Somebody had to write the worst article on the M17 Modular Handgun System program. And this guy did it, at Strategy Page. He knew just enough not to sign it, whoever he was, so he may not be a complete dullard. But almost every fact that’s in the story is wrong, demonstrably wrong, I-was-too-lazy-to-Google wrong, I-was-too-dumb-to-ask-anybody wrong.
We used to say in the Army “as wrong as two boys kissin’,” or maybe a slightly stronger version of that, but we can’t say that any more. But that’s how wrong this article is.
Let’s hit some of the high points:
First, the title: “The Low Bidder And The M9 Tragedy.” Er, what tragedy?
The U.S. Department of Defense has finally, after a ten year search, decided on a new standard pistol, to replace the much hated Beretta M9.
“Much hated”? Meh. Lots of guys prefer another pistol. We could always work with the M9. A pistol is too inconsequential to waste hatred on, and any professional just takes the pistol he is issued and works with it. That’s how the game is played, by the people for whom “game” is only a metaphor, not something executed on a colorful board, with cardboard counters and a polyhedral die.
The new pistol is a variant of the SIG Sauer P320, which lost out to the Baretta in 1985 because the Baretta 9mm was a little cheaper.
One brief declarative sentence, multiple factual errors:
- It is a P320, not a “variant” except in that it has the safety and anti-tampering options SIG has offered to “fleet buyers” all along.
- The P320 did not lose out to anything in 1985 as it was decades from being designed. Indeed, its forerunner the
P230P250 (which has little in common with the P226) was decades from being designed, and the 230250 was on the market for a long time before the 320 design began.
- Beretta is not spelled Baretta. They’ve been spelling it with that first “e” since fourteen-hundred-and-something. Repeating the misspelling doesn’t make it correct. (But wait, he’ll misspell it twice more, but misspell it differently, down the page).
- The trials in which SIG and Beretta were both judged as suitable took place in 1984. And yes, the Beretta was less expensive. (Significantly, not “a little.” Especially when you’re buying hundreds of thousands of the things). Beretta won a previous trial outright (JSSAP), but SIG did not participate. Cost is a real-world part of every weapons buy, whether it’s a billion-dollar ship or a buck-fifty bayonet sheath.
- Some units had been using Berettas earlier than official adoption, and that may have given Beretta an edge, back then.
- The pistol that SIG entered was a P226. This is exactly like a P320, except that its frame is made of different material and designed differently, it was designed from the bones out for modularity, it has a completely different trigger system and controls and manual of arms that the 226, and has exactly zero parts that interchange with its SIG stablemate.
- For the innumerate, study this arithmetic: 226 ≠ 320. There will be a test.
We note that most of the errors this guy made seem to come from the Wikipedia page on the M9, which is almost as messed up as the Strategy Page article… but not as messed up, because copying guy didn’t understand what he was copying. One of Strategy Page’s 400-lb aspie wargamers?
Whew, that was the first sentence. Hey, are you guys ready to move on and try another? Because this whole fisking is around 4,400 words (Holy Wall O Text Batman!), we’ll continue it after the jump.