Weapons: SEALs Succumb To Sig Sauer

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May 17, 2013: Two years ago the U.S. Navy SEALS adopted the Mk25 9mm pistol as their standard sidearm. This pistol was actually the same Sig Sauer P226 the SEALS have been using since the 1980s, but with a better accessory rail, a few other minor changes, and a new name. The P226 was adopted by the SEALS in place of the Berretta M9, which was adopted by the rest of the U.S. military in the 1980s, to replace the M1911 .45 (11.4mm) pistol. The Berretta and Sig Sauer pistols had both scored about the same on the American evaluation tests and the Berretta won mainly on the basis of price. The SEALS, belonging to SOCOM were allowed to buy whatever weapons they felt best got the job done and the SEALS have been using the P226/Mk25 ever since.

The 9mm pistols are carried by SOCOM (Special Operations Command) operators as a defensive weapon. When they need pistol for offensive use they generally prefer a .45 caliber weapon. In the 1990s SOCOM adopted the Heckler and Koch (HK) Mk 23 SOCOM for offensive operations. This is a 1.47 kg (3.2 pound) .45 pistol with a 12-round magazine and the ability to carry a silencer. It is expensive, at $2,400 each. Loaded with a silencer and laser aiming device the Mk23 weighs 2.29 kg (5 pounds). The Mk23 is a precision weapon, capable of accurate fire at 50 meters (51mm/two inch shot groups). The lighter and cheaper USP Tactical version of the Mk23 was later introduced for personal protection and other duties not requiring the heavier Mk 23. The M9 and Mk25 are two-thirds the weight of the Mk23 and carry 15 9mm rounds.

 


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