In Defense of the Beretta M9

The M9A1 is essentially an M9 with a built in rail on the frame. This version has been eclipsed by the new M9A3.

The M9A1 is essentially an M9 with a built in rail on the frame. This version has been eclipsed by the new M9A3.

Back before I knew anything about guns, I was mugged in downtown Atlanta. I’d left work one afternoon and (long story made painfully short) I ended up driving around Atlanta with a snub-nosed revolver pressed against my head. As I’m sitting here with you, typing away, I obviously survived. You may also make the connection that my love of guns has grown directly from my belief that everyone is entitled to self defense.

Within 24 hours of being mugged, I had my concealed carry permit and a Kel-Tec. I carried the polymer 9mm for two weeks, and I hated every minute of it. I was in no way ready. After spending a week with it on the range, I made a practical decision and traded it in for a decommissioned 92FS–a gun that had seen service with a police department in North Carolina. It was beat to shit, missing a good bit of its bluing, and it was so much easier to shoot than the Kel-Tec that I actually enjoyed taking it to the range.

Why would I buy a Beretta? At that time (1997), the guns were plentiful. I think I may have paid $300 for the gun–and that was before I understood pricing and what I should have paid for it. That was one element of its appeal. The other was its prominent role in pop-culture. I knew enough about the 1911 to know that single-action was intimidating. And then there was Baz Lurhmann.

What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds? Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.

What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?/ Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.

If you haven’t seen the 1996 adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, I bite my thumb at you. It is epic. Lurhmann takes all of the sword play from the original play and updates it (in imagery only) with pistols. So a dagger is a subcompact, a long sword is a rifle, etc. The guns used in the film–the ones that look like Berettas, at least–were made by Taurus. Tybalt’s Rapier 9mm is stunning.

A highly modified Taurus PT99 from Romeo and Juliet.

A highly modified Taurus PT99 from Romeo and Juliet.

So this is where I’m coming from. My love of the 92 is both practical and cinematic. I’ve never carried one into combat. I’ve never emptied my last AR mag and turned to the M9 to continue the fight. I do know the gun inside and out, and I respect it. But sometimes I feel like I’m all alone in my love of the old Italian pistol.

So why do all the haters hate on the Beretta?

1. The Trials to replace the 1911. We’re all aware that the Beretta replaced the 1911. Here’s the metaphor. Your best friend of 70 some-odd-years is a fine upstanding gentleman. He’s a war hero. He’s been through hell and holds his head high, and his dutiful wife is right there by his side. She’s been there through everything. She’s a good woman. And he divorces her and marries an 18 year old Italian. That never ends well.

The Army held trials for the 1911’s replacement, and they were contentious. There have long been bid-rigging allegations against Beretta. I’m not qualified to speak on that matter. I was too busy playing with Legos at the time. The rumor is that the 92 and the SIG P226 were neck and neck going into the end, and it came down to bidding. Fans of the P226 contend that Beretta had unfair access to SIG’s bid, and was able to revise their bid downward.

Fans of the 1911 were just plain bitter. The gun didn’t even come close to meeting the base line performance expectations.

Beretta mags have been made by several manufacturers, and Beretta.

Beretta mags have been made by several manufacturers, and Beretta.

2. CheckMate Magazines. Regardless of those allegations, the Army (and a lot of others, too) fielded a really fine pistol. The M9 has served well, though not without its issues. The most persistent complaint has to do with the magazines. M9 magazines, especially those made by one subcontractor, didn’t handle sand well. Followers would get jammed, and rounds would rattle around in the mags. This is a criticism that should be aimed at the magazine manufacturer, and not at the M9 itself, but this is the real world. Beretta has since made numerous changes to the magazines to prevent these problems. The new M9A3 mags may be the most exhaustively engineered mags on the market.

3. M882 Ammo. The M9 also suffers because of its ammo. I don’t know a single rational human being who would choose to field 9mm ball ammo. The slower speeds of the .45 ACP ball ammo meant the rounds dumped more energy in their targets. They were not as prone to over-penetrate. The faster, more conically shaped 9mm ball can punch through a bad guy, and he can continue to fight–at least for a time. Still–those looking to demonize the pistol blame the pistol for the performance of shitty ammo.

The open slide on the M9A1 seems logical to some, and like an abomination to others.

The open slide on the M9A1 seems logical to some, and like an abomination to others.

4. The problem with the slides. The open slide of the Beretta is also a point of contention. It lets all kinds of sand and junk into the gun, critics say. It also lets all kinds of sand and junk out of the gun, Beretta replies. I’m not opposed to the open slide. I like the way it looks, and have never had any problem with the functionality. And I’ve run some ragged 92s.

There were also structural problems with the initial batch of slides. The early contract guns had slides that were produced in Italy. Of those, 14 developed cracks in the frame. 3 separated and injured the shooters. Later tests determined that the steel used in the slides wasn’t strong enough to withstand the constant abuse of recoil. After Beretta began making the slides in Maryland, the problem stopped. Completely. Yet rumors persist that the slides crack and cause catastrophic damage.

5. That slide mounted safety. There is one concern that I’d like to address I still can’t wrap my head around. The position of the slide mounted safety was a bad idea. If you grab the slide and rack, you can inadvertently engage the safety. In a mag change, when you need to get back in the fight, or during a tap-rack-bang drill, you may end up pulling the trigger all the way back with no result. This is where I’m going to defer to the judgement of those who do serve. This could get someone killed.

The safety moves up to fire. When racking, be sure you don't accidentally pull the lever down.

The safety moves up to fire. When racking, be sure you don’t accidentally pull the lever down.

Beretta has heard the concern, and changed the angle on the new M9A3. That is a step in the right direction. And those of us who aren’t issued M9s can get a 92G. The G model uses the safety lever as a decocker only. If you hit it accidentally, the hammer will fall, but the trigger will reset to double-action and will still fire. Problem solved.

Conclusions

I’m safe to sit here and pontificate. There’s very little consequence to my loyalty to the M9. I can carry anything I want. I own a couple of 1911s. I own a P226. I often carry a GLOCK.

I owned my original Beretta 92FS for a couple of years. And I was sometimes an idiot about safety, too. After I’d decided I wasn’t going to carry the gun, I kept it in a gun rug under the seat of my truck. Once, someone pulled a smash and grab. They took an entire bag of art supplies, and some photographs I’ve never been able to replace, but left the pistol under the seat. All night.

I eventually sold the first 92 to buy a plane ticket to go visit the woman who is now my wife. I didn’t have a gun for a long time after that. Later, a friend bought me another, almost identical 92. I kept that for years and shot the hell out of it. I eventually traded it for a revolver that I could carry concealed. I was without a 92 for a long time, until this M9A1 came in. This one isn’t the one for me, either, though–I have a stainless one in at my FFL, and that one isn’t going anywhere.

With practice, you get to where your thumb hits the safety as you grip the pistol.

With practice, you get to where your thumb hits the safety as you grip the pistol.

If the safety is engaged, the trigger rocks back with no resistance.

If the safety is engaged, the trigger rocks back with no resistance.

The grip has an adequately sized mag well.

The grip has an adequately sized mag well.

The M9A1 has a rail built into the frame.

The M9A1 has a rail built into the frame.

The checkering provides a good grip surface.

The checkering provides a good grip surface.

The trigger guard has a slight corner for those who like to grip there with the support hand.

The trigger guard has a slight corner for those who like to grip there with the support hand.

See how close the rear serrations are to the safety? This is why some grouse about the safety's placement.

See how close the rear serrations are to the safety? This is why some grouse about the safety’s placement.

The loaded chamber indicator.

The loaded chamber indicator.

The safety moves up to fire. When racking, be sure you don't accidentally pull the lever down.

The safety moves up to fire. When racking, be sure you don’t accidentally pull the lever down.

The rear sight is adjustable.

The rear sight is adjustable.

The front sight?

The front sight? Not so much.

I've always like the aesthetic of the M9. Less so with the rail, but it is more functional.

