A couple of weeks ago, one of the guest posters over at Ace’s place asked for advice on what type of pistol to buy. He got about 175 comments. I thought to myself, “That’s a lot of responses to a question with only one right answer.”
Behold, the M1911A1 .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol. From 1911 to the mid 1980s, the .45 was the standard pistol for the US armed forces. When the last production run from WWII was wearing out in the early 80s, the Army, under pressure from Congress to adopt the NATO standard 9mm cartridge, selected the Berretta Model 92 as the replacement. This pistol, now known as the M9, is still the standard sidearm of the US forces.
Now, the M9 isn’t a bad pistol, per se. It is reliable, easy to shoot, and carries 15 rounds. The problem is that it isn’t a .45. You hear a lot of stories about people with small hands having trouble with the .45. Women were said to be intimidated by it. Frankly, I think that’s a lot of crap. I used to take a lot of women shooting, and none ever had any problems with the .45.
Truth be told, though, not a lot of people in the service will shoot a pistol. Most folks will carry either an M16 or an M4, or something heavier. I only qualified with a pistol a couple of times during my service. I fired a rifle for qulification at least every six months. I used to do an awful lot of pistol shooting on my own time though. I used to be a driver for a Lieutenant Colonel in Germany. When the time came for him to qualify with his weapon ( a .45) I challenged him to a match. Side by side, we fired the standard qualification. He was a little peeved that I beat him. He was really peeved that I spent the whole time chatting with the Range NCOIC.