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:

The sword

121009-M-ZV462-001Photo 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.


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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

No weapon can stop Mankind.Screenshot via YouTube
No 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

We may need to make some modifications to current uniform standards.Photo via Wikimedia Commons
We 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

Desert-Eagle-dore-p1030142Photo 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.”

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.