Which Handgun Caliber(s) SHOULD our Military be using?


Mark IV Series 80
January 5, 2003, 12:48 AM
Which handgun cartridge(s) should our Military be using?

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January 5, 2003, 01:23 AM
40 caliber..:D
.45 ACP for the cartridge..

January 5, 2003, 01:24 AM
9x19 is the best choice for our military.

Not because its the best man-stopping cartridge, but because its the best choice from a logistical standpoint.

Wars are generally not won with handguns ... they are a relatively minor part of our nations arsenal, and as such it would be better to have a round that we would have in common with all our allies.

January 5, 2003, 01:26 AM
45-70 government

January 5, 2003, 01:35 AM
.45 ACP.....What can I say I am enamored with it!

Flamethrowers on!:neener:

January 5, 2003, 01:37 AM
Might not be a popular vote, but I voted 9 mm.

January 5, 2003, 01:47 AM
I'd have to agree with Zundfolge; whatever is most likely to be lying around when my two mags run dry is what I want my weapon chambered in. I might go 14 for 14 with a 1911, but if I can't resupply, that's where the tally stops...

I don't love the 9mm, but rounds going downrange beat wishing for a .45...


January 5, 2003, 02:00 AM
What no 9*25 or 40 super:D I would have to say for all around use the 9mm

January 5, 2003, 02:20 AM
"Wars are generally not won with handguns ... they are a relatively minor part of our nations arsenal, and as such it would be better to have a round that we would have in common with all our allies."

That may be so, but all wars are non conventional in a realitve sense. Tunnel rats in Viet Nam, ask one of them what caliber they would want to use. I don't know of many that would of chose a 9mm.
I do not believe when the caliber was chosen for the army in 1911, going into tunnels for VC was even imagined. Here is one example of thousands. Again, you can not predict how a hand gun will be used in a war. No one can.
Another thing to keep in mind, the military does not use hollow points, they use hard ball. Big difference between the stopping power of a 45 hardball and a 9mm hard ball.

Kahr carrier
January 5, 2003, 02:39 AM
45ACP and 40Cal.:)

January 5, 2003, 03:09 AM
I think the military should carry the 1911 Government model. Which happens to be cambered in .45.

January 5, 2003, 03:37 AM
.22lr of course...

January 5, 2003, 03:50 AM
I think 9mm is fine if it would use frangible bullets (JHPs or expanding FMJ, Glasers, etc). Using FMJ only I'm less sure.

I also think it should use .45acp for some applications, as it does.

I think .22lr pistols should be had for certain applications. Applications for which the noise characteristics of .22lr would be useful, especially in conjunction with a silencer (assassination type attacks on enemy personnel, silenceing enemy dogs, etc).

Being a big revolver fan I think .357mag should be optional.:D Actually, in some situations it may be quite useful where a high level of penatration is called for either as a backup for a rifle or should a rifle not be convenient. I know of several Viet Nam vets who brought their own .357s over and felt that it was a good round for that environment.

January 5, 2003, 05:53 AM
Bring back the Colt 1911A1 or issue the Glock-21

January 5, 2003, 06:40 AM
.45 acp.:D

January 5, 2003, 12:38 PM
The gun and caliber they are using is fine. It's the ammo that sucks.

Give them all mags loaded with Gold Dots or Hydra Shoks. We are still using the NATO standard round that way. As far as only using the FMJ ammo, to he11 with that. There are only a couple countries that play by those rules. If out enemy isn't one of those countries then all bets are off.

HP's for all US Military personal:evil:

January 5, 2003, 01:00 PM
The handgun may indeed be a minor weapon in actual military use but I believe that when it's needed, it's needed badly just as in civilian life. I personally have a lot more faith in .45 ACP hardball than in 9mm.

Zak Smith
January 5, 2003, 01:01 PM
Concur with JeepDriver. FMJ pistol ammo is terrible for self-defense. (FBI expansion/penetration data (http://apollo.demigod.org/~zak/firearms/fbi-pistol.php?sort=grade1).)

Figure out whatever administrative/legal contortions must be done for to use the leading-edge JHP bullets, and then pick a loading propels it effectively.

For standard-issue sidearms, stay with 9x19 in a hot loading. For example, Speer Gold Dot 124gr + P is smokin' at around 1300fps from a 4.7" barrel, with great terminal ballistics. For people who are already carrying too much junk, a 17+1 round 9x19 pistol is pretty much self-contained. In addition, a high capacity 9mm will still have a pretty small grip, and will therefor be physically compatible with more body shapes/sizes.

When you need sound supression, use .45ACP, also in a contemporary JHP.

If you need to penetrate (some types of) body armor, then design a round that expands like a JHP, but has a penetrator that keeps going.


January 5, 2003, 02:01 PM
Can't speak for others, but when things git that close I'd prefer a 45.

Chris Rhines
January 5, 2003, 02:07 PM
Nine is fine. What they really need is a smaller, simpler launch platform.

