Thursday, July 13, 2017

Trials and Tribulations...

So, despite the test being called for Sig Sauer's P320 in January, the Army's XM17 Modular Handgun System trials are still generating discussion and even butthurt on the internet.

I'd like to think I'm reasonably familiar with most of the serious contenders. Glock, for example... Sure, they sent a variant that was basically a 19 slide on a 17 frame with thumb safeties retrofitted, but a Glock is a Glock is a Glock, for the most part. I've owned, like, twenty of the things since 1994 and still have eleven, in assorted sizes and flavors. This time around, I've been carrying one for nineteen months and have shot it in plenty of classes and a couple matches. I grok Glocks.

Sig P320's? I had that full-size one that I did the 2,000-round test with, and now I have a P320 Compact, and I just wrapped up a P320 X-Carry test for Shooting Illustrated, and am planning on buying that gun from Sig and maybe an X-Five in the future. If I switch away from carrying Glocks in the next couple years, just for the sake of change, it'll most likely be to the P320.

The M&P M2.0? I just finished testing one of those for Shooting Illustrated, too. On top of that, the basic M&P 9 is what I carried for years before switching to the Glock, and I still have two of those and would have no qualms going back to toting them.

Lastly, I literally just wrapped up a test of the FN 509 for SI. When I say "just", I mean that I dropped the gun off at FedEx to go get its glamor shots in Fairfax about three hours ago and the review article is in another window open on my desktop as I type this.

I say all this to establish that I'm not talking out my ass when I say that I have passing familiarity with the guns in question

I really have to agree with Nathaniel F at The Firearms Blog when he writes:
"...I am going to have to come down against the side that believes the competition should be retried. Doing so, I believe, would be a risky waste of time and money on what is essentially known quantity. Re-opening the problem would extend an already shamefully long effort to find a successor to the Beretta M9 handgun, as well as make the program vulnerable to a significant risk of cancellation."
I would take it a step further and say that, from a standpoint of their actual utility as weapons, the entire testing process could have been done for $1.07:
  • Paper grocery sack: $0.07
  • Bandanna for blindfold: $1.00
  • First E-4 that walks past looking like he's not doing something: $0.00 (already on the clock)
Grab him, tie the bandanna around his eyes, tell him to reach in the sack, and you've got your next service pistol. Problem solved, problem staying solved.

It's not like any of the companies here are inexperienced in making functional firearms or servicing large institutional orders. The presented entries are all slight variants on guns that have established track records. Frickin' pick one and move on.

(Oh, and as to Steyr's suit, my first question for them would be "Where were you during the P250 launch and its subsequent trials and tribulations? It uses the same sort of removable chassis, yet only now when the 320 lands some huge and glitzy contracts do you suddenly remember you have a patent to defend. I'd say that your actions from 2010-2016 indicate your true opinion of the viability of that patent defense and you're only sticking a bowl out the window now because Sig finally made it rain gravy and you want some of it.")