Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

US Military and the Beretta M9

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by MarkP, Nov 25, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. MarkP

    MarkP Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Gypsum, CO
    I often wonder why the 9mm is so popular. For competitive reasons, I can see the 9mm would be an "Ok" choice. However, if my life were depending on a firearm, a 9mm certainly would not be my pick. I have read countless articles and seen police videos where the 9mm just didn't have the "knockdown" power necessary to earn the title of an effective or reliable handgun. One instance I recall quite clearly is a female police officer on a routine traffic stop where the man she pulled over got out an attacked her, she got away, told him to stop, shot him 3 times with her 9mm, and he still proceeded to attack her. Another incident I remember reading about was when a 9mm didn't even have enough power to pierce the windshield of a Dodge neon from fairly close range.

    This raises the question of why the US Military insists on issuing the Beretta M9 to it's officers and most of their deployed service members. I'm aware that pistols are not used very often in a combat situation, but if the situation were to arise where a handgun were a means of saving my life or the life of the man fighting next to me, why rely on the M9? Does production cost have something to do with it? Or maybe I'm missing something? Forgive me, I am a bit ignorant on this subject.
     
  2. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    441
    Location:
    Missouri
    Why the military went to the M9 and the 9mm round has to do with politics and NATO.
     
  3. HoosierQ

    HoosierQ Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,562
    Location:
    Central Indiana.
    I believe that the 9mm is underated. I think this comes partly from popular culture where the .40 is king, and partly because the FMJ is not the ideal SD bullet.

    Bottom line, in a war, any handgun is going to come up short. Since the purpose of a handgun is to get you to your rifle, I suspect that the military deams the 9mm sufficient in terms of power...especially out of a 5" barrel...it works quite well in shorter barrels (unlike some calibers) and it is a very common caliber and less expensive to produce than many.

    The 9mm is very underatted and frankly some of that is our fault. In the US, 9mm is loaded lighter than the round was designed for.

    Obviously the .45 is a great caliber but since only we use it, there are some economies of scale that we would not be able to take advantage of. You are already in a world of hurt if you have to rely on a handgun on the battlefield even if you had a .44 magnum.
     
  4. MarkP

    MarkP Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Gypsum, CO
    I figured that had something to do with it, but I've seen service members with .45 caliber handguns before. So I assume that politics limits itself only to what it allows the military issue to it's service members, while still allowing them to carry personal firearms?
     
  5. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Messages:
    12,665
    Location:
    In a part of Utah that resembles Tattooine.
    No handgun has the "knockdown" power to be an effective or reliable handgun.

    Of course I would prefer my 1911, but it's not gonna happen. If the army would let me take 500 rds of my own choice of ammo, I would use the M-9 and be.....less dissatisfied.

    Remember this. The choice of issue sidearm has never affected the outcome of a war.

    And we will tell NATO to go pound sand if we want to. We rallied to get them all to accept 7.62 as the rifle round, and as soon as they did, we switched to 5.56. They didn't change for decades. They used 9mm for decades while we used the .45. I think NATO's influence in the decision is greatly exaggerated.

    (It's easy to spot the new guys, isn't it? :)
     
  6. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,773
    Location:
    Illinois`
    NATO conformity of ammunition standards.

    The 9mm isn't as ineffective as many have been led to believe.
     
  7. Philo_Beddoe

    Philo_Beddoe Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Messages:
    328
    Why do people think that .35 (9mm) vs .40 vs .45 is really going to make a tremendous difference in FMJ form?

    The .45 is only 30% larger diameter and the .40 only 15%. But by the same token the 9mm G17 holds 30% more rounds then the .45 G21 and 13% more rounds then the .40 G22.

    Basically its a capacity vs bullet size arguement. In a military situation unlike a self defense situation a higher magazine capacity is important.

    The 40 is a 10mm and the 45 is a 11.5mm, is 1 mm and 1.5 mm really gonna be a that huge of a game changer? I tend to doubt it.

    Now in a self defense scenario where it almost always 6 rounds or less I could argue for the big bullet.

    However in a self defense hollow points are allowed and all 3 calibers are plenty adequate with the right loads in JHP.

    I prefer 9mm because I dont reload and its cost about half as much as the other two do which means more practice and more hits in the vitals which is more important then anything else imo.
     
  8. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Messages:
    6,620
    I think reliability and ease of use as well as the high capacity are all factors and as has been said, the sidearm never affects the outcome of a war.
    I never feel undergunned with a 9mm especially if it is packing 12 or more rds.
     
  9. usp9

    usp9 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Messages:
    3,646
    Location:
    Bowling Green, Va
    In the military, a pistol is mainly a "crowd control" device. Armies use high explosives to do most of it's killing, rifles and machine guns do the close up killing. The 9mm is as effective as any in urging folks to follow instructions.

    The Beretta M9 is a very well made handgun. Showing it's age perhaps, but still a proven, dependable gun.
     
  10. DougDubya

    DougDubya Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,649
    Location:
    The People's Republic of Cook County.
    Pistols are also primarily a "badge of office."

    Grenades, machine guns, artillery and rifles are meant for "knocking down" enemy soldiers.
     
  11. Birdmang

    Birdmang Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Messages:
    1,189
    We are NATO, the US is NATO.

    We choose the M9 and 9mm.
     
  12. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Messages:
    12,665
    Location:
    In a part of Utah that resembles Tattooine.
    But that was.....how many years after Britain started using the hi-power?
     
  13. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,294
    There are similar stories of ineffectiveness for .45 ACP too. IIRC, one failure led Texas Highway Patrol to replace its .45 ACP with .357 SIG.
     
