Friday, January 27, 2006

Hallelujah, Praise the Lord, and Pass the Ammunition

... Yeah, I stole that title from Chris.

What can I say? It's a good title. Chris, please don't sue me or shoot me.

Kim posted about this too.

Read 'em both, they both bring up good points. I may or may not come up with anything useful to add, but here's my thoughts about it:

In: .45ACP
Out: 9mm
This is a GOOD THING. Get rid of the damn Europellet. When a soldier has to go to his sidearm, S has officially HTF. Give that soldier some knockdown power, not something that may bleed his enemy out sometime in the next few hours! Give the soldier something to get the Jumpin' Jihadi off his ass, RIGHT NOW, and give him time to get to a real weapon, and hopefully (as Chris said), a radio to call in help!

Assuming decent shot placement, the .45ACP always has been, and always will be, superior to the 9mm in terms of knockdown power. In other words, the 45 says "Get your turbaned tumblefucked ass OFF ME RIGHT NOW" with a LOT more authority than the 9mm can muster.

Now, there are definately tradeoffs. And I take issue with some of them in the request that the military put out.

1st - magazine capacity. The .45ACP is a big, fat cartrige. You can only stuff so many of them into a gun that most people can handle. The 9mm is a little, skinny cartrige. It'll hold more in the same sized gun.

However - the military sidearm, as I said earlier, is an absolute last-ditch weapon. As I've heard before (don't know who first said it, sorry) "A pistol is the weapon you use to fight your way back to the rifle you shouldn't have set down in the first place".

As a last-ditch, final option weapon, a pistol shouldn't need a great ammo capacity. IT SHOUDLN'T BE USED MUCH! 8 rounds should be plenty - 15 is ridiculous.

15 rounds in a 9mm is nice. They're wee tiny little cartriges, and you can stuff a lot of them into a normal pistol butt. And you're likely to need them all, since those wee tiny little cartriges push out wee tiny little bullets.

8 rounds in a .45 is also nice. Single-stack magazine makes for a slim grip-frame. Easier to handle. And each of those 8 rounds says, with authority, "Fall down NOW!"

Anecdote: I'm about 3 inches taller than Dad was, and steadied out at about 20-25 pounds heavier than him. He's actually much closer to the average American than I am, in terms of body size. And he liked the grip on my single-stack 1911 better than his double-stack Ruger P85. The double-stack was too big for his hand to feel comfortable, but my 1911 fit his hand perfectly.

I'm 6'0" tall, and bounce between about 180 and 195. I'm no giant, but I'm taller than average, and my hands are bigger than average. Dad was about average.

Double-stacked .45ACP will be DIFFICULT to shoot well for the average person. Also for the average Army recruit. BAD IDEA!!!

Next gripe: Top-mounted rail
Let's look at where this works. *looks around* Ok, the ONLY place I see top-mounted rails are on competition raceguns. Do those things look to you like they'd survive real-world conditions? They don't to me!

Oh, you say, the military wants the rail mounted on the slide, not some Frankensteinish bracket coming up from the frame! *cough*bullshit*cough* Two MAJOR problems there:

#1: If the rail is mounted to the slide, how in the hell are you going to see the normal sights?!?
#2: If the rail (and presumably, the optics that are supposed to go on it) are mounted to the slide, how the hell are said optics going to survive? The slide on a semi-auto pistol is a pretty violent place - go from still, to tremendous acceleration, to stop, reverse, tremendous acceleration again, and slam to a stop in battery. Hell, cheap scopes don't hold up under recoil, on rifles where the scope is mounted to a NON-MOVING part! I don't know of ANY optic that can stand up to the G-forces a slide is subjected to on EVERY SHOT.

This top-mounted rail idea makes NO SENSE AT ALL for a combat pistol. Sure, it's good for raceguns, but those are designed for games, not for combat.

Honestly, now that the military has acknowleged that the 9mm Europellet isn't a combat-worthy round, it's good that they're looking at .45ACP again.

But they should be talking to the likes of Colt, Springfield, and Kimber to find their next pistol. Something based on the tried-and-true 1911 platform, originally developed by Saint John Moses Browning. It served our Soldiers well through two World Wars, and has served its duty unfailingly since then, for damn near 100 years now. The only improvements I've seen on the M1911 have been incremental, not revolutional. Use it.

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