Not wanting to throw a challenge to Fishbreath that I could not do myself, I think I’ll pick a sidearm for Borgundy. Like the US Marines, we tend to issue anyone who might see some combat somewhere a carbine. Yes, even officers. But it would be a colossal copout to write “see carbine post”, and there are still some needs for pistols, so we should pick one of those too. First, caliber. This part is easy: 9mm Parabellum. Frankly, pistol calibers suck at combat (which is why we issue so many carbines), and the only reason you fight with a pistol is because you don’t have anything better at hand. Once we accept that, 9mm is about the smallest acceptable round in terms of ‘pistol stopping power’, and going bigger doesn’t get us much more in stopping power (since .45 ACP is still a sucky pistol cartridge, not a manly rifle cartridge). Choosing the smallest acceptable round gives us more rounds per mag and lower recoil, which is important since most military guys don’t shoot their handguns all that much. So they get the most chances to hit, and the lower recoil makes follow-ups faster.
That entirely too predictable choice out of the way, we come to the decision of which pistol to pick. There are many to choose from, so let’s run down what we need in a pistol. We want a reliable pistol, that’s also reasonably priced (come on, it’s a pistol…there are better things to blow cash on) and accurate. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help us very much. There are tons of pistols that meet these criteria. We’ll go further by requiring it to have been already adopted by another major military, since we don’t want to be a testing ground for such unimportant things. We do this because pistols aren’t worth losing sleep over, but it still doesn’t help us very much.
We still have several excellent pistols in the running, including the Beretta 92, the SiG P226, the Glock 17, the HK USP, the Browning Hi Power, and the CZ 75. Now we come down to pedigree and shooter’s preference. Shooter’s1 preference being what it is, the Hi Power gets tossed out for having a stupid magazine disconnect. It’s also the oldest of the bunch. The Beretta 92 is the next out, since I don’t like the combination safety/decocker. Why would I both add a step to my draw stroke that I might forget and have a long, heavy double-action pull? No thanks. We’ll next toss the SiG since I’m really not a fan of double action triggers on semiautomatics. On revolvers, I see the point, on semiautomatics I do not. I don’t like the double action/single action transition. Both the USP and CZ can be carried cocked-and-locked, which I like. Gives me that consistent trigger. So we have gotten it down to three on purely preference grounds. The CZ has a somewhat less favorable reputation for reliability than the HK and the Glock according to the best sources I can find, so it’s out. The HK and Glock are both hard to beat in that regard. HK vs. Glock is a classic internet argument, but for our purposes the decision is simple: Glock is cheaper, and in all other characteristics, the guns are comparable, so we’ll go with Glock. More specifically, that Glock 17.
Well, that was easy.
1.) Namely mine