Even though rifles are both very popular and powerful, they are not a must when it comes to the equipment used by the army. For example, a soldier may use a machine gun, submachine gun, rifle, and shotgun as well.
Basically, the kit of an army-man varies. However, there’s one particular firearm that can be found on any member of the army – namely, the pistol, also known as a handgun.
Why every soldier needs a handgun? Well, because it is the most reliable weapon that one can use in CQC scenarios – unlike a rifle or a machine gun, for example.
As such, in today’s article, we’ll take a close look at the best service pistols that the world army is currently using!
This particular pistol is better known as the Brazilian copy of the infamous Beretta 92 – it’s made by the Taurus firm. However, keep in mind that it is not an identical copy, mainly because the manufacturer makes the pistol based on original Beretta machinery that was left behind in Brazil after the expiration of their military contract.
The main differences between the Taurus and the Beretta are the de-cocker and the frame-mounted combination safety.
As you may know, the Italian firm Beretta is the oldest arms company in the world that is still operating. Therefore, it goes without saying why the Beretta 92FS is the service pistol of Italy!
The 92FS model comes with a DA/SA design and features what is known as one of the best stock factory triggers that can be found on the market. Just as the previous entry (the Taurus), this Beretta features a de-cocker and combination safety, as well as impressive ergonomics.
The Z88 Vektor is the pistol of choice of the South African army. Once again, the Z88 was basically a domestically produced copy of the aforementioned Beretta 92.
As such, the Z88 features the same DA/SA design with a de-cocking safety and with a 15-round magazine as well. It’s best acknowledged for the modernization of the South African Army.
Moving on to Belgium, their service pistol of choice is the FN Five-Seven. As you may already know, the Five-Seven fires 5.7×28 mm rounds but can also share ammunition with other FN, namely with the P90 PDW.
Even though the ammunition is rather long, it is also thin enough to allow the Five-Seven to fit a 20-rounds magazine – a flush-fitting one, that is. The main characteristics of this pistol are its very low recoil and soft armor penetration.
Naturally, the Makarov is Russia’s service pistol – as expected by many of you. The Makarov is still around mainly because Russia is more focused on rifles and such.
However, this doesn’t mean that the Makarov is outdated. The pistol comes with a blowback-operated design and an 8-rounds capacity. The ammo it uses is basically a +P .380 ACP round.
The main benefits of the Makarov are the fact that a single pistol is made of 27 parts – this makes this particular pistol easy to produce and cheap.
The HK U.S.P
This particular handgun is the service pistol of Spain, Greece, Ireland, and Germany. It features a DA/SA design and is known as the universal self-loading pistol – naturally, the U.S.P is Heckler and Koch’s premier handgun design.
The USP was also built around the 40 S&W, even if the 9mm is the chosen cartridge of NATO. On top of that, this pistol was also chambered in 45 A.C.P and 357 SIG.
The handgun’s main characteristic is its mechanical recoil reduction system, based on a heavy captive coil spring, capable of buffering recoil by up to 30%.
Glock 17, 19, and 34
Reportedly, the mentioned Glock pistols are used by over 20 nations as their service handguns – among which the UK, Finland, Austria, Poland, Romania, and Venezuela.
In short, you can find a Glock in almost any country.
The only difference between the 17, 19, and 34 models is the grip length and barrel. However, all of them come with the legendary rugged and reliable design.
The Glock is so popular mainly due to its accuracy, reliability, ease of use, price, and the fact that it is lightweight.
This pistol is used in India, Australia, Canada, Thailand, and Bahrain. It is widely known for its longevity and popularity in military service. Reportedly, it has been used by almost everyone out there – with little to no complaints.
In terms of features, the pistol is one of the first 9mm of high capacity that entered regular service. It comes with a single action only design and features a 13-round magazine and a manual safety.
SIG P320 – designated the M17/18
The SIG P320 was adopted by the US army in 9mm, compact (M18) and full size (M17) variants. The two variants are known as being quite advanced when it comes to military sidearms, mainly because they feature compatibility for red dot optics.
Like with the classic P320, the M17 and 18 come with the ability to move their serialized fire control group to various grip modules. However, the US army included a manual safety, as it is rather strict when it comes to serial numbers.
The Bottom Line
Naturally, these are not all of the service pistols used by the army or the military. However, they are the best out there – starting with the SIG P320 and ending with our first entry, the Taurus.
As you can notice, most countries kept their local manufacturers close to them – such as Italy and Russia – while others opted for better and more powerful service pistols.
On the other hand, given that all of the countries mentioned above still stick to these handguns as their service pistols, it goes without saying that training plays a big part too. For example, the Hi-Power may be 100 years old – but if the army knows how to use one, that’s quite enough!