Progress: A Farewell to Arms

While trying to quash a revolt in the Philippines in 1904, American troops discovered that their .38-cal. revolvers were not very effective against the frenzied attacks of Moro tribesmen. The call went out for a handgun with "stopping power," and in 1911, the U.S. issued the Colt .45-cal. automatic to its men. Now, after 70 years of service, the Army plans to retire the legendary .45—as well as the .38-cal. revolver —and replace them both with a new 9-mm model.

The .45 may go unmourned. Hefty (3 lbs. when fully loaded) and cursed with a nasty recoil, the pistol was as easy...

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