Weapons: Beretta Backers Beat Down the .45 Revival
September 24, 2006: Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Defense began a search for a new .45 caliber combat pistol. Now that search has been mysteriously called off. The Department of Defense has announced, without any explanation, that is no longer looking for a new combat pistol.
Last January, after two decades of use, the U.S. Department of Defense appeared to be getting rid of its Beretta M9 9mm pistol, and going back to the 11.4mm (.45 caliber) weapon. There have been constant complaints about the lesser (compared to the .45) hitting power of the 9mm, as well as reliability problems with the Beretta. And in the last few years, SOCOM (Special Operations Command) and the marines have officially adopted .45 caliber pistols as "official alternatives" to the M9 Beretta.
Back in January, SOCOM was given the task of finding a design that will be suitable as the JCP (Joint Combat Pistol). Various designs were to be evaluated, but all had to be .45 caliber and have a eight round magazine (at least), and high capacity mags holding up to 15. The new .45 was also to have a rail up top for attachments, and be able to take a silencer. Length was to be no more than 9.65 inches, and width no more than 1.53 inches.
The M1911 .45 caliber pistol that the 9mm Beretta replaced in 1985, was, as its nomenclature implied, an old design. There are several modern designs out there for .45 caliber pistols that are lighter, carry more ammo and are easier to maintain than the pre-World War I M1911 (which is actually about a century old, as a design). The Department of Defense planned to buy 645,000 JCPs. But now, the troops are being told to keep their 9mm Berettas, and all the complaints they have about those weapons.