911 as has the Marines have already and Special Ops guys have done. If not then change to the 40 S&W round. I had a Beretta PX 4 Storm, did not like the gun but did like the caliber.
    Get with it and get back to the first round knock down gun like the 1911

    1. avatar Charles Thompson says:

      I am fine with returning to the .45 ACP, but not the 1911 platform. It works, but there are a myriad of more modern designs that would be superior as a combat sidearm.

  25. avatar Charles Thompson says:

    I like M&P’s well enough, mostly for their ergonomics. In fact, I own three, an M&P9, 9c, and 40c. However, they are far from perfect. Most notably, their stock triggers outright suck compared to the competition. I installed an APEX trigger kit in the 9c and it is worlds better. Also, the frame mounted safety is horrible. It protrudes almost 3/16″ from the frame on both sides, and is in the way for anyone accustomed to a high grip on their pistols. Despite my ownership, I would absolutely hate it if the military went to the M&P in any caliber as their standard issue sidearm. I really don’t think it is robust enough for environments like the sandbox.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      “I really don’t think it is robust enough for environments like the sandbox.”

      Of course it is robust enough because Smith and Wesson named it M&P — Military and Police. The word Military in the name conveys magical qualities, right?

      /end_sarcasm

  26. avatar john osadnick says:

    If Tom Hanks can kill a German tank with a .45….

    1. avatar Peter Dvornik says:

      He didn’t, a P-51 Mustang firing AP .50BMG out of six machine guns killed that tank.

  27. avatar miforest says:

    I love the 9, and have defended it in many posts, but If I had only fmj available, I would want a 45.

    I live in the detroit area , and the PD here use glock 22’s and 23’s. when they got them they went with the politically correct FMJ ammo. after a couple of years of FTS, they quietly changed to JHP’s and have been happy.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      +1

    2. avatar jake from detroit says:

      For what it’s worth, Detroit PD issues the M&P.

  28. avatar geoffb says:

    Didn’t see it mentioned above but I thought the Sig P320 was also going to be an entry.

  29. avatar Roymond says:

    Whatever they choose, it probably won’t make my day.

  30. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Pretty much everyone agrees that 9x19mm ball ammunition is a really poor man stopper. So, why not use hardcast lead bullets with large flat meplats? Hardcast bullets deliver devastating terminal ballistics — superior to hollowpoint bullets — at short ranges. And they typically penetrate at least 24 inches (and quite often up to 48 inches) in mammalian targets. While that last detail is bad for civilian self-defense, it is a plus for troops in combat.

    If our military wants the most effective firearms and ammunition for our troops, they should ask for vendors to supply 9x19mm hardcast ammunition and then select the handgun that fires them with the highest reliability — whether that be a Smith and Wesson M&P9 or whatever.

    1. avatar John M. says:

      FWIW, the Hague convention has been interpreted to ban non-jacketed bullets.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Well that is easy: make hardcast lead bullets with a large flat meplat AND full metal jacket AND make sure the full metal jacket with sharp edges.

  31. avatar Aaron Geisler says:

    During the multiple competitions leading up to the adoption of the Beretta M9 the truncated cone (flat nosed) 9mm gave better terminal performance than the round nosed projectile. In my experience, male and female soldiers shot better with the M9 in 9mm than the M1911 in .45. In order for a pistol to be effective, one must before all else, hit the target. I would like to see the 9mm kept and bullet shape and weight examined again. I have various 9mm pistols: Beretta M92A1, SIG P226, Glock 17 & 19, CZ-75, S&W 910, Springfield M1911 in 9mm, P08 Luger, FNX, Walter P1, and M&P 9mm. I have carried the M9 in combat. If my opinion matters, I would pick the Glock 17 or SIG P226 along with their compact variants.

  32. avatar Josh V. says:

    I am betting that they go with .357 SIG or .45, with .40 being the last choice. As far as them going for .357 SIG, it feeds better in adverse conditions than .40 and .45, especially in FMJ form. It has similar ballistics to .40 in FMJ form, but has better barrier penetration. As for .45, it won’t wear out the firearms as fast as the higher pressure .40 and .357 SIG, and has superior FMJ ballistics to the other rounds.

  33. avatar Mike Lee says:

    Screw it. Just give everyone a P90.

  34. avatar George says:

    If the military is serious about improving effectiveness, they should forget the 9 vs 40 vs 45 debate. Just switch to JHP and call it a day.

