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Sunday, October 18, 2015
Firearms Manufacturers Compete to Supply Army With New Handgun
A 2006 survey found that 58 percent of soldiers who returned from combat reported being satisfied with the M9 pistol, a low score compared with the 75 percent satisfaction rating for the M16 rifle and 89 percent for the M4 carbine. Roughly a quarter of soldiers said they wanted a weapon that used a bigger bullet that could more easily stop an enemy. The Army is letting manufacturers decide the optimal type of ammunition. Until recently, the Army usually limited soldiers to use jacketed ball ammunition, which was considered acceptable under rules of war dating back a century. Ball ammunition leaves a cleaner wound and may improve survival. Recent guidance from Army lawyers opens the door to soldiers firing a 9mm round that expands or fragments, causing more damage to the body.
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Rather bizarre that the issue of damage would even be a legal concern. It's not doing as much damage as the standard issue weapons, no matter what they end up putting in those pistols. I can see there being more safety concerns with pistols, which by nature tend towards less consciousness of muzzle discipline and greater likelihood of negligent discharge in an unsafe direction (particularly given the circumstances relevant to issuing a pistol rather than rifle or carbine). But that's not a matter of the laws of war anymore than more frequent sock changes for troops executing dismounted movement.
On the whole, I'm less a fan of the 'government issue solution' mindset the more often I encounter it. "We've been having problems with our one-size fits all issue pistol, so we're going to enormous expense to search for a new issue pistol" kinda strikes me as missing a fundamental aspect of the problem. Then again, some people really love that regimented aspect of a government-run military.
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