Donald Sensing is so right

Donald Sensing is dead on target in his post suggesting the U.S
military re-adopt
the M1911 .45ACP pistol
. I’ve fired a Beretta 92F and it’s an
ugly, awkward gun that neither feels good in the hand nor inspires
confidence in its stopping power. Those who have actually seen the
sharp end of combat generally agree that the M1911 is a far superior
weapon; even today, more than fifteen years after it was officially
deprecated, many troops carry it by choice. My own carry weapon of
choice is the Colt Officer’s Model, a short-barrel M1911 variant.

If the M1911 design is too old to be politically viable or the
single-action design is an insurmountable obstacle, then my next
choice would be Glock’s double-action 45ACP design, I think it’s the
Model 30. Glocks are very accurate, and rugged in the field. I think
the lighter frame is actually a disadvantage; you don’t get thrown
off target as much by the recoil when you’re shooting a big hunk of
steel, so your second shot with a 1911 is more likely to count.

59 thoughts on “Donald Sensing is so right

  1. Argh. Mileage does, indeed, vary; I find the Beretta very comfortable in my very small hands. That said, I do find my Kimber Ultra Carry — the Kimber clone of the Officers Model — even more comfortable, and it’s certainly easier to conceal (not legally required, but still eminently sensible, where I live).

    The Glock 30 is what Glock calls a “subcompact” — it’s the Baby Glock in .45. I like it better than my own Glock 26.

  2. I own a Beretta 92FS and love it. It’s comfortable to hold and fire and the 15+1 rounds is a nice bonus. I’m also very familiar with the 1911A. My former roommate had one and we’d fire each other’s weapons whenever we were at the range. He liked the Beretta so much that he bought one himself.

    One important point regarding these pistols. It doesn’t matter how much stopping power it has, you have to hit the target for it to count. How many times have you heard this on the news, “the police fired a total of 38 rounds, striking the suspect twice.”

    I originally considered the Glock, but it didn’t feel right in my hands. I loved the Sig Sauer, but it was (is) too expensive.

    When it comes to handguns, personal preference will rule. What feels right for me will be completely wrong for you.

  3. It’s likely the battle on urban streets with drug dealers et al brought about the demise of the .45: not enough rounds for multiple targets. They also never were that easy to hit with for the average soldier who invariably got little or no training. Some say the Glock actually has less recoil in .45 because of flex in the synthetic frame. I don’t think the 9mm round is as bad as it’s made out to be, except in the military FMJ version of course, something that’s not a problem for your local police or other law enforcement. Ballistics for the hot, highend loads in 9mm from Corbon fall just short of the .357 Mag and exceed it in the .40 when fired from a Glock. The other issues are of course safety and reliability. The number of folks who have shot their (stupid) selfs or others by dropping a GI .45 model is an incredibly stupid number. The vaunted reliability of the GI .45 is certainly better than a good many other handguns, but doesn’t hold a candle to the Glock. I shot up to 10,000 rounds of .45 ammo each year for nearly 25 years in everything from NRA 2700 Bulleys to today’s various combat disciplines. It took me a long time to switch to a Glock after developing that many years of loyalty.

  4. I own and shoot a Glock 27 and a Para-Ordnance P15-40. While the M1911 design has withstood the test of time, Steve is absolutely right that there’s too high a probability of an accidental discharge with one under adverse conditions. The Glocks are also showing themselves to be fine, reliable weapons in everyday use.

    I’m not sure I’m as much of a fan of .45 ACP, though. The increased capacity of a .40 S&W (or 10mm, for those who can handle the punishing recoil) may well be enough to tilt the balance the other way.

    9mm is right out, though. The telling point for me in this regard is that USPSA (and possibly other IPSC national bodies) don’t allow it to be shot in major power factor even if it’s loaded hot enough to reach that based on the numbers, because that leads to unsafe case pressures. They had too many guns blow up when folks were trying it, as I understand things.

    All in all, I think .40 S&W is a nice balance between capacity and stopping power. Of course, switching away from 9mm Parabellum is going to be a political hot potato, since the major reason it was adopted in the first place was for supply commonality with our major allies…

  5. I’ve had a couple of good experiences with S&W .40 pistols — I agree that’s a sweet spot. If I had to give up .45ACP that’s certainly what I’d go to, but damn, .45ACP just *feels* right to me. Instant comfort.

  6. An old fight – see also Hack on the same issues:
    July 10, 2002
    Soldiers For The Truth (SFTT) Weekly Newsletter

    When we assumed the Soldier, We did not lay aside the Citizen.
    General George Washington, to the New York Legislature, 1775
    In this week’s Issue of DefenseWatch:
    Ineffective Guns & Ammo

    Interesting how each person suggests his own choice should be universally required. How about rechambering to .356TSW or 9×23? My own preferance for issue would be light weight Commander in .45ACP based with a grip modeled after Ted Yates extreme size reduction with his lanyard ring main spring housing – larger grips to suit larger hands by individual choice – or Star PD for general issue on the carry much shot little principle – hence the light weight rather than a Racegun which is the obvious choice for shot much carried little.

