...one thing that jumps out at me in this thread is that people really seem to have no confidence in automatic pistols, which have been in use by armies around the world for over a hundred years,...
How can you possibly conclude that from this thread?
 People seem to have great confidence in semi-auto pistols. That's what most people carry for self defense and what are carried bu the vast majority of LEOs. That reflects confidence.
 But is is a fact that semi-auto pistols do malfunction on occasion. Therefore, appropriate training and practice should include dealing with the rare malfunction.
 In any case, for the military, a sidearm is a secondary weapon.