“The M9 is at the end of its lifecycle,” declared Maj. Art Thomas [not shown], small arms branch chief at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, GA. “It is an old weapon.” Pig pile on Beretta! True story: armytimes.com comes not to praise the Beretta M9. They come to well and truly bury the Maryland-made 9mm handguns. Here’s the bullet point version of why our men in uniform need to ditch the bitch for something better . . .
• The[M9’s] slide-mounted safety. When solders rack the slide to alleviate a jam or stovepipe in the M9, they often inadvertently engage the safety — and won’t realize this until they reacquire and squeeze the trigger.
• The open-slide design, which allow contaminants and dirt into the system.
• The lack of a modular grip, integrated rail and night-sight capabilities.
• The inability to suppress.
• Limited service life — replacement should have a service life of at least 25,000 rounds.
That last one really sticks in the Army’s craw. “Service life is a key issue,” Daryl Easlick told the times. The project officer for close effects (“How was work today honey?”) reveals that the M9 is only required to fire 5,000 rounds. “We are looking for a threshold capability in the magnitude of five times better than that.”
But wait M9 fans! There’s less!
Lethality is among the M9’s several “limitations,” said Easlick. The requirement for a new pistol calls for “an increase in permanent wound channel,” which suggests something more powerful than a 9mm may be on the horizon.
We like . . . big bullets and we cannot lie! While Beretta’s imitating Donkey in Shrek (“Choose me! Choose me!”), and their PX models are the high(er) tech weapons the Major’s looking for, you can check the Italian-owned gunmaker’s odds of winning the contract to replace 239k U.S. military handguns at inaintgonnahappen.com.
So who’s it gonna be, then?
Glock obviously. Now that Glock manufactures/assembles handguns in Smyrna, Georgia, they can wave the flag as furiously as, say, the good old boys building Bubba Benzes in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.
Glock’s got all the right guns–well, gun—in all the right calibers. They all feel the same in hand and under finger—the kind of uniformity bound to give Uncle Sam’s logistical coordinators a beancountergasm.
Reliability? Now that the Glock mag drop issue’s been sorted (steel mag this), the U.S. Army couldn’t ask for a better, more reliable, battle-tested pistol. And to answer the m,litary’s call for a gun with which poorly troops are less like to shoot themselves or their cohorts, Glock developed a .45 with a frame-mounted safety.
What’s not to love? Even so, you gottta think Smith & Wesson has the inside track. They’re D.C. savvy and all-American. Repeat after me: jobs, jobs, jobs. OK, and yes, the M&P is, now, a damn fine pistol.
“It’s kind of hard to beat the Smith and Wesson M&P right now,” said one industry insider from a competing company, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “It is a polymer gun with high-capacity steel magazines. It has a positive safety and ambidextrous controls … they simply came out of the gate with the right gun.”
While I agree that Smith has both the product and the juice to get this deal done, no firearms insider would ever doff their hat to the competition like that. That quote’s as fake as Dick Van Dyke’s Cockney accent. Anyway, Heckler & Koch.
The HK P2000 is lauded by the Border Patrol. They love its modular grips, dual slide release levers and mounting rails that easily accommodate a variety of lights, lasers and accessories.
Yes, well, H&K’s USP Tactical may have the unique selling point the Army requires (threaded barrel). The gun’s double action/single action may not suit you and me (but especially me), but the Army puts safety at the top of their list.
Unfortunately, money. H&K’s a pricey pistol. In these days of austerity (if only), the Army will put price right at the top of the list. Followed by reliability. Preceded by bureaucratic infighting and political lobbying.
Which is why Smith will probably beat out Glock for the contract, with H&K continuing to win friends and influence people amongst the federal law enforcement agencies.