Being a prior enlisted member of the military, it’s quite common to spout off your views on all things military. From playing Monday morning quarterback regarding current combat operations, to discussing how the Army or Marine Corps could do things better, nearly every enlisted member that I’ve ever met complains and gripes, while also suggesting how things could be better.
I’ve learned this doesn’t end when you get out, and I’ve of late been increasingly talking all things military with a guy I’ll just call “Lee.”
Lee served four and a half years in the Army, with most of his time in the 75th Ranger Regiment. Lee served two combat tours during that time and he knows about ten times more about weapons than I do, and well, that’s saying something.
Several times in the past six months, we’ve talked about things we’d change if we were in charge and we finally decided it’d be fun to throw these things out there for discussion purposes, and even better, to hear all the other ideas floating around out there.
Here were some ideas we had…
Change No. 1 if we were in charge:
Begin using a new sniper round that’s .30-06 or above, instead of the current 7.62 mm NATO. Platform of choice? Remington 700.
Change No. 2:
Change the standard round of infantry/spec ops/airborne units from 5.56 mm to 7.62 mm NATO. We think we hardly have to make the case for this, but clearly there’d be better range, knock down power, and penetration.
Change No. 3:
Support troops would continue to use 5.56 mm. Arguments for this include they’re familiar with it, less likely to see combat, and it has a lighter weight/smaller size in both weapons platform and combat load when compared to 7.62 mm NATO.
Change No. 4:
We worry a 5.56 mm wouldn’t work effectively in a cold weather war. For instance, if we were to go to war with Russia, China, or North Korea.
During the Korean war, ground troops hated the M1 carbine because the .30 cal bullet wouldn’t penetrate the heavy clothing. We think there (at a minimum) needs to be much more research on this issue.
Change No. 5:
Arm troops on base with both a sidearm AND fixed blade. We don’t understand why the people defending our country are not able to defend themselves on base? The last place a crazed shooter should be able to kill Americans is on a military base.
Unfortunately, when an incident like the shooting in Texas happens, our military has to call the police to deal with the threat because 99 percent of the weapons are locked in armories. That’s idiotic.
Change No. 6:
Improve pistol training/create a new military pistol platform.
Pistol training in most cases is sparse at best, usually just qualifying. We’d like to see troops able to shoot effectively, which means far more intensive training (such as this) than they’re currently getting. The problem with any pistol is that it’s a pistol, meaning it’s a small round fired from a weapon that’s harder to shoot than a rifle or shotgun.
When the military was choosing a pistol to replace the 1911, the Beretta was so far above every other entrant that they had to lessen the requirements just so SIG SAUER could keep up. The 9 mm has tons of advantages that make it as close to a “perfect pistol” as we’ll get. It’s easier for smaller people to shoot, it carries more bullets, 9 mm is cheap and plentiful, and it’s proven.
Bottom line, we think the M9 pistol is one of the best US Military sidearms ever. (People forget the 1911 used to suck, and that troops hated it.*)
Now it’s your turn. What changes would you make?
And are we wrong on anything we’ve written above in your opinion?
Keep the faith,
Stan R. Mitchell
Oak Ridge, Tenn.
About me: I’m an action fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing to my blog — I mostly post about things that either motivate you, inspire you, or make you laugh.