  7. An old argument; I agree that the Beretta was a step backward for the U.S. military.

    It’s true you won’t need a handgun until you need it bad; my contention was (and still is) having a large capacity magazine won’t matter in that situation – if you can’t deliver effective fire with 8, you’re not gonna do it with 16.

    If I were the Commandant, I’d arm my rear area service troops with shotguns, vice pistols. You really can’t beat a trench broom in some situations.

    The real problem is that the shooter might (probably won’t be) well trained with his sidearm; not enough to recover from the surprise of the moment and do what he’s gotta do. Remember these guys are in the service; training with the pistol used to be no more than fam firing on the range and call it a day. In the earl 90s there was an effort in the Marines to introduce the combat course into the pistol qualification; attendance wasn’t mandatory unless you were (IIRC) in the combat arms.

    For what it’s worth, I served in the USMC between 1989-1993 as an 0311 (Rifleman) and 4063 (programmer); I carried both the M1911 and the Beretta on duty. I did run through a modified combat course to earn my expert badge with the M9.

  8. I carried the Glock 30 for a few years, but the length of the stock/magazine well was short enough to leave an overlap with my pinky finger. Nowadays, if I really have to carry a subcompact, I carry the Glock 27, which while it presents the same difficulty for me, is a smaller package. Otherwise I carry the Glock 23, which is an ergonomically wonderful fit for my hands.

  9. I carry a Glock 18 by default when I’m a T but I usually like to switch to the Desert Eagle. When I’m Counter-terrorist I start out with a USP with a silencer, which is a good enough weapon for me. This is counter-strike we’re talking about here, right?

  10. Having never fired most of the particular handguns you’re talking about myself, I do agree that the 9mm Parabellum doesn’t have nearly enough stopping power. I’m in favor of switching to something in a 10mm, like some others on this thread.

    re: dead cell: Awww, look, Eric has a regular troll now–and it’s got a Metal Gear-related name. Can I pet it, or does it bite?

  11. Russell: They make aftermarket replacement magazine floorplates for the 26 and 27, both with and without room for one extra cartridge. The latter is illegal to put on a 26, but works just fine on a 27. Both ways, though, there’s an extension with a place to put your little finger. It’s a big improvement.

  12. Arthur: What’s the .357 SIG got over the .40 S&W? The SIG round is, after all, just a necked-down .40.

    The .357 SIG, and the .356 TSW, and the .38 Super, are fine for raceguns (where extra muzzle velocity counts), but I don’t think they offer much in the real world.

  13. I would link to the site but is is down. Enjoy

    The Holy Gospel According to John (Moses Browning)

    I. In the beginning was the 1911, and the 1911 was the pistol, and it was good. And behold the Lord said, thou shalt not muck with my disciple John’s design for it is good and it worketh. For John made the 1911, and lo all of his weapons, from the designs which I, the Lord, gave him upon the mountain.
    II. And shouldst thou muck with it and hang all manner of foul implements upon it, and profane its internal parts, thou shalt surely have malfunctions, and in the midst of battle thou shalt surely come to harm.
    III. And as the ages passed men in their ignorance and arrogance didst forget the word of the Lord and began to profane the 1911. The tribe of the gamesman did place recoil spring guides and extended slide releases upon the 1911 and their metal smiths didst tighten the tolerances and alter parts to their liking, their clearness of mind being clouded by lust.
    IV. Their artisans did hang all manner of foul implements upon the 1911 and did so alter it that it became impractical to purchase. For lo, the artisans didst charge a great tax upon the purchasers of the 1911 so that the lowly field worker could not afford one. And the profaning of the internal parts didst render it unworkable when the dust of the land fell upon it.
    V. And lo, they didst install adjustable sights, which are an abomination unto the Lord. For they doth break and loose their zero when thou dost need true aim. And those who have done so will be slain in great numbers by their enemies in the great battle.
    VI. And it came to pass that the Lord didst see the abomination wrought by man and didst cause, as he had warned, fearful malfunction to come upon the abominations and upon the artisans who thought they could do no wrong.
    VII. Seeing the malfunctions and the confusion of men the lord of the underworld did see an opportunity to further ensnare man and didst bring forth pistols made of plastic, whose form was such that they looked and felt like a brick, yet the eyes of man being clouded, they were consumed by the plastic pistol and did buy vast quantities of them.
    VIII. And being a deceitful spirit the lord of the underworld did make these plastic pistols unamenable to the artisans of earth and they were unable to muck much with the design, and lo these pistols did function.
    IX. And the evil one also brought forth pistols in which the trigger didst both cock and fire them and which require a “dingus” to make them appear safe.
    X. But man being stupid did not understand these new pistols and did proceed to shoot themselves with the plastic pistol, and with the trigger cocking pistols for lo their manual of arms required great intelligence which man had long since forsaken. Yet man continue to gloat over these new pistols blaming evil forces for the negligent discharges which they themselves had committed.
    XI. And when man had been totally ensnared with plastic pistol, the lord of the underworld didst cause a plague of the terrible Ka-BOOM to descend upon man and the plastic pistols delivered their retribution upon men. And there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth in the land.
    XII. Then seeing that the eyes of man were slowly being opened and that man was truly sorrowful for his sinful misdeeds, the Lord did send his messengers in the form of artisans who did hear and obey the teachings of the prophet and who didst restore the profaned 1911s to their proper configuration, and lo, to the amazement of men they didst begin to work as the prophet had intended.
    XIII. And the men of the land didst drive out the charlatans and profaners from the land, and there was joy and peace in the land, except for the evil sprits which tried occasionally to prey on the men and women of the land and who were sent to the place of eternal damnation by the followers of John.
    by Sat Jivan Singh, a Keeper o’the Flame.