I’ve always like the aesthetic of the M9. Less so with the rail, but it is more functional.

For those of you who still like to use a lanyard, the Beretta has you covered.

For those of you who still like to use a lanyard, the Beretta has you covered.

Fast accuracy is solid.

Fast accuracy is solid.

The gun points very well.

The gun points very well.

The gun is incredibly easy to hold down.

The gun is incredibly easy to hold down.

There's very little muzzle rise and the gun ejects like a champ.

There’s very little muzzle rise and the gun ejects like a champ. The only reason why the barrel is tilted here is because the slide has locked back.

Double or single action.

Double or single action.

The Montagues. And Mercutio.

The Montagues. And Mercutio.

{ 74 comments… add one }
  • John M. Buol Jr. May 25, 2016, 10:23 am

    I have never met a genuinely skilled pistol shooter that couldn’t shoot the M9 well, even if it wasn’t their pistol of preference. In shooting military matches I have not yet found a skilled American competitor that feels their score would be boosted by switching to a different general issue rack grade service handgun. Competitors from other countries usually like the M9 as well, sometimes in preference to their issue handgun.

    Most M9 complaints from service personnel are from those that don’t shoot that well in the first place.

    https://firearmusernetwork.com/military-finally-looking-to-retire-the-m9-pistol/

  • Carl L. March 7, 2015, 9:57 am

    I bought a 92FS in the 1990’s, but sold it within a year. (I wish I had kept it, just to have it in my collection.) I liked the construction and design, but it just did not feel right to me for shooting. I fit my large (not plump) hands well, but there was a loose feeling to the gun that I did not experience with my 1911’s. The accuracy was fine with the Beretta, but not better than my Colts. I did not like loading the magazines, even with a loading tool, because 9mm rounds are so small. 45ACP rounds are just easier for me to handle. I may buy another 9mm gun, but only to get something as small as a 380 for concealed carry.

  • Dale February 19, 2015, 12:34 pm

    I hate the Beretta, for all of the reasons that have been formerly mentioned. At work I carry (issued) a Glock, and have NEVER had a malfunction with it. At home – we keep a Glock 17 w/laser & light, I carry a Glock 19 w/laser, and when in the car keep a Glock 21 (reworked grip by Robar) w/laser & light. I know that some people hate polymer guns and some people hate Glocks. But I have Never had one fail me yet.

    • steve February 14, 2016, 4:43 pm

      Dale ,you do not know what the hell your taking about.I have about 5 berettas ,one on my person right now,had most of them for about 25 years,just bought the 92s inbox ,hands down the best hand guns in the world.I go target shooting every week,Im a professional marksman their is nothing on the market that compares,people say the 226 sig is good ,that is a piece of crap,my friend had one he dropped it ,and the gun cracked right by the slide,now that is a piece of shit way over rated.Let me tell you,I will stick to the berettas and have fun with your crappy made groan guns….

  • James Anderson February 17, 2015, 5:44 pm

    Was active Marine when we were force fed the Beretta. Saw some of the obvious problems mentioned. One slide detaching on recoil made me shy. Wasn’t a real fan of the 1911. After retirement and years later I purchased a couple of 1911’s and came to love them. The ones I had in the Corps were beyond death. I carried one in Nam and can tell you all the parts were there. All I had to do was jiggle the pistol and hear the parts rattle. Moving along I bought a Taurus 92 after having fired one of a friends. Man it put the Beretta to shame. Same tooling , same gunsmiths but they turned out a much better product. Maybe it was management, parts or what the government was spending. Don’t know. However I do love my 1911’s and my Taurus 92!

  • Dusty February 17, 2015, 12:25 pm

    Beretta makes awesome shotguns! Re: M92 pistol, I’d have to defer to those who’ve carried it in combat- (I hear that the SEALS’s have a little song that mentions them…) Reports I get are that M92’s are intolerant of sand/dirt etc. I have average size hands and I don’t care for slide mounted safeties- be they Beretta, S&W, Ruger, Taurus or whomever. FWIW- Have owned and carried daily, most of the Sig’s- they are reliable, really dirt proof, fit my hand better and the controls make sense. If you want simple, reliable, durable and dirt proof though- go with the Glock.

  • attrition February 17, 2015, 12:18 pm

    (What follows is my opinion and mine alone — and I don’t intend to attempt to force it upon anyone.)

    I’m not even going to touch the “9mm has never been inferior” statement too much, other than to ask: Using ball ammo, do you really believe that is statement still holds true for military use? Which caliber would you choose if you needed to suppress it? Still 9mm?

    I do agree with those that say the military needs to select a good standard .45.

    The M9 gets sidestepped by pretty much every SF unit that wants instant knock-down power and the ability to easily suppress the weapon… Back in the 90’s it was the H&K SOCOM; more recent candidates that compete more favorably in this niche (lets face it, as cool as it was, the SOCOM was a huge pistol) include the full size FNX Tactical.

    Someone mentioned that for general issue, .45 is a dead issue… If true, that’s too bad — I believe the FNX would be much preferred “generally” if the option were remotely possible. A double-stack 1911 would certainly be acceptable also; so long as it was a very suppressor tolerant model. (I’m not an FNX fanboy — I own the SOCOM, the FNX Tactical, and more than one 1911 — but I do genuinely believe the FNX is the better weapon for military purposes. That is an opinion — don’t read it as anything else!)

    I am always genuinely disappointed when the military performs trials, ignores the results, and continues to select the M9… Even if 9mm is the only option; I fail to see how the M9 is superior in any way to the many other options in the same caliber. I could almost have a bit more respect if they had chosen a Glock 17/19/34/etc. instead — and I don’t think that is a great choice either for many reasons (including its safety record), but I’d rather that than the M9…

    What would be the better 9mm? Not sure, but the candidates are many — I think some good candidates include the Sig 226, the CZ-75BD, and possibly several other options like these.

  • CJ February 17, 2015, 10:57 am

    Anyone here ever shoot or own a CZ75 or a clone thereof ? It my seem sacrilegious to say but I think it is a 1911 perfected. Jeff Cooper knew a thing or two about hand guns and chose it for His Bren Ten. After I bought my first CZ 75 I have never looked back. I wish Tanfoglio would get the contract for the new service pistol and build a plant in the U.S . Shoot a CZ 75 or a well built clone of one and you will know what I am talking about.

  • Petru Sova February 17, 2015, 10:43 am

    I might add that the 9mm had never been inferior to the .45acp rather the opposite. First off it was proven as long ago as the early 1900’s that caliber is totally irrelevant when it comes to killing power. In other words the advantage of a larger diameter bullet is a myth as proven by old time big game hunters who hunted on 3 continents such as Agnes Herbert and also by African big game hunters like W.D.M. Bell, Neuman, Stigand and a host of others. Rather bullet placement and penetration are key to incapacitation. The heart stops if hit by a .22 rim fire or a 20mm cannon. Dead is dead not deader. The 9mm with its superior penetration, lower recoil, larger magazine capacity and flatter trajectory make hits easier and more lethal to boot. If the military switches back to the .45acp it is a move that will not result in a superior handgun caliber but quite the opposite. Other heavy recoiling and heavier pressure calibers like the 40 S&W and 10mm are just too hard on handguns not specifically designed from the ground up for such heavy recoiling calibers and when they are designed for them they are often too large and heavy for practical use for the soldier in the field as well as offering no degree of superior lethality as well.

    I have seen no difference in shooting a deer with a 9mm v/s a .45acp except beyond 25 yards where the 9mm is superior no matter if fmj or expanding bullets are used. I have found no difference in killing power between the .357 Mag, 41 Mag or 44 Mag when shooting deer as well. Again the caliber size in regards to killing power is an absolute myth. If anything the nod goes to the smaller diameter calibers in both pistol and rifle as they usually penetrate deeper and shoot flatter and do it with way less recoil. All this comes from shooting live big game, not gun writer myth, not glitzy advertisements, not gun show bull crap. I might add that in the 1980’s Pistolero magazine went to Mexico to circumvent animal cruelty laws and shot pigs (which are anatomically close to humans) and found that pistol caliber was irrelevant to incapacitation.

