Monday, June 14, 2010

The Brits aren't the only ones with these problems

...While the British have upgraded their standard issue assault rifle, the SA80, and their squad automatic weapon, the L86A2, and other infantry weapons over the course of the last 50 years, little to no attention has been paid to either finding a new sidearm or purchasing newer versions of the L9A1. Meanwhile, the companies that produce the L9A1 offer upgraded, more modern Hi-Power models. Thus, aside from a few special ops units, the majority of British officers are stuck using well-worn, beat-up 9mms that are not aging well. Reliable weapon though it may be, a 30 year-old pistol that has been issued to, and used by, dozens of officers, and spent a lot of time outdoors, is not going to be as reliable as a newer sidearm. Troops are often wary of using such equipment, knowing that a malfunction or a jam in an old handgun could very well cost them their lives in combat.
Back in the 1970's, when I lived in Lawton, knew several people at Fort Sill. One told me one evening that ALL the 1911A1 pistols in their armory, with the sole exception of those used by the shooting teams, were so old, worn and loose that they rattled like maracas if you shook them; some had barrels so shot-out they couldn't hold a bucket-size group at twenty feet.* Money was tight enough that replacing/renovating sidearms had a very low priority.

Pointed to by the gentleman in the handbasket.

*Mind you, despite having many years- in some cases forty- total use with all-too-often lousy care, every one of them would go bang when the trigger was pulled; he still loved them for that.


AM said...

The Army hadn't bought any 1911's since WWII, but there were a lot of tricks we could do to keep them shooting.

The Hi-Power is the same, it's easy enough to cannibalize to keep them going if you know how.

Still, you can't go forever without buying new parts.

Keith said...

All the GP35s, FALs etc they took from the Argies in 82, they threw over the side of the boat on the way home.

Keith said...

Come to think of it, that's what they did with all the guns donated by US citizens for WWii. When the war was over, they dumped them at sea.

I don't know if there are rules against it or not, but if I was an officer, I'd want my own gun. Something like Churchill with his Mauser '96 (and Havanna cigar!).