OK, guys, lots of good stuff...I would however like to see some reasons behind your criteria...
IE: why 15 rounds? why xxx weight? why XXX width, etc....
What prompted this thread, was the 2.0 thread here on LFer, and other forums where it seems that many of the things people complain about are just personal preference...or fairly minor.
Combat gun...for the purpose of this thread, I am talking about an exposed duty type handgun for a patrol officer, swat/srt officer, Soldier, etc No real regard for conceal-ability.
Reliable...how reliable is reliable? Don't know where the .mil and Fed agencies get their numbers, but it's probably a good place to start.
Durability(which is different from reliability) Again, don't know where the above get their numbers, but they are probably a good start.
Say, 30K rounds....assuming a sedate, for many of us, firing schedule of 500 rounds a month, that's 6K a year..that's 5 years..for a $500 gun...that's not too bad. Better if the frame and slide can be salvaged and the gun rebuilt.
Accuracy. I would agree with Longeye, mechanical accuracy of 2" at 25yds, should give the shooter the ability to make a head shot at 25yds accounting for shooter skill.
For the gun it self, starting from the top..
I prefer adjustable sights. Understanding that they may not be ideal for a general issue firearm, I could live with sights that are simpler to adjust at the user level. Start with witness marks on the rear sight and slide, so it's not hammer to the left, shoot...too far, hammer to the right, shoot..too far..and so on. I've also envisioned tiny dimples across the bottom of the dovetail, that a small set screw would contact.
Perhaps a front sight similar to the new Colt Cobra or other revolver sights, that can be easily replaced for style or height with a small set screw or detent.
A slot or flat, could be used to ensure the sight is centered and squared.
I'm not likely to adopt a red dot sight on a handgun in the neat future, but they are the future...so provision for one should be provided. If there was an industry standard that would be a plus.
I also like match barrels, but this will fall back to the accuracy requirement. I've often thought of a sort of screw in muzzle bushing, that is removed for disassembly and can be replaced to account for wear.
Width of the slide, or over all gun, is what it is, and what ever is required to make the gun accurate, durable and reliable. Beveled at the muzzle for re-holstering would be GTG. I can live with out front cocking serrations, but since they really don't hurt anything, put them on. The serrations, front and back on the SD9 seem to work well for me.
Loaded chamber indicator..I don't really have a need for one, but if one is required by policy or law, as unobtrusive as possible. Long ago, my 1911 smith was cutting half moon LCI in 1911 barrels, and it's OK enough. Either that, or a slight protrusion on the external extractor should be more then sufficient.
Enclosed action/striker fired:
In one of my first classes with Paul Howe he spoke about inserting by helo, and the rotor wash kicking up so much crud, that it would foul the area between the hammer and firing pin stop of a 1911, causing serious issues. Even though I was a big 1911 guy, that has always stuck with me.
A single consistent trigger pull from first shot to last. Whether its a true DAO, SA or single and half action...as long as it stays the same.
Now, perhaps I'm just not refined enough, or am just a mouth breather...but I have never really been tuned into shit like "candy cane break, glass rod break, etc etc..smooth, etc. For me, it's either long or short, light or heavy. Shortish and lightish, being my preference.
As an aside, I find it comical when people play one ups-manship in describing a bad pull..."it feels like a rusty file being drug across a broken glass strewn gravel parking lot while peeing with a case of the clap"...that's right up there with the 1911 aficionado ensuring you know that he had his smith set his trigger to be 4.25 pounds "crisp"....whatever..either way...almost any trigger can be slicked up to suit the shooter.
I'm also coming to the conclusion that it's much more important to learn to shoot with a good trigger then it is to have one, once you are proficient.
I stopped caring about reset awhile back.
I would prefer something as close to a Videcki short trigger as possible, but that's not really going to happen outside a 1911. If it has to have a trigger mounted safety, I prefer the M&P style.
I have had the Glock style, stand a bit proud of the trigger face...enough that it took a concerted effort to depress it, as if it were stuck on something. This of course leads to snatched trigger pulls. I've also found that for my smaller hands, that I may not get the best trigger finger placement, which leads me to pulling on the outside of the trigger, before the the safety is fully depressed and released....again leading to jerked shots. I have not had this issue with the hinged trigger of the M&P. If it could be made of aluminum to eliminate some of the spongy feel both the glock and smith have, that would be nice, but not an absolute necessity.
Sometimes I think I'm the last guy on the internet that likes them. Never mind from a mechanical stand point..but from a human stand point. It is a deliberate step in the firing sequence..it is also some insurance while running, rolling, holstering,falling, tripping, stumbling etc.
Pic rail dust cover...kinda self explanatory
Trigger guard large enough for gloved hands, under cut.
Modular grip, with at least an option for small, medium and large...figuring the large can provide the beavertail. I would figure it wouldn't be to hard for grip makers to come up with any number of sizes.
Grip texture. The checkering on Glocks never did anything for me. Something like the Glock RTF texture would be better. It should be simpler to sand down an over aggressive grip, then try to sharpen one up. These days I've taken to bike inner tube..
No open gaps that lead to the trigger or slide function. I have seen Glocks get enough dirt and crud in the grip hollow that you needed two finger to pull the trigger.
Lower bore axis...I think the late Todd Green showed that low bore axis was not the end all of muzzle control and split times. I couldn't tell you what my split times are..other then slow...and don't really care. But, a low axis for me, just makes me feel in more control of the gun, even just handling it...so it doesn't feel like the slide is just teetering above my hand. Certainly some excellent shooting can and has been done with high bore axis guns though.
materials & construction. Not an engineer...so...obviously polymer lower, and reasonably corrosion resistant slide and small parts. I can see where even the most minimal amount of maintenance can be an issue..think of troops in the field, or high op-tempo special operations types ...I think most guys, Soldiers, patrol officers, etc can manage wiping it down once a week. That's probably a hold over from being taught on wood and blued steel guns.
Dis-assembly/Assembly ...preferably not required to pull the trigger to accomplish. Tool-less would be a plus, but if the tool was made a part of the gun, that could be acceptable. Most don't know, Browning designed the 1911 to be detail stripped using its own parts as tools, including removing the grip screws. Most important is if a basic field stripping and maintenance, like spring changes, can be easily accomplished in the field or at the kitchen table or barracks hallway.
Probably missing some points, but that's what I can think of right now.
I'll say this, I don't see any gun as perfect..or even perfect for me. I look at any gun as a starting point. What is easily fixed or modded...a trigger can be cleaned up, sights changed, even a match barrel fit, much more easily then the LOP changed, or finger grooves deleted, etc.
Other things I don't prefer, but live with, again to get some other features that may not be available in other guns.
Despite what HK used to tell us, it's all a compromise.