Thursday, July 3, 2014

10 may become the new 9 as the Army looks to swap out its Beretta M9 pistols

It seems that for the U.S. Army 10 may become the new 9.

Or perhaps 40, or possibly 45; anything larger or more powerful than 9, at least.

Word is that the Army and U.S. Air Force are jointly preparing to ditch its 200,000 or so Beretta Model M9 pistol as the service’s chief handgun.

In its place the Army/Air Force are hot on the trail of acquiring not only a different handgun but also a different caliber.

The required parameters include that whatever replaces the M9 and its 9mm configuration must be of a caliber substantially more powerful. Possibilities could include the .357 SIG, the .40 Smith and Wesson, and the 10mm.

Reports are that the Army/Air Force have been sniffing around for the past few years, looking to replace the M9 and its 9mm chambering which some U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan believe is too anemic.

Reliability issues with the M9 are a concern as well; veterans’ saying the pistol is easy to become clogged with desert dust and dirt.

As a way of historical footnote, the M9 and its 9mm chambering were approved in 1985. The first order was for 315,930 pistols with a value of $75 million. And in 2002 the U.S. Air Force ordered an additional nearly 19,000 M9s.

Orders from the U.S. government continued with a whopping purchase in 2009 of up to 450,000 M9s with a value of $220 million. Iraq’s government is to get 20,000 of these pistols, based on information available on Beretta’s website.

Should the higher-ups approve the change and if there is capital available as many as 400,000 pistols may be needed.

The government may make a final decision in time for the 2014-2015 budget.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.

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