28 January 2006

U.S. Military Gets New Pistols

One of the earliest and most consistent complaints of troops in the Iraq War has been dissatisfaction with the standard issue 9mm Beretta pistol, which the U.S. military adopted in 1985, but has had little opportunity to evaluate in a wartime setting until the Iraq War. There have been many complaints, the most important of which has been that the pistol isn't powerful enough to stop an opponent at close range. The Beretta replaced a pre-World War I era M1911 .45 caliber (11.4 mm) pistol which was more powerful but also had its own problems associated with its very old design.

Now, the Defense Department led by the Marines and Special Operations forces, who have more autonomy in purchasing equipment, has decided to put out a bid for a new off the shelf .45 caliber "joint combat pistol" for troops to replace the 9mm Beretta. A buy of about 645,000 of them is planned and they could start to be available to some troops as soon as 2007 in a best case scenario.

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