  • petru sova February 17, 2015, 10:23 am

    I might add that a few gun writers have stated that in interviews with the Military the Sig Sauer was rejected in the Military test trials before the first bullet ever went down the barrel because of its cheesy stamped sheet metal slide that the Military knew would not hold up over the long rung of many thousands of rounds which would be fired out of service pistols. I agree most whole heartedly.

    The real winner should have been the best 9mm handgun of the 20th century and that was the Star Model 28/30. With its forged frame and slide it was rugged beyond belief, endured 180,000 rounds when tested by Interarms before they imported it and had outstanding accuracy and outstanding double and single action pulls. Workmanship was top notch. I was amused and amazed when on a snob forum dedicated to Sigs that was hosted by an obnoxious foul mouthed moderator and his sycophants (who understood little in the way of mechanical design or of the shortcomings and design defects of the original stamped sheet metal Sig 226) repeated the old prejudices against all Spanish made pistols.

    Although the foul mouthed arrogant moderator howled about the change of extractor design in the Star 28 it was not because the extractor was inferior rather it was because Star found a way to make it shorter and with less cost and at the same time make it even stronger which resulted in the Model 30. This was something totally lost on the dim witted moderators psyche.

    Of course the fabulous Star 30 was just too expensive to make and it was discontinued after a relatively short manufacturing life, which was truly one of the greatest losses to the world of outstanding 9mm handguns.

    All in all the U.S. Military did get an outstanding handgun in the Beretta 92 and it rightfully won out against the flimsy stamped sheet metal Sig P226 with its cheesy stamped sheet metal roll pins and its anemic coiled music wired springs that tend to go snap, crackle and pop in the night while the Beretta uses rugged old school coiled wire springs, the best there is.

    The one thing that amazed me about the Beretta 92 is that it seems to defy all old school logic which dictates that for a handgun to be accurate the muzzle must fit the end of the slide very tightly. My Beretta and others I have examined are loose as a goose at this juncture but they still shoot amazingly accurate while the P38 design (from which the Beretta 92 copied so much) usually does not match the accuracy of the Beretta 92.

    I think too that the longer sighting radius of the rear sight to the front sight also minimizes aiming error as well giving it an advantage over some of the other service handguns.

    The transition of manufacture of the Beretta 92 from Europe to America did not result in a loss of workmanship as it did in the Sig P226 either.

    In a world of cheap plasticky and stamped sheet metal handguns the Beretta still maintains enough of the old school manufacturing to make it a worthwhile handgun to consider buying. The only bitch I ever had about the Beretta 92 is when the factory stared using plasticky op-rods which resulted in an avalanche of angry Beretta lovers ordering the older metal op-rods before supplies would invariably run out. But the good news is there are after market made metal op-rods you can buy for this pistol as well as for the CZ 75/85 pistols.

  • Noel P. February 17, 2015, 10:00 am

    This love affair with the M9 is normally for those that have not used a handgun in life threatening circumstances. Slides still are rupturing and any debris takes it out of action. I’ve used aftermarket mags for years and most work with any handgun. My 92 is long gone and I’m glad. I also have a 96 and after seeing a 92 disintegrate I decided that a .40 round would do it faster. It also is gone. Basically the Army wants a heavier round and will get it. They have already told Beretta to hit the road. Beretta should stick to making shotguns. If you just want to go out to the range and pinch holes in paper or plink a M9 is fine as are all 9mms.
    For service use I used to carry a BHP and loved it until I moved up to Larger people instead of smaller parties we were in contact with. Still have the BHP but prefer one of my CZs in .40 or any of several .45s.
    The article was well written but it is time to move on in the military.

  • Bruce February 17, 2015, 9:27 am

    It was not the Geneva convention but the Hague convention that outlawed the use of any projectiles with exposed lead. This did not cover hollow point ammo which is legal to use. But the US was not a signer of the Hague convention but we have observed it. The reasons we use FMJ is that it takes more people out of a fight to aid a wound man and the ability to feed very reliably. The .45 is not more likely to stop someone then the 9mm. Both in ball form are terrible stoppers but the 9mm will out penetrate the .45 any day of the week. The .45 for general use is a dead issue with the military. The US is a NATO member and the standard in handguns is 9mm for all of NATO. NATO is not going to drop the 9mm for any other round so as long as the US is a NATO member it will be the 9mm as standard. The military is not about to change firearms. They do not have any funding for it other then the yearly testing. They are not about to give up a couple of new fighters, a few new fighting vehicles or a small ship for new firearms.

  • brant mcgee February 16, 2015, 11:54 pm

    As a combat medic in Vietnam I carried a 1911 and replaced my M-16 and it’s ammo with more bottles of Ringer’s Lactate (blood volume expander) with the approval my infantry platoon. I thought that if I needed an M-16 there would be plenty lying next to my wounded.
    For me the question comes down to terminal effectiveness, that is, what pistol caliber in a suitable pistol is most likely to stop the enemy in front of me with the fewest hits. The Geneva Conventions (with which I wholeheartedly agree) preclude the use of any bullet other than FMJs. No one questions the fact that a .45 caliber FMJ bullet is significantly more likely to stop an enemy soldier more effectively–and more quickly–than a 9 mm FMJ bullet.
    Given this indisputable fact, I have never understood why our military traded the .45 caliber in for the 9 mm. Nor do I understand today’s discussion. Our military needs a suitable pistol in .45 caliber.

  • Steve February 16, 2015, 10:34 pm

    I’m a bit confused. The Beretta 92A1 my wife purchased last week has a rounded trigger guard, whereas the above photo shows it with a “slight corner”. In fact, the literature in the store has the rounded trigger guard as an improvement so as to allow easier mounting of assories to the rail. Therefore, I would like to know which model the photos are portraying.

    Thanks

    Steve

  • Mike Colorado February 16, 2015, 10:29 pm

    I own a 1911 and 96fs, same pistol .40 cal. The 1911 is more straight forward to use and the SA trigger makes it more accurate I can put bullets in the same hole at 7-10 yards.
    The 96 is slightly less accurate but still very accurate 1.5in groups at 7-10. I feel like the 96 has more engineering to it and better craftsmanship the 1911 feels like a cheap hunk of metal which is all it needs to be at the most basic level as long as it flings those boulders of bullets its OK but I like having more rounds.

  • Will Drider February 16, 2015, 9:46 pm

    I had a Beretta 70s which provided flawless function and good accuracy for over 10 years. My factory new Marine issued (1985) M9 had a cracked barrel above the lug and visable across the lans and grooves. All unit M9 were then inspected in that area and several more cracked barrels were found and defects reported up the Chain. We kept our 1911for another six months. When you witness a material failure on a “New” firearm it will forever taint that model and often the entire brand. In the old days you could pick up a backup handgun in the bush. Nobody cared, you just had to carry the extra weight and feed it. Not the case today. Half of the M9s problem is the 9mm ball ammo. A major performance issue. Unless someone comes up with a magic 9mm ball round: THE M9 AND ITS SPAWN ARE DOA.

  • george ashmore February 16, 2015, 7:49 pm

    Don’t blame Beretta for the slides–the Europeans hot load a lot of 9 mm for sub guns and that just wasn’t going to last long on a small pistol

  • Steve Culbertson February 16, 2015, 7:40 pm

    The 92 has served admirably and any problems were addressed long ago – the Brass just want a new gun – can’t fault that I guess – or maybe a cheaper gun like the Glock – they won’t even let the Beretta compete for some reason but it is easy to shoot and reliable – the complaint about the open slide is moot because you can argue it allows it to operate without plugging up with dirt or sand rather than the opposite – I own HK’s, Sig’s, Glock’s, Walther’s, but my Beretta’s are great guns and they passed some very tough tests to be selected in the first place even though Sig only lost out due to cost.

