Friday, July 15, 2005

More Handicapping...

Meanwhile, back at an older post...

H&K...Pros — Yes, the Big Doggie. There are rumors all over the biz that H-K is driving the push for a new handgun. H-K hired ace 1911 gunsmith and Special Forces guy Larry Vickers to help in the development of a new sorta-1911 pistol. H-K execs have lunch with Beltway power brokers on a daily basis. They've been developing the "next generation" of American battle rifles for about 100 years. Their guns have the reliability of 1962 Volkswagens...they just keep going and going and going and...etc. They build the SOCOM .45 for various and sundry SF units. Tom Cruise uses an H-K in "Collateral." The MP-5 subgun has been the definitive machinegun for decades and may be one of the finest military weapons since John Browning started tinkering. Cons — God help me, but their handguns suck. They have the ergonomics of the black bird statue in "The Maltese Falcon" — big, black, heavy and awkward. As one Special Forces heavyweight told me, the only know useage of the H-K SOCOM .45 gun, which, in fact, weighs the same as a 1962 Volkswagen, is in Bruce Willis movies. "Sucker needs wheels!" he told me. The high bore line in most H-K pistols makes them a bitch to shoot — it took Tom Cruise 30,000 live rounds to get up to speed for that speed rock sequence in "Collateral." A 1911, 500 rounds and California LEO instructor Mike Dalton could have done the trick in an afternoon. H-K failed to renew their decades-long R&D contract with Bruce Gray, arguably the best technical 1911 mechanic in America, just before they signed on Vickers. Despite zillions of leaks to the contrary, the H-K XM-8 is NOT a slam-dunk for the new military rifle. (and my little cherubs and seraphim tell me that the various 6.8 versions of the existing M-4 system seem to have the inside track over the more exotic XM-8) New H-K buzzguns to replace the aging MP-5 system have not met with the unqualified success of their predecessor. Expensive? HA! H-K keychains cost more than many perfectly adequate handguns.

Here's the Cliff Notes version...H-K needs a home run, which coming up with the new military pistol would certainly be. And they have the Rolodex to pull it off. SIG has already been through one set of trials and passed, they know how to develop guns, and they're relentlessly pursuing — and winning — government contracts. S&W would kill to be a spoiler in this game, and as readers have noted hiring Ernie Langdon, late of Beretta, SIG and the Marine Expeditionary Forces, was a good move. Don't rule out Mr. Glock's machine, especially with the Austrians getting ready to break ground on an American factory (Whoops! Did I say that outloud????). And Ruger, Springfield and Kimber are just waiting in the wings.

Remember, as the great gambler once said, the lion may indeed lay down with the lamb, but that's not the way to bet! If I was calling my bookie, here's what I think he'd tell me:

H-K even money
SIG 2-to-1 odds
Glock 3-to-1 odds
S&W 5-to-1
Ruger 10-to-1
Springfield 10-to-1
Kimber 20-to-1


Anonymous said...

I'd say SIG is even money with H&K considering their recent contract solicitations. SIG has beat out H&K in what is 4 or 5 straight pistol contracts beginning with the French (yes, I know, who cares it's the French) National Police contract. After that SIG won Homeland Security with H&K coming in second and getting only crums from the contract. Then the Coast Guard went entirely with SIG. Finally the Postal Inspection Service went with SIG over H&K.

I'd say H&K is beginning to suck wind in this race and SAG is going strong.

Patrick Sweeney said...

One thing to keep in mind: there is (or has been in the past) a difference between a limited buy and official adoption. In a limited buy, the gov buys a bunch off the shelf. In an oficial adoption, the gov wants a lot more. As in: they want the complete Technical Data Package. The TDP includes all dimensions and tolerances. All details on all processes, and the formulas for all finishes, treatments, etc. All alloy compositions, heat-treatments, etc. Of the competitors, I see Glock as being last in line willing to divulge that level of info.