What is the best combat handgun in use today?

This is a discussion on What is the best combat handgun in use today? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by ExSniper The one you have when you are faced with having to do "combat!" Handguns are not designed for combat, they are ...

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Thread: What is the best combat handgun in use today?

  1. #76
    Senior Member Array Skygod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExSniper View Post
    The one you have when you are faced with having to do "combat!" Handguns are not designed for combat, they are designed for self defense so you can fight your way back to your rifle!

    The "what's the best handgun . . ." is an on-going and unending argument. Between those who know it is a 1911 in .45 ACP and everybody else who is wrong!
    Recent polls taken in Iraq and Afghan show that many soldiers desire a .45 ACP, preferrably the 1911 platform.

    What's wrong with this thinking ? Several things. First: Who are they polling, what soldiers, and how much experience do those soldiers have with combat and tactical applications with a secondary weapon systems like a sidearm ? Most, I suspect, are the same soldiers that have never fired any pistol other than the M9. To which they have taken a certain scrutiny of the pistol from others who have also not been trained properly or even carried the M9 for any length of time in a combat zone. Kinda like asking a PFC out of BCT and you'll get every myth regarding stopping power and failure prone stories through the gun shop gossip circuit. This is not who you want to poll for weapons systems procurement and or caliber.

    Second: The .45 ACP has as many limitations as any other centerfire caliber on the market. Personally I'd want a 9x23, if it were even considered, due to the fact that it will penetrate light body armor and heavy clothing barriers where the .45 ACP will not. It's slow, it's loses energy quickly and has an even shorter max effective range than a 9mm Luger. Although if I'm shooting further than 15 meters I'm probably using the wrong weapon system. Yes, I'm only using the sidearm to get back to my longun or another devasting weapon.

    Third: 1911's are not at all friendly in harsh envirenments. Unless you have an 1911 gunsmith issued with it, not to mention the cost of a real hard duty use 1911, then I'm going to seek another .45 ACP platform that is flawless out of the box with twice the mag capacity of the 1911. Now I'm thinking H&K USP, XD full size, Glock 21 etc. Again, when a PFC asks for an 1911, he or she is showing his or her lack of understanding of weapon systems. You usually hear something like "Well Delta uses them so it's got to be tops" Most of us here do not know what Delta uses and when they have used the 1911 they have been hand smithed to run perfectly. That pistol will run about $3500-$5000 and Larry Vickers had better had his hands in the custom production of the weapon. Again, not feasible to man an entire U.S. Army or U.S. Marine Corp.

    Personally I think the Beretta get's less credibility than it deserves, and it's usually from someone that doesn't know budda about handgun and or caliber ballistics. Again the PFC that is reading too many off the shelf "SWAT" and "Combat Handgun" mags.

    I would not hesitate to take a Glock 17 or 19 into theater for battle, but I'd prefer a Sig P226R with Hogue grip panels or CTC Laser grips. All three are superb weapons and proven reliable for hard duty use in austere conditions. The Beretta suffers from what I like to "New car syndrome" It's been in service over 20 years now and has proven reliable if maintained properly. Most M9's have never seen a new set of springs and most are close to their service life. This is where the Army and Marine Corp lack in weapons maintenance. The springs should be changed out every 4,000 rounds and proper round counts should be taken, however they are not and invariably some newbie to the M9 recieves one that is at it's service life, in use with Checkmate mags, and has never seen a new recoil spring in over 25,000 rounds. Geee, I wonder why it has FTF's and broken locking blocks ? This is where the scrutiny begins and it's akin to asking that a 55 Chevy with 150,000 miles to run perfect. Just ain't gonna happen.

    I have no problem carrying another Beretta M9 NIB into a combat zone. If it's been chewed and spit then I'm buying the spring kit myself and having the armorer install them and inspect the slide for any metalurgical problems. All is good, tuck it in the holster and drive on. Possibly purchase Hogue grip panels for it also. I'm also going to purchase my own factory mags/15 rounders. I don't have to wait for the U.S. Army to hand me every single part or spring or piece of kit to get my job done. I've purchased an awful lot of kit and gear that the U.S. Army does or did not supply to me. I've even purchased my own optics and BUIS's for my last M4 while on AD.

    In the end, it's Sig P226R or Glock 17 or 19, but I don't squint like a little spoiled child if I'm handed a Beretta M9.

