But How Would Corporations Make Millions Off That?

The U.S. Army's chief of staff said Thursday that if he had his way, he'd abandon the bureaucratic Modular Handgun System effort and personally select the service's next pistol.

Speaking at the Future of War Conference 2016, Gen. Mark Milley said he has asked Congress to grant service chiefs the authority to bypass the Pentagon's multi-layered and complex acquisition process on programs that do not require research and development.

"We are not exactly redesigning how to go to the moon, right?" Milley said. "This is a pistol."
It's a fair point. Pistol technology is mature. The basic design of the semi-automatic pistol has been refined rather than fundamentally altered in the hundred years since John Moses Browning's 1911. The common choices among elite military forces today have fused plastic receivers, and polycarbon slides, neither of which can be readily disassembled -- but which are so reliable and cheap that they never need to be. They're good-enough accurate out of the box and indestructible in normal use with normal lifespans.

For an army made up mostly of teenagers and 20-somethings, several manufacturers offer off-the-shelf pistols that are not just adequate, they're perfect. Pick one.


E Hines said...

Maybe, within some limits, give the soldiers an allowance, and let them pick their own. It has to shoot 9mm. It has to shoot 40 S&W. The soldier has to meet marksmanship requirements with it. Otherwise, pick their own.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

Junior soldiers and Marines are infamously bad about making purchasing decisions ("A new sports car on a private's salary, at 19% interest? Sounds great!"), and there is a concern about standardize training. If you drop your pistol after getting shot, your fellows should be able to pick it up and know how it works without having to think about it.

Still, you might have a range of acceptable options that all function more or less the same way.

Ymar Sakar said...

I think they should go with personal sidearms, if they want to buy them, so long as it uses the same caliber of ammo due to resupply issues.

Ymar Sakar said...

"If you drop your pistol after getting shot, your fellows should be able to pick it up and know how it works without having to think about it. "

That's more applicable to capturing enemy weapons, because the bottleneck is ammo. When you run out of US ammo, there's always insurgents/russians around to use theirs.

Primary issue is reliability due to jams and misfires, not the differences in firearms handling.

In many decisions, privates and lance corporals should speak to their direct chain of command in the NCO cadre and line, for advice. Like pretty much everything else in their military life.

Grim said...

Well, right. I was trained in AK variants before deploying to Iraq.

MikeD said...

To this day, I have never fired a pistol. Rifles, sure. Machine guns (well... A machine gun, the M-60)? Yes. Grenade launchers (M203)? Absolutely. But a handgun? Never. So I don't feel terribly qualified to choose one for the military. That said, I think the best way they could possibly choose to evaluate a new handgun (or indeed any weapon) for the armed services is to have firearm manufacturers submit their candidate weapons and let special forces operators from each service evaluate them all behind closed doors. When they come out, they announce the consensus winner, and that's it. Their decision is final. No generals influencing the choice, no contractors on site to jimmy a malfunction. If the troops can get around a problem and they're ok with it, that's fine, otherwise the gun rises or falls on its own merits.

E Hines said...

Along those lines, I'd like to see the proposed weapon(s) malfunction, how the troops handle that in their testing, and what they think of the malfunction and its ease of correction.

I'd also like to see randomly selected run-of-the-mill soldiers, with some minimum (not minimal) level of field experience involved in the testing along with SOF. The ROTM will be the most numerous users/stuckees of the weapon.

Eric Hines