According to the Army Times the Army is planning to dump the M9 Beretta. According to the Army Times editorial it has never been popular as it lacks stopping power, is inaccurate, prone to jamming, doesn’t fit comfortably in ones hands.
While I agree the Beretta is not my favorite handgun, I have fired over five thousand rounds in my personnel weapon. I have never had a problem. In fact my wife fired it last weekend and it was very accurate, never jammed, and is very easy to maintain.
So before we cast aspersions on the Beretta, and the Army rushes out to replace a weapon system in tight fiscal environment, let’s look at some of the charges:
Before I begin the discussion, here are the ballistic tables for the three rounds mentioned in the Army Times article (9mm, .40 SW, and .45 ACP). I have only included Full Metal Jacket Ammo as that is the military standard. Information taken from http://www.arizonagunrunners.com/handgunballistics.pdf.
|Properties||Energy||Velocity (ft per second)||Bullet Path|
|Caliber||Bullet Type||WT||FT. LBS.||Muzzle||25 Yds||50 Yds.||75 Yds.||100 Yds.||25 Yds.||50 Yds.||75 Yds.||100 Yds.|
|NEW! 40 S&W||FMJ/FP||180||388||985||957||931||908||885||0.94||0||-3.44||-9.52|
Some here are some observations:
- · Pistols are a close in defense weapon; lethality is a combination energy and weight. The 9mm 115 grain FMJ has a muzzle velocity of 1100 ft per second, and a velocity of 1100 and hits .64 above the point of aim at 25 yards and a velocity of 979 and hits -7.27 below the point of aim at 100 yards. The .40 S&W 165 grain FMJ has a muzzle velocity of 1010 ft per second, and a velocity of 977 and hits .89 above the point of aim at 25 yards and a velocity of 899 and hits ‑9.18 below the point of aim at 100 yards. The .45 ACP 230 grain FMJ has a muzzle velocity of 850 ft per second, and a velocity of 818 and hits 1.36 above the point of aim at 25 yards and a velocity of 734 and hits ‑13.48 below the point of aim at 100 yards.
- · The 9MM has a lighter bullet, greater velocity and accuracy at 25 meters, whereas the .45 is heavier, slower, and less accurate at 25 meters.
- · It comes down to shooting. One does not become an expert shot by merely qualifying twice a year. 50 rounds a year will not make you an expert. Part of the problem is the lack of emphasis by the military on shooting a pistol.
- · At 25 yards which caliber the Army chooses is immaterial; each has advantages and disadvantages. Each requires the shooter to know some basic pistol marksmanship and in particular the ballistic characteristics of the round they are firing. Again this comes back to training.
- · One of the charges against the Beretta is the hand grips are too large. This is a direct result of the Army wanting more capacity in the magazine than the seven rounds the M1911A1 provided. While I do not have the largest hands around, I find the Beretta fits my hands much better than the old 1911. There is a tradeoff, small grips and less rounds; or more rounds and larger grips. Given my druthers I will take larger grips.
- · Some complain the magazines of the Beretta are crap, perhaps so, but any shooter knows that if you keep rounds loaded in a magazine for extended periods it is prone to failure. Also magazines, just like the weapon require maintenance. Again this comes back to training.
- · If the complaint is legitimate about the 9mm; then the round should not be considered. If it not the round and it truly is the pistol, then Beretta should be eliminated.
- · If the 9mm round is not found wanting then one of the considerations should be logistics. The 9mm is the standard round of NATO, and is largely the standard round in most militaries. Introducing the .40 or .45 will result in a logistics nightmare for the American military; given that we are largely supporting NATO logistically in Afghanistan this would mean we would still have to stock the 9mm.
- · Another complaint is the current 9mm cannot be suppressed. My only comment except for some conventional forces and special operations forces this is not something the average Joe requires.
- · Addition of Picatinny Arsenal and the ability to add laser sites etc makes sense.
- · If the Army is going to get a new pistol, and all things are equal and cost is a factor, I would see if:
- o Beretta could retrofit the M92F to the M92FA1 configuration. If so that might be the cheapest option; if not,
- o Go with the .45 ACP. It proved itself for over one hundred years, it has stopping power. As far as a pistol I prefer the Glock, but then I don’t have vote, just an opinion, and like assholes my opinion probably stinks.