Teething Troubles

So the dotmil’s initiative to field a new handgun has encountered a few speed bumps in its introduction thereof:

The MHS [Modular Handgun System — K.] requirement calls for both pistols to use the XM1152 ball cartridge, which uses a 115-grain, full-metal-jacket projectile, and the XM1153 Special Purpose cartridge, which uses a 147-grain jacketed hollow point projectile — a bullet Army officials have labeled as the service’s new “go-to-war” ammunition.
While it’s not in the formal MHS requirement, “gun makers were encouraged to optimize their guns’ performance to the special-purpose round,” according to a source familiar with MHS requirements and testing but not authorized to speak publicly on the subject.
If a pistol is designed specifically for a 147-grain special-purpose round, it can affect its performance with a lighter 115-grain ball round, the source said.

What a load of crap. “You should build your piece so that it performs best with heavier bullets, but it also has to use the BB-sized 115gr FMJ pellet (because we have boatloads of it in our stores).” Typical procurement bollocks. No wonder the SIG piece failed dismally with the 115gr ammo.

The only good news is that it seems as though our kids are — finally! — going to use a cartridge which can actually, you know, stop an enemy (which the 115gr. FMJ bullet can’t, as any fule kno and as I can attest to personally).

I also like the way that a hollowpoint-tipped cartridge has been renamed as a “special-purpose” round — as though killing the enemy is a Special Purpose in today’s Army. But I suppose it’s to placate all the tools who are going to start whining about “dum-dum” bullets and how they’re prohibited by the Geneva Convention (actually, the Hague Convention), neither of which the U.S. ever signed anyway so it’s a moot point.

As I hinted earlier on these here pages, I may consider changing to a 9mm handgun myself sometime in the future [pause to let everyone pick themselves off the floor]; but you may rest assured that if I do, nary a 115gr FMJ will ever find a place in any of my carry magazines.


  1. The only boolets that have ever had a (minor) problem in my Glocks were “factory reloads” from a particular batch from one batch. For some reason that one batch had just a little bit less powder than it should have and while the gun still cycled we (there were several of us that got ammo from that batch) were seeing keyholing at 5 to 7 yards.

    If you’ve got to use FMJ for some reason (I thought NATO was 124 grain?) just shoot them in the face. Nothing likes getting shot in the face…Other than a few…never mind, this is a family blog.

  2. Most of that 147gr ammo is sub-sonic for use with suppressors. I try to stick with 124gr NATO load for hardball and something with about the same weight for HP ammo.

  3. I have trouble believing that report. I’ve never heard a thing about the P320 (or any Sig) being unreliable in the civilian / law enforcement world. Are they limp-wristing or using total crap ammo? The pistol did win a massive army competition against Beretta, Glock, and a bunch of other designs.

    I have a CZ 9mm and generally shoot the cheap 115 grain stuff at the range, then test out the real stuff I would carry if I lived in a free state. Doesn’t make a bit of difference for reliability.

  4. I carried an M9 on a few tours in the sandbox (in addition to an M4) and laugh to myself about all of the concern given towards pistols and their ammo. Who the freak cares, they are almost never used.

    1. Yep. Basically a paperweight on a battlefield.

      They tried to issue me an M9 before the first Gulf War. I pushed it back at the Armorer and asked for an M-14. He actually would have issued one to me (I was being transferred in to a unit being deployed and the CO said “give ’em whatever they need”). Unfortunately some old Gunnery Sergeants had already drawn the 14s, so an M16A2 for me.

  5. I purchased a P320 a couple of weeks ago for my wife. We’ve both been putting several boxes of 9s (115 and 124) through it at least 3 days a week at the range. I thought she’d have a conniption (What the hell do you need another gun for!) – she loves it; her groups keep shrinking like a plum in the sun.
    My alternate down here in Sarasota is the Delta Elite in 10 mm; she doesn’t mind the recoil, but the noise…
    we shout at each other for a day or so until the next session at the range.

  6. Hmph. There’s a part of me that says things went downhill when they adopted cartridge guns. The 1863 Remington shoots straight, hits hard. Just clean the thing.

    (Having said that, my carry gun is a Glock 43 loaded with 115 grain copper hollowpoints.)

  7. I have a buddy who was in Baghdad when it fell. He spoke of jihadis who had been shot in the neck with the 115 grain FMJ who kept on coming due to the lack of damage. I would be perfectly fine with a 115 hollowpoint, because it blows a much bigger hole than ball ammo. Moving to a 147 grain hollowpoint is still better than a 230 grain FMJ. We’re dealing with assholes hopped up on whatever drugs they can find. The next time our boys shoot an asshole in the neck, I want a huge chunk of flesh missing. If that happens to be a 9mm hollowpoint, I don’t really care. I just want it to be effective.

    1. It’s not JUST the jihadis, either. There’s a story about an Army soldier who got hit in the face (specifically, the upper jaw) by a 9mm round fired by an Iraqi insurgent.

      I suspect the round was a squib or something, because it knocked out the guy’s tooth and imbedded itself in his jaw without doing more than rocking his head back. Our U.S.-made Terminator wannabe promptly secured Mr. Iraqi’s surrender before going to get treated (they extracted the bullet and closed up the empty tooth socket, IIRC).

      The running joke, from what I heard, was that they should’ve put that Iraqi in the equivalent of gen-pop and let him tell his tale. ‘Up yours, Achmed, I’m going home. I shot one of these damned infidels in the face and he didn’t even notice!’.

  8. 124 grain +p HST/Gold Dot/etc is about the best you can do in a 9mm, and despite the perception, it’s perfectly adequate for an every day round against two legged un-armored critters. Its comparatively cheap, so much easier to accrue/hoard, and in a SHTF situation, it’d be nice to have a paired carbine that shot the same round as my sidearm.

    With that said, I still prefer a decent 1911 for range/target/fun, and if the world ends, I’d rather have an AK or an AR-10.

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