    SOF Truth #1 : Personell are more important than hardware.
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  3. #77
    Member Array prawls's Avatar
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    Too bad we couldn't have done this as a poll. I lost count a while back. I like the XD45 idea, except for the parts availability issue. My vote is for a 1911.
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  4. #78
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    "Recent polls taken in Iraq and Afgan show that many soldiers desire a .45 ACP, preferably the 1911 platform.

    "What's wrong with this thinking?"

    Nothing!

  5. #79
    Senior Member Array Scot Van's Avatar
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    I guess it would be a mister-smarty-pants to say "whatever gun is in my hand that reliably goes 'bang'"

    Tho...I do hope it is my Sig.

    Hopefully, the 870 isn't more than a hop away, and then a skipping jump to the AR10...
    A man in the hands of his enemies is flesh, and shudderingly vulnerable. - author unknown

  6. #80
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    " 1911's are not at all friendly in harsh envirenments. Unless you have an 1911 gunsmith issued with it, not to mention the cost of a real hard duty use 1911, then I'm going to seek another .45 ACP platform that is flawless out of the box with twice the mag capacity of the 1911. Now I'm thinking H&K USP, XD full size, Glock 21 etc. Again, when a PFC asks for an 1911, he or she is showing his or her lack of understanding of weapon systems. You usually hear something like "Well Delta uses them so it's got to be tops" Most of us here do not know what Delta uses and when they have used the 1911 they have been hand smithed to run perfectly. That pistol will run about $3500-$5000 and Larry Vickers had better had his hands in the custom production of the weapon. Again, not feasible to man an entire U.S. Army or U.S. Marine Corp."

    Not so. The "unfooled with" 1911 is fine. It doesn't require 1/20th of 3500 dollars or Larry Vickers to be reliable in the extreme. I grew up around U.S. military 1911's and 1911A1's and a Series 70 Colt Government Model. They're all fine handguns that "you can hang your hat on" for dependability and there's not a lick of fancy, custom work between the lot of them.

    There's a lack of understanding about "weapons systems" out there but it ain't necessarily that PFC who is asking for a 1911.

  7. #81
    New Member Array fitz777's Avatar
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    I'm kinda surprised that with all the replies, only one person mentioned the Browning Hi-Power. Great gun.
    Mark

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  8. #82
    Senior Member Array Vaquero 45's Avatar
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    If I had to choose a .45 for combat, here's my list, in order of preference.

    1. Glock 21SF
    2. Springfield XD
    3. H&K USP
    4. S&W M&P
    5. Sig P220
    6. Ruger P97
    7. 1911

    All of the pistols on my list are reliable, so that being the case, capacity rules for me, in a combat environment.
    Slow is smooth.....smooth is fast.

  9. #83
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    OK Sports Fans, Here goes:

    Go out to an IDPA or an IPSC match and see whats competing and winning a majority of the time. Then go look at the FBI HRT, Swat and other specialized law enforcement and military units, and see what they are packing.

    It is the 1911.

    Like the .357.magnum revolver, the 1911 is the most tried and true close comabt handgun in history. I have always held that Mr. Brownings' basic design has never been improved upon, just refined a little over the past 100 years. You can yap all you want about the other pistols. I have been around and gone through the "wondernine" craze, the "tupperware craze" and the caliber craze.

    Have they been around for 100 years?

    Did their pistols singelhandedly literally redefine close quarters combat with a handgun?

    was the "modern technique" and its derivatives taught worldwide today, formulated around the other pistols?

    And finally, which pistol design created an entire cottage industry of suppliers, gunsmiths and manufacturers to get into the business? Not the other pistols. They have merely ridden the coattails over the last 20 years.

    I will believe the other pistols are an equal to the 1911 when they have been around for a hundred years, and are as wildly popular after 100 years as the 1911 is today.

    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

  10. #84
    Senior Member Array Vaquero 45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edr9x23super View Post
    Go out to an IDPA or an IPSC match and see whats competing and winning a majority of the time. Then go look at the FBI HRT, Swat and other specialized law enforcement and military units, and see what they are packing.

    It is the 1911.

    Like the .357.magnum revolver, the 1911 is the most tried and true close comabt handgun in history. I have always held that Mr. Brownings' basic design has never been improved upon, just refined a little over the past 100 years. You can yap all you want about the other pistols. I have been around and gone through the "wondernine" craze, the "tupperware craze" and the caliber craze.

    Have they been around for 100 years?