  • buffalochip February 16, 2015, 6:52 pm

    Article text relating to cracked/broken slides and slide failure: “Later tests determined that the steel used in the slides wasn’t strong enough to withstand the constant abuse of recoil. After Beretta began making the slides in Maryland, the problem stopped.”

    B.S. !!! Where does this nonsense keep coming from???

    There was NEVER a metallurgical issue with the 92F / FS slides — and the metallurgical specs between Italian guns and Accokeek guns are identical. Italian-manufactured commercial 92F and 92FS pistols, for this reason, have never been recalled, and are entirely safe to shoot with the full range of on-spec 9mm and 9mm +P ammo. The problem in the initial GI introduction/testing was the ammo used, which was loaded not only well over M882 ball spec (a very hot round that approaches +P, by the way), but over what later became the accepted +P commercial spec. In some cases people were found to be shooting blue-pill proof loads in the test guns as well, a 20%+ overcharge which caused rapid stress cracking in the slides. Under this abuse and not surprisingly, some slides cracked or broke entirely, in some cases causing injury to the shooters. It was in these cases of injury that a design change was determined to be necessary, and it was unrelated to the initial cause of the cracking (the ammo). The change to the slide design was undertaken NOT because of a metallurgical failure, but so that in the event of a fully broken and separated slide occurring for any reason, the rear piece of the slide would REMAIN on the frame, and NOT be ejected from the frame into a shooter’s face. Once this design change had been accomplished, the design was finalized for adoption by the military as the M9, and the commercial model was redesignated “92FS”.

    The bad ammo ended up highlighting a true issue — the potential for a broken slide to injure a shooter, a real but extremely remote issue, so long as the shooter is using on-spec ammo — and thus it performed a valuable service in the final development of the pistol for adoption, early enough for a cheap and effective fix in the design to be implemented. But the fact that there was no metallurgical issue, nor any safety issue with the use of even remotely on-spec ammo, was borne out by Beretta’s decision not to recall the pre-M92FS commercial models owned by a litigious American general public. (Had there been a legitimate risk, Beretta would have recalled them all, rather than risk being sued down to their socks, which is what would have happened, had the guns been truly unsafe with on-spec ammo.) And the notion that the Italian-manufactured 92FS or M9 models were somehow metallurgically inferior is a fairy tale that doesn’t bear repeating by knowledgable gun people. Whether you like the gun, or hate the gun, that bit of urban folklore just ain’t so.

  • Petru Sova February 16, 2015, 6:42 pm

    I read up on one of the U.S. Military test trials and in the mud and water test the 1911 actually jammed up more than the Beretta did. Its also interesting to note that in 1945 the U.S. Military actually tested the .45 acp v/s the 9mm and found the 45acp was largely a dude round as it could not penetrate a helmet past 35 yards while the 9mm penetrated the same helmet at an astonishing 125 yards and might have do so even further put the accuracy of the pistol and the skill of the shooters cancelled and tests at longer range. With the 9mm’s flatter trajectory it was easier to hit targets with at long range as well.

    Now you can see why the Europeans rejected the .45 in favor of the 9mm and the .30 Tokarev

    • Joe February 16, 2015, 10:47 pm

      The .45 wasn’t designed to use past fifty yaards,neither was the 9mm beretta.
      The .45 has more knock down power than the 9mm in it.s design parameters The 9mm is a over penetrating round and is inferior to the .45 in design function.

  • Raymond Waugh February 16, 2015, 6:25 pm

    The Beretta 92 models are great reliable pistols. Its amazing to see so many people who do not own one nor have they ever shot one, put them down because they own something else and read reviews from other idiots who are the same. Also, IF YOU STOVEPIPE A BERETTA 92 MODEL, YOU NEED TO GET A 22 BECAUSE YOU ARE A LIMP WRISTED SISSY WHO ISN’T STRONG ENOUGH TO GRIP YOUR WEAPON. For that matter a .22 might be to much for you still so maybe a BB pistol would be better for you. Quit crying about the Beretta. If you think you don’t like it because someone else wrote a bad review then go buy what they like and quite crying.

  • Guy February 16, 2015, 5:41 pm

    I carried a Beretta Centurion (until the department issued Beretta’s’ locking blocks started to develop fractures) and then a Beretta Brigadier for 10 years as a cop. They’re basically double action only versions of the M9. I carried a 1911 in my first Army years in Germany and in combat in Central America and an M9 later in combat in Iraq. They all worked fine. I’m not a fan of 9mm for personal defense but shot placement and the type of bullet used, in my opinion, are more important than caliber. I never had any problems or issues (except for the cracking locking blocks on the Centurions – which did not fill me with great esteem for the Beretta – but they were fixed) with my guns. Now my old M16A1 in the jungle of Central America? If I didn’t clean that gun every darned day and keep it perfectly oiled it became a one shot wonder!

  • BRASS February 16, 2015, 4:53 pm

    A Marine from 66-96, a USMC 1911 was my only duty side arm until the late 80s when my units were finally replaced. I also had a Colt 1911A1 70 Series of newer vintage for personal use. I bought a Baretta in ’86 while in Italy on deployment and had the advantage of using it for practice after that in addition to my duty M9. While my experience with the Colt was of course greater than that with the Baretta, I had enough trigger time on and off the range to give a fair comparison, for my purposes. No surprise I’m sure but I like the 1911 better in every respect except one, capacity. Would I feel adequately armed with any M9 variant, yes with the right ammo? Yes. Would I carry ball ammo of any make? No. I load my own and practice with what I carry with any of the 9MM handguns I own, including Glock, I just change the barrels. I like the M9/92F well enough and may buy the new M3. The 92 I use the most is one I bought from a relative who is an ICE agent and replaced it with an SIG 226, it does not have a rail. I think the Baretta with a rail makes a superb house gun for those comfortable with its trigger. All of my house guns now have a rail for lights and lasers including an old Springfield 1911A1 that I had a local gunsmith add a steel 1913 rail from Brownells to. He did a superb job, it is rock solid and the fit and finish is first rate. These days I don’t carry without a light and laser, even on my LCP so a rail, grips or other method of getting both on any gun I own is now paramount. That for me, is one big advantage of the M3 or M9A1 for those that like the 9MM cartridge and Baretta trigger. With proper ammo the lethality of the 9MM is more than adequate at CQB ranges and certainly as accurate as your gun. Recoil control is great and if hand size is of no issue, anyone should be able to use the Baretta’s to good effect with the always requisite training and practice. For civilian use, ammo type and weight is not the issue it is for military but the added velocity and penetration is of benefit when heavy clothing or other penetration prevention is present. Newer technology ammunition that accomplishes both initial penetration and expansion solves the majority of problems. For the money, the relatively light weight, accuracy and power along with the availability of upgrade and easy modification to suit the use and user of the very affordable Baretta, should make it a top choice.
    I say function first, form second. For those who choose looks over more practical considerations when a variety of firearms for any purpose is not realistic, you may be shooting yourself in the foot.

    • buffalochip February 16, 2015, 7:21 pm

      Good comments all.

      I love my 1911A1 and still prefer it over my 92FS, but I have to admit that the main reason is that I have hands that are on the small side, and the Beretta grip, while manageable, will never be entirely comfortable for me. The 1911A1, on the other hand, points, fits, and shoots like no other — at least for me. There are, however, a lot of good arguments for a modern 9mm double-stack as a civilian home defense or carry gun, take your pick of SIG, Glock, H&K, or Beretta iterations of the theme.

