Weapons: August 6, 2004


The U.S. Armys M9 pistol is causing some excitement in Iraq. Not because of the old debate over the knock down power of the 9mm versus the old .45 (11.4mm) pistol, but because more of the troops wanted a pistol, any pistol. This is because the pistol was often more suitable for the police functions, like searching rooms, and when patting down individuals. That said, the troops who did have the M9 9mm pistol had some problems with them in Iraq. Turns out that all the fine particle sand in Iraq screwed up the magazine, causing the spring in the magazine to fail to feed rounds. The fix was to load only eight rounds, instead of 15, or get the magazines made by the M9s manufacturer (Beretta). Some troops were doing that, as well as getting better holsters (the thigh holster was a favorite, but anything that could hold more ammo magazines was popular.) Some troops managed to scrounge up pistols, although this was not always officially permitted. Some of those soldiers with 9mm pistols also bought, with their own money, commercial laser aiming (red dot") systems. They found that a hostile civilian would often calm down when he noted the red dot on his chest (from the pistol laser aiming system). Used like this, the M9 became a non-lethal weapon that worked. 


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