    Did their pistols singelhandedly literally redefine close quarters combat with a handgun?

    was the "modern technique" and its derivatives taught worldwide today, formulated around the other pistols?

    And finally, which pistol design created an entire cottage industry of suppliers, gunsmiths and manufacturers to get into the business? Not the other pistols. They have merely ridden the coattails over the last 20 years.

    I will believe the other pistols are an equal to the 1911 when they have been around for a hundred years, and are as wildly popular after 100 years as the 1911 is today.

    The other pistols aren't equal to the 1911 for combat. They are superior.

    History means nothing, except for nostalgia's sake and learning from past mistakes. The bolt action 1903 Springfield is over 100 year old, and still works. That doesn't make it the best choice in a combat environment.

    IDPA or IPSC have nothing to do with real world combat. It's fairly easy to get hits on paper and steel that's not shooting back. Capacity of your handgun doesn't mean much if there's no enemy. The 1911 is a fine target pistol. You may get rattled and miss a couple of times with bullets whizzing around your head. Better to have high capacity and not need it, than need it and not have it.

    FBI, HRT and Swat are not combat units. There's nothing wrong with a 1911 if you're going after 1 or 2 barricaded suspects. But the primary weapon for these groups is not the pistol anyway, they use their MP-5's and M4's more often than anything. The Navy Seals carry Sig P226's in (gasp!) 9mm! I guess they didn't get the memo from the Okefenokee County Sheriff's Swat Team that the 1911 is the way to go.

    The rest of the world didn't get the memo, either, since virtually NOBODY fields the 1911 in a serious role in other countries.

    MANY swat teams and specilized units carry other platforms, mainly Glocks and Sigs. The 1911 is not as "wildly popular" as you think. Being in LE, I know that very few of our guys carry the 1911. Almost no departments actually issue the 1911. If any gun is "wildly popular," it's the Glock, with over 8,000,000 units sold in 20 years.

    There is a cottage industry for the 1911 for the same reason that there is a cottage industry in fixing up old muscle cars. Because it's neat, fun and invokes a sense of pride and nostalgia. It is fun to customize things, and the 1911 does lend itself to all kinds of accessories and modifications. Plus, they are good looking guns.

    But I make tactical decisions based on what I know in my head, not what I feel in my heart. I'll take a Glock for actual combat. Fourteen rounds of .45 in a proven, low-maintenance, lightweight platform is superior to 7 or 8 rounds in a heavy, finicky pistol designed 96 years ago. No bushing wrench or "tuning" required.

    I was long ago ex-communicated from the church of John Moses Browning. The 1911 religion ain't my cup of tea.

    Ain't freedom of religion great?

    Slow is smooth.....smooth is fast.

  11. #85
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    The 1911 is not as "wildly popular" as you think.
    Sure it is, they say imitation is the highest form of flattery.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

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  12. #86
    Senior Member Array Vaquero 45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD View Post
    Sure it is, they say imitation is the highest form of flattery.
    I've only got 1 1911 in my safe, and it's an old Colt. If I ever get another one, it'll be a Colt as well. I hear ya!

    Slow is smooth.....smooth is fast.

  13. #87
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    First of all, Jack Bauer is using the "cup & saucer" grip. It was quite popular with the AF back in the M-15 days.

    Back to the original question, a wise person once said that beginners talk equipment while experts talk tacitcs. In the hands of somebody good, the name on the side doesn't matter. I agree with those who said a pistol is there to fight your way back to a "real weapon."

    To those of you who chose the M-9--it must be nice to have big hands. I'll take a smaller grip and reload more often.

    Edited to add emoticons.

  14. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n_America View Post
    Which handgun was purchased specifically for combat for the last 22 years and is currently being used in combat?

    Beretta M9

    And you would believe anything the Government selection committee decides on, because?
    P.E.T.A = People eating tasty animals

    There is room for all of God's creatures. Right next to the mashed potatoes.

  15. #89
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    I still don't know who Jack Bauer is. Never heard of Larry Vickers until today.

    I'm beginning to think I don't get out often enough.

  16. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExSoldier View Post
    So where does this leave the NAvy SEALs who are issued and by all accounts, LOVE, the Sig P226 9mm?
    In my humble opinion it leaves the Navy Seals with a terrific gun.

    I like the .40 over the 9mm, others might not. Regardless, I believe the Seals are very well equipped.

    I don't know all of the ins and out's of military regs, but my understanding is that we and our allies standardized on 9mm, many years ago. Something to that effect.

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