Amos: I’d like the .45 instead of the 9 millimeter

A Marine fires an M9 service pistol during training for marksmanship trainers aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. Some Marines have expressed interest in replacing the M9 with a .45-caliber pistol, and Gen. James Amos told members of Congress he'd like to do the same. (Mike Morones/Staff)

A Marine fires an M9 service pistol during training for marksmanship trainers aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. Some Marines have expressed interest in replacing the M9 with a .45-caliber pistol, and Gen. James Amos told members of Congress he’d like to do the same. (Mike Morones/Staff)

A congressman told Gen. James Amos that Marines in his district would like to see their M9 service pistol replaced with a .45-caliber — and Amos replied that he would, too.

Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., said he recently spent time with Marines during a wounded warrior function, during Wednesday’s House Armed Services Committee hearing on the proposed Navy-Marine Corps fiscal 2015 budget. Before the congressman launched into questions on the budget, he said there were a few those Marines asked him to speak up for.

The first was the deadly A-10 Thunderbolt, which the Air Force flies to provide close-air support. But the second was a topic a lot of Marines could probably get behind: new pistols.

“They sure would like to have a .45 instead of a 9 millimeter,” Scott told the commandant. 

While Amos didn’t address the Marines’ desire to fly the A-10, he jumped on the comment about the pistol.

“I’d like the .45 instead of a 9 millimeter, too,” Amos quipped. “But it’s for another budget, another time.”

You can read more about what the commandant said about the budget here.


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  1. having been a pistol coach during the transition from the 1911A1 to the M9…..please bring back the 45 acp……the 9mm is all well and fine for the rear echelon types, but for the forward deployed it would be better to have a round that would create major trauma no matter where it hit the enemy

  2. Jerry Landers on

    The 9mm doesn’t have enough stopping power! It is inhumain to have to shoot someone 3-4 times be fore the stop coming. Plus it will save ammo.

  3. Bob Sheppard on

    I’m sorry but I have no faith in the leadership from Gen Amos. I think he should be relieved of his command and someone put in there who cherishes his troops that make the Marine Corps what it is, kinda like another marine did, you may have heard of him, Lewis B (Chesty) Puller

  4. Daniel Steuber on

    I don’t mind the 9mm, just the platform it’s being issued in!

    Glock 17 anyone? Anything but that Beretta really…

  5. I guarantee I got more scalps than you Tom O’Brien. Granted someone else killed them, I still had to dodge the MPs to get them.

  6. I don’t mind the 9mm , but they could just pick a different pistol over the M9. I personally own handguns in 45 ACP and 9mm. However, based on my actual combat experience I prefer more rounds to a bigger caliber.

    A 45 may provide more trauma to the intended target, but what is the hit to miss ratios in combat?

  7. I like the .45, but if you are going for your pistol in combat, You are pretty much screwed.

    How many pistol kills in Iraq or Afghanistan?

  8. And yet again everything goes starting with that district first, and then it “maybe goes out” to the rest of the Marine Corps…..I would prefer a 40/45 caliber, but you do know how much the ammunition will cost? and plus the Marine Corps always gets the broken down stuff, the old stuff and we still make it to work….

    And besides that, we still don’t have a budget, how are we supposed to do this? without one? While it is nice to have these things, I don’t think that we are going to be close enough to use a pistol…..I really don’t think so…

  9. Yeah….let’s trade a higher capacity and more controllable pistol and cartridge for a gun that is known for malfunctioning with a caliber that even some men can’t control, which has almost the same diameter expansion as the smaller round. Sounds like some of the posters on this page have not bothered to notice that the firearms community has evolved past the prehistoric unreliable 1911. Please don’t talk about this magic stopping power….it is not real or relevant. Look up the fbi published reports on calibers and terminal ballistics. And if you don’t have the time to quit your armchair quarter backing and actually head to the range….then your opinion on pistols is about as relevant as gold colored dog shit.

  10. I know everyone doesnt wear the same size shoes and not everyone prefers the 45 but if i were going in harms way i would like a choice i know its not cheap but neither should a human life be

  11. Now here is a real expert opinion from an aviator who has never seen a day of combat and has only fired a weapon for qual. Gen Amos should have learned to “zip the lip” after sniper scandal. Retirement is great. You should have tried it 10 years ago.

  12. Having used both a .45 and 9mm in combat I personally prefer a .45. Not necessarily the 1911. Try stopping a Somali high on khat with a 9mm and YOU too will prefer the .45. One shot, one kill. Simple as that

  13. I can only tell you this…My 45 served me well in the Nam, some NVA and Mr.Charles had very personal contact with it. My 9 was taken to work with me everyday in my police work in a major city. But my 45 was never out of reach.

  14. Recon Marine on

    It’s all about knock-down/stopping power; the transfer of energy from the round to the target. I’ve used both the .45 and the 9mm, both in combat and in police work. I’m not as concerned with killing as I am knocking it down; instantly stopping an attack. A 9mm maximum expanding hollow point round will probably get the job done 2 out of 3 times. However, hollow points are against the Geneva Convention and cannot be used in military conflict.

    A military legal high-velocity FMJ 9mm round traveling at well over 1,000 FPS will, in all likelihood, pass through the intended target (the body). When that happens, much of that energy generated by that velocity is not transferred to the target. However, a 200+g FMJ .45 traveling at 850 – 900 FPS is much less likely to exit after hitting the target. When the round stays within the target, maximum energy is transferred to the target and that’s where the knock-down potential comes from.

