I’ve seen some truly horrific writing about firearms in the media before and have sadly come to expect it from most mainstream media outlets. If you’re going to specialize in military news, however, I expect you to be able to do a few basic things correctly, such as spell the names of major defense companies, and discern the difference between two completely different guns from the same company.

The U.S. Department of Defense has finally, after a ten year search, decided on a new standard pistol, to replace the much hated Beretta M9. The new pistol is a variant of the SIG Sauer P320, which lost out to the Baretta in 1985 because the Baretta 9mm was a little cheaper. The M9 replaced the M1911 11.4mm (.45 caliber) pistol. The M9 replacement entered service in 2014 and is a 833 g (29 ounce) weapon that is 203mm (8 inches) long and has a 17 round magazine. Experienced military and civilian pistol users agree that the P320 was the best choice.

This decision comes after the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force joined forces in 2014 to speed up the seeminly unending selection process. Another development that speeded things up was the fact the SOCOM (Special Operations Command) had already adopted a number of other pistols to replace the M9. For example in 2011 the U.S. Navy SEALS adopted the Sig Sauer P226 9mm pistol as their Mk25 standard sidearm. This pistol was actually the same Sig Sauer P226 the SEALS have been using since the 1980s, but with a better accessory rail, a few other minor changes, and a new name. The Sig Sauer P320 is an updated version of the P226. This is ironic because back in the early 1980s the Berretta and Sig Sauer pistols had both scored about the same on the American evaluation tests and the Berretta won mainly on the basis of price. The P320 is cheaper P226 but the contract to replace as many as 500,000 army M9s is worth over half a billion dollars.

The current selection of the P320 was criticized mainly because it took the Department of Defense (mainly the army) a decade to select what their own evaluation team approved of back in the early 1980s and that SOCOM user experience confirmed before the 1980s were over. SOCOM came into being a few years after the M9 was adopted and immediately began planning to bring back .45 caliber pistols for its commandos while also allowing the use of alternative 9mm pistols as needed. SOCOM always had the right to do that and the army and marines often pay close attention to, and adopt, new weapons and equipment SOCOM has selected and then used successfully in action. Thus the SOCOM decision to keep using the .45 and select a different 9mm pistol. Actually, many Special Forces and SEAL operators never gave up using the original army .45, as it was the ideal pistol for many commando operations.

It’s not “B-A-R-E-T-T-A.”

It’s not “B-E-R-R-E-T-T-A.”

It’s “B-E-R-E-T-T-A,” and as the oldest operating arms manufacturer in the entire world (Founded in 1526), you should probably know how to spell it.

p226

You should also probably be able to tell the difference between the metal-framed, hammer-fired DA/SA Sig Sauer P226 (pictured above) which was submitted against the Beretta 92FS in the handgun trials in the 1980s, and the modular, polymer-framed, striker-fired P320 that is two years old. The P320 is the system which won the Modular Handgun System competition (pictured below). They are not remotely the same gun, and it’s simply absurd to claim that “the SIG Sauer P320, which lost out to the Baretta in 1985 because the Baretta 9mm was a little cheaper.”

The only thing these firearms have in common is the Sig Sauer name, and continually confusing these two very different guns is a sad and pathetic thing to behold.

sigm17

The article goes downhill from there, making opinionated commentary that it seems to have awkwardly cribbed from duffers on gun forum posts.

StrategyPage has—for me at least—torpedoed their credibility with this incredibly poorly researched, poorly-understood, and poorly-written article.