- Chris

Ala Dan
January 5, 2003, 02:20 PM
Greeting's All,

I voted for the 9m/m Parabellum, and the .45 ACP. Both are
good quality caliber's; with plenty of surplus ammunition
available to general citizen's. I see no need to change!

Best wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

Dave Markowitz
January 5, 2003, 04:06 PM
I voted for 9x19mm for a few reasons:

1. IMO, the difference between .45 ACP Ball and 9x19 Ball is overblown.

2. It's smaller, lighter, and has less recoil. The vat majority of people issued handguns don't get sufficient training. While reports of the .45's recoil are often exagerrated, the 9x19's is less, and will let G.I. Joe shoot it better.

3. You can get better penetration against body armor with 9x19, especially with hot loads and/or steel core bullets.

I would like to see a better launch platform, however. The SIG M-11 is fine, but the M-9 should be replaced with the M-11 or even a BHP. The M-9 is ridiculously large for a 9mm and the Walther-style lockup isn't as durable over the long term as a Browning or Petter lockup.

January 6, 2003, 10:01 AM
Absolutely the .45ACP. Why do you think it was in our military for almost 100 yrs? It was ONLY because we wanted to standarize with the NATO countries that even got us started down the 9mm road.

January 6, 2003, 10:20 AM
.45 ACP.

Good platform, (1911, of course.) very good defensive round in FMJ, works fine in subguns.

Worked great for a LOOONG time. Better track record than 9mm.

"...Your job is to make the OTHER bastard die for HIS country."--Patton.

.45 ACP does that better than 9mm when in military configuration.

Agree with the sentiments for giving the military hollowpoints. Better to stop the guy NOW.

Joe Demko
January 6, 2003, 10:42 AM
For actual handgun use, as opposed to smg use, this matters about as much as "Should our military be using curved or straight sabers?"

January 6, 2003, 11:08 AM
.22lr--training & silent operations.

.45ACP--silent operations.

10mm--general issue.

W/ the right load, 10mm can do the .45's job and vice-versa, but I like the idea of a few more rounds in the magazine of a .41MAG level pistol...

January 6, 2003, 01:18 PM



Oh my that is what they are using.

You should have included the FN 5.57


January 6, 2003, 06:07 PM
45ACP, if I was going thats what I would want.


January 6, 2003, 09:30 PM
9mm is an easy choice. It's been around the block longer than the .45 ACP. Plus, the guns hold more ammunition in general. Proper handgun training is to launch MULTIPLE rounds at ANY attacker. So if I launch 3-4 rounds, with a 9 I have 11-13 rounds left. With a .45, I have 3-4 rounds left. What do I do now?

IMO, 9mm gives you more options.

January 6, 2003, 10:06 PM
Thanks to the Hague Accords when we talk about military sidearms, we are talking about ball ammo or soft points. Hollowpoints are expressly forbidden in the treaty. So when you start thinking about .357s and 9mms keep in mind that hollowpoints are out of the question for a military firearm.

Personally I think .40 is probably the best choice in a general issue military caliber. 10mm recoils too much for some as the FBI learned. A .45 sidearm would have to be single stack for general issue (try teaching a small handed woman on a double stack .45) so its mag capacity would be limited. It has good momentum and muzzle energy and it makes a fairly large hole.

Both the US and Britian have blown up or broken sidearms (berettas and hipowers respectively) trying to hotload 9mm for more stopping power. If 9mm is so good why haven't we heard of militaries doing this with other calibers?

January 6, 2003, 11:34 PM
9mm NATO.

Many reasons, including political and treaty ones, plus, as Zundfulge said, logistical.

BTW, a handgun as a military tool isn't that big of a deal in the overall scheme of things. If you have to use it, somebody has screwed up big time.

January 7, 2003, 12:55 AM
I'd go for the 9mm- good penetration,reliable feeding,& effective. Did anyone see Blackhawk Down? U.S. troops are being placed in far away lands in small groups that can be cut off. I would want 45 rounds of 9mm as opposed to 21 of .45, if I was guarding a supply dump in Saudi Arabia by myself.-IMHO.


January 7, 2003, 03:26 AM
I think the one their using currently "9mm" would be fine if they would only be allowed to carry Hollow points . I've never understood why they cant ??? in a war people get killed by regular hardball rounds , so whats the big deal :(

Mark IV Series 80
January 7, 2003, 11:10 PM
I think that our Military should go with four standard handgun calibers:

.22 LR - Training and Special Operations.

9mm - General Issue, for the average handgun carrier.

.38 Special - For investigators, and others who need to carry a concealed snubbie, or who need a backup gun.

.45 ACP - For anyone who wants to carry a .45 instead of the other calibers, and who can qualify with it.

January 7, 2003, 11:45 PM
Now you are creating a QMs nitemare. 4 times as many kinds of ammo to keep up with. 4 times as many things to make sure you get the right amount of each. 444 times the problems.


January 8, 2003, 11:32 AM
Their current caliber is just fine.