  35. avatar Chris says:

    The M&P hasn’t been having much luck lately. The M&P 9mm has been breaking. A lot. TXDPS and Los Angeles County packed theirs up and sent them back to Smith. I’m not sure the M&P will survive military testing. As for “buying American,” I’m a little tired of that commercial. Glock is now making guns in GA and gives millions to American LE and military charities. Beretta is moving to TN and makes guns domestically. Sig is transitioning its entire manufacturing process to the States and away from Europe. Smith is not hte only US manufacturer on the block. However, I do think it’s Smith’s to lose. I can’t tell you why. No way the US military leaves the 9mm, though. The military will demand some type of expanding 9mm FMJ and we’ll soldier on, but not necessarily with a better gun. In my 20 years’ experience on ranges, the Beretta M9 is a superb weapon, and probably superior to the M&P.

    1. avatar Drew says:

      You are aware LA Country literally just replaced their Beretta’s with the M&P9, this past year.

      1. avatar Retired LEO says:

        They replaced the Berettas then had to reissue until the replacements arrived from S&W after the original delivery started breaking on the qualification range. I made the mistake of purchasing a 9mm M&P when they 1st hit the LE distributor the plastic hinge on the trigger snapped after 1 mag of 147gr Gold Dots. 3 weeks to replace & immediately traded towards another 228. Among the possible give me a Sig or FnP over the smith. I did & still carry metal smith semi & revolver weapons but no more polymer S&W for me.

        1. avatar Drew says:

          S&W just won the contract in 2013, there is no “re-issue” whatsoever you are confusing it with a 2010 statement made the LA county

          http://bearingarms.com/smith-wesson-wins-massive-13000-lasd-contract/

          Please prove me wrong. I mean no offense by that, I just mean the burden of proof is on you when you make statements with no evidence

        2. avatar Lance says:

          Umm No it was offered as a alternative to Beretta they have not ditched the M-92FS, both guns are used by LASD officers. And some M&Ps have failed so Berettas where reissued for Officers who don’t want a M&P.

  36. avatar John says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb here. The Army is going to change caliber, and not to what you think. All the arguments about sticking with 9mm (NATO standard etc.) were fairly compelling until they rejected the Beretta M9A3 proposal a few days ago. They rejected it based just on the paper proposal without even really testing the gun. On the face of it it had everything going for it. The M9A3 fixed pretty much all of the complaints about the M9 (except maybe the open slide), it was cheaper than the existing M9 and certainly cheaper than any other 9mm candidate from another manufacturer as it would work with all existing ammo stocks, holsters, mags etc. It was really a no-brainer… ASSUMING the Army wanted to stick with 9mm. The rejection of the M9A3 proposal makes it clear the Army wants to switch caliber, otherwise the would have taken the path of least 9mm resistance in the form of the M9A3.

    So if they want to switch caliber, what to? It won’t be back to 45 ACP. Double-stacked 45s are physically too big to fit in the 5th-95th percentile criteria which has been stated as a major requirement for the new sidearm. They want a gun that every grunt can fire, be it big or small, male or female. So that realistically leaves 40S&W, 10mm and 357 SIG as the candidates.

    So crazy as this seems, I predict it’ll be a 357 SIG platform. Why? Well, aside from the fact it allows for a reasonable capacity magazine, the clincher is the Army’s refusal to use expanding ammo. Yes, we know the USA never ratified the Hague convention and the use of FMJ over HP is basically voluntary. But we’re clearly not going to break the convention any time soon. So which round has the best performance in FMJ while maintaining a useful magazine capacity? 357 SIG. It’s already used by the Secret Service, Air Marshals and various US special forces so it’s passed the smell test with other government agencies. If you’re insisting on using FMJ ammo in combat, the 357 SIG has high velocity, better penetration of non-organic material (walls, glass, non-armored vehicles, etc.), and muzzle energy roughly equal to 45ACP and 50-75% greater than 9mm FMJ, yet still lets you carry 12-14 rounds in a mag/grip that’s not the size of a 2×4 and doesn’t have the harsh recoil of a 40S&W or 10mm. Not to mention the bottleneck shape of the round gives much more reliable feeding when the weapon is dirty or poorly maintained. Finally, the major clue to the eventual winner is right there in the name of the program to find a replacement sidearm:the MODULAR Handgun System. They want to be able to have one platform that can be quickly modified to full size, compact size, swappable grips, Picatinny rail etc.

    So my prediction is this: the next Army standard issue sidearm will be a version of the Sig Sauer P320 chambered in 357 SIG with an added safety/decocker. Or, failing that (if the push to buy American becomes overwhelming) it’ll be some new S&W/General Dynamics polymer striker-fired gun based on the M&P which will be effectively a S&W version of the P320. Also chambered in 357 SIG.

    You can take that to the bank.

    1. avatar Retired LEO says:

      After viewing 40+ examples of the NCHP .357sigs pistols from Smith that were beat to hell from qualification fire they better beef up the frame.

