Why the Army Will Choose the Beretta M9A3

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Reader SACorey writes:

Speculation about the upcoming U.S. Army pistol evaluations and Beretta’s new M9A3 abounds. The Army says they want a new modular handgun to replace the venerable 9mm Beretta, but if history is any indication, the guidelines put forth for the evaluation process are meaningless. All the murky visions in everyone’s crystal balls that seem to be pointing toward candidates like the FNX-45, S&W M&P, and GLOCKs will prove to be unfounded . . .

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Beretta Press Conference on M9A3, Modular Handgun System, Anniversaries, etc.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Beretta told me that the Army/DoD absolutely is reviewing Beretta’s ECP, or Engineering Change Proposal, for the M9 service pistol. The hope is that the M9A3 comes close enough to hitting the requirements proposed in the competition for a new MHS, or Modular Handgun System, that the Army and Air Force forgo the project and just stick with the M9 platform. Indeed, the M9A3 does meet ~86% of the MHS targets, and sticking with it would mean saving hundreds of millions of dollars. Here’s a 1-pager on the M9A3, and above is video of the press conference Beretta held at SHOT Show. They also discussed how this is the 100th anniversary of Beretta’s first semi-automatic handgun, the Model 1915 seen after the jump, as well as the 30th anniversary of the M9 becoming the official sidearm of U.S. armed forces. Photos follow. . .

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LWRC Shows Off the SMG-45

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Everyone and their brother is making an MP5 replacement these days. SIG SAUER has the MPX, AAC has the Honey Badger, and now LWRC is throwing their own special sauce onto something they are calling the SMG-45. The compact submachine gun uses almost 100% ambidextrous controls (the non-reciprocating charging handle is still left side only for now), existing UMP magazines, and a nifty piston delayed operating system to cycle the gun. There’s also a folding stock to make it even more compact. As for civilian availability . . .

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Navy SEAL Who Shot Bin Laden Revealed, May Face Legal Action

Tom O'Neill, the man who killed Osama Bin Laden (courtesy dailymail.co.uk)

The media has revealed the identity of the Navy SEAL who shot terrorist Osama Bin Laden ahead of tonight’s exclusive Fox News interview with the shooter. Senior Chief Petty Officer Rob O’Neill is the SEAL who done did it. Equally unsurprising as the timing of the reveal: The Daily Mail reports that O’Neill has become persona non grata amongst his former SEAL cohorts . . .

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SIG SAUER Unveils the P320 MHS Edition

P320 MHS, c Rob Curtis at GearScout

The U.S. military has been thinking about trading up from their hodgepodge of 1980s era handguns to something a little more modern and modular. At the moment there is an array of different guns in service, from the Beretta 92FS to the SIG SAUER Mk25 to the venerable Colt 1911 and compact versions for the criminal investigation units. Simplifying their arsenal and ensuring interoperability even across branches of service would make acquisition, maintenance, personalization, and even sharing ammunition in combat far easier than today. The Modular Handgun System competition aims to do just that, and SIG SAUER just started showing off their entry in the competition at AUSA this week . . .

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Germany Might Be About to Adopt the HK416 Instead of G36

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Heckler & Koch has been under fire recently in Germany for their G36 rifles. Soldiers in the field have been complaining about the terrible accuracy they are seeing during sustained firefights, and the complaints have been so persuasive that the German government stopped buying them altogether. A proper solution to the issue hasn’t been found yet, but there’s some circumstantial evidence to support the idea that Germany is about to switch from the G36 to the newly designated G38 — otherwise known as the HK416 . . .

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Gun Tweet of the Day: Death Cult Edition

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Egypt has brokered what’s described as a long-term cease fire agreement between Hamas and Israel. It’s basically the same deal the Hamas brain trust rejected a month (or about 1500 dead Palestinians) ago. While predictably declaring victory, Hamas failed to attain any of their stated goals, the primary one being an end to the Israeli and Egyptian blockades. They’d fired over 2000 rockets into Israel during the conflict and all they have to show for it is about the same number of dead Palestinians, hundreds of thousand of tons of rubble, a decimated tunnel infrastructure and incontrovertible evidence that Israeli engineers know what the hell they’re doing. But as the AFP photo above illustrates . . .

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U.S. Army Kills Rifle Replacement Program After Competitor Bests Existing M4A1

SCAR 16S, c Nick Leghorn

Over the last couple years, the U.S. Army has been holding the Individual Carbine competition — a program designed to evaluate if the M4A1 rifle is still the best firearm for our soldiers over 50 years after its introduction, or if there is anything better out there. The project has been under fire from the start, and they canned the competition back in June of last year claiming that everyone failed to meet the specifications. According to new information acquired by the Washington Times, it sounds like that decision to cancel the project may have been for other reasons . . .

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SIG SAUER Academy’s Basic Principles of Close Quarters Combat

Last week SIG SAUER gave both Tyler and myself a crash course in using firearms in CQB situations. Using some UTM training rounds and some of SIG’s firearms, we spend a good part of the day endlessly clearing rooms under the direction of the SIG SAUER Academy’s instructors — the same guys that teach this stuff to SWAT teams and military units on a regular basis. We weren’t anything even resembling what you would call good at it, but we got the basics and I figured some of you armchair operators might be interested in what we learned . . .

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German Government Halts New Purchases of H&K G36

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The German Defence Ministry has halted new orders of H&K’s G36 rifle. The Defense Ministry took the action after troops in Afghanistan complained that the H&K built rifles couldn’t hit their targets during prolonged firefights. It’s a serious problem; engagement distances in Afghanistan have tended to be much greater than originally envisioned when the rifle was designed. From the AFP (via ChannelNewsAsia) . . .

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Medal of Honor Recipient Cpl. Kyle Carpenter Visits FN Manufacturing

As wjla.com reported, Marine Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter will be awarded the Medal of Honor at a ceremony at the White House today. In November of 2010, Cpl. Carpenter and another Marine, Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio were on a rooftop in Helmand Province, Afghanistan when an enemy grenade landed near them. “Carpenter placed himself between the grenade and Eufrazio to shield him. The blast deflected down, with Carpenter absorbing most of the explosion. Eufrazio received a head injury from shrapnel. But Carpenter was severely wounded, sustaining a depressed skull, a collapsed right lung, multiple facial fractures, the loss of a third of his lower jaw and fragment injuries to his arms and legs” . . . 

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Gun Review: SAR 21

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The eternal debate rages on about just how useful the bullpup design is in modern firearms. Some people really like it, especially those who need a compact firearm for close quarters fighting. Some people also really hate it, usually those who need to hit things at a slightly longer distance. While the discussion continues, a number of countries have already adopted bullpup style rifles for their military, and today I would like to present you with one of the lesser-known examples. No, it’s not The Stig Steyer Aug, it’s his Singaporean cousin the SAR 21.

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