      For civilians, ammo improvement has greatly reduced the advantages of .45 ACP over 9mm — as long as you select the right 9mm ammo. So with the reduced importance of the stopping power difference, the capacity improvement of the 9mm becomes a big deal. Get a good hi-cap 9mm, get good ammo, and you’ll be well served as a civilian. But for military use, I would still want a .45. Neither a 9mm nor a .45 is going to penetrate an enemy’s ballistic vest, if he’s wearing one, so the penetration advantages of the 9mm are kind of overrated IMO. On the other hand, the stopping power of .45 ball vs. 9mm ball has been a settled issue for a long time, on a non-body armored target — there isn’t any comparison. If I had to go to war, personally I’d want a slightly modernized 1911, and I’d be a happy camper. I know the military won’t re-adopt the M1911 in any form — it requires a real operator and real practice to use one halfway effectively — but they do need to make sure that whatever they adopt is in .45 caliber. For the military, with the FMJ restriction, the stopping power just isn’t there in anything smaller.

  • todd February 16, 2015, 2:11 pm

    My 1st pistol was the 92F, nothing wrong with it, but it should not be our military’s gun. mostly because it’s only 9mm. and partially because it’s not an American gun. it seems that some need 16 rounds to feel comfortable, I thought the same way before my skills and knowledge increased, I used to think 7 rounds in a 1911 wasn’t enough and I would never limit my ccw to that capacity, but now, it’s all I use for ccw. and the author seems to praise berretta for the low muzzle rise? uh… it’s a 9mm. were you comparing that with a 45?. what other 9’s have more of a muzzle rise? too many of us want what the military has and never stop and think about how different civilian needs are over the military’s We’re not in enemy territory, we don’t need a gun that can survive the desert sands, we’re not living in tents, jumping out of aircraft…etc. etc. while my 1911 might not like the desert sands and day to day wartime conditions, In the city, It’s reliable, accurate, & dependable. and a 45 beats 9 mm every time. Shot placement is more important than the number of rounds in your mag. and most ccw shootings are over in seconds, before the 1st mag. change, while the military’s can last for hours . So find the gun for your needs, the best gun is the one you can shoot comfortably and fits your requirements, not what seal team 6 is using. I need a 45 for my conditions, but I won’t tell you it’s the best caliber ( even though it is ) 🙂 Your needs, skills and environment are probably different
    if I too was carrying an AR around with me, the beretta would work just fine, but in the civilian world I can’t walk around with an AR strapped to me along with my sidearm, and my 1911 is easier to conceal than my berretta was and made by an American company! not a company who only moved production to the states to be able to get around the restrictions that kept them from trying for the government bid. it’s not the best gun, just the cheapest, thank your idiot politician for the m9.

  • Larry Mallory February 16, 2015, 1:55 pm

    I’ve carried a Beretta 92 Brigadier 9mm for quite a number of years( I purchased it new) . I’ve never had a failure to fire, feed or function after firing it several thousand rounds. Proper cleaning, lubrication, expanding ammunition and reliable magazines are a must to enable these pistols to reach their potential, and then only if they fit your hand. I’m not sure its a good general issue military handgun because of the size of its grip( large) , and the requirement of FMJ ammunition we seem to be sticking with.

  • RailwayMan February 16, 2015, 1:41 pm

    I’ve an original 92FS made in Italy and it’s never failed, nor have I encountered any of the problems listed here, using original Beretta magazines. Great well-balanced accurate handgun.

  • Russell Barclay February 16, 2015, 1:12 pm

    I always liked the Beretta. I like its recoil characteristics, probably because it has less weight in the upper receiver. I find I can keep it on target and re-aquire a sight picture faster than with the P226 or the Glock. I think it is prettier than the others and it feels comfortable in my hand. And, yes, good looks count. I even bought a .22 barrel and magazine for it. I’ve thought about having a throat job done to it so it can cycle hollow point ammo reliably.

  • Michael Lynch February 16, 2015, 12:29 pm

    I have a 92FS INOX. Not one thing that I can say bad about the gun. 18+1 with 2 spare mags, I have plenty of rounds. over 1000 rounds through the gun, It is perfect. Even shoots some low recoil ammo without problems. Don’t know why there are so may Beretta haters out there? ? I have 10 pistols including a 1911, so I believe that I have a fair cross section of the market. My 2 Cents.

  • Ken Davis February 16, 2015, 12:10 pm

    I grew up in the Marines with the standard M1911A1. As an enlisted Marine armorer this was the pistol I was always armed with in the performance of my duties. I decided early on that if I was to maintain these pistols, I should know how to handle it as well. I mastered the M1911 over time and started bullseye competition with a match M1911 and did very well for several years and went Distinguished with a NM M1911A1.
    It was rumored the Marines were going to start using the new M9’s for division competition. Then as an officer, I was no longer armed with a pistol in the performance of my duties but once again, I felt if I was going to shoot it in competition, and to master this new gun I’d better get one and start working it. I bought my first 92FS at the MC exchange and dry fired it constantly and shot it whenever I could. For me the trigger was the biggest issue; the first shot is fired double action and the second shot is single action. The problem is jumping on the trigger on the second shot. However, the 92 pointed so well and felt good in my hand.
    Eventually I started competing with the M9’s and did incredibly well with two Secretary of the Navy Trophy Rifles to my credit. I went Distinguished with a M1911 but won matches shooting the M9. Almost immediately, I got out of competition and eventually received orders to deploy and again I was armed with a pistol; this time the M9. I was very aware of the maintenance and durability issues with the M9’s and had a very uneasy feeling as having the only firearm I would be armed with being the M9, so I took my Colt Delta Elite with me to Saudi as well. I felt if I was going into a situation where I may have to use the M9 to save my life; the at least I’d have a fighting chance with the 10mm. Fortunately, I saw no conflict and brought the Delta Elite back home with me. There were numerous problems with the M9 magazines centered on the spring “set”. I would unload and reload all my magazines each night to exercise the spring. It’s because of this set issue; I never load my magazines until I’m ready to use the gun.
    Since that time I’ve been involved in combat style shooting with the M9 at the AFSAM competitions. By this time, the M9’s were showing their age and were becoming more maintenance intensive. I would take extra slides, barrels and locking blocks to the competitions to support the teams’ guns. It was about this time Beretta redesigned the locking blocks and radiused the sharp corners so the locking block were faring better. At one week long event I broke and repaired my pistol four times!
    These days, I have two Beretta model 92 FS pistols; one stainless, the other blued. I don’t shoot them; bought them new and have never shot them. I now use Springfield XD’s and/or Glock pistols, but I love the feel of the 92 in my hand.

  • Pete Schultz February 16, 2015, 11:17 am

    Started pistol shooting in 1958 with a WW 2 P 38 have owned many 9 mm’s the only ones I have any more are that P 38 9 (sentimental reasons) 3 other (mm’s 2 CZ’s & 1SIG SAUER also have CZ in .45 & 2 in>40 SW. Like the old saying don’t carry anything that doesn’t start with a 4. Recoil is mostly perceived My daughter was shooting my SW 357 at 9 years old
    with 90 percent of her hits in the 10 ring! It’s called practice folks. Be’ing Range master at our club I’m Amazed at the number of police officers that can’t hit at 25 yds. They come out 2 times a year other than that they never fire a round! 9mm is about
    1 notch above a.22 in stopping power.

  • George W February 16, 2015, 11:07 am

    I have a 92sf that I would not trade for anything on the market. I carry it concealed and it rides well in my IWB holster. I like the safety, I have no trouble with the slide, it will digest any 9mm and ask for more. I hate some of the aftermarket mags. (One must be careful when ordering new magazines, if they are not made in Italy I do not order them now)
    I keep a couple magazines loaded with very good hollow point for defense work and use Federal anything for practice. I have tried many other brands and they shoot well in the 92sf, I just like Federal.
    My Sig Mosquito is going the gun shop today to be sold. I just bought it and I dislike it very much. Unlike the Beretta, It hates all ammo I guess. Should have done more research as that is a major complaint on the blogs.

  • Abby Normal February 16, 2015, 10:32 am

    I learned to shoot pistols with a Taurus 92FS copy and loved it, other than the rear site falling off when I was qualifying for my CHL. From that point on I was in love with the Beretta. So much so that my first handgun is a 92FS. It has put thousands of rounds at paper over the past few years without issue. It shoots ammo that most other guns won’t – especially my friend’s Kimber 1911. That thing looks and feels nice and it’s expensive. But it’s also very particular about what it eats. He brought 5 different types of ammo to the range one day and got an FTF on every brand.

