Exclusive: Air Force Revives .45-cal Handgun

Twenty years ago the US Department of Defense DOD decided to replace the .45-cal M1911 handgun with the 9mm M9 Beretta as the standard-issue sidearm.

To say this decision was controversial is to understate the term.

You will find plenty of defenders of the M9, such as this one on DefenseTech.org, but also many, many critics. The critics say the M9′s 9mm bullet lacks the "knock-down" power to immediately disable a human being. If this human being is shooting at you, you’d also prefer a bullet that could make this person stop.

I give you the Air Force Future Handgun program, which has just entered the market survey phase. The air force says it "may specify" a .45-calibre round, which is larger than the 9mm and the same size used on the M1911 phased-out in the late-1980s.

The air force program comes several months after the army and Special Operations Command cancelled the Joint Combat Pistol program, which also sought to bring back the .45-calibre sidearm.

History may be repeating itself. Air force General Curtis LeMay kept interest alive in the Colt M16 rifle while the army hopelessly pursued the Springfield M14. Will the air force now usher the .45-calibre sidearm back into the inventory, with the army again forced to play follow-the-leader?

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3 Responses to Exclusive: Air Force Revives .45-cal Handgun

  1. George 22 April, 2007 at 8:25 pm #

    Ah, the 1911 Colt .45 automatic. That was the first military weapon on which I qualified in 1960 (or so). The weapons we trained on were so worn you could hear the slide rattle as you tried to line up on the target. You could actually see the bullet flying down range when you fired. They taught us to shoot off-hand rather than a more practical combat stance. It was a heavy piece, but the splinters that flew out of the range supporting timbers, when a shot didn’t go where it was supposed to, were a testament to its hitting power.

  2. johnny be good 22 May, 2007 at 10:49 pm #

    Reading about Air Force going back to .45 Kudos to the Air Force. I hope that the 9mm will be replaced. Also the should look it .40SW as an opition.

  3. barry martin 7 November, 2009 at 2:19 pm #

    trying the .40 cal s&w in the 23 glock might be a good pistol to try out? kind of late-eh?barry

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