      In S&W’s new print ads they do not even mention .357sig any longer. Beating the caliber wars dead horse the F.B.I. has plans to return to 9mm, 40 is too snappy for most small statured persons based on most reports. We all know in our hearts it will be a NATO round to satisfy the United Nations since it’s ineffective the round must follow. Give them a Fn Five-Seven & call it a day in the military round it’s reasonably effective Fn already makes the p90 for the US Secret Service. Unless Colt can be bailed out they are a non-starter as is the 1911 platform (I love them but they are half a century behind, based on
      current warfare style). I see
      Glock as the forerunner but the military will require a manual safety. In real world conditions Sig in one of the 2022 frame calibers is the likely choice followed by Fn. IF they even come up with the bucks to go ahead.

      This could all just be an excuse by the powers that be to get a bunch of free lap dances, Cuban cigars & return to 3 martini lunches.
      No matter which way new weapon, caliber, or status quo be assured both the US taxpayer & soldier in the field will not be kissed first or greased up.

      1. avatar Gregory says:

        Trolling, really, I think not. Did I hurt your feelings because you own an M&P? I once owned two of them and took a loss on both selling them after discovering unacceptable flaws. S&W hurt my wallet not my feelings but I moved on. If they correct the flaws (they will not) I will dump the Glocks in a heartbeat. I do not have brand name loyalty, I have quality loyalty. There are no second place winners!

        1. avatar Serg says:

          Stop trolling Greg.

  37. avatar NE Cop says:

    An Army Special Forces buddy of mine once told me, “The only useful training that a soldier should get using their pistol, is shooting behind their back while they’re running away. If you have to use your M9 than you’re so f*cked that you should get runnin’. You ain’t gunna engage someone without your M4.”

  38. avatar Gordon says:

    Glock seems almost ideal.

    1) Glocks can be made with an external safety if requested.

    2) Glock’s standard capacity magazines are huge, and there are true high capacity magazines available for 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP.

    3) Glocks are compatible with an autosear.

    4) Glocks have wide acceptance with various police departments and government agencies, and have seen limited deployment in the military already.

    5) Glocks are easily broken down for cleaning into four major components in seconds.

    As someone who served as duty gunner’s mate on my ship, breaking down the M9s for cleaning was a pain – and we had a bunch of those in the armory and more in the RSLs at midships and aft.

    1. avatar ken says:

      Breaking the M9 down was a pain? You push one button to unlock a lever that you then turn. Then the whole gun falls out the front in less than one second. Just who was it that told you how difficult a task that is?

  39. avatar Tim McNabb says:

    I own an M&P Shield and M&P Compact. I like them both very much. I rather like the ida of our small arms being made in ‘MERICA.

  40. avatar Kap says:

    Fact! the U.S. Army went too the .45 for a reason, the American 9 or .38 lacked stopping power when they confronted the Moro’s in the Philippine’s! I wonder what Religion they were! anyway the European 9 has extra magazine capacity, lighter recoil in a heavy gun Etc. then the politicians got involved and a certain Senator pushed for a 9 but it had too be Made In the Chinese Market Place the good old USA! So the crook Senator got a Factory in his State! I wonder what the Perks were! Now Army generals want something better! so when they retire they can get a cushy job in the plant that furnishes them with new Weapons, who ever gets the Payola bid will go the way of Colt and get out of the civilian market! I’m betting that the next Cartridge has a .4 in it! However knowing how the military works they wind up with a .32 with a 50 a Rnd magazine because its more humane! easier for people to handle etc! more spray and pray!

  41. avatar ken says:

    The only bet I will make is that it WON’T be the .45 ACP. That would be admitting they were wrong in the first place, and the military will never do that. I don’t speculate, I only bet on sure things…

  42. avatar Gregory says:

    I figured it out, Obama pussified the military so we can go to a .22 long rifle pistol.

  43. avatar Mark Chamberlain says:

    I guess I was under the impression the military was looking for a modular design, hence the modular handgun system competition. Other than different size back straps, what is modular about the M&P?

    1. avatar Serg says:

      “What is modular about the M&P

      The caliber, parts between all models & mag compatibility between all pistol sizes (save for the single stacks).

      It’s actually more modular than Glock, you don’t need a custom barrel, spring or extractor for caliber changes, literally only a factory barrel with swap calibers. So long as you start from .40 down.

      1. avatar Mark Chamberlain says:

        I have not read the actual rules of the competition but from what I have read, I’m guessing they are looking for more modularity than either Glock or S&W are offering. You can’t go from full size to compact to subcompact without buying new guns with either. Both, I’m sure, would be acceptable duty pistols for the military.

