U.S. Army Rejects the 9mm – Again

By Russ Chastain

Dear U.S. Army: We told you so.

When 38 bullets (actually .357 caliber, which is pretty much 9mm) failed to stop its enemies, the U.S. Army went in search of a bigger, better cartridge. The result was John Browning’s M1911 semi-automatic pistol and the 45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) cartridge for which it was designed.

As you can guess from the M1911 designation, the 45 ACP was adopted into military service 103 years ago.

In 1985, the U.S. Army took a huge step backwards when it summarily dumped the 45 ACP in favor of the underpowered 9mm Luger cartridge (a.k.a. 9mm Parabellum). Irony: The 9mm is not quite as powerful as the cartridge which the 45 ACP replaced about 75 years earlier.

Now, things have apparently come full circle. Citing combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, authorities are once again recognizing the advantage of using a more powerful cartridge.

True to form, the government won’t look back at what once worked well and embrace it; instead they plan to spend billions of our dollars creating and adopting something they’re calling a Modular Handgun System (MHS). And they’re not just tossing out the 9mm ammo and firearms; they’re ditching whole heaps of gear – holsters included – and starting over.

They haven’t yet settled on a caliber, and are looking just about anything better than a nine. This would include a faster same-caliber round (357 Sig) as well as larger-caliber cartridges like the 40 S&W, 10mm Auto, and 45 ACP.

Devotees of the diminutive 9mm Luger cartridge are going to have a hard time swallowing the fact that their Precious has been found to be a bit, er, weak. And there are those who assert that no matter what handgun cartridge you choose, it will take several rounds to stop a combatant – and therefore they love the 9mm because it allows more ammo to be packed into a pistol.

Let me say here that I do not hate the 9mm – but neither do I believe it to be a very good combat cartridge. I carry a 9mm as a compromise which allows a small, convenient carry gun with a better cartridge than, say, a 380… but I would rather have something more powerful. It would seem that soldiers agree. At any rate, that’s where the Army seems to be headed.

The MHS project has been in the works for some time now, but is gaining steam in recent months. Later this month (July 29, 2014), the Army will “hold an industry day” to talk to gun manufacturers about what they’re looking for.

Anybody think they’ll end up with some jazzed-up version of a 1911? Hmmmm…

Via: All Outdoor


Charles is the editor for 248 Shooter a midwest based gun news and gear review site as well as Online Content Director for On Target Magazine. He is an avid student taking classes from top tier trainers around the country. Charles shares his love for training as well as experience and opinions on some of the most talked about gear and products used by competitive shooters, military, leo and civilians.