Nearly a half-century ago, the non-automotive, non-female thing I lusted after most was a Browning Hi-Power 9mm semi-automatic piston. However, it remained my favorite only until Beretta starting manufacturing the P9, which had a magazine capacity of 16 rounds when the Browning’s was only 13. And, I once owned a Beretta P9, the civilian version of the Army’s current M9 sidearm. I liked the weapon a lot, but today’s US Army … not so much, according to THIS article from Fox News.
According to an Army spokesman, Daryl Easlick from Fort Benning:
Soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have complained that the 9mm round is not powerful enough to be effective in combat. “The 9mm doesn’t score high with soldier feedback,” said Easlick, explaining that the Army, and the other services, want a round that will have better terminal effects — or cause more damage — when it hits enemy combatants. “We have to do better than our current 9mm.”
Auto and motorcycle racers have a saying, “there’s no substitute for cubic inches”, and in firearms terms, I think that would roughly translate to “there’s no substitute for big calibers”. However, with an internal combustion engine, technological sophistication can stand-in to a degree for cubic inches. In the same vein for firearms, caliber is not the last word in stopping power. And herein lies what may be the biggest factor in the Army’s perception of the 9mm cartridge as being inadequate as a “manstopper”. So long as the military is bound by the Geneva convention that precludes anything but jacketed ball ammunition, even a .45 is not going to be much better. Put another way, I would put a 9mm hollow-point up against a .45 jacketed ball round any day for rapidly calming an enemy berserko.
And another thing. If they go back to the .45-ACP or another .45 round, will that not pose a hardship for the female soldiers that have to carry and shoot it? Maybe I’m being too critical here, but this seems to be a boondoggle in the making.