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article imageOp-Ed: Top 3 guns for the U.S. Military's next service pistol

By Alex Allen     Sep 15, 2014 in Business
Recent reports indicate that the US Military could be choosing a new sidearm sometime in the near future. But what would be the best choice to replace the Beretta M9?
For several years, the United States Army has been working towards a replacement for their current service pistol, the Beretta M9. And while the process has been mostly talk for quite some time, recent reports indicate that the decision and replacement process could be just around the corner.
Of course, even after the Army starts evaluating various handguns for a replacement, it could take a little more time (even another year or two) before the new service pistol is issued; but that hasn't stopped gun enthusiasts from engaging in discussions and debates over what the Army's new primary sidearm should be.
There are plenty of great handguns available today and with different demands from various law enforcement agencies, military branches, hobbyists and self-defense advocates, the market is constantly expanding with innovative new products. There are several important factors to note when considering a new gun for the US Army, however. In fact, an RFI posted early last year outlines what the Army is looking for in a new service pistol.
According to the RFI, the Army is looking for something that would fit more soldiers' hands, be able to hit a 4 inch target at 50 meters 90 percent of the time and be compatible with accessories like tactical lights, lasers and suppressors. They are also interested in looking at calibers that are more powerful than the 9mm, the caliber for which their current service pistol is chambered.
Now, when it comes to the caliber of the new service pistol, it's pretty obvious what the Army will likely be leaning towards. They've tried the .45 ACP, they've tried the 9mm and it now seems to be the age of the .40 S&W. Many law enforcement agencies as well as citizens who carry regularly, are switching to the .40 S&W caliber. It's a larger and more powerful round than the 9mm but it's small enough that many of the handguns are able to be the same size as their 9mm counterparts, unlike the .45 ACP which, most of the time, causes an increase in the pistol's overall size in order to accommodate for the large bullet size.
With all that being, said, it's time to look at some guns. We know we need something reliable, we know we need something accurate, we know we need something comfortable and we know it most likely needs to be chambered in .40 S&W in order to meet the Army's standards. So, without further ado, I have listed below three firearms that not only meet these requirement but that I believe would be great choices for the US Army's next sidearm.
1. Glock Model 22
For many, the first clearly excellent choice is obvious - the Glock. A lot of gun owners have a love-hate relationship with Glocks and many flat out don't like them. But the fact of the matter is that they work. They are based on a very simple design, they have very basic features and they're known for being reliable and dependable. (not to mention fairly accurate.)
The Glock Model 22 is one of the most popular Glocks on the market today. The full-size .40 caliber Glock has been adopted by countless law enforcement agencies in the US and around the world and as a result, more and more hobbyists, enthusiasts and every-day-carriers are turning to it for their primary sidearm is well. The Glock 22 is equipped with an accessory rail for mounting lights, lasers and other accessories. The new generation 4 Glocks have a comfortable, aggressive grip texturing and come with interchangeable back straps, allowing the user to modify the grip to fit his or her hand.
There are a few drawbacks to choosing the Glock, one of those drawbacks being the fact that the Glock does not have an external thumb safety. There are quite a few people who do not like the lack of an external safety while others argue that it is not necessary. But considering the fact that the previous service pistols have all had external thumb safeties, this may prove to be a huge drawback for the Military.
2. Smith & Wesson M&P .40 S&W
The Smith & Wesson M&P is likely the biggest rival of the Glock. The design of the pistol is very similar to a Glock in that it is a basic striker-fired, semi-auto polymer pistol. The M&P full size .40 S&W is almost exactly the same size as the Glock model 22 and it has the same magazine capacity, 15.
Many claim that the grip on the M&P is more comfortable than the Glock and even if one is not happy with the grip, it does have interchangeable backstrips. The sight system is also different from that on the Glock. The M&P has a 3-dot system which many prefer to the Glock's factory sights.
The one advantage the M&P definitely has over the Glock is the option of an external thumb safety. While most M&P handguns have no external safety, the option is available and would likely be utilized if the M&P was adopted as the Military's new sidearm.
3. Sig Sauer P226 in .40 S&W
In addition to being popular in the civilian market, the Sig Sauer P226 is also the weapon of choice for the NYPD and the US Navy Seals. Interestingly enough, the Sig P226 was originally designed for the US Army during their 1984 trials when they were looking to replace the popular M1911. The Beretta M9 only beat out the Sig P226 because of the lower overall cost.
The Sig P226 does have a different design than the other two pistols mentioned. While the Glock and M&P are both striker-fired, the Sig P226 is a Double Action/Single Action, hammer-fired pistol. It is also has a steel frame as opposed to the frames of the Glock and M&P, which are both made out of Polymer.
Any of these pistols would make a great sidearm for the US Military and there are hundreds of other pistols that would work just as well. It's just a matter of what the Military is able to conclude from the extensive tests I'm sure they'll be conducting to find the perfect new service pistol.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Firearms, Us military, Service pistol, Handguns
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