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Fox News Clueless About Guns

Corporate media strikes out again.

by
Howard Nemerov

Bio

July 14, 2014 - 7:35 am

When you can’t trust an allegedly conservative media outlet to properly cover firearms, it’s time to realize that the entire Second Amendment fight is completely up to you.

Starting out innocuously, Fox News reported the Army’s plans to update their pistol arsenal because their current side-arms are obsolete:

Army officials say their inventory of more than 200,000 semi-automatic Beretta M9 and Sig Sauer M11 pistols has become outdated, worn out and needs to be replaced with an updated model that also offers more reliability and durability.

True. Modern designs based upon Glock’s hammerless, striker-fire system offer many benefits. Springfield and Smith & Wesson also offer full-sized, striker-fire pistols that qualify for consideration, too. Since the striker pin is entirely internal, there’s no hammer to catch on holsters and clothing while drawing. Replacing the old Beretta safety lever design with trigger and grip safeties, depending on the model, addresses the Army’s complaint that the “safety device [lever] too often locks inadvertently.”

This could also refer to Sig’s de-cock lever, which drops the hammer while deactivating the firing mechanism. Sig pistols can then be carried more safely with a chambered round, but this requires the first shot be double action, leading to one of the problems with the Beretta and Sig: the double action/single action design. As noted by Shooting Illustrated:

The first round is fired via a long, hammer-cocking, double-action trigger press. Successive rounds are fired with a hammer-releasing, single-action press.

This means that shooters must develop two unique motor programs: one for a 12-pound, long trigger pull, and one for the shorter, lighter pull. Modern striker fire handguns require learning one relatively light trigger pull, cutting down time spent on attaining trigger control. One way to get around the double action is to carry the pistol with an empty chamber, draw and rack the slide, and then acquire your target. Another way for Beretta carriers is to chamber a round by racking the slide, thumb the safety lever up to lock the trigger, and holster the pistol, also called “cocked and locked.” This means you must take time to thumb the safety lever into the fire position while drawing, complicating the process from draw to target acquisition.

Extra time and effort could mean the difference between life and death. Modern striker fire pistols come as close to point-and-shoot as possible, cutting the time to being on-target. The Army is right in considering a new pistol.

Next, it appears the editors haven’t woken up yet. In describing a problem with the Army’s current pistols, the author wrote: “its open-slide bullet chamber allows in too much dirty, which results in jamming.” [Emphasis added]

Too Much Dirty

Oops! Perhaps he was reading a Chinese-to-English firearm manual?

What’s an “open slide bullet chamber”? The author may mean the chamber where the firing pin strikes the cartridge’s primer, causing a controlled explosion forcing the bullet to exit the barrel at high speed. Most modern semi-automatic pistols lock the slide back after the last shot from a now-empty magazine. At this point, the slide is open and you can see the firing chamber. The author also confused “bullets” with cartridges, one part of which is the bullet. Writing “open slide bullet chamber” screams “I’m clueless about guns.”

(For a more detailed tutorial on handgun anatomy, see this article by the University of Utah Health Science.)

Then there’s this:

The argument against the .40 caliber round is that its heavier weight and stronger recoil causes excessive wear on a 9 mm pistol.

Excessive Wear 40

A truer statement has never been printed…no doubt you can figure out why. (For those who haven’t yet had their morning java, imagine swallowing one baseball whole.)

Unfortunately, one of the reasons given for the pistol upgrade is to “provide soldiers with more ‘knock-down’ power.” This myth continues to rear its ugly head, especially among the “only buy a pistol if its caliber begins with 4” crowd. As Karl Rehn, owner of the KR Training firearms academy, notes:

There’s no such thing as “knockdown” power with a handgun. Every expert that’s looked at the issue with any depth comes back and says that bullet placement, not caliber, is the key, and that proficiency occurs more quickly with 9mm than with .40 and .45 or certainly .357 SIG which is a flinch-inducing, gun-breaking caliber.

He referred me to the Military.com article covering the same Army procurement story. They interviewed instructor and competitive shooter Ernest Langdon, who served in the Marines as chief instructor of Second Marine Division Scout Sniper School and the High Risk Personnel Course.

“I don’t think anybody would argue that shot placement is the most important for terminal ballistics,” Langdon said. “Even though you say a .45 is better than a 9mm, it’s still a pistol caliber. Chances are if it is a determined adversary, they are going to have to be shot multiple times regardless of the caliber.”

In other words, if you want knockdown power, a rifle’s larger and faster bullet translates into greater kinetic energy, i.e. knockdown power. Otherwise, practice so you can hit moving targets shooting back at you. In this case, modern 9mm handguns like the Springfield XDm and Smith & Wesson M&P normally carry 19 and 17 rounds per magazine, respectively, giving you more ammunition for trying to stop multiple attackers.

The article contained a good lesson on spending other people’s money:

There have been no reports on how much the new weapons will cost, amid budget concerns. However, in September 2012, Beretta received a 5-year, $64 million firm-fixed-price contract for up to 100,000 of its M9 9mm pistols, according to Defense Industry Daily.

This calculates out to $640 per pistol. Gun Broker had two new-in-box (NIB) Beretta 92—the civilian name for M9—the same pistol pistols for $600 or less. Hell, it’s only $4-6 million, or more for volume pricing; chump change. Researchers aren’t sure if Everett Dirksen said this, but politicians everywhere believe: “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

A misquote here, a misnomer there, and pretty soon you’re talking real gun control.

Former civilian disarmament supporter and medical researcher Howard Nemerov investigates the civil liberty of self-defense and examines the issue of gun control, resulting in his book Four Hundred Years of Gun Control: Why Isn’t It Working? He appears frequently on NRA News as their “unofficial” analyst and was published in the Texas Review of Law and Politics with David Kopel and Carlisle Moody.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Not sure why the author is so outraged that a regular popular media story doesn't read like a product review in Guns and Ammo ... but what do you expect? The attention to detail that would please a pro shooter or a highly educated amateur shooter would immediately put to sleep the general audience.

As for the content of the argument over various caliber handgun ammo, an argument that has lasted for approximately forever and will last another approximately forever more ... nobody is ever going to convince either side to change their minds. It's like arguing Ford vs. Chevy trucks. Or Coke vs. Pepsi.

For most soldiers who are not professional match shooters, having as your sidearm a pistol with light recoil, carrying many rounds in the magazine, enables one to put more mass of lead more accurately into a given target in less time. Complaining that targets in close quarters firefights aren't stopped with a single round seems kind of silly, actually. That's why you're shooting an autoloader.

If single round stopping power is your primary concern, carry a sawed off 12 gage pump.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Firearms are a complicated subject, and it's not surprising an ignorant journalist got so many things wrong. I've seen even experienced handgun owners, and gun magazine writers, make egregious mistakes in terminology and other issues.

The Army procurement verbiage leads me to think that they want the .45 ACP M1911 back, after discarding it almost 30 years ago. That design is over one hundred years old, but still the best combat pistol ever designed, and the choice, even today, of many experienced handgun owners.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good corrections but keep in mind that the problem most of us have with the establishment media isn't about making technical mistakes but lying to advance an agenda.

14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (39)
All Comments   (39)
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Howard, I don't know which is worse, your ignorance or your arrogance that causes you to think of yourself as a a greater authority than Fox News. Contrary to your instruction to Beretta M9 pistol is rendered "safe" when you follow your instruction of "thumb the safety lever up to lock the trigger," moving the safety lever upwards renders it ready to fire. Moving the lever down renders the Beretta M9 "safe," but it also de-cocks the hammer, leaving the operator with the dreaded, heavy, double-action trigger pull. Ooops! Despite your attempt to sound erudite by dropping the colloquialism "cocked and locked," that option is not available on the Beretta M9. It is either cocked, hammer back, ready to fire, or "locked," on safe, with the hammer down. Something here about sleeping editors. Remember, Howard: "A misquote here, a misnomer there, and pretty soon you’re talking real gun control."
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
"This calculates out to $640 per pistol. Gun Broker had two new-in-box (NIB) Beretta 92—the civilian name for M9—the same pistol pistols for $600 or less."

According to Beretta's website, the M9's MSRP is $675-682 depending on the model code, while the M9A1's is $745-752, making an average of $640 per pistol not so unreasonable. Additionally, it is not unusual for contracts like these to include a significant supply of the parts required for routine maintenance on the 100,000 pistols (recoil springs, locking blocks, and other wear items). Is the army getting a screaming deal, no, but honestly I don't expect Beretta to sell them pistols and not make some profit (and don't even try to procure 100,000 identical pistols through Gun Broker, the shipping costs alone would be devastating).
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Fox report was rough on detail... but I understood the point of what he was getting at. If you want to go after firearm misrepresentations, there are plenty out there. Rolling Stone just did one. I don't think the Fox piece was a legitimate target for you.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Fox report was rough on detail... but I understood the point of what he was getting at. If you want to go after firearm misrepresentations, there are plenty out there. Rolling Stone just did one. I don't think the Fox piece was a legitimate target for you.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The argument against the .40 caliber round is that its heavier weight and stronger recoil causes excessive wear on a 9 mm pistol."