  14. Glock’s full-size .45ACP is the Model 21. As soon as is financially and legally possible I’m getting one. They’re 13+1 with pre-ban mags, and fit my hand perfectly. Felt recoil is very manageable and they point like a dream. Stick some Federal HydraShok 230gr hollowpoints in there and you have a winning combination.

  15. The 92F was all about capacity and reliability. As fine a weapon as the 1911 is, the Beretta is a far better weapon from a design standpoint. Unfortunately, the caliber sucks.

    I don’t think re-adopting the 1911 would be wise, nor a Glock. While I like Glocks for personal use, I don’t think they’d fare well as a military sidearm. No slide safety, no light/laser/etc rails, requires a tool to strip, etc.

    The best weapon for the job would be the H&K Mark 23 that specops and the SEALs use. Unfortunately, it’s probably cost-prohibitive to adopt as a standard issue sidearm.

    So, rechamber the 92F for .45 ACP. Issuing slides, barrels and mags in .45 would probably be the most cost effective and workable solution.

  16. One wonders whether the 9mm caliber could be sufficient in combat zones with one of the better hollowpoint rounds, and whether Hell will freeze over before the world’s militaries are allowed this much better ammunition instead of underloaded cartridges with round lead balls that pass through soft tissue virtually undeformed.

  17. (comments based off of four years of service in the US Navy, which concluded a year ago.)

    The reason(s) for choosing the Beretta as a replacement ease of learning and use. The goal was to find a gun that people who had never fired a gun before would find comfortable and would be accurate with.

    This may seem to be an odd goal, but from personal observation, it appeared to me that the average recruit has never fired a gun before. I would estimate maybe one of three men and no more than one in ten women had done so. The percentages would certainly be higher for the Army and Marines, but one must be careful in not overestimating for the numbers are probably lower than conventional wisdom would grant.

    I’ve read Col. Hackworth’s criticsm of the Beretta and his advocay for the .45.
    I can see where he’s coming from and find it hard to disagree from his standpoint. He’s looking at it for the people who are what I would consider to be ‘professional shooters’, ie personnel who fire their guns on a daily basis with intent to kill. For those people, the .45 probably is best.

    The number of Air Force and Navy personnel who fall under that category is small. For the Army that number varies with the situation (Is the soldier in Iraq or Germany?) and for the Marines it is every person, in theory if not in practice.

    The scenarios in which the average sailor would be likely to use his weapon are standing a watch at the entrance to the pier or the ‘topside rover’ watch where he is on the lookout for an underwater swimmer or a small boat attack. In neither scenario is the 9mm the key weapon.

    In the first case (where a vehicle attempts to barrel through the gate), the watchstander at the vehicle entrance is armed with a shotgun. The two watchstanders at the pedestrian entrance are carrying the 9mm.

    In the second scenario (lets say it’s a USS Cole style attack inport), the watchstander is armed with an M14 rifle.

    In neither case is the watchstander a ‘professional shooter’, but rather he is a member of the regular shipboard population (deck seaman, supply clerk, engineman, etc).

    I’ve never fired the .45 before so I can’t comment on its suitability. I can say that from what I’ve seen, the Beretta has served its stated purpose well (and concede that I’ve never needed to use it for it’s true and ultimate purpose).

  18. Mr. Lion: Have you ever used a Glock for any length of time? While you’re correct in that it has no slide safety (IMAO, it doesn’t need one, but that’s a religious issue), it does have aftermarket lasers and lights that mount under the barrel in front of the trigger guard, and it most certainly does not require a tool to strip. (Unlike most 1911s that I’ve met. In fact, my P15-40 is down right now because I need a replacement recoil spring plug, since the last one was lost when I last stripped it – with a barrel wrench – and it flew out and disappeared.)

