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Weapons & Marksmanship
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[QUOTE="Ravage, post: 134878, member: 56"] [url]http://www.special-operations-technology.com/sotech-home/311-sotech-2011-volume-9-issue-2-april/4107-pistols-perfected.html[/url] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]When it comes to side arms, there may be few companies with a broader legacy than Beretta, an Italian manufacturer.[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]The company’s Beretta M9 (the military designation for its 92FS pistol) has been used by the U.S. military for almost 25 years. In that time, Beretta has delivered 540,000 M9s to the U.S. armed forces and to foreign military customers worldwide, including U.S. allies such as Kuwait, Iraq, Colombia, Panama and other countries throughout the Caribbean. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to call this system established.[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]Yet, Gabriele de Plano, vice president of military sales and marketing for Beretta USA Corp., in Accokeek, Md., said the company—through its subsidiaries such as Benelli Armi S.p.A., Steiner Optics, and SAKO—is a lot more than just the M9. It has the 5.56 Assault Rifle ARX160, the GLX 160 Grenade Launcher, SAKO TRG 22/42 sniper rifle systems, Steiner binoculars and now, military scopes and the Benelli combat shotguns. [/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]“Besides the Beretta M9 pistol, we offer a lot more,” de Plano said. “We’re starting to focus our energies on getting the message out that Beretta is a lot more than the M9 pistol—we have everything from assault rifles to less-than-lethal systems.” [/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]Talking to some side arms manufacturers, Beretta isn’t alone. The side arms business is still a good business, but there seems to be a lot more product development potential right now in larger systems. That doesn’t mean companies such as Beretta or Sig Sauer aren’t making tweaks to their product lines. And if the Army publishes a request for information on new systems, some more innovations could ultimately be coming down the line.[/FONT][/SIZE] [CENTER][B][SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]Other Initiatives[/FONT][/SIZE][/B][/CENTER] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]Beretta is focused on larger systems because that’s what de Plano says the services will be eyeing. “Their focus will be on shoulder fired weapons—the assault rifles, the sub machine guns, the sub-compact carbines and the sniper rifle,” he said. “I think that’s where they’ll focus their innovations and energies … because the side arm is something the warfighter rarely has to use.”[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]With its alliances through its sister firms, de Plano thinks Beretta has put itself on course to meet these needs. “We see the future development in the larger weapon systems,” de Plano said. “We see a lot of opportunities to integrate optics, electronic systems and the power source. There are also a lot of improvements we can [initiate] to make the systems more modular, so that multiple calibers can be used in a single platform. The Beretta group has access to at least four top-of- the-line R&D facilities. If there is a small arms system requirement, we have the resources and know-how to address it.”[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]And the side arm’s size and use makes it tough to improve. “The side arms are a little more challenging because of the size. They have to be portable and with you at all times. They are primarily last-ditch weapons,” de Plano said. “When you have to use them, they can only do so much because, by their nature, they are limited by size, weight and ammunition.”[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]Bud Fini, vice president of marketing at Sig Sauer in Exeter, N.H., said his company’s rifles are undergoing a lot more changes than its side arms, especially in the wake of campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. The standard M16 has been used for well over 50 years, but the gun’s system, which dumped fouling residue into the action so the firearm could function, required more cleaning than the military liked in desert conditions. So Sig tried to fix that.[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]“The Sig system that we developed for the 5.56 rifle dumps the gas a different way and uses a push rod to push the bolt carrier instead of dumping gas into the carrier,” Fini said. “The gun can run many more rounds without requiring maintenance or cleaning, even if you build up some carbon in the bolt and carrier, you can adjust the gas valve to the adverse position and keep the gun functioning in a critical combat situation until it can be cleaned.”[/FONT][/SIZE] [CENTER][B][SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]Heckler & Koch[/FONT][/SIZE][/B][/CENTER] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]If a major new competition opens for military pistol makers, Heckler & Koch has a multipronged argument about why the government should choose H&K pistols, Dale Bohner, director of government sales, said.[/FONT][/SIZE] [LIST][*][SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]H&K has multiple pistols to offer, including two models of the .45 caliber, and 9 mm weapons as well.[/FONT][/SIZE] [*][SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]The company offers multiple types of interchangeable side-panel grips and back straps that customize the pistol to the shooter’s hand, providing a firm and comfortable hold.[/FONT][/SIZE] [*][SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]In an era of tight defense budgets, H&K would offer a price that would be tough to beat.[/FONT][/SIZE] [/LIST] [SIZE=12px][SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]In any competition, H&K could provide a pistol with the performance that procurement officials desire, Bohner said. [/FONT][/SIZE][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]“If it’s open on caliber, if they go for a .45, we would be proposing the HK45 compact and the HK45 full size,” he explained. On the other hand, if acquisition officials desire a 9 mm weapon, “We have the P30s in various configurations, and then we also have the P2000s, including the P2000 subcompact.”[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]When it comes to stopping power and ability to take down an enemy, “it becomes a very touchy subject. Everyone focuses on .45s” and their impact on the enemy, Bohner said.[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]As for the ability to aim the weapon, “all of our .45s are known to be very accurate guns,” he said. “The recoil of our guns is a lot easier to control on our .45s.”[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]Another advantage in H&K pistols is the ability to customize them for a better fit to the shooter’s hand, Bohner said. For any military person, “from the biggest, meanest, ugliest brute guy … to the smallest, tiniest person that’s in the military,” H&K can adjust the gun to fit their hands. There are multiple combinations and permutations, because there are several different-size side panel grips, different palm swells on either side of the pistol, and three or four varying back plates that can be interchanged, he said.[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]“It’s almost custom-fitted for your hand,” he said. “That’s a huge advantage of our P30.”[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]And that solid comfort in the grip benefits all shooters, whether they go to the range and fire the weapon four times or 100 times a year, he observed.[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]There also are trigger variants, he continued, “whether you have a decocker, or a decocker and a safety, or an ambidextrous decocker, or an ambidextrous decocker and safety, or right-side-only lever or left-side-only lever. You can interchange a lot of things about our trigger system.”[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]While emphasizing the ways H&K pistols are different and better, Bohner also stressed how in some ways they are little different from others, and that’s a good thing.[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]“What most of the military has been firing right now is the Beretta-type system, or even a Sig Sauer,” he said, in a double-action or single-action arrangement.[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]“We can provide our pistol in … the same exact setup,” he said. That means there is little or nothing for personnel to learn if the military switches from current pistols to H&K weapons. “There’s no change for them, they’re not [having to learn] anything new. So it’s an easy transition from the current pistol that’s in service.”[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]Both firing the new weapon and training with it would, therefore, be a smooth transition for personnel, he asserted. And there would be only minor differences in assembly/disassembly of the pistol. He noted that H&K manufactures the .45 and .45 subcompact in the United States. In any competition, price-wise, “those two guns would be very, very competitive,” Bohner promised.[/FONT][/SIZE] [SIZE=12px][FONT=Verdana]And in tight budget times, that is a major plus for H&K, he said. For procurement officials, the cost consideration “may not be number one” in the criteria for selecting a new pistol to procure, “but it sure is right up there near the top,” Bohner said.[/FONT][/SIZE] [/QUOTE]
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Weapons & Marksmanship