Coming to the 30 years of the Beretta M9

Via The Shooting Wire.

Beretta has launched a site dedicated to the M9, probably the most bitched about pistol in US Military history.

Say what you want, but after 30 years, that baby has proven itself.  She ain’t a skinny model from Milano but a wholesome Italian country girl from Lombardy.

Salute!

16 Replies to “Coming to the 30 years of the Beretta M9”

  1. I have never understood the hatred directed at the M9. I have two (1 real M9 and one 92 INOX) and have found them to be extraordinarily accurate and smooth shooting.

    Granted it is a big gun with a large grip, but not any more so than any other double stack 9mm developed in the late 1970’s (S&W 59, CZ 75, SIG P226). All of them are in the 32-34 oz range, and are DA/SA style guns.

    I know the safety is a point of contention, but it is not a safety, it is a decocker. The SOP is to carry the gun with a round in the chamber with the hammer down. The only time that lever is supposed to be manipulated is when the gun is loaded and just before holstering. This was a major improvement from the M1911A1 which was supposed to be carried with an empty chamber. Nobody, even MP’s carried the 1911 cocked and locked.

    I am aware of some of the specific complaints about the M9. Reliability has been an issue. But this has been traced to two sources, bad magazines made by third party contractors, and guns that have been overused and poorly maintained (some national guard troops were invading Iraq with M9s issued in the 80’s).

    The 9mm has has little favorability, but that is a function of NATO negotiations and would be an issue regardless of pistol. Inability to attach accessories, which has been corrected in the M9A1.

    There has been call to replace the M9 with the Glock, but it would have to be a modified 12 lbs trigger pull Glock like the NYPD uses to little effect. The army does not trust US troops with a light, DAO pistol. There can be some debate there about training and doctrine, but that, again, is not a fault of the gun.

    I just don’t see what exactly the Beretta does so wrong that the 5904 or P226 (the other guns sent to the army trials that became commonly available) does so much better.

    I’ll admit I was never deployed with one, and am only an armchair commando on this. But as a long time gun owner/collector/shooter I’ve owned and shot all the wonder nines. Which leads me to the question: What other wonder nine, available in 1983 (when the trials began) would have enthralled our troops?




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  2. Miguel – No so. The 9mm FMJ has proven pretty ineffective in combat. Remember that a pistol is a last resort in combat, so as your last chance, you really need it to be effective.

    Although 9mm remains in the SOF inventory, most of the operators that I know prefer the .45ACP. The M1911 is not the only .45ACP in the SOF inventory, although in my opinion it is the best 🙂 Other than picking a Colt, MARSOC got it right.




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      1. I seriously doubt that, although I’m not sure it’s a useful metric. Don’t suppose that you have any data to back up the assertion?

        When the folks who are hanging out there without timely support favor something, I tend to go with what most of them have found most effective. Even the Army’s new Modular Handgun Program is looking for increased performance over the 9mm. Remember that we’re talking about FMJ here, not the latest SXT round.




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        1. Outside the US, the Philippines, Mexico and to a certain extent Argentina, the world runs on 9mm. Murders alone worldwide (and substratct about 30% for 38 special) should give you an idea how many people have been sent to the other side with a 9mm. Hell, South America is still flooded with Hi-Powers manufactured locally under license.
          So hard nubers? Nope, but I doubt that the 45 ACP is doing a whole lot of damage when you cannot even find the damned guns




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    1. Special Forces are just that, special. They get the toys that they want to complete the missions at hand. They get to wear big bushy beards, jeans, and hiking boots in the combat zone. If the SOF community thought that it would be more combat effective for them to run around in tutus, they would be allowed.

      We are talking about the other 2.2 million people in the standing army that get issued the same gear. The 9mm has three main advantages:

      1) NATO compliance (this is huge for logistics)

      2) Lower recoil. Most troops get little pistol training, men and women of all sizes use the same gun with the same ammo. 9mm is a pretty good “one size fits all” cartridge.

      3) Mag capacity. Again, little training means little skill. Most shots with a handgun miss their target. Just look at effectiveness of police shootings. How many times do you read “46 rounds fired, 4 hits” in a news article. Knowing most shots go wide, 15 rounds before reloading is a lot better than 7. Twice as much ammo to throw down rage. With a standard load out of gun + 2 spares, that is 45 rounds of 9mm to 21 rounds of 45.

      These are of course the same arguments that justified the 5.56 over the 7.62.