  19. Some say a fired .45 case can be used as an ersatz recoil spring plug. Lots of improvised use for the GI .45 including bottle opener – no longer needed. The H&K 23 is approaching carbine size and weight – fine for an offensive pistol silly for an emergency use only by an overloaded exhausted poor soul might as well go grease gun and be done.

  20. Jay: Yes, I’m aware there are lots of aftermarket laser/light/etc mounts for the glock, but nothing universal, and nothing from the factory in the way of a universal rail system. By comparison, the H&K 23 and USP versions have that spiffy rail system– a much better baseline platform in my opinion.

    I can see where something like a Glock 29 would be handy for aircraft crew and the like though, where something very small that packs a punch is very nice indeed.

    But, again, I don’t think it would be wise to issue them. The trigger safety is a religious argument, for people who are trained marksmen and aren’t likely to draw the weapon incorrectly. But, I can certainly see it happening among new recruits and/or those that don’t use the weapon on a daily basis. There are better options out there, and rechambering the 92 or going to a H&K are two of them.

    As for the H&K 23, it is large, but quite far from unwieldy. I own one, and I love it to pieces.

    Interesting comment on the grease gun though– that’s specifically what the new H&K MP7 was developed for: Non-front-line troops that need something between a pistol and a subgun.

  21. If you can’t draw a weapon without keeping your finger off the trigger, you shouldn’t have one. Surely you know that a basic rule of gun safety is to keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire…

    A rail system would be a simple change on the Glocks, if it were to be considered a mandatory feature of a combat weapon.

    I don’t think that rechambering the 92 is as simple as you make it out to be. You’re adding 28% to the bullet diameter (.355 to .45 inches), and a comparable amount to the diameter of the cartridge as well. This will mean reengineering most fo the gun. By the time you’ve done that, you might as well have started over.

  22. Re: Mr. Lion

    I too owns a HK MK23. However, its frame size, not to mention cost would disqualified it from general purpose use, rather than its designed use, for the special ops.

  23. Now: Colt 1991-A1 .45 ACP Compact Model – 3.5″ barrel – 6+1 rounds. Reliable, accurate, effective, small, deadly. Trash the the puny 9mm’s – or beter yet use them as replacements when you run out of .22 ammo while practicing. Forget about 9mm for life and death situations.

    Then: USMC 1968-1971 I-CORPS Vietnam “Tunnel Rat” – weapon of choice: Colt 1911. If someone had tried to make me crawl in one of those rat holes with a 9mm, I would have shot them with it right then and there. Life is already too short – don’t take the chance of shortening it even more by relying on the puny europellet (9mm).

  24. As a prior poster said, one of the goals for a sidearm in the US military has to be making sure the users don’t blow their own leg off. The 1911 is wonderful if you’re willing to put in the time to train with it, but the manual of arms is probably a bit too complex for the average user under stress. And, (bless its heart) the 1911 is more tempremental in feeding and firing than modern autopistols like the SIG or Glock. They can require some tuning, while the SIG or Glock will always go bang when you pull the trigger.

    One of the reasons they picked the Berreta was the increase in the number of women in the military. They have smaller hands, and found it difficult to use the 1911.

    The SIG in a caliber larger than 9mm would be excellent. There are already a few SIGs in 9mm floating around the military, primarily for some law enforcement specialities. The SIG was, if I recall correctly, the runner-up in the pistol selection competition back in the 80′s. It lost out because it was a few bucks more expensive.

  25. As parents of a Navy SEAL, we buy a lot of equipment to replace the usual issue. It just seems that we have a greater stake in his life than using the “lowest bidder”. I am just thankful that financially we can do it. Many families are not so lucky.

  26. Ernst, one of the 9mm SIGs was chosen as the standard “compact” issue. I forget which model, though.

    I do remember reading the review of that pistol. They abused the hell out of it and it just kept working. For a soldier, that’s got to be the most important factor. What good is massive stopping power if the slightest bit of grime renders it useless?

  27. ESR,

    I own an HK USP in .45 and it’s a great weapon, designed to be fired after being dropped in water, sand, etc. I hear some of our special ops guys already use them. It would be the logical choice; far more reliable and forgiving then the Glock if a little pricier. But this is the military we’re talking about.

  28. Jay: the rumor mill has it that the .40 S&W has feeding problems, which the .357 Sig doesn’t. So far I’ve fired about 1,500 rounds from my Glock 31 without a single misfeed or jam. It actually came with rails under the fram for attachment of accesories.

  29. I’ve fired about 3000 rounds from my two .40 S&W weapons with no feeding problems either. This is the first I’ve heard of such things. Are you sure t’s the cartridge and not the individual pistol?

  30. Don’t know. I have virtually no hands-on experience with .40 S&W. Since you obviously do, I’ll take your word for it.

    The only possible advantage of .357 SIG would be the large available supply of 9mm bullets. As far as stopping power is concerned, I’m not sure how much real world advantage the 30% higer velocity will give. Might cause serious over-penetration problems. For some reason I forgot the military doesn’t use JHP ammo.

