Weaponsman’s Perspective On the Army Pistol Solicitation

Hognose, from the WeaponsMan blog has reviewed the requirements documents for the Army’s program to replace the Beretta M9 with a new pistol “platform.” While most gun guys are excited about this effort his perspective based on these documents is, shall we say, a little less positive.

Beretta M9A1

I am sure most of us, especially and ex-special operations guys like Hognose, want the US Army to have the best weapons and gear possible. But let’s face it, the handgun is not the a primary weapon for our armed forces. For most of the military personnel issued a handgun it’s still a weapon of last resort. Even for special forces types who are far more likely to use a handgun in actual combat it is a secondary weapon system. Hognose words it a bit more colorfully than I would:

Most non-SOF combat arms troops don’t carry handguns (weapons crews, officers, senior NCOs do) and the number of enemy killed with handguns by non-SOF in nearly 15 years of war is probably in the single digits. Add SOF kills, and you’re in the double digits. (Not because we’re all awesome pistoleros but we do carry the sonof@b!tches).

The bottom line is that this program will not provide any meaningful increase in the ability of the Army to perform its primary mission; defending our nation. Nor will it increase the safety and security of our troops.

Although we won’t have a total cost until the selection process is completed (an effort which will cost millions of dollars in and of itself) replacing the aging Beretta M9 and M9A1 will cost a lot of money. Not a lot of money by ordinary person standards but by US Government standards; standards where any denomination with less than six digits is considered petty cash. At a time when our military spending is being cut to the bone.

Worse, based on his review of the documentation, this contract is poorly written and filled with the sort of government stupidity that results in crazy cost overruns and high profits for a defense contractor. Again, his words are a bit stronger than mine:

The solicitation is 315 pages long, most of it bureaucratic boilerplate. The real statement of work begins on Page 188, and it looks like the one thing they don’t want to do is buy a handgun from a handgun manufacturer. Instead, they aim to throw the contract to a large, high-overhead defense/aerospace prime contractor who will assemble the package with components from many disparate vendors, each one marked up obscenely.

But Hognose, doesn’t stop there. He goes on:

At a time of dwindling resources, this padded, bloated contract is the wrong thing at the wrong time. It blows mass quantities of money on something that’s of marginal military utility, and by so doing starves other programs that can improved combat results.

The bottom line is this effort will take money from programs that would have a much more positive impact on the primary mission of the US Army. Who will this benefit?

One or more large defense contractors and whatever politicians and service members are in bed to them…

Again, Hognose says it best:

…whoever wrote this is not working for the United States (even though we taxpaying chumps are paying him), but for one or more contractors. Finding the office that this came from and making all the heads there roll will improve our combat capability and our financial stewardship of public funds.

Take the time to read the full article (link) and let me know what you think.

For my part, I for one plan to forward this article on to my elected representatives in Washington.  No, I don’t think it will do much good either but it is the right thing to do.

God Bless.

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