    I liked my first 92FS so much that I bought its little brother the 84FS (.380ACP, 13 round +1). I added Pachmayr grips to them both for added girth to the handle and everyone that shoots either love them – especially the 84FS. The slide on that thing is just nasty to rack back unless you have a grip like a blacksmith. But the gun is fun to shoot. I don’t shoot it as much because Beretta doesn’t make them anymore and parts are getting scarce.

    In fact, I like the Beretta so much that I recently bought a second 92FS only this one is a Two-Tone. I bought it from CheaperThanDirt (I know about the gouging) and got “free” FFL transfer from one store to the other (out of state), free shipping, and a $50 rebate from Beretta. Try to beat that on a brand new 92FS Two-Tone anywhere for under $500 TTL.

    I load my own so I have no doubt what I’m putting down range. Not every shot goes where I want them to but they go where I expect them to and never do I get a failure to feed. I did get a couple squib rounds with some store bought ammo so I don’t even go that route – ever. Both of those were lucky because another round racked right behind them. It was a good thing I noticed the firing of both or I would be typing with one hand.

    Any company that has been in business as long as Beretta means something. Their service is good too although all I’ve had were questions.

    The 92FS is a large gun to carry concealed but the 84FS (or 85FS – single stack) is not. I only wish they had paid more attention to the 84FS and just made it the same as it’s bigger brother but just smaller.

  • Adam February 16, 2015, 10:16 am

    I have several berettas. I have a 96 and 92. I haven’t had any problems out of either, but also have never took them to a sand pit or other extreme area besides rain. They feel great in hand and are accurate beyond my capability. I like the 96 better for the caliber, but when shooting paper the 92 is the sweetheart.

  • Patrick Malone February 16, 2015, 9:57 am

    Having read all the above comments, I find myself wondering what people have been firing. I have a 92FS, which I carried on duty for 12 years. I have put approximately 5k rounds down the pipe, with many different types and brands of ammo, and have NEVER had a failure to load, failure to eject, or a stovepipe. I now reload my own, fully within SAMMI specs, and have had no failures with that either. I cannot argue with the 9mm v. .45 statements, but know that the 92 is easier to get back on target after the first round, and, for what its worth, accuracy counts. I still carry the 92 occasionally, loaded with XTPs, and I guarantee that if I hit you with one, you’re goi9ng to know it! Just my two cents, YMMV.

  • Gordon MacCalla February 16, 2015, 9:52 am

    I have always had either/or a 1911 or Commander close by, and am happy with both. I was required to carry a 92 as a pilot/flightcrew on missions, and qualified expert easily with it. I hate to say I fired much more accurately and faster with the 92,
    I kept it clean with a coupla extra mags, knowing if it really got got down to having to use it, I was in some really serious dodo, and a pistol against a bunch of AK’s will not depend on caliberor make of pistol, realistically.
    I still have a 92 as one of my home defense arms, and feel rapid, accurate firepower just about equals the .45.
    Of course, I would always take a 1 shot hit with a 45, 40, 10mm, etc over a 9mm ball, but accuracy and ammo can be much more important. Just some thoughts…….

  • Rip February 16, 2015, 9:49 am

    I like the heft of the 92, it feels good in my hand. 15 in the mag That’s all I need to make the hits.

  • Chris Baker February 16, 2015, 8:40 am

    I don’t own a 1911 or a 92 so while I have shot and previously owned a 1911 and I have never shot a 92, I simply happened to form my opinion of the 92 based on the ammo it is designed to use. “those looking to demonize the pistol blame the pistol for the performance of shitty ammo.” I have never used a firearm in any kind of combat except to kill bowling pins. So I have no combat experience and am really impartial to the designs. Knowing what little I know, I would probably buy another 1911 if I wanted a autoloader for regular carry. I like my little pocket gun which is a Beretta 3032 Tomcat. I bought it based on what I knew of my wife’s Beretta 25. I like the size and weight, grips and I simply adore the pop up barrel for removing or placing a round in the chamber. 32 ACP is small but it can do the job, loaded with hollow points (not restricted by the stupid conventions, nor do I have to worry about conforming to foreign forces systems), I can shoot it accurately enough in the situations that I would need to, to protect myself. For obvious carry I’ll stick to my Ruger GP100 with it’s 125 gr HP ammo. Yes they are only .002 bigger in diameter than 9mm but if you HAD to be in a shoot out would you prefer the enemy had a 9mm or a 357 Magnum pointed at you?

    • Russ February 16, 2015, 1:52 pm

      I would rather have the GP-100 pointed at me.
      Put me out of my misery quicker, with less pain.

  • Ed February 16, 2015, 8:33 am

    I bought a 92F back in the 80s and it’s still one of my favorite shooters… It’s just too big for EDC in Florida wearing shorts and T-Shirts… But I still love it and I always have it with me on hunting trips

  • J.R. February 16, 2015, 8:23 am

    During the test the cracking frames and damaged slides were found to be mostly from ammunition not loaded to SAAMI specifications.
    Subsequent tests did find some minor problems which were corrected but the primary culprit was “hot” loads which will damage any firearm not designed to handle them.

  • Chad Zimmerman February 16, 2015, 8:20 am

    I can add a bit to the discussion. For qualification, I first handled the 92f in 1989 when I was a USAF Combat Arms Instructor. The Air Force was also transitioning from their standard sidearm (S&W Model 15 Combat Masterpiece) to the Beretta. We had always been saddled with an under powered backup, so the 9mm was situation normal….. The pistol was just Bla. It functioned well, but accuracy sucked on every level. Thank God there were lots of rounds going down range as group size was several times that of our beloved (just kidding) wheel guns. As a combat weapon, the Beretta was superior, bet we were Marksmanship unit and we didn’t ask for a shotgun. Further, we were gun guys. There were way too many superior pistols to the 92F that were passed up for price. Screw the soldier, this is cheaper.

    Post USAF I have spent the last 20 years as a LEO. For a time 9mm pistols were carried by departments both for the volume of fire they provided and the cost of the ammo. With the rise in popularity of the .40 S&W, LE use of the 9mm all but died. Anything the 9 could do, .40 could do better. Most importantly, stop bad guys. In recent years ammunition manufacturers have come up with some excellent +P 9 rounds that make the round more appealing. I have even stooped to owning one as a 2nd to my trusty .45 ACP.

  • Ken Vincent February 16, 2015, 8:12 am

    I first met the M1911A1 in 1972 in the Marine Corps. It was difficult to shoot well, prone to misfeeds, and generally worn out after generations of service. The first time I shot the M9 in 1992 I fired a much higher score than my best with the 1911, and my scores, using my own 92FS improved from then on. My experience was not unique. Since the M9 is easier for beginners to shoot well, first round hits are more likely. And if the first shot is a miss, well, 17 chances is better than five. A few skilled shooters can shoot fine scores with a 1911, but reality is that most soldiers and Marines get to shoot only a few times a year, and are not really skilled marksmen. What is easy and reliable to shoot is the right choice overall. “It is only the hits that count.”

  • Alan February 16, 2015, 7:54 am

    The only good feature gained in the transition from the 1911 was the DA/SA. The M9 is reliable as long as it is kept incredibly clean ( home, to car, to range, and back) Its a good firearm for a civilian or even civilian law enforcement , but not a good choice for the rigors of military use. A far better choice would have been the Colt double eagle,(check it out) And 9mm vs. 45acp, do we really have to go over that again. 9mm won’t penetrate through most military gear and clothing let alone pass through a person. I honestly don’t know where you get this info from. Your not that old, sign up for the military, put on a fresh pair of panties and get in the game. THEN, come back and write some articles…….

