The Army is in the process of soliciting bids for a new pistol. They have stated that any company entering may enter two pistols of different calibers. The Army is also interested in a modular pistol. I was thinking about this riding the bus in today. Here is what the Army should require on any pistol:
- Modular construction so that grip, safety, slide and magazine release can be changed easily without special tools by the Unit Armorer for left handed shooters.
- Modular so that the gun can be converted from a standard round (say 9MM) to a specialized round (say 45). Example Sig Sauer 320.
- Integrated laser sites that permits three modes; infrared, visible light, and off. Iron sites as back up.
- Magazine capacity of at least 15 for standard round and 10-15 for specialized rounds.
- I would keep the standard round as the 9MM. It is already in the inventory and is the NATO Standard pistol round.
- I would allow Special Operations Forces to adopt specialized rounds based on mission in .40 and .45 caliber.
- Before everyone gets upset, I am not a big fan of the 9MM, but if you have ever been involved in logistics you know have more varieties of ammo can become very problematic in not Special Operations units. Since many of allies already use the 9MM as their standard pistol round is also makes resupply from non US sources easier. For Special Operation Forces they already have a variety of specialized rounds they use.
- Rail system to allow the mounting of modular accessories, to include quick action sites in addition to the standard laser and backup iron sites.
- Specialized barrels that can accept suppressors.
- Easily assembled and disassembled by the operator.
- Pistol would accept .22 LR conversion kit to allow units to conduct inexpensive pistol training in addition to the normal qualification requirements of the service.
- Conversion kits would be part of the purchase and each unit (battalion and lower) would be required to have them for use.
Additionally the Army needs to develop a more robust pistol qualification requirement that should include:
- Lane qualification (shooting a Known Distance Targets). (Twice a year.)
- Shoot house and Outside Lanes qualification where reaction and friend or foe identification required. (Once a year.)