  31. Strategypage has an article on this today; they claim the Marines are evaluating the FN P90, the HK MP7, and downsized pistol versions of same.

    link

    That link probably will rot in a day or so…

  32. Does .357 SIG use .357 or .355 (the 9mm Parabellum’s true diameter) bullets? (I need to get a current reloading book, just to answer this kind of question.) Shooting .355 bullets in a .357 is not conducive to good results.

    The military is restricted to ball ammo (FMJ or plain lead) by the Geneva Convention, which outlaws any kind of fragmenting or expansion bullets. This was done for ostensibly humanitarian reasons, although there is definite military advantage to wounding an enemy soldier so he cannot shoot but *not* killing him. (They must expend resources on treating the wounded that they do not on the dead.)

  33. .357 SIG actually uses .355 bullets. SIG and Federal called it .357 purely for marketing purposes. According to my info, the original goal was to match the ballistics of the 125 grain .357 Magnum. In practice, most factory loadings are about 50-100 fps slower. However, the Cor-Bon JHP I use for home defense are nominally only 25fps slower than their .357 Mag offering.

  34. Well, as a woman with smaller hands I find the Beretta 92F tiring – the center of mass is a little too far forward & the trigger a little bit of a stretch. If I needed to, I could shoot it and probably hit the intended person, but it’s not comfortable for regular, sustained practice.

    So, Santa brought me a Sig P229 9mm. Fits beautifully, manageable recoil and I can shoot this one long enough and regularly enough so that I think I’ll be able to gain real proficiency and keep it up.

    The H&W .45 is just too much for me to use regularly. Given the distance a round can carry in a self-defense situation, I’d rather have something I know I can be really accurate with, at a distance & when under stress. As a kid I watched my dad bring down an angry bear with 2 small calibre rifle shots to the head – haven’t forgotten that lesson. ;-)

  35. I haven’t tried out a lot of handguns, but after some research, the first I purchased was a Glock 9mm model. I’ve been very happy with it. I find it very interesting to see many of the comments here of others recommending the .45 Glocks, as I had always suspected that many people didn’t like Glocks just because they were new and fancy.

  36. Ultimately, the idea that one gun fits all is doomed to failure. Like cameras, the results will depend heavily on how well the tool fits and feels in the user’s hand. If you don’t like the way a gun feels, you won’t shoot well with it.

  37. I didn’t know that. Interesting. Guess they got too many complaint over it. Even so, I’d be very, very wary of trying to shoot 9mm Parabellum loaded to major power factor…seems to me like it’s just too hot.

  38. I’ll make the same comment I did at the Rev. Sensing’s: The primary incapacitating mechanism of a handgun wound is blood loss. So long as the military is limited to ball ammo, the .45 has one major advantage: It leaves a DEEP .45 caliber hole.

    Which launching platform to use I’ll leave to others, though I have a definite appreciation of the venerable Government model.

  39. In response to the remark about which gun was the runner up in the government contract for the new military side arm in the 80′s,I am very surprised that no one mentioned the Glock. The reason why the Beretta was chosen over the Glock was because Mr Glock wouldn’t give up his patent rights on the Glock design so the military could use the lowest bidder to build the parts for the gun…or so I read from a reprint from an article on why the best gun wouldn’t win the new military contract circa 1984.

  40. Hi Eric:

    Any discussion about the .45 is sure to attract my interest.

    A couple of recent things: I’ve never (thank God) been in a firefight with a Model 92. But I have friends who have, recently. They say they won’t make that mistake again. Sure it holds lots of bullets, but you need them – those who engaged at close range with the 9mm say it took an average of 4 rounds to incapacitate the target. And getting the Beretta to fire 4 rounds consecutively is often a major challenge.

    Recently I went through a personal security course where we put over 1000 each through the M-9 Beretta and the M-11 Sig. The weapons we used were “veterans” that were shot day in and day out at this school. All were “high time”, like you are likely to encounter in the regular military. The first day I did not make it through a single magazine without a failure in over 500 rounds with the Beretta. The next day I scrounged a “fresher” weapon, and broke it down, tuned and lubricated it before heading out to the line. I got it down to a failure every other magazine.

    To contrast, in over 1000 rounds with the Sig, I did not have a single failure.

    There are quite a few groups out there now (lots of Marine units) who say “we don’t care what it takes, we’re not bringing the Beretta to another firefight.”

    All the debate about what kind of .45 is best is fun, but all of them are an order of magnitude better than the Beretta.

    Usually the argument is along the lines of “it works just as well as a 1911 but it’s newer and costs more, and looks cool.” More bullets is nice, but I thought that’s what the magazine pouch was for. With the .45, you only need 1 round per target. If you have more targets than rounds for your sidearm, you brought the wrong weapon to the fight.

