Personal firearms won us the revolutionary war so I cant be completely against the idea.
I do think though that national guardsmen and reservists should carry their own personal side arms and be forced to qualify with them.
The reserves tend to get stuff 2nd, 3rd or 4th hand, so encouraging them to purchase personal firearms would at least mean that their weapons would be new as or newer than the ones in the active duty inventory.
It is hard to be proficient with the M9 when only officers get to use them, and even then it is only once a year that my unit goes to the range. Maybe it is because I am in a hospital reserve unit, but that has been my experience.
It is just not practical to carry a M16 or M4 in a hospital while you are trying to see patients. But my unit does not have enough M9s to issue to everyone. By having the opportunity to carry a personal sidearm I could ensure that I would always be armed and ready in case one of the “patients” turned out to be an insurgent.
People tend to respect things more when they own them. If the gun is yours, there is an attachment to that gun that you wont have with a “lowest bidder GI weapon.” If the government’s rifle is not clean, who cares, right? Someone else will get stuck with it. But if it is your gun that you paid for, you might be a little more diligent in cleaning it right? I mean, since you would be the “lucky one” to use it in combat and you wouldnt want to have to buy another one because it was poorly maintained.
No offense to GI weapons, but mil spec weapon is made to be cheap. Though they are made to meet a certain minimum standard, they may not be as high quality or may even lack some good features found on more expensive weapons.
Another advantage is that every soldier would be carrying a weapon that fits him or her. People’s hands come in different sizes; it would make sense to allow for a range of firearms to be used, rather than the “one sizes fits some” mentality.
It’s not a matter of “looking cool,” or just “trying to be different.” I think there are some valid reasons why we should look into allowing the use of personal firearms. When agencies buy guns, price is a huge factor because they have limited budgets, but when individuals buy guns, price is considerably less important. If you could get a gun of much better quality, reliability or accuracy for a few hundred dollars more, I think most sensible people would want the most bang for their buck rather than what is the cheapest gun they can carry. Why buy a used 38 special police revolver for 300 bucks when you can buy a new hi-capacity Glock for not much more? Of course, knowing that common sense is not so common any more, any military organization that allowed personal weapons would have to set up specific criteria and have the firearm inspected by the unit armorer to ensure that it meets those criteria. No Saturday night specials in our beloved military!
Weapon confidence and morale would be better as well. Everyone has a gun that they think is inferior or one that is really great. People tend to buy what they like best, so if they were carrying a personal sidearm, chances are they would be more willing to practice with it and less likely to complain about it.