January 8, 2003, 12:15 PM
If it gets down to handguns, the enemy is to close to begin with. So, at that point, what ever they can get their hands on!

January 8, 2003, 10:40 PM
Hurry up and vote, you guys. The Joint Chiefs of Staff are waiting for your selection. LOL

January 10, 2003, 12:24 AM
For the military the pistol is a secondary weapon that is shot little. Also I don't think we have any submachine guns in general inventory in the military. Therefore, pistol ammo is used just for pistols and pistols are not fired much so weight of ammo is of no really concern. The 45 acp is a tested, proven round so why not stay with it. Probably also stay with proven 1911 that takes a lot of abuse and is easy to maintain. Lack of "double action" is no real problems as even today most military carry is without round in chamber.

4v50 Gary
January 10, 2003, 02:04 PM
Call me a fogy, but I voted for the 45.

January 10, 2003, 03:49 PM
Has anyone been reading the magazines? I work in G-1 Operations at MARFORLANT for the Marine Corps - I read in the magazines and here at work about the Marines and other U.S. Forces in Afgan and other places that shall not be named and that 9mm ball ammo sucks.

"You take on multiple targets and have 11 - 13 rounds left?" Try 2 to 5 if you have 3 targets - it's taking 3 to 4 rounds of 9mm ball to take these guys down - some special ops forces carry .45 and one to two rounds is all they are requiring.......think about it - politically correct ammo is not the best ammo to have in combat - you need what works. You have a group rush you and you have to shoot each target center mass as we our trained and it takes 3 to take out the first BG, you think the other 2 are just gonna stop and wait their turn? No, you're dead.

If all the U.S. Forces carry .45 or maybe .40 - they'll all have the same ammo and weapons - I don't care about what everybody else has out there, I want something that will do the job.

Granted the 1911 is out dated for combat in the desert and jungle - maybe not.

But from the front lines the 9mm is failing in it's job performance.....

January 10, 2003, 10:39 PM
A VERY! Hot Communist block round. Eats Bullet Proof stuff for breakfast!

January 13, 2003, 11:34 AM
45ACP as the launcher, and as much Rem Golden Sabre as I could carry over with me...;)

January 16, 2003, 05:56 AM
Since when have they been wearing bullet-proof dishadashas and kofis in Afganistan and Iraq?

Our enemies of the last 50 years have been hyped up religious
or political fanatics that are a little too motivated to be bothered
by a puny 9mm.

Didn't we learn that in the Spanish American war?

As far as logistics and ammuntion supply...

If we can't keep our soliders in at least 3 magazines of .45acp
on a regular basis then our military has much bigger problem
than deciding what caliber to use.

I'm not going to go into anecdotal reports of drugged crazies
taking 15rounds of 9mm without noticing they are hurt BUT....

If you were confronted with being shot at point blank range with one round of FMJ which would you choose 45acp or 9mm?

January 17, 2003, 10:15 AM
Voted for .45 ACP because it has a proven track record and hollow points are not allowed. My personal favorite would be .357 with hollow points. The 9mm is ok but the .45 ACP would do the job better.

January 18, 2003, 01:46 AM
My vote goes to the 40 S&W.

January 18, 2003, 01:02 PM
.45 ACP.

Handguns are rarely used in combat. But they are part of a soldier's armament. As such, they should inspire confidence. Even if 9mm ball performs the same as .45 ball, the .45 will simply instill more confidence.

January 18, 2003, 03:45 PM
"But they are part of a soldier's armament. "

More accurately, they are a part of SOME soldier's armament. A small minority of actual ground troops.

January 20, 2003, 03:58 PM
Why a pistol?
A pistol is about the worst weapon that guy could end up with.
I only carry them because I would draw too much attention if I was carrying a Mossberg riot gun.
I say keep the 9mm, but give the guys mini-UZI's or MP5K's. Something small with good firepower and better range than a handgun.
Think about it. If you are a tanker, and you end up out of your tank getting shot at by an AK, wouldn't you want something select fire?
I would.
Unless I was 600m away with a bolt-action.

Joe Demko
January 21, 2003, 06:41 AM
Even if 9mm ball performs the same as .45 ball, the .45 will simply instill more confidence.

In whom? The minority of soldiers who are gun enthusiasts? So, we should base the decison on instilling confidence in a minority that is part of another minority (soldiers who are issued sidearms). If confidence is the issue, then it would be cheaper and just as effective, if not more so, to simply mount a public relations campaign within the military touting the efficacy of the 9mm.

January 21, 2003, 01:53 PM
Does anyone know which military personnel get issued sidearms?

January 21, 2003, 03:02 PM
... somebody will find something to complain about no matter what it is. Trust me.

Who gets pistols? Pilots, aircrews, cops, guards, investigators, couriers, operators... we didn't buy almost half a million of em since 1985 for nothing... somebody needed a new jacuzzi.

If you enjoyed reading about "Which Handgun Caliber(s) SHOULD our Military be using?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!