    All and all I would really appreciate it if the weapon I bet my life on were not selected on the basis of whether it is comfortable for females to shoot. The Beretta is very comfortable to shoot, if you can get it to feed a round and go bang, but the target finds it pretty comfortable too.

  41. BTW – those who say the Mk23 is the “weapon of choice” amongst the “special people” don’t actually KNOW. The Mk23, while a fine shooting weapon, is simply too large. Those who have a choice go for something a little more practically sized – usually a tricked-out 1911, sometimes the Glock or Sig, or the normal-sized USP.

  42. As a current Special Operations soldier and Afghanistan veteran, as well as a recreational pistol & 3-Gun competitor, I’ve had this discussion many times at work. Yes, the Beretta has some issues. Firstly, the locking blocks were prone to cracking at about 5,000 rounds. This has mostly been solved in refined manufacturing processes, but it still happens from time to time. The more serious consideration is the cheap magazines that we are issued. They are “lowest-bidder” quality, and the producer parkerized the entire magazine, inside and out. For those unfamiliar with this, parkerizing puts a sturdy (and gritty) finish on the equipment. This gritty surface combines with the dust in the desert and locks up the magazine spring. After riding around in the desert for a bit, the magazine springs have no tension and won’t feed; the rounds rattle loosely in the magazine when you shake them. To fix this, take a wire brush and scrub the heck out of the inside of the magazine, then coat it with silicon lubrication. This mostly solves the problem. Some units in Iraq (I’m told) bought fresh, high-quality mags from Beretta or OKAY that weren’t parkerized. Yes, the 9mm round isn’t great in its 115-gr ball form. However, good hollowpoints of the 124-gr or 147-gr variety have about a 91% 1-round stoppage rate for gunshots delivered to the torso. This is only slightly below the .40 and .45, which hang in the 94% to 96% range. My solution? Move to the Springfield XD in 9mm. It has the benefits of the Glock trigger system and stiker-firing as opposed to a conventional hammer, a grip safety like the 1911, and the system uses Beretta 92 magazines with additional slots machined in for the magazine catch. Give us the XD, remachine the magazines and run them through a mechanical scrubber that uses metal media (they’ll shine when they’re done), and buy some decent ammo. The best of all worlds.

  43. Jeez, you have a problem with comment spam. Get a blacklist or moderation system. Or switch to a blogging system that has them, like MovableType or WordPress.

    Dave, you are right on with the magazine problems. Nothing will break a pistol’s reputation quicker than mag problems. For example, several people have had problems with followers in 10 round mags for Glock 17/19′s, but for those of us without those followers the reliability is top-notch. What our government really needs to do is invest in quality hardware, and lots of it.

    As for the 357SIG round, its main benefit over 9mm and .40 is penetration. If you’re trying to shoot through glass it’s worth it; otherwise, the larger recoil is bad, especially for new shooters.

  44. Amen to the 1911. I carried the 191 on duty as a Marine and again as a police officer.
    I have been issued a Berreta 92s and it is a good trot line weight at most.
    For a good reliable .45 go with a Kimber, Para, Springfield, or Colt.
    The Glock Model 21 is a superb weapon for any climate and mine has never jammed.
    Let the bad guys have the Berreta that way we will win the gun battle.

  45. Saw a video tape on terminal ballistics recently. Shot placement and penetration was the bottom line for effective performance. In the power factor section it was demonstrated that bullet mass was much more important than velocity for penetration. Penetration was significantly deeper for a heavier bullet at slower velocity than the lighter bullet at higher velocity with the same power factors (mass X velocity).
    The bigger bullet is more effective because it gets better penetration to reach and do enough damage to internal vital areas to stop the bad guy. This would explain the 45 Cal 230 grain bullet’s better effectiveness relative to the 9mm. As a side note, I’m going to switch to 230 gr 45 Cal loads for personal defense instead of the 165 gr 45 Cal higher velocity loads I currently have.

  46. The “compact” 9mm Sig which was adopted by the military and designated the M-11 is the Sig P-228. The 9mm bullet arguements aside, this is one fine pistol. The 228 has been replaced by the 229 in 9mm now. The real difference is the construction of the 229′s slide-more durable. I have a 2-tone 228 and a black 229 with 40 S&W and 357 Sig barrels. I carry the 228 every day. The Texas Department of Public Safety was issued the Sig 220 in 45 cal. for some time but the powers that be traded them in for the Sig 226 in 357 Sig cal. It seems that the 45 auto wouldn’t go through car bodies and windshields effectively. There have been fewer officer complaints with the 357 Sig-it’s a screamer. Some of the female troopers get to carry the 229 in 357 Sig as it tends to fit their hands better. They also got to keep their issued leather as the 220 and the 226 fit the same holsters. They did have to trade out their magazine carriers as the 226 and 229 require a double stack mag. Best wishes from Texas!