  15. Recon Marine on

    Forgot to mention; as another poster has mentioned, in combat, a handgun is NOT the primary weapon. Normally it is resorted to with your primary weapon has failed for some reason (more prevalent in Nam than currently, I suspect).

    As such, the odds small of engaging a target with a handgun at much more than 25-30 yards (meters). Given that, the bleed-off of energy experienced by a .45 round is not particularly significant.

  16. I was never in a position where I had to resort to the old 1911A1 but would rather have it than any 9mm. Admittedly, many of the issue ones were really a piece of junk. I had one that was well worked over, different story. As our instructor said in a police officer survival course “This is god’s gun”. We did a lot of shooting in that course, 45’s, 40’s and .357 wheel guns knocked the falling plates over with one shot, the 9mm took 3. BTW a great class taught by SEAL Vietnam Vet. Half the class didn’t understand USMC/SEAL Vietnam Vet and thought we would kill each other from our exchanges. Couldn’t have been further from the truth.

  17. H. Wayne Gardner on

    I’ve never fired the Beretta, but know something of the selection process 30 years ago. As I recall, SIG easily passed qualification tests. No comment on Beretta; it was a political choice at the time, and Maryland beat Georgia (SIG). I believe only LA PD adopted Beretta back then; most other law enforcement agencies bought SIGs: they didn’t have to make a political choice; they just bought what they considered best.

    Nowadays, Glock may be the standard. (?) The FBI uses Glocks in .40 S&W caliber. Glocks are reasonably priced and their reliability is legendary.

    I carried my own 1911A1 in Vietnam (I bought it in the MCRD San Diego MCX.) I had it combat accurized by Bob Chow in San Francisco on my way to Travis AFB. Bob smoothed the action, but kept it loose enough to withstand combat conditions. He also put on walnut combat grips with a slight thumb rest, but it still fit in the leather issue holster with a little stretching. It was and still is very accurate, but I would take a Glock now because it is always combat ready and accurate as well. Disclaimer: I worked in a gun shop in high school and the owner taught me to shoot. He was National Civilian Pistol Champion for four years back then, and he knew how to shoot and teach. The secret of course is sight alignment and smooth trigger squeeze with no drag.

    I believe both .45 and .40 are satisfactory combat rounds, but I’ll leave it ballistic experts to judge their relative suitability.

    S/F, H. Wayne Gardner (USMC ret.).

  18. translated – that politician has a gun manufacturer in his district, and he is promising Amos he won’t jump on board the prosecution wagon for Amos illegal actions if Amos supports his pet project.

  19. Luddite4Change on

    There are already RFPs out for testing for the “next” pistol. Berretta is competing with both the M9 in 9mm and .40. Most other entrants are in .40 and .45.

    The requirements called for an external safety (something that neither the Glock or Sig currently possess). Sig put forth a model 229 with the external safety, but I don’t believe that Glock was willing to make that change.

  20. I have no issue with both caliber and weapon. I take a M-9 over a crappy SIG any day. The 9mm NATO round need to be updated a 147gr bullet would be preferred over the 124gr bullet anyday. HP ammo would really help too.

  21. There are some very good reasons for adopting the 9mm as the primary sidearm – more ammo, ammo commonality, and the fact that many people who do not “shoot for a living” cannot fire a .45 accurately. This debate goes back decades – and has largely been settled in favor of the 9mm. Police departments use 9mm and .40 S&W in that order. Of course, police can use expanding ammo – the military can’t. Still, the consensus among cops is that the .45 is too much gun for most people to handle well.

    That said, there is definitely a place for the .45 acp in the US Military – as evidenced buy the recent purchase of 1911s by the USMC. However, IMHO it is time to move on from the 1911. It’s a great gun, but a lot of progress has been made in the last 100 years. The 1911 is single stack and requires a lot of hand fitting to shoot well – and was reliable because the tolerances were “loose”, degrading accuracy. A modern, double stack .45 would be a much better choice – and lest you think differently, I own a 1911. It would not be my first choice if I were going into combat – I would take my PT92 (basically a M9). Why? More rounds and I can shoot it really well. A hit with a 9mm is infinitely better than a miss with a .45 🙂

  22. “Having used both a .45 and 9mm in combat I personally prefer a .45. Not necessarily the 1911. Try stopping a Somali high on khat with a 9mm and YOU too will prefer the .45. One shot, one kill. Simple as that”

    A a former Paramedic, I can assure you that stopping such a person with either round is going to require a brain or spinal cord hit. Even a hit to the heart with either round will still leave the person with a useful period of conciseness that they can use to kill you. In school we learned about a guy who was high on PCP – he was hit 11 times in the chest with expanding .38 ammo and still buried a fire ax in one of the cop’s before he died. They missed the cord and the brain.

    ANY HANDGUN is low powered compared to a 5.56 or 7.62. Any medical person will tell you that stopping a motivated attacker is going to require a nervous system hit. A .22 LR to the brain would be better than a .45 hit to the lung s or even the heart. In the situation you describe, I will take accuracy over power every time. For me, that means a 9mm – for others, who can shoot a .45 as well as a 9mm, the .45 would be a better choice.

  23. Thats great that they want the pistol. Do they need it? The answer is no. The majority of the marine corps will never shoot that weapon except for recon and marsoc operators. These operators are held to a standard with these weapons that is not your bs pistol qual on the range.

  24. I’ve carried, professionally and personally for over forty years. I did 26 in the Corps and was issued both the 1911 and the Beretta; I own both.

    Ballistics is a wash; same terminal ballistics which leaves shot placement, ie, practice.

    The M9 is extremely reliable although the original mags are more reliable than the after market gov issued mags.

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