    • Jeremy February 16, 2015, 9:51 am

      Are you saying 9mm has no penetrating qualities?

  • Felix Mena February 16, 2015, 7:15 am

    Best article I’ve read on guns America. Well done!

  • James Riter February 16, 2015, 6:28 am

    Love my 92fs had all controls replaced with steel ones and have a 22lr practice Kit.

  • Joe February 16, 2015, 6:27 am

    I like my high power, but I love my 1911-A1

  • James February 16, 2015, 6:24 am

    The M9 is the superior weapon to the 1911. The M9 is smooth and accurate side arm. Superior in round count which is the best thing going in a fight. For all the Nay Sayers out there round count is the and accuracy are the most important part of the fight.
    Remember if you can not hit the target in 8 (1911) well the M9 keeps on shooting.

    • David W, Stephenson February 16, 2015, 8:23 am

      Give a 3rd Gen Smith and time, I own several stainless auos in various flavors and also 2 AR’s carry gun is stainless 457(45) in a DeSantis quick draw belt holster with 7 in the mag and one in the pipe, beside if you can’t stop them with one or two you might be out gunned

  • Terry T February 16, 2015, 6:20 am

    I purchased a 92FS Centurion in .40 S&W back in 1996. It was a gorgeous gun. The problem was that I had very frequent failure-to-feed issues with it. It seems that the truncated projectile on the 40 S&W would have the side flat come up and be parallel to the breach of the barrel, and the slide just wouldn’t be able to load the cartridge.

    I sent it back to Baretta, and upon its return there was no improvement. Now faced with having a heavy paperweight, I worked on blending the entrance to the breach, but to no good effect. Frustrated and disappointed, I sold it and never looked back.

    My replacement was a Sig 239 with a single-stack magazine. That pistol is the only one I’ve owned over the years, that has never had a single operational failure, no matter what ammo I’ve put through it. I’ve never served in the military or police, but I do know that I’d never bet my life on that 92FS (.40 S&W), but would put 100% faith in that Sig to work flawlessly.

  • MAKO February 16, 2015, 6:14 am

    Firstly, I am not a fan of the Beretta M9/92 or its cousins. Unlike the author, I HAVE carried it into combat and THAT is what created my dislike for the model. There are MANY reasons for that, too many to list here (Uncomfortable ergonomics for MANY users, unreliability (ESPECIALLY in wet or sandy environments), RIDICULOUS location for the safety for a COMBAT handgun (a BIG gripe!), KNOWING there were better choices available (such as the SUPERIOR SIG P226!), etc…Suffice it to say, I don’t like it. As I stated, I realize that the author DID NOT carry the M9 into combat, despite his digressions, so none of his experience is based upon counting on it when it REALLY matters, so I find most of his defense of the M9 and his “surprise” at why so many folks don’t like the M9 to ring a bit hollow. Secondly, just to establish a response to those who will say “maybe you should take better care of your guns”, I say “I take better care of my guns than anyone else I know”. In other words, “maintenance” is NOT a factor here, all of my weapons, either issued or owned have been and always will be WELL maintained.

    That being said, I AM a fan of Beretta, in general! BOTH of my normal concealed carry handguns are BERETTA’S. My “Primary” is the PX4 Storm in 9MM. This is a SUPREMELY comfortable handgun, mine is quite accurate, it is easily concealable, I have found it to be utterly reliable and, not that this is a consideration, but it is one of the COOLEST looking handguns out there. My “backup” is a 30 year old Beretta 950 Jetfire in .25ACP. I carry Hornady hollow-points in it. Again, I have found this Beretta to be quite accurate, SUPREMELY concealable and utterly reliable, with my only two gripes about it being that it is quite uncomfortable, ergonomically, and has no mechanical safety (wiggles trigger finger and says “this is my safety”). So you see, this ISN’T an Anti-Beretta thing, it is an Anti-M9/92 thing. I don’t like Smith & Wesson Police .38 revolvers for the same reason, failing at the time when I needed them to work. It might surprise you to know that I DETEST Glock’s, as well. ALL GLOCKS! Just don’t like them.

    The handgun which I carried most into combat and continue to carry on-duty is the SIG P266, which I consider the FINEST “production” handgun available. My P226 carries a big loadout, is the most ergonomically comfortable handgun I have EVER held, is SUPREMELY accurate (mine is TRULY a tack-driver!), is utterly reliable, even in wet and sandy environments, and is simply the SUPERIOR design. The U.S. Army made a mistake all those years ago, choosing the M9 over the P226 (Mk25 in Navy parlance), and YES, it was due to politics, backdoor dealing and an effort to “go cheap”. I will forever be grateful that the U.S. Navy, in which I proudly served, decided NOT to “go cheap”, but instead, to go with the BEST, the SIG P226.

    In conclusion, if YOU like the M9, if it “works” for you, if you feel you can rely on it to function PROPERLY when it counts and if you have a baseline knowledge of other handgun types to base your opinion on (I.E.- you have tested other handguns yourself), then by all means, go with the M9. Maybe you’ll get a good one out of the batch.

    • arnold February 16, 2015, 6:25 pm

      agree totally about the sig 226..I have been shooting for 45 years, went though a love affair with Browning HP, owned about very thing out there, including Beretta, but the Sig line, especially 226 is the best I have ever shot, Also like the 229 and lately purchased two 227s in 45acp. The 227 is outstanding, with 10 rounds in the clip and one in the tube. For the military, the 226 in .40 cal should be the choice.

  • Pete February 16, 2015, 5:32 am

    The guns in the “Romeo and Juliet” movie were Taurus PT92s, not Beretta 92. Just FYI. Yeah, I like the Beretta too, actually started with the Tauruses and then got myself a 92FS made in Italy. Great gun. Now I also own a 92 INOX Brigadier and an Italian made 92A1. I plan to get the M9A3 when it comes out. The Army in their infantile wisdom is just wanting to waste time and money on gun trials which in no way will improve the effectiveness of the troops. There is nothing wrong with the M9 or the M9A1 that could not be fixed by more training. Unfortunately, the US Army has really low standards for marksmanship, both rifle and pistol, and then they wonder why their weapons are not effective. Maybe if they trained as the USMC does they might learn to hit something vital or maybe even hit at all. The fact remains though that no matter what caliber, handguns are notoriously bad man stoppers, especially with FMJ ammo. So instead of wasting years and millions on testing unnecessary new handguns, they should spend the time and money training the troops to be proficient. They are already invested in the gun, have trained gunsmiths/armorers (who would have to be retrained for any new platform) and parts in the supply chain. Why waste time and money with having to set up a new support structure? Just normal waste at the Pentagon, maybe the Sec Def should just tell them to shut up and use the Beretta like McNamara did with the M16 back when. We don’t need no new side arms for the troops.

    • josh February 16, 2015, 8:51 am

      So says some one that did not go to war over the past 10 years or so. I had guys in my company in afganistan that shot a guy 15 or 16 times befor the terrorists would stop fighting. The 5.56 needs to go and so does the 9mm round. M-4 is not a bad gun if kept well loobed. I love the m9 I bought one because I can’t by 22lr any more. I never had a problem with them in the army Or in my private colection.

      • praharin February 16, 2015, 12:49 pm

        You can’t train someone to have larger hands. I wear a men’s Large glove and have trouble reaching the mag catch and the double action trigger with the same grip. And while you can train around the issue with the safety placement, no amount of training will make it as fast as not having the issue in the first place. I spent a 4 years in the Corps, with 2 back to back deployments to Iraq as convoy security, PSD and running foot and mounted patrols. I have no problem with either 9mm or 5.56 compared to any other small arms cartridge.

        If you have shoot someone 16 times, WITH CONFIRMED SOLID CENTER MASS HITS, and they keep coming they are most likely drugged up. CNS (brain/spinal cord) hits or mechanical destabilization (breaking the pelvis, specifically) are the only thing that will work.

