Though you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that actually preferred the damn thing to a 1911, the M9 did its job well enough that it stuck around for 30 some odd years.
The Army, however, realized that, although the M9 was adequate, technology was still marching along, and it was probably time for a replacement. And so they sought out to look for one.That was a decade ago, and according to the Washington Times, Congress is getting sick of their shit. Apparently, the Senate Armed Services Committee is set to release a report entitled “America’s Most Wasted: Army’s Costly Misfire” that puts them on blast for it.
The report claims that, in the last decade, the only thing the Army has done to update its service sidearm is come up with a bizarrely complicated series of requirements that manufacturers will have to put up with.Okay, let’s ignore the fact that the Army just wasted a decade coming up with the rules for a new pistol without actually getting to the part where they start looking for one, or the fact that one of America’s most powerful leaders can’t pun to save his life.
How hard is it to dream up the perfect pistol?
Some folks love the M9 (or its civilian variant). Me, I’ve never liked it. But that’s merely a matter of taste.
The real issue here isn’t the pistol. It is the acquisition process.
Senator McCain wants to light up the Army for the lengthy, costly pistol replacement program. The problem with that is, the Army isn’t the one who set up the rules that is has to follow to buy a new pistol. Congress did that.
Let’s face it, the choice of a pistol, for all the emotional energy spent on it, is one of the more secondary concerns for the services. There are literally dozens of fantastic guns out there the Army could choose, and the advantages and disadvantages over any other choice would be so marginal as to be virtually invisible. It’s just a pistol.
But because the acquisition law is what it is, the Army has to go through the process of first determining the benchmarks it will measure a competition by, and then through the entire solicitation process, then the competition, and then awarding a contract, and then dealing with the invariable protest by the losing bids, which the GAO will almost automatically endorse, which puts the entire program on suspension, wasting more time and money, and often forcing the Army to start the entire process over again, right from square one.
Can you imagine GEN George Marshall having to fiddle with this mess while trying to build the host that became the US Army in World War II?
The guy in charge of small arms program management in the Army is a Colonel. An O-6. In Marshall’s day, he never would have seen a scrap of paper cross his desk on such a small issue. The Colonel would choose what he thought was best, and let the contracts.
But the Army can’t simply go to the Armed Services Committee and say, you know, we’ve taken a look at a bunch of pistols, and want to buy the Glock/Smith and Wesson/Colt/you name it.
That would be too simple.