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Replacing the USAF M9

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by TFIT, Jan 13, 2013.

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  1. TFIT

    TFIT Member

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    Most of you probably know the US Armed Forces (USAF) has been considering replacing the aging M9 Beretta. Just for fun, I just thought I would open a discussion amongst us gun enthusiasts to toss around opinions on viable replacement weapons. Much debate has been had over caliber as well as platform, but what the heck...let us discuss it! And with that, we're off!

    The British Armed Forces just purchased 25,000 Glock 17 Gen4 pistols to replace the BHP. My guess is that they will continue to issue the Sig P226 to special units as that is a mission specific issued weapon rather than their standard issue defense pistol.

    Traditional thinking here in the US is that we will never issue a pistol without an external safety; however, I beg to differ. The Sig P226 has no external safety yet it wasn't chosen due only to a cost issue. I think training will resolve any new technology, but in today's economic climate, as was the case when choosing the M9, I think we can all agree that money will be the driving factor behind any replacement pistol. With that in mind, what are some legitimate considerations? Factors should be reliability, durability, safety, ease of use (simple to use and maintain) and finally, cost. What weapons fit this bill? My list would include the following:

    9MM:
    Glock 17 Gen4: Proven weapon in many arenas, recently chosen as replacement for BHP by BAF.

    Sig-Sauer P226: Currently used by special operators, proven weapon, easy transition.

    S&W M&P 9: Very nice weapon gaining popularity in the LE community. Made in USA!

    FN: Offered in DA/SA or striker fire, very nice weapon also gaining popularity in the LE community. Made in USA!

    H&K USP Tactical: Also a proven weapon, however, very expensive.

    .45:

    Colt M1911A1: The USMC just awarded a contract to Colt for 4,000. Legendary weapon, very expensive though. But this would be an excellent choice to replace the M9 if they decide to go with .45.

    Sig P220: The original Sig. Proven. Offered in DA/SA or SAO.

    S&W M&P 45: Outstanding weapon! Great design, gaining popularity with LEC.

    FN: Same reasons above. Strictly for consideration.

    H&K USP Tac: Great gun! The MK23 is just too freaking big to issue as a standard sidearm. I honestly do not know why in the world this weapon was ever chosen to be used at all. Might as well get a Desert Eagle .50!

    Glock 21 does not get the knod from me here b/c it is a big weapon which is too big for many to grip comfortably.

    My top choices are the G17 for 9MM and the M1911A1 in .45.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  2. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Hmmmmm, wonder where have I heard this before?
     
  3. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    For clarity, USAF is the abbreviation for United States Air Force, not United States Armed Forces.
     
  4. TFIT

    TFIT Member

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    Oooooohhh...I Don't know... ;-)
     
  5. TFIT

    TFIT Member

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    No, US Armed Forces...the US Air Force will do whatever the Army says on this. ;-)
     
  6. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    Of course, during my USAF career, while the USA/USN/USMC were carrying the 1911A1, the USAF carried an S&W .38 revolver.
     
  7. TFIT

    TFIT Member

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    What do they carry now? I know a lot of naval aviators also carried the .38 for a long time as well.
     
  8. Double_J

    Double_J Member

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    Keep the M9, the supply chain has all ready been established, personnel have been trained, and the pistol works well for its intended use. The above choices are all very nice and would work well, but the rest of the armed forces still use the M9.

    The glock is a great platform, but the problem is that we would have to re-train everyone who would be issued the sidearm. That would be extremely expensive, and time-consuming.

    The Sig P226/P220 is a good choice, but again it would mean re-training the people who use it.

    The M&P line is good, but I don't know if it has the man-years of use that the M9 has to prove absolute reliability.

    The FN I don't really know enough to comment on, but it seems like a solid platform.

    The USP line is very nice, I owned 2 of them. The only complaint about them is that the are VERY complicated to maintain, and the parts and magazines are NOT cheap.

    The 1911 is a solid platform, but it is still a very temperamental design from a different generation. To use a car analogy it is the same as a model T/model A. It was a great design for its time and it gave us a lot of ideas that we still use to this day. We have taken those same ideas and have improved them, and now we have the sig classic line, the glock line, and the other fantastic designs, much like the modern car can go for over three hundred thousand miles without major maintenance needed.

    Any replacement should be thought out, tested, and made across all the branches of the military. The special forces can and do use different weapons than the rank and file troops as they have different requirements i.e. the marines and the 1911, the seals and the sig p226, etc.
     
  9. TFIT

    TFIT Member

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    Agree 100% with everything you said, except the point on keeping the M9. It is a temperamental platform and expensive to maintain as well, which is why I think the USAF want to replace it. They won't replace it any time soon, but they do want to replace it. Honestly, I really don't like the gun. It's big, complicated compared to other weapons, and just really finicky. I know it is popular among some, and it is fun enough to shoot...but I just think there are better choices out there.