  14. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Messages:
    12,665
    Location:
    In a part of Utah that resembles Tattooine.
    ^^Again, no handgun is adequate for SD. I don't see any conclusive data to say that .357 Sig is an improvement.
     
  15. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,294
    I agree. It's just another choice.
     
  16. sb350hp

    sb350hp Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    195
    Location:
    Oregon
    "knockdown" power is a myth with FMJ rounds anyhow, unless you center punch bone mass. A flesh wound will leave him/her walking in most cases. So if we throw the force of impact aruement out the window what stops the BG is blood leaving the body, so more holes or bigger holes are the answer. And remember 1 big hit is better than 13 tiny misses.
     
  17. Echo9

    Echo9 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    305
    I sell guns, and I meet LOTS of service members at work. I often ask them their opinion of the M9, because I figure they're pretty damned qualified to talk about it.

    I've heard a lot of different answers. One young Marine called it "dead weight." He said you just won't engage an enemy closer than about 150 meters, and they carry plenty of 5.56 -- so the M9 just kind of sits there.

    I just spoke with a soldier yesterday who told me that, while it wouldn't be his first choice, they "beat the piss out of" their M9s and they keep functioning just fine. When I asked how it reacts to sand, he told me that you really need to keep it clear of that sort of debris.

    I've also talked to a lot of soldiers and Marines about why exactly the military switched to a 9mm Beretta, of all things. I've heard a few different answers -- capacity, politics, money, weight, etc. But one thing I keep hearing is that in the 1980s, a lot of women were getting into the military and couldn't handle the recoil of the .45 ACP. Can anyone substantiate that?

    Anyway, there are definitely a few units that use something else. One that comes to mind is the Marine Expeditionary Unit, which uses the MEU(SOC) pistol -- Marine Expeditionary Unit Special Operations Capable 1911.
     
  18. Philo_Beddoe

    Philo_Beddoe Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Messages:
    328
    Depends on the hit, I have gut shot small 100lb does (for meat) with a 12 guage slug at less then 25 yards (yes I know bad shot) and seen then run away to never be found. (I am sure they died eventually)

    And by the same token I have heard of people poaching deer with .22 LR by flashing them at night and putting one in the brain. They used 22 to minimize noise as to not alert the authorities.

    Shot placement then adequate penetration then caliber, in that order.
     
  19. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Messages:
    12,665
    Location:
    In a part of Utah that resembles Tattooine.
    I've seen a lot of them fail. Mostly from soldiers doodling with them. There is no foolproof system, there's always a fool out there trying to make a name for himself. Brand new ones. If I were again an armorer, I would be wishing that they would issue something that's a lot herder to doodle with, and easier to fix if someone does. (GLOCK.) But no one asked me.

    The DOD's choice of sidearm illustrates the 'mind over matter' principle. They don't mind, because YOU don't matter. Yes, I will always consider it inferior to my rifle, but at the same time, if life ever gets so silly that I have to use it RIGHT FREAKIN' NOW, it means I don't have time to GET my rifle. It is the time when I least want my equipment to fail. It is VERY important to the individual soldier even if it isn't that important to the DOD.

    No, I don't prefer it, but when I am issued one, I go to the range and make sure it works. I check it frequently to make sure it KEEPS working. I would do this no matter what the issue sidearm is. Incidentally, my unit just got some M-11s. (Sig 228s.) I'm hoping that I get to take one of those this time, but even if I do, I will still be using issue ammo. No 147 gr jhps. I have grown to despise the feel and grip of the M-9, but you know what? I can still hit 40/40 with on the qual range.
     
  20. zhyla

    zhyla Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Messages:
    894
    There are some benefits to smaller, hotter rounds. War isn't just about killing the enemy, it's also a lot of moving supplies around. I don't know the exact number, but I bet you can ship at least 1.5x as many 9mm rounds for a given number of .45. Same for .223 vs, say, .308. Lighter rounds means less shipments and more ammo on a soldier.

    9mm is sufficient for a sidearm.
     
  21. Philo_Beddoe

    Philo_Beddoe Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Messages:
    328
    9mm has better penetration too, which could matter in a war
     
  22. Man With A Gun

    Man With A Gun Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2007
    Messages:
    190
    Location:
    ALASKA
    I have spoken with RANGERS and MARINES from the front lines and the only thing ever said of the 9mm which could be called "bad" is sometimes they have to shoot combants twice before they fall. This is BALL AMMO and it still works.

    Anything BUT ball ammo would only help the shooter.

    Give me +P 124 grn. GOLD DOT HP's and I am a safe boy.

    As a matter of fact, some of the contractors (who do not carry ball ) have no problem with carrying a 9mm pistol. Wonder what they are loaded with? :D
     
  23. billybobjoe

    billybobjoe Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Messages:
    199
    Let me shoot you in the head with my 9mm so you can tell me it's a wimp caliber.
     
  24. sb350hp

    sb350hp Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    195
    Location:
    Oregon
    Just saying I never want to be under gunned. IMHO if close qtrs combat ever required use of a sidearm I want a 40 or 45 for the extra punch. Not that "scientifically" it will ever matter to the BG but for me if I cannot hit him with 8 what good is 13 gunna do me. If I gotta shoot em twice with a 9mm and once with a 40/45 your 16 equals my 8. Or give an XD and suddenly I a am high cap as well. Not sayin the 9mm is a bad gun, not hardly I just cant keep the rounds from falling thru the barrel of my 45:D
     
  25. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Messages:
    12,665
    Location:
    In a part of Utah that resembles Tattooine.
    I never said I can't do the job with an M-9 loaded with NATO ammo. I WILL say that it is at the extreme low end of the effectiveness chart for handguns. It's not just caliber, I shoot my 1911 in .45 better than I shoot the M-9.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page