  47. I have both a Kimber 1911 and a Model 21 Glock. I spend an hour or two at the range every single day of the year. I have owned my Glock for about 3 years. It was my baby until a friend on the local SWAT let me shoot his Kimber. I purchsed a gun identical to his and fire 100 rounds through it 6 days a week. My Glock is my Monday gun–the day I spend most of my time shooting a rifle or two. I’ve put 35-40k rounds through my Kimber, never a problem. I’ve put 60-70k rounds through my Glock, never a problem. Keep’em clean and fire good ammo and either gun will last a lifetime or two.

    Anyway, just an Okie’s experience.

  48. Hey guys, after reading all of these non sensical statements of yours I just have to say, that if I ever have to face anyone and shoot it out in a dark alley? I would hope it is with idiots like you, because apparantly you do not know what your are talking about. I can hit bowling pins at 125 yards with anyone of the many Beretta’s that I own…Try that with your Glock and get back to me…Shoot lead through your Glock, Glock will void your warrenty…shoot +P ammo through your Glock, guess what? Glock will void your warrany, shoot anything through a Beretta, not only will you have less muzzle flip, but you will have a faster second shot,more accuracy and the smoothest action on the planet. I am not saying you have to like Beretta, and I am not saying you have to dislike Glocks, carry what you shoot the best. P.S. How many of you carry your gun for personal 24/7 defense, and how many of you have night sights on your defence gun? Those of you who do not have night sights on your defence gun, I hope you only go out in the daylight in the event that you would have to use it at night. Just food for thought…P.S.S. 9mm ammunition has killed more people in war then any other caliber in the world. Deal with it and if you do not know what you are talking about? shut up! J.M. Arizona…

  49. Hey guys, after reading all of these non sensical statements of yours I just have to say, that if I ever have to face anyone and shoot it out in a dark alley? I would hope it is with idiots like you, because apparantly you do not know what your are talking about. I can hit bowling pins at 125 yards with any one of the many Beretta’s that I own…Try that with your Glock and get back to me…Shoot lead through your Glock, Glock will void your warranty…shoot +P ammo through your Glock, guess what? Glock will void your warranty, shoot anything through a Beretta, not only will you have less muzzle flip, but you will have a faster second shot,more accuracy and the smoothest action on the planet. I am not saying you have to like Beretta, and I am not saying you have to dislike Glocks, carry what you shoot the best. P.S. How many of you carry your gun for personal 24/7 defense, and how many of you have night sights on your defence gun? Those of you who do not have night sights on your defence gun, I hope you only go out in the daylight in the event that you would have to use it at night. Just food for thought…P.S.S. 9mm ammunition has killed more people in war then any other caliber in the world. Deal with it and if you do not know what you are talking about? shut up! J.M. Arizona…

  50. I think that I posted my previous comments on the wrong site…sorry people…In my opinion, as long as you are practising your Second Ammendment right to bear arms then we should not be arguing about anything…shoot what you feel comfortable shooting, and carry what you feel comfortable carrying…Just make sure you prove it before you carry it…wether it be a 22 or a Cannon…if you shoot it well? then that is what you use…in all reality, I would not want to get hit with a BB Gun…Happy shooting and God Bless…

    “One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off”-The Bible-1Kings 20:11

  51. Some thoughts:

    Mostly geared toward self defence.

    1. If your not comfortable carrying a gun (CCW owners) you won’t have it, so who cares how good it is, if it’s at home.

    2. Whatever you own, statistically you’ll end up having to use it in a short distance most of the time and the “attack will be over” in a matter of seconds.

    3. Probably statistically the number of people you’ll have to deal with with your weapon will be one, not many. Although in rare times (or in war) it may be many.

    4. Follow up shots are important, according to CCW classes you need to put in enough shots to “stop” the assaulant. A 9mm shell in the main part of the body will kill 60% of the people who are hit, but it will not put them down. Of course that means, you’ll need followup shots.

    5. Obviously a 45 has advantage in take down power without hollowpoint options, and probably even with hollowpoint options.

    6. The first shot is probably the most important one and the one that will be your most accurate one, if you don’t totally loose it. So a bigger bullet would be better.

    7. High velocity. Has advantages in longer ranges, but that’s for offense. If your in a city or your house, a higher velocity bullet will probably travel through your walls into your neigbours house, so a slower heavier bullet would be better for home defence.

    8. Body armour changes everything. If the crook is wearing it and coming against the average citizen, well it’s going to be very difficult to state the average guy will have a chance with any gun, because accuracy will be less and obviously most of us will not be carrying armour piercing bullets.

    9. Of course if the guy is close and you can surprize him, there’s always the head shot. For crooks who are to be surprized.

    10. There’s a greater chance of an accidental discharge and shooting yourself, than shooting a mugger. So a careful choice for a safe configuration to carry. Something that cannot accidentally go off is probably more important that having the fastest drawing most exotic weapon.