  44. avatar Aaron says:

    Meh. As much as I agree that 9mm NATO ball is weak sauce, and the Beretta 92 was just “OK”, handguns are the least important firearm category.

    The Army has rifles/carbines, machineguns, mortars, artillery (105mm and 155mm), tanks with machine guns and a high velocity 120mm cannon, Apaches with Hellfire missiles, rockets, and a 30mm cannon. Even helicopter aircrew are often carrying M4s in the cockpit in addition to pistols.

    The folks that have the most need for handguns generally get the handguns they need. The folks who get issued a handgun for “just in case”, and generally never use it, get whatever the standard Army handgun is.

    Everyone knows that in ball ammo, .45 is a little better than 9mm. But what the armchair afficianados often don’t realize is the .45 ball ammo is TWICE AS HEAVY as 9mm ball ammo, and more expensive too, for a marginal increase in effectiveness. That makes a difference when dealing with the expense of hundreds of thousands of pistols and millions of rounds of ammo. The weight difference doesn’t make much difference in the glove box of a pickup truck, but it makes a difference when someone has to carry a metric ass-load of gear PLUS a pistol, 24-7, in austere conditions.

    If you want to see some really cool gun videos, google “XM1028 120mm cannister” or “Apache kills 20 Taliban”.

    1. avatar Larry says:

      This!!! Plus the fact of why carry a 45 pistol when all of your allies have 9mm???? Answer they won’t carry a 45.

  45. avatar Retired LEO says:

    Drew re-read my post they reissued beretta until the replacement S&W’s arrived. The 92 is authorized optional carry & my visit behind the silicone curtain last year saw quite a number of beretta’s.

    I’ve been to sig, glock, smith & beretta armorer schools among others & the internals on S&W polymer weapons leave a lot of room for design improvement. In reality save the Berry Amendment the CZ-75 or the new Tangfolio clones come as close to perfect for overall 9mm ball am mo use. Had a EAA drop 6 stories onto a concrete pool deck scratched it up, broke a mag base but after a thorough inspection all I had to do was resight. All the top ends are swappable have a 9, 40, 45 & 10mm one frame. My original CZ-75B had over 10k rounds before I retired it. She gets a few hundred rounds a year but it earned it’s keep. The Tangfolio is in my current carry teaching rotation. I really wish they’d put a U.S. factory up.

    1. avatar Lance says:

      Like I said S&W MPs supplemented by option a Beretta never was going to fully replace them. Its better to have a number of guns that fits your officers. LASD still uses Berettas but by officer choice.

      1. avatar Retired LEO says:

        Similar to civilian depts. mandating all area agencies using same caliber & weapon. I know of only 2 shootings in the last1 years that a neighboring officer needed to borrow a mag & it was a different caliber or weapon. One size does not fit all, only thing I think all will agree is that small arms training in the military & civilian sectors is woefully lacking and we would not turn down being handed our weight in gold. LOL.

        I know a 4’10 Gunny right now o.k. shot with an M-9 but can shoot an FnP in 9 or .45acp and fill a case with trophies & pay for her P-up off contests. My step-daughte r, had 6 hours small arms @ Parris Island
        & more practice in my backyard than boot camp & 14 years in service on 9/11/2015.

  46. avatar Rimfire says:

    Kind of makes me wish the 9X23 Winchester round had been accepted by the shooting public 20 years ago. Similar weight, smoking hot yet controllable round that just didn’t catch on back then. Of course I agree that to hell with the ball ammo too, give our men and women the best for battle! Novel concept huh? I agree we will likely get the .357 Sig, not the .40, not the .45 and no, not the Nato darling 9! Maybe FN has an ace cartridge up their sleeve, not just the gun???

  47. avatar Douglas A. Vliet says:

    The Special Operators in the movie “Black Hawk Down” were proficient in the use of their sidearms, as well as their long rifles. When you run out of ammo for your rifle, it only makes sense to rely on your sidearm. The Marines are buying 19,000 Colt Commanders in 45.ACP, but I think the Army will buy something in 9mm.

  48. avatar ElPasoTom says:

    They could do worse than .357 SIG. Secret Service and many DPS agencies using it. Flatter shooting, better penetration. Could utilize existing 124gr/125gr 9mm bullets (.355/.356) I carry it daily and practice weekly. Slightly higher recoil but certainly manageable for male and female shooters.

    Regardless of caliber, I’m also betting on the S&W/ General Dynamics combo to get the bid. M&P a respectable pistol, modular, interchangeable barrels, grips, customizable for Spec Ops, and the “buy American” angle is a nice plus. I do like the Glock as well (G20) but Gaston Glock is busy with a messy divorce….

    So we’ll see if the military testers pull their head out of their ass this time and get it right.

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