        Anecdotally, while in Iraq, I only saw 2 people that I was able to confirme were hit only once. One was a single 5.56 center mass: DRT. It turned out the round pierced his heart and destroyed the spinal cord immediately behind it. The other took a 7.62 to the head and didn’t even lose consciousness. It did not penetrate the skull, though the wound was quite gruesome and bled a lot. Terminal ballistics are not as simple as you seem to think.

        • Chief Joseph (I will fight no more, forever.) February 16, 2015, 11:02 pm

          You don\’t understand what kills people. People die because you make a big enough, or enough, primary cavity/ies in them for them to exsanguinate or you hit something vital-like the heart spinal cord or a head. Whatever drugs a GSW sufferer has onboard have nothing to do with how fast the person dies–unless they have a significant amount of anti-coagulants–Coumadin or IV heparin–onboard. In my experience, (30 years as a paramedic treating GSWs in major metropolitan areas on the west coast), I have seen people react differently to being shot and \’drugs\’ have little to do with it. That drugs give assailants superpowers is an urban myth. Drugs certainly do not alter the ballistic performance of ammunition and/or effect the size and effect of the primary cavit[ies] created.

          The man shot 16 times with 5.56mm didn\’t die because he hadn\’t bled to death and nothing vital was hit.

          The phenomena of non-penetrating projectile head trauma is pretty common, at least in the civilian world.

      • Dave February 16, 2015, 2:45 pm

        I’m kind of surprised by continuing reports of .22LR shortages. Here in NE Missouri, you can buy pickup trucks full of it. Prices are still a bit high ($40 to $50 /brick) but there’s no shortage of several leading brands.

  • antonio contreras February 16, 2015, 5:04 am

    No issues with my 92fs. Carry one at work, and there’s one in the safe.
    When the Corps makes us change sidearm, I hope it will be for a glock 22, but I understand that it’s as unlikely as being allowed to choose what to carry!
    For one, we must have some sort of pact with the devil, and now we’re stuck with 9mm.
    On the other hand, you can thank the international convention on armed conflict for the fact that ammo will be ball, no matter what the caliber.

    • Ivan the Terrible February 16, 2015, 10:44 pm

      I hope, for our soldiers’ sake, we aren’t married to the joke that is the 9mm round. Special Ops soldiers still use .45ACPs. I hope whatever replaces the M9 will be manufactured in the US, by a company based in the US; and be chambered in, at least, .40S&W, .357SIG, or, even .45GAP. Ideally, .45ACP or something more powerful.

      Polymer pistols shouldn’t even be considered.

  • Duane February 16, 2015, 4:42 am

    I’m glad the Beretta works for you.

    Mine has been retired for many years, though I still own it.

    I bought it when it and the H&K VP70Z were about the only semi-auto 9mm pistols on the market. Its official designation was the 92SB, and I carried it with my CCW in a Galco Jackass shoulder holster when hi-cap magazines were the norm, before legislative stupidity took over.

    In all fairness, the 92SB was an adequate handgun as handguns go.

    I did not believe in “plastic handguns” but after finding a used Glock 19 with hi-cap magazines and an excellent holster system, I bought it (primarily for the mags & holsters), put it through an accuracy torture test from 7 to 50 yards (firing nearly 500 rounds of ammunition) and promptly retired my 92SB in favor of the Glock.

    However, as my knowledge about firearms grew, and as other handguns became available, I upgraded to an H&K USP in .40 S&W with an insight technologies tactical light with remote pressure-pad activation (for night use) while during the daytime I used a Detonics Combatmaster VI in a Galco SOB holster.

    Later purchases of Colt Government models (one from WWI) became standard carry items until I realized that a scratch could devalue something I had bought for under $400 that had become a $3K to $4K handgun, so I purchased an H&K USP in .45 ACP, changed out the main recoil spring to a Wolfe 18lb unit, had Trijicons installed on it, and carry that in a G-Code holster instead.

    I carry cocked and locked and as my life experience has changed, so has my distaste for the 9mm cartridge as compared to the .45 ACP.

    To each their own, but with handguns being the weakest firearms on the planet, but probably the one we will be most likely to use as we can always have it on us, I prefer the .45 ACP for its first shot advantage over the 9mm anyday, and I prefer the controls of the H&K USP (which was also built to military specifications (unlike smaller calibers of the USP)), better than those of the Beretta.

    I too have been at “financial disadvantage” at times during my life, but I haven’t traded off firearms that I respected (only those I didn’t respect that I thought might get me killed – like the deeply concealable Beretta M21 without an extractor – used for deep cover that jammed when a rimfire round failed to fire), and I still have my original Beretta 92SB.

  • Mitchell Maxberry February 16, 2015, 4:02 am

    I have one of those broken slides I’ll swap it for a one piece if there are any takers , I’m in NZ and the dealer won’t replace and I’ve contacted to no effect .

  • teebonicus February 13, 2015, 11:45 am

    The answer always boils down to what works best for YOU.

    I’ve found that my 92FS has the perfect combination of ergonomic factors, with the exception of the slide-mounted safety. It’s a pain, but can be gotten used to. Other than that, the grip-to-barrel angle works perfectly for me. The trigger isn’t out of comfortable reach, the double-action pull is at least as easy to manage as that of a good revolver, and the single action pull has minimal take-up and a precise, crisp release. The sites, while rudimentary, are entirely adequate. It shoots to point-of-aim flawlessly.

    I carried this gun as a duty weapon from ’99 to ’05, and aced requals with it every time. EVERY TIME.

    Alas, the issue weapon changed from the 92FS to the G17. I like the Glock, but have had to make conscious adjustments in technique to fire it with near the accuracy – and it isn’t the gun, rather the fit of ergonomics to my particular preference.\

    A+ for the 92FS. For me, at least.

  • Martin B February 11, 2015, 3:52 pm

    I have large hands but average/short, thick fingers. The Beretta fits well for my hand, but my fingers find it a stretch for the mag release and slide release, and the double action trigger is just beyond the comfort level (single action is fine). A 1911 has perfect control placement for my hands, and fills my hand comfortably. Strangely, a Glock is also OK. If Beretta changed to the Taurus safety, that would be a huge improvement. Or just buy a Taurus. You might get a good one.

    • Jensen Beach Fl Marv February 16, 2015, 12:30 pm

      I have enjoyed owning my Taurus 92 in stainless steel for over 9 years. It is not particular what I feed it . It likes my reloads. Cleans up easy and accurate. . No failure to fire ever and stainless is perfect for winter climate here in Summer I carry a NAA 380 or NAA mini 22WMR.

      • Jim S. February 16, 2015, 4:04 pm

        I too have a Taurus 92 and love it. It is probably my favorite to shoot of all the pistols I own. I carry others for my concealed weapon, but the Taurus remains my favorite due to the size and easy shooting characteristics.

  • Reno February 11, 2015, 11:55 am

    could it be that obama is trying to punish beretta for moving out of maryland

    • praharin February 16, 2015, 12:11 pm

      Depends how much pull you believe Obama has with the Army brass.

    • Jeff February 16, 2015, 1:25 pm

      Only if it was because they reduced workers to under 30 hours and stopped paying for healthcare

    • Kalashnikov Dude February 16, 2015, 2:05 pm

      Obama punishes his enemies. His enemies happen to be America’s friends…….

    • todd February 16, 2015, 3:09 pm

      I did have a slide break luckily it was caught before I fired. The government should have gone with the model 93, 3 shot burst, compensated, attachable but stock,18 round mag.:)

    • Brady February 17, 2015, 8:49 pm

      This is punishment on the Soldier! How many have died,because we use a smaller round. The term “Beretta Bite” came about because this “weapon” was forced on us. It is a running joke among military men!! We carry 1911s or Glocks. Does the writer work for Beretta or government contractors?

      • Brian February 18, 2015, 11:43 am

        The 9mm is a great defense round even and especially for are soldiers it holds more rounds is extremely accurate and does have have the reach a 45 don’t because of the weigh. Shoot placement makes all the difference.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend