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Just buy the plastic guns already

Bureaucracy at work:

Gen. Mark Milley has used recent public appearances to criticize federal acquisition guidelines that all services must follow when choosing and purchasing weapons and equipment.

During a March 10 speaking engagement at a conference in Washington, D.C., for instance, Milley chastised a bureaucratic acquisition system for making it overly complicated to field equipment in a timely manner, citing the service’s Modular Handgun System, or MHS, effort as a prime example.

The Army launched its long-awaited XM17 MHS competition in late August to replace its Cold-War era, M9 9mm pistol.
Milley criticized the program’s 356-page requirement document and lengthy testing phase slated to cost $17 million for technology that has existed for years.

“The testing itself is two years long on known technology,” Milley told law makers at a March 16 House Armed Services Committee hearing.

“We are not talking about nuclear subs or going to the moon here. We are talking about a pistol.”

But behind the scenes, Milley has moved beyond criticism and taken steps to select a new sidearm for soldiers, including exploring the possibility of bypassing the MHS effort altogether.

He’s a smart man. They’re wanting to switch to Glocks.

21 Responses to “Just buy the plastic guns already”

  1. Linoge Says:

    I don’t even care if they stick with M9s.

    Just buy some new damned hardware.

    The M9s we had on ships were so old and worn that there were visible gaps everywhere.

  2. Jeff the Baptist Says:

    He’s an idiot. If he overrules the process now under his own authority, the Army will get sued by everyone and lose. It will cost a lot more than $17 million which is complete chump change in terms of military procurement.

  3. Huck Says:

    “He’s a smart man. They’re wanting to switch to Glocks.”

    I should think that the Army would want a real pistol.

    BTW, I’ve tried out Glocks and I’m far from impressed with them. I’d use damn near any pistol other than those things.

  4. Erik Says:

    Isn’t a Glock more dated than the Beretta? I want to see something new. Look, the firearms industry doesn’t have the R&D budget to come up with something revolutionary over night. If military money goes into it then we’re all going to enjoy the benefits in the future. I still thank NASA for styrofoam.

  5. Kristophr Says:

    WTF is wrong with the old system?

    Set some standards, and have manufacturers submit pistols for testing.

    How is this hard?

  6. kfg Says:

    Styrofoam dates from circa 1940, first invented by Swede Carl Munters (as an insulating material), who also invented the modern refrigerator, and then reinvented by Dow Chemicals.

    NASA had nothing to do with it.

  7. Jim Brack Says:

    Glock 19 simple, easy takedown, rugged, lightweight, cheap, made in the USA (now) and best of all they just work. What’s not to like?

  8. DaveP. Says:

    He’s getting G19’s because the Special Forces already has them in in order; he can just “order more” and sidestep the whole multi-year testing program. It’s actually a lot like how the USMC got a batch of new 1911’s in the early ’00s by claiming they weren’t procuring “new” handguns (which would’ve had to go through the whole procurement process); they were just ‘replacing existing units’. Nobody got sued over that, Jeff.
    Procurement is supposed to serve the needs of the troops; not “the troops are there to serve the needs of the procurement process”.

  9. Bram Says:

    It’s a pistol so who cares. But it does explain much about our procurement process and why we have more civilians in the DoD than actual Soldiers in the Army.

  10. FA Says:

    It’s remarkable how the military brass prizes (and expects) swiftness/agility on the battlefield but then displays the very worst kind of corporate governance… that chooses to believe they should spend as much money and time is necessary to find the perfect solution that suffers no tradeoffs… which is a unicorn-style fantasy even for those who design toothbrushes.

    Case in point: they spent many years and Billion$ developing a universal camo pattern and then, soon after, trashed it.

    I happen to agree with his choice of pistol, but regardless, I applaud this general for rocking the boat. This is more about changing the process than changing the pistol.

  11. Joe Says:

    ‘But all the cool kids…’

  12. Bill Says:

    Ideally the new pistol (or whatever widget) would have at least 435 parts. That way each congressional district can manufacture a part and get a piece of the funding pie.

  13. mikee Says:

    What kind of personal weapons does a drone operator in Wichita require?

  14. ben Says:


  15. Will Says:

    Why further enrichment of Glock? Why not a homegrown pistol like the M+P? Whatever.

    Hmm, I could be persuaded on the Glock, if they decided on the G18 for everyone. Rock and Roll, baby! Hey, it’s supposed to be a last ditch weapon for most who carry it, so why not?

  16. Stuart the Viking Says:

    Frankly, the 367 page requirements doc for the new sidearm is ridiculous. I almost wonder if it wasn’t created specifically to make the process so difficult (and expensive) that it would never be completed.

    There are plenty of decent firearms out there that would serve. Take ONE SHEET OF PAPER, number it from 1 to 10, and write on there the 10 top (reasonable) requirements. Then ask for submissions, test them, and go with the sidearm that performed the best.

    What is so freakin difficult about it?

  17. ParatrooperJJ Says:

    I find it unlikely that they will choose a pistol w/o a manual safety.

  18. Deaf Smith Says:

    Glocks can easily have a Beretta style flip safety on the slide that locks the firing pin. Flip down for safe, flip up for fire.

    Simple no?

    So whats the problem?

  19. Bram Says:

    It will certainly have a safety. I’ve seen dumbasses touch of rounds by accident even with the M9.

    My official pistol training in the Marines was all of 2 minutes.

  20. Stuart the Viking Says:

    Bram, In the Marines, you already went through the basic rifle course. What further training would you really require for the M9?

    Although, I did spend a funny afternoon in the armory cleaning room after rifle qualification once. I was an LCPL at the time, and was at a table cleaning my rifle when a group of officers came in from pistol qual. They had all been trained on the 1911, but our base had just gotten rid of the last of the 1911s, so they were forced to use the M9. NONE of them had any idea how to take the M9 down for cleaning, and were too embarrassed to ask the armorer. I, being a complete gun nerd, of course did know how to, so I gave them a short demonstration, then was “ordered” (quotes, because none of these officers were in my chain of command) to stick around to make sure they were able to get them back together when they were done cleaning.

    BTW… Semper Fi!

  21. poobie Says:

    Personally, I think the cost of continuing the program is so small compared to the rest of the budget that they ought to just press on with it. Let’s at least find out which one performs best in testing.

    And if we’re picking favorites, I really hope the P320 wins; I really prefer the ergos on the Sig.

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