Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Forget the Sig Sauer — 5 Deadly Alternatives To The Army’s New Pistol
Well it finally happened, the Army has settled on a brand new pistol from Sig Sauer to replace the 1980s-era Beretta 9mm. You know, the pistol that carried by every officer without ever leaving the holster because God knows when the thing last got a cleaning.
So where does that leave us? The same place troops always wind up following a major change in something unimportant: Fighting about it on the internet!
'Ooh, the Beretta 9 doesn’t feel good in my hand, I want a Glock…. No, I want a .45 because I want a hand cannon and five rounds per mag…. No, get a .40 because it does everything and nothing at the same time.... Everyone should carry sawed-off shotguns!'
Unfortunately, such suggestions are woefully lacking in creativity. The U.S. military operates in a complex, ever-changing environment. We need to be more imaginative...think outside the box.
Here, a few alternatives:
Photo by Lance Cpl. Sean P. Cummins
Before we started killing each other at long distance with little hunks of metal hurled through space at high speeds, we did just fine holding large sharpened hunks of metal in our hands and hacking away. These days, the NCO sword — a curved saber with a brass handle — is relegated to Change of Responsibility ceremonies and weddings, and rarely leaves its scabbard unless the First Sergeant is exceptionally trashed at the battalion Christmas party.
Ceremonial swords are great, but why not restore their functionality? Sure, troops might lose a few fingers during the roll-out period, but if you don’t let us make mistakes, how can we learn and grow?
Steel folding chair
Screenshot via YouTubeNo weapon can stop Mankind.
No discussion of devastating weapons is complete without a mention of the deadly armament deployed to such bone-crushing effect in the very-real-to-me sport of professional wrestling. Ever take the flat end of a folding chair to the upper back? It hurts like hell. Best of all, like a Swiss Army knife, the folding chair has other critical uses. Once you’ve taken out your opponent, simply unfold it, place it on a flat surface, and take a load off.
The hand-held T-shirt cannon
Photo via Wikimedia CommonsWe may need to make some modifications to current uniform standards.
The range and accuracy of the T-shirt cannon in the hands of a trained professional is a beautiful sight to behold. But using this weapon properly requires hours of practice. For best results, the T-shirt cannon must be wielded during a dance routine including a backflip while dressed in a hot, bulky and utterly ridiculous costume. But with experience, skilled operators are able to hit a nosebleed section with a 100% all-cotton tee. (Come to think of it, if they can do that with a shirt, imagine what they can do with a grenade launcher.)
That said, the shirt cannon will make explosives obsolete. Have you seen how people react to the sight of a free airborne jersey advertising a local sports team? Blast a few of these into Mosul, and long as they’re not Yankees shirts, you’ll win over the local populace and clothe them in the bargain.
Gold-plated arms “liberated” from Iraq
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Admit it: the U.S. military has always been a bit lacking in flash department. We’re great at marching and holding pompous ceremonies that make generals feel good about themselves while the rest of us try not to fall asleep in formation. But on the battlefield? So drab.
I know what you’re thinking: gold-plated weapons systems aren’t “tactical.” You may even get all scientific on us and insist that that gold is one of those “soft” metals and that putting multiple rounds of .50 cal ammo through an M2 machine gun would melt the barrel in seconds. But dude, you’re still thinking in “hard power” terms. Gold is all about “soft power.” It’s about dazzling the enemy with an ostentatious display of wealth. And it certainly worked for the commander-in-chief!
A rock or something
A panel from the instructions printed on the flameless ration heater shows the phrase “rock or something.”
Has there ever been a more ubiquitous piece of military equipment than the trusty “rock or Something”? It’s very existence was even a joke to the designers of the flameless Meal, Ready-to-Eat heater. The best thing about utilizing the rock or something as a side arm is embedded in its very name: or Something. Imagine the possibilities! The only caveat is that your Something must be sized appropriately to prop up an MRE heater at a 30-degree angle.
In addition to serving as a deadly weapon, the Rock or Something (always a proper noun, do not disrespect it) provides the comfort of a warm meal in a cold outpost. Simply prepare an MRE as directed, and feed it to the enemy until he is subdued.
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.