I would beg to differ. The civilian model of the Army's M9 9mm Beretta is the Model 92, which is also available as the Model 96 in .40 cal. I've owned both, they are virtually identical, and to top it off the Model 92 platform is heavily over-engineered. It could easily handle .45 ACP.

I would also add that Glock doesn't seem to have a lot of issues with Model 22 .40 cal on the "plastic" frames that are nearly identical to the 9mm Model 17. Again, I've owned both and the .40 cal shoots just as well and as long as the 9mm will.

14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not sure why the author is so outraged that a regular popular media story doesn't read like a product review in Guns and Ammo ... but what do you expect? The attention to detail that would please a pro shooter or a highly educated amateur shooter would immediately put to sleep the general audience.

As for the content of the argument over various caliber handgun ammo, an argument that has lasted for approximately forever and will last another approximately forever more ... nobody is ever going to convince either side to change their minds. It's like arguing Ford vs. Chevy trucks. Or Coke vs. Pepsi.

For most soldiers who are not professional match shooters, having as your sidearm a pistol with light recoil, carrying many rounds in the magazine, enables one to put more mass of lead more accurately into a given target in less time. Complaining that targets in close quarters firefights aren't stopped with a single round seems kind of silly, actually. That's why you're shooting an autoloader.

If single round stopping power is your primary concern, carry a sawed off 12 gage pump.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Firearms are a complicated subject, and it's not surprising an ignorant journalist got so many things wrong. I've seen even experienced handgun owners, and gun magazine writers, make egregious mistakes in terminology and other issues.

The Army procurement verbiage leads me to think that they want the .45 ACP M1911 back, after discarding it almost 30 years ago. That design is over one hundred years old, but still the best combat pistol ever designed, and the choice, even today, of many experienced handgun owners.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am not so sure that it is a bad idea to evaluate the options available from time to time. I would prefer the evaluation prior to extending the existing contract, but that would make too much sense.
I agree the the 1911 is a special design and very accurate. I recommend that every gun person that can own one. However, if I hear a threat in the middle of the night, I will reach for a Glock every time.
As a cost of ownership, there is no doubt that Glock would provide the lowest cost and best return on investment. The G17 or G34 would be my choice. Namely, because the gun has a very small number of parts, the parts are cheap and available, no special tools are needed to repair, they tolerate a lot of abuse that other guns would have a problem with and they are already used by some special forces units. Now, we could insist on Glocks made fulling in the USA and not imported.
I would not be upset if S&W M&P, Ruger SR9/E9, Styre M9A, Sig P320
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
A lot of people including me would disagree with you on the .45 ACP. Carried two few rounds (7), the armory-issued weapons had lousy actions with poor accuracy (yup - the actions could be reworked by an expert gunsmith, but most weren't), and too much recoil. The 9mm Beretta is superior all around, and the stopping power of 9mm plus P rounds is virtually identical to that of the .45 ACP ball ammo our military used.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
" and too much recoil. "

Don't worry, we'll get you a .22 so you won't hurt yourself.


And there is no such thing as "stopping power".

14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Only idiots who don't know squat about pistol shooting believe that recoil doesn't matter, and that only "real men" can stand recoil. Recoil is the enemy of accurate shooting, especially when firing multiple rounds at a deadly target (not plinking at the shooting range).

The point of combat shooting is to put multiple rounds in the target consistently and in the right places to stop an assailant. The more recoil the less accurate most shooters will be, both due to flinching and due to uncontrollable muzzle rise.

You may think yourself manly by popping off with your comment about 22s. The real experts know better.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes there is such a thing as "stopping power" - defined as the ability to stop an assailant's actions, by killing or demobilizing the assailant.

Ballistically, stopping power is represented by three measurable performance factors:

1) penetration distance in ballistic gelatin .... a weak round doesn't penetrate enough to do sufficient "stopping damage", but too much penetration means the round may go all the way through and not deliver all of its energy to the victim, and may continue downrange to strike other unintended persons
2) expansion diameter of the bullet when it penetrates (creating a larger wound and effectively transmitting more of the bullet's energy into the target's body
3) kinetic energy of the bullet at the target.

All three together define the stopping power of any round.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
The US military fell in love with the M1911 when it came out in 1911, mainly because it replaced the relatively weak .38 Long Colt. The famous story is that American soldiers in the Spanish American War in the Philippines put round after round of 38s into the Huks and they just wouldn't go down. Compared to the .38 Long, the .45 ACP was indeed much more powerful, almost but not as powerful as the former .45 Colt in use prior to the .38 Long Colts. But today, 9mm rounds are far more powerful than the .38 Long and are actually comparable, especially at plus P loadings, to the .45 ACP in both muzzle energy and ballistic gelatin penetration.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whenever I see an article about firearms with so many howlers, I conclude that the author, whether he's with Fox or the New York Times, is trying to signal that he's on the right side of the issue.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Stopping power in a firearm has many elements. Round placement is one of them. Since round placement is usually approximate, kinetic energy of the round is also important. A .45 to the upper arm does a lot more stopping than a .22 to the upper arm is likely to do.
I've tried a number of handguns. If I were serious about a combat sidearm, I'd probably select a .40 semi-automatic. It seems like the best current combination of throw weight, magazine capacity, and a weapon that people can handle readily when they are scared spitless. Different shooters will form other opinions. The armed forces have to select a weapon that a wide range of people will use, so any choice will annoy some people.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The armed forces have to select a weapon that a wide range of people will use, "

That "wide range" will be heavily skewed towards the "lowest common denominator.

Thus the 9mm.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy Mark v
You're right about "lowest common denominator." That's the baseline for any large organization when planning equipment -- cars, firearms, computers. The US standard military sidearm has to be comfortable for people ranging from 5ft-100lb to 6ft7-250lb. And a range of interest and aptitude for shooting that ranges from snipers through people like me to those who consider guns "icky." Even the military has some such.
The 9mm has been a good sidearm and I'd be fine with continuing to use it. The .40 is also a good round and there are several excellent firearms that use it.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good corrections but keep in mind that the problem most of us have with the establishment media isn't about making technical mistakes but lying to advance an agenda.

14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
I see no difference between misinformation and aiding the anti-rights agenda. If you examine enough Fox Second Amendment related material, with the exception of an occasional column by John Lott, it's not exactly pro-2AM.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Misinformation is always rampant. Whether it is deliberate or not, to support a particular agenda or to grind an ax, makes a great deal of difference.

The Fox article was not political in any conceivable way. It was an article about small weapons development in our military. It did not seem to carry any agenda at all, except to inform. That it was somewhat imprecise is true, but it had exactly zero to do with the Second Amendment, which deals exclusively with the right of the People to bear arms - not military weapons development.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is a difference, Howard. Honest mistakes should be treated gently with the expectation that corrections will be made or at the least the mistakes will not be repeated.

Those who lie with premeditation should not be treated gently but exposed, and there should be no expectation that they will change their behavior for reasons of right and wrong.

How we deal with people is important, and understanding motivations is required.

FYI, Brietbart is citing Fox in their story and spreading the mistake: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/07/13/Army-Retiring-9mm-Pistols-Looking-For-More-Knock-Down-Power
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm struggling to understand why anyone calls Fox News a "conservative" news outlet. Currently, their programming runs the gamut from statist (Shep Smith) to a slough of Progressive Republicans (Hannity, Gretta, etc) to clueless narcissists who are conservative in nature but easily swayed toward Progressive ideology (O'Reilly and the guys on their morning show).

Bolling and Gutfeld are the closest thing you'll actually get to Constitutionalism on the entire network. Beck took his own free market advice and left to start his own company. He was the only heavy hitting Constitutionalist they've ever had.

Oh yeah, and Mr. Nemerov is correct. When you make stupid statements regarding your political causes it shows you don't care enough to bother to understand the basics about your own "rock-solid principles". It's easy to dismiss you and thus to dismiss your ideas.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Notice the work "alleged" in the first sentence? By the way, I find it most easy to dismiss people who are afraid to use their own name when publicly posting. It's easy to cast insults when you get to hide, or run away.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh yeah, I wasn't casting aspersions on you, Howard. I was speaking generally.

I'm not sure based on the context, but I hope that last bit wasn't aimed at me. I'm using my real first name and real last initial. If that's not good enough, then bear in mind this is the internet and America, both places where freedom still mostly reigns.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you for clarifying. I withdraw my complaint, too. Thanks for reading.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Once upon a time Fox was part of the solution, now it is part of the problem.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
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