August 27, 2005


The current issue of Army Times had letters following up a June 27 article indicating the Army was taking a serious look at dumping the Beretta 9mm in favor of a .45 cal. The 9mm was adopted by the Army in the mid-eighties to replace the .45 cal. Colt Model 1911A1 which, as the name suggests, has been around before the assasination of Archduke Ferdinand triggered the First World War. The .45 cal. was adopted after the Army learned the hard way that the service revolver in use at the time of the Phillipine Insurrection lacked the punch to stop charging Moro tribesmen wrapped in vines and stoned on marijuana. By the time I came along as a second lieutenant in 1985, the 1911A1s in the Army inventory were WWII vintage and pretty worn out. The Beretta was new, had a magazine twice as large as the .45, fired standard NATO ammunition, and eventually become the standard issue pistol for all of the armed forces.

The first extended use in combat has been Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The feedback from Afghanistan and Iraq is that the Beretta, while accurate, lacks the knockdown power one needs to take down a suicide bomber. What is needed is a fat, heavy bullet and the .45 cal. looks like it will fit the bill. Faithful readers, any recommendations on a modern, off the shelf .45 cal.? Your humble LMC wants to know.

BTW, for another oldie but goodie, here is one of the greatest weapons ever made: the M2 .50 cal. machine gun. First introduced during WWI, it remains in use today and has been known to generations of soldiers affectionately as "Ma Deuce" and is loved for its ability to pound out bullets the size of carrots. In twenty years of soldiering on active duty and in the reserves, I have never heard an unkind word about this weapon and there are no plans I am aware of to replace it.

UPDATE: thanks for the input--keep it coming. I think this post should be renamed "DON'T KID YOURSELF, SIZE MATTERS" Faithful reader Fr. Lockwood suggested the Kimber .45 cal ACP shown here.

Posted by LMC at August 27, 2005 10:30 PM | TrackBack

To be honest I think a faster bullet would be better. Sure fat is good but there are some people out there that can barely handle a 9mm round. I have .357Sig variety weapon and I'm pretty damn sure two rounds out of it will stop most people from moving.

While I like the current 1911s I think that a simpler weapon would be better; a Glock or Springfield Armory XD for example. You get the high cap mags and ease of firing all in one.

Posted by: Chris Short at August 27, 2005 10:45 PM

A Kimber .45; there's no substitute for quality. Anybody qualified to shoot it should be able to clean it. The Warrior model is the one I got for my son, the Marine recruit.

Posted by: Fr. Gregory Lockwood at August 27, 2005 10:47 PM

I've got to agree with GL -- the Kimber 45 is a really fine weapon.

Posted by: jd watson at August 28, 2005 01:37 AM

There are plans to replace the current Browning .50 cal (Ma Deuce). Of course, the only thing that could replace the .50 cal is another .50 cal.

As to replacing the M9 with a .45, I'll let someone with more chops than myself handicap the prospects.

Posted by: Brass at August 28, 2005 09:25 AM

The HK Socom (.45) that the SF uses would have to be a contender.

To me, the Beretta is not a bad pistol. I own one and would use it for self defense without hesitation.

I think the bigger issue, which the Army is using this discussion as a proxy for and which they really don't want to discuss, is scrapping the M16 and going with something chambered a little heavier. That is clearly needed. Sidearms are, to me anyway, kind of a "who gives a sh*t" issue. I was an infantryman, so for me, the rifle is the more important problem that needs fixing.

Posted by: The Colossus at August 28, 2005 10:08 PM

I've been shooting a .45 for more than 20 years and am very fond of it. And literally up until just a couple of years ago, I thought the adoption of the 9x19mm a ridiculous act. But I wouldn't recommend the .45 ACP for a general sidearm for the US Army today. In the future, the US Army and Marines will have to deal with opponents wearing body armor. There are a lot of calibres more suited to using armor piercing bullets than the .45 ACP. The 9mm would work better than the .45 ACP for that issue and the .357 SIG mentioned above is another example.

Posted by: Robin Roberts at August 28, 2005 10:33 PM

what about a non-1911 .45? They can be accurate, but they aren't field friendly (why do you need an allen wrench to take down for cleaning?)

Aren't the ultra-accurate 1911s going to be trouble if not cleanned regularly? Not my idea of a "field weapon"

What about something from CZ?

Posted by: Zendo Deb at August 30, 2005 11:00 PM

U have an XD-40 and a kimber tactical pro II. For duty I awould recomend the XD-40 It is almost as powerful as the 45, faster and has higher capacity mags.I do love my 45 but as for me I would want the XD-40 issued to me.

Posted by: brett m at October 10, 2005 08:41 PM
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