      If you want to change something, I would make it foreign policy that if we are at war with an enemy that doesn’t follow the rules of war (like ISIL and al-Qaeda, who cut off heads and plant IEDs) than we can use non-rule-of-war ammo. How much more effective would the 5.56 and 9mm be if every soldier was walking around with mag loaded with 62 grain soft points and 115 grain JHP.




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      1. Just FYI, I’m a Special Forces vet and the one handgun we had issued was the M9. Some SOF units have other handguns, but apart from a locker of foreign and obsolete stuff for mechanical training, we had the M9s. They were good enough for what we used them for (secondary/backup). It’s not like the 70s and 80s when we used .45s for building clearing because an M16 was too long.

        We broke a lot of them in training, but that was thousands and thousands of rounds with sometimes little support for maintenance. It has strengths and weaknesses. Out of the box a GI M9 was more accurate by far than a GI M1911, and more reliable, although both are pretty reliable weapons, and both are perfectly good minute-of-bad-guy-at-real-world-pistol-range guns.

        We really liked them when they first came out. Later on, they made some mods to how the locking blocks were produced that caused some reliability problems. The Army and Beretta independently designed better locking blocks for the new manufacturing methods.

        Many internet gun gurus don’t like it; it’s fashionable to talk crap about it; but for something as unimportant as a handgun in the military it’s perfectly fine. If you’re actually setting out to shoot people, the pros take a long gun. No pistol round is as effective as a rifle round, full stop.

        And yes, it would be better to issue better, modern ammo instead of lawyer-approved FMJ. The last time we fought an enemy that observed the laws of war, it was Kaiser Wilhelm 100 years ago.




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        1. Good firsthand analysis.

          Since most of us are concerned with how it performs on the street in civilian life, my experience has been nothing but positive. Been in industrial security and a PI for 25 years, and it’s my favorite duty sidearm.

          Range Q’s are a breeze, hands down.

          The gun practically shoots itself, into the x-ring.

          Not much not to like.




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    2. The 9mm proved itself adequate for most of the world in now over 100 years of use. Truncated Cone and “Ball” type FMJ.
      If it is ineffective, then the .45 FMJ is just as ineffective – because its also a FMJ. Both don’t jaw, both don’t fragment, both don’t lose much energy while penetrating.

      I also knew a few “operators” (even if we use much more complex but not as flashy words in germany, like “Sondereinsatzbeamter” ^^ ) and none would trade his 9mm for a .45 😉




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  3. I shot the early version in Navy testing, had two cracked slides, and found it to be less accurate than a WWII issue ,45… Logistics may be nice, but the FMJ round does NOT have the stopping power.




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    1. The slide cracking issue was a problem for a few years back in the day and had little to do with Beretta itself. The French make a version of the M9 called the PAMAS G1, the factory is a French government/Beretta joint setup (France owns the factory, Beretta owns the machines and licenses them to France). The French use a tellurium doped steel to improve machinability. Similar to resulfurized free machining steel in the US. Except that tellurium radically reduces fatigue life and fracture toughness.

      Beretta got a bunch of semifinished PAMAS slides to complete orders on time. The ones tested in the US failed the way a tellurium doped steel fails when subjected to repeated loading. Beretta “fixed” the problem by ditching the tellurium slides and France soon followed. They also rounded the corners of the slide locking notch to reduce the stress riser at that location.

      I would assume that the accuracy issues would be associated with a slide that was slowly coming apart the way the old Enfield Jungle Carbine had a “wandering zero” due to the lightening of the receiver which caused receiver warping.

      I can tell you that my Beretta M9 is as accurate as my P99AS or P30L. I’ve never had a problem.




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    2. My experience is the opposite. I shot the .45 and the M9 for quals for ship’s defense force. Any pistol that is accurate enough for me to qualify expert is a good weapon.

      I agree about the FMJ.




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  4. What I get pissed off about, aside from being made to use FMJ, is that people who have never gone down range tell me that “You just don’t like the Beretta because it ain’t a .45” or “The Beretta is here to stay, deal with it” or “shot placement is what matters”

    Hey, you know what, if you’ve never had to pull your M-9 on Mr. I hate American wearing laundry on his head, then fuck you for telling me what I can and can’t like.

    Yeah, the gun works, but it ain’t the best.

    I’d love to carry a M-45 like the MEU(SOC) boys get.




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  5. Funny enough, Bill Wilson of Wilson 1911 fame is a huge fan of Beretta 92’s.
    As for the caliber wars, well, there is more than one story of folks hit and NOT stopped by multiple battle rifle rounds. If hits from a 7.92 Mauser, .30-06, or 7.62x54r isn’t guaranteed to stop a person, then .45 hardball isn’t either.




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