    11. I’ve seen a lot of “untrained” people at the local range. Gals who can’t shoot accurately trying to pull a heavy pull 9mm DA gun that their boyfriend has. But can pull a SA 22 easily and feel comfortable with it. Unfortunately without training they shoot a lot of rounds off without accuracy even when they can easily pull the trigger. So training is most important.

    12. I think it good (my theory) to train under stress and develop a habit of not just shooting when you are feeling well, well-fed, not nervious, etc. You need to practice all the time and maybe even when your under a lot of self induced stress or time constraints, feeling rushed. You need to do this to have an artificial abililty to shoot consistant under a variety of conditions. You have to practice at this because chances are your only going to be drawing and shooting at the range anyway, and thankfully won’t have the experience of being “under fire” if your a regular citizen.

    13. The range I shoot at hasn’t been open long and already two people were shot at the range through accidents. Maybe wearing a vest at the range is more important than in your everyday drive to work, for most people. I definately plan on not shooting there as much when it’s busy. To many inexperienced folks renting guns, without training.

    14. A laser is a great tool for practice as well as use. I hope that if I ever need to use my weapon at night or indoors, I’ll have the luxery of having my laser on it. But alas, I have a SA sub-compact 9mm and it’s laser is an external one that does not fit a holster, not for CCW carry anyway.

    15. From what I’ve heard a casual harrasing mugger, who isn’t armed will be deterred as much by a laser on your gun as the gun itself. Maybe more. So having a laser to me is pretty valuable. Hopefully I’ll never have to display or draw.

    16. Do CCW folks ever practice drawing and dry firing. Some guys talk a big talk like they will outdraw and quick draw an opponent. But I think it’s mostly a carry over from westerns. I don’t think the fast draw is as important as some of us would believe. It’s probably more of a case of intellegent drawing and maybe even not drawing at times and just giving away your wallet. If a guy has a bead on you, how many would quick draw and not get shot? I think everyone is an expert, but there are probably very few that actually have been in more than a couple of gun fights in the USA, so they cannot give a conclusion based on their experience alone.

    17. Based on my own range practice. My first shots are almost always bullseyes, and followups (even with my 9mm are always a lot less accurate. (Yet almost always where you need them at defence distances). So it’s probably better for me to have a small 45 for most threats, but 45′s seem to weigh a lot.

    18. I work in a large urban city. I’ve been hearing about some gang robberies lately in this city. In those situations if a shootout happened, I’d rather have more bullets.

    19. I like to practice multiple target (on one target) shooting varying each shot. To practice for situations where there are a number of attackers. I do this almost each time I practice, but want to work more on my accuracy.

    20. With a laser I’m two to three times more accurate and can shoot holding the gun off camber away from my body sideways or whatever. Can get shots on target a lot more quickly. Practice laser based shooting about 1/3rd of the time. The rest sighted.

    Just my food for thought.

    A newbie.

  52. Why not combine two worlds.
    Try the Beretta .40

    A really comfortable and reliable gun, and real stopping power.
    I own a Beretta 92FS, after i owned a 1911 .45 for more than 10 years.
    The 1911 was a perfect weapon, but i really like the Beretta for its comfort and extra rounds and its better techniques.

  53. I own and shoot a 92fs and a 40 calibur Berreta, My son shoots a 92fs and a 40 calibur Glock. I have shot all of these guns. And many more with the houge grips on both my Berretas they are very comfortable and give great pleasure for target practice .I have become comfortable with staying on paper and very close to center more often than not. I bought the 40 after one year of shooting my 92fs.I treat them with respect and keep them in great condition, Before you purchase a hand gun please do yourself a favor and shoot a Berreta.

  54. my 10 cents. mk-23- bad choice , it is task specific weapon and close defense is not that task…..beretta? crap. military uses then because they were the least expensive of the lot, plain ansd simple. I’ve heard and read all the crap about the “selection process” all bunk. the army doesn’t give a rat’s ### about its performance. it is a close range last ditch weapon to be used right before swinging your e-tool. a soldier’s concerned weapon is his rifle. I am 1911 fan (doesnt mean its perfect) I think SIG 220 would be good military choice……….desert storm vet…army….reconnaisance/surveilance

  55. So, I read all the posts, and having fired firearms ranging from 1911 to .44 Magnum revolver to Glock etc etc it just amazes me that people have all these lofty opinions which seem to totally contradict other people’s experiences. I like shooting Glocks because they seem accurate enough and are reasonably high quality, I like shooting 1911 because they seem more accurate, I really would like to own an HK UPS because I really like expert craftsmanship, and I think that 9mm handguns are a big waste of time spent shooting let alone writing about! But here’s a real loop: a famous WWII German Stuka pilot was once questioned why he carried a Walther PPK .25 handgun since it would seem to be a very small caliber and he replied ” I have never been a pessimist”. So my point is that if you don’t see the fnord it can’t eat you.

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