Ordinarily, I might leave this kind of thing alone. But the fact that it was published on Soldier of Fortune I find immensely disappointing. It’s gobsmacking, actually. And given that firearms and combat tactics touch on the interests of a lot of my readers, this needs a smackdown.
Apparently, somebody named Kris Osborn, who is billed as a military expert, even though I can’t find any reference to him spending a day in uniform, thinks that the M17 pistol is going to revolutionize combat tactics.
Yes, you read that right. Go read it. I’ll wait.
First of all, just from the opening, it’s ridiculous. Regardless of the furor over the adoption of a SIG vs a Glock by the US Army, it’s a pistol. It’s a secondary, a backup for when your primary either goes dry or goes down, and there are still bad guys on their feet in the room. There is no way, shape, or form that a new pistol is going to have that significant an impact on combat tactics, unless Mr. Osborn is thinking in terms of a Peter Telep fantasy of singleton operators clearing cave complexes by themselves while dual-wielding and doing all kinds of other John Woo BS.
Then you read the article, and find that the rationale is that the M17 has better ergonomics than the M9, and therefore can be fired with either hand. And that’s revolutionary, somehow.
Leaving aside the fact that any unit that has a pistol in its standard loadout trains both strong and weak hand, in what universe is it impossible to fire the M9 (which I’ll admit I never really liked, though primarily because of the heaviness and length of travel of the trigger in Double Action) with either hand?
Is…is this that “gross motor skill” nonsense again, in another guise?
Of course, I’m sure that most of the silliness of that article can be put down to the fact that it was written by an “expert” who has never been a part of what he is supposedly an “expert” in. Apparently Mr. Osborn is a journalist, primarily employed by CNN, despite his role in a site called “Warrior Maven.”
Now, it is certainly possible for people to learn a great deal about something they’ve never actively participated in through research. But it seems that more and more people are being treated as experts while not doing the research. Mr. Osborn clearly didn’t do it for this piece, as he doesn’t understand pistols, or their use in combat.
As I said before, a pistol is a backup weapon. Typically, transition drills from the long gun only happen inside fifteen yards. It is certainly possible to engage farther out than that, but a pistol isn’t exactly the most high-powered, accurate firearm out there. That’s why it’s a secondary.
The M17 is a 9mm. So is the M9 it is replacing. Weight and ergonomics might be different (I have not fired the M17 or its civilian counterpart, the P320, though I have fired SIGs in the past), but the basics are the same. The ballistics certainly aren’t going to be much different. It’s not a game changer. No pistol ever really will be.
As much entertainment as I got out of the Glock fans’ meltdowns over the choice of the SIG offering for the modular handgun program, I can’t help but read this as a poorly-thought-out SIG press release that Osborn simply copy-pasted. It’s lazy, and it’s stupid. And the fact that Soldier of Fortune published it, without simply laughing it to scorn, saddens me. SOF has done some great work in the past. This kind of thing is beneath them.
This is also why people need to be careful consulting “experts” when it comes to doing research into matters of war and combat.