    Although it won't be done soon, I think you will agree that we will replace it at some point. You're right, it does work well enough for now. We just purchased a bunch which will carry us into the next decade.
     
  10. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    What I'm about to say applies to all branches, but especially the USAF. I don't think it matters what the air force carries; the pistols are mostly decorative for them anyway.
     
  11. Mainsail

    Mainsail Member

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    I carried the M56, really a S&W model 15, under my flight suit for many years. For normal purposes, one of us on the flight deck and a loadmaster, downstairs were armed. I started carrying on my ankle early on, which ended when we went to the M9.

    There was nothing 'decorative' about it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  12. TFIT

    TFIT Member

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    For the purpose of this discussion, USAF is US Armed Forces.
     
  13. TFIT

    TFIT Member

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    The models 10 & 15 are a couple of the most popular of all time, and very reliable weapons. I agree, the M9 is not decorative. No weapon intended for actual use is.
     
  14. gazpacho

    gazpacho Member

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    Okay. I'll bite. Give our soldiers a variant of the M9 based on the Beretta 93R. :evil:
     
  15. TFIT

    TFIT Member

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    LOL!!! Good one...
     
  16. del4

    del4 Member

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    A pistol on a general or flag officer is decorative, on aircrew it's the only weapon you have if you go down in a hostile area.

    I vote m&p or similar stricker fired pistol. The are the latest generation of fighting pistol. The moa isn't hard to learn. The military usually doesn't put much effort into handgun training anyway.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I997 using Tapatalk 2
     
  17. TFIT

    TFIT Member

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    Excellent point! And the M&P is gaining a lot of popularity, as it should. Great guns, and in the .45, it is a very good alternative to the 1911. They come with a 10 round magazine, and you can get up to 14 rounders. Makes good sense!
     
  18. smkummer

    smkummer Member

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    So we are restricted to 9mm or 45? They are both over 100 years old and still work but most LE agencies have switched to 40 so why can't the military? One trigger pull has been the norm for many reasons now also, and that should also make for a good military gun. I sure hope whoever gets the contract that a US designed firearm wins.
     
  19. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    As individuals we all have our preferences, but the fact of the matter is that a military's selection of a sidearm has never been a deciding factor in a war, and as time goes on it's less likely that it ever will be. It's been some time since a downed pilot or crewmember has had to rely on a sidearm. In Afghanistan, where varsity level flying conditions cause helicopters to crash at an unfortunate rate, most crews maintain long arms to use in case of that emergency. In addition to that more immediate need, there are other assets able to provide overhead protection.

    I really don't like the M9, but aside from my personal persepective I've seen a lot of first shots in DA hit the dirt barely halfway to the target. It's a training issue that alternative equipment could help to alleviate, but I don't consider it a big deal since the pistols will rarely see use. If they do, shot placement (training) and reliability (equipment/PMCS) will remain key. While the M9 is not a preferred weapon for me, it's good enough in both that I wouldn't want to see the military go through the expense of changing.
     
  20. Double_J

    Double_J Member

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    I did a little looking and one of the main reasons for the switch from .45 ACP to 9 mm was cross-compatibility with other NATO members. This does make sense from a logistics stand point as we can all share ammo for our long guns and side arms.
     
  21. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    "No, US Armed Forces...the US Air Force will do whatever the Army says on this."

    Actually it was the other way 'round.
    The Air Force started the wheels turning to buy a 9mm.
    Their revolvers were wearing out, the Army was running low on 1911s and wouldn't share, so they took proposals for a new sidearm in 9mm iaw NATO agreements.
    After a series of tests, they picked the Beretta.
    The Army did not want to be left behind but they did not want to look like they were believing the AF, so they ran their own series of tests... and picked the Beretta. There were protests over the test protocol, so they reran the tests... and picked the Beretta.

    The Air Force had the M16 first, too.
     
  22. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    Oh and BTW, the Air Force led the move to the M-16 also. Courtesy of Curtis LeMay.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  23. Seven High

    Seven High Member

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    Beings as how the Brits are changing to a Glock 17 and the Canadians are also looking at the Glock 17 for replacement of their Hi Powers, the DoD should consider adopting the Glock 17 as their official issue. NATO interchangability and all. :)
     
  24. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    The M9 is currently the standard issue sidearm for the Air Force.
     
  25. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    There is no, absolutely none, general decision to replace the M9 as the standard general issue sidearm of the U.S. military. A couple of hundred thousand more were requisitioned last year as I recall.

    Now various branches and units of the military use a variety of other sidearms...Sigs, a few Glocks here and there, Colt 1911s etc. But the general issue arm is the M9 and it will be for awhile.

    There were at least 10 threads on this subject last year.

    tipoc
     
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