With 25 years of combat-proven service under its belt, the…

With 25 years of combat-proven service under its belt, the M9A1 takes the classic Beretta pistol and enhances it with an integral accessory rail and a host of other upgrades. The pistol shown is equipped with a BlackHawk Night-Ops Xiphos NT light.

It was 25 years ago this year that Beretta won what may be considered the most coveted handgun purchasing contract in the world. In 1985, the United States military selected the Beretta 92 as its new official sidearm, renaming it the M9 and replacing the venerable .45 caliber Model 1911, which had been in continuous service for more than 70 years. There will always be disagreement on the switch from .45 ACP to 9mm, but there is little dispute that Beretta earned this contract.

Beretta is one of the most renowned names in the firearms industry, and for good reason. It is in fact the world’s oldest continuously operating manufacturing enterprise, dating to the Renaissance. The company’s earliest document is an order to Bartolomeo Beretta, born before Columbus discovered America, dated 1526 for his forge to produce 185 harquebus barrels. Despite the company’s tremendous growth over the years, it remains a family enterprise with a Beretta at its head.

Beretta doesn’t make too many harquebus barrels anymore, but its modern firearms are a continued testament to the company’s innovative approach to design and its commitment to quality, a side effect I suppose of putting your own name on every gun you make. However, Beretta’s most famous firearm may well be its Model 92 pistol, first offered in 1975 in 9mm and now available in a host of calibers and configurations. Several different designs and features have followed, and even today Beretta continues to make improvements to meet the changing needs of military, law enforcement, and civilian shooters.

The switch to the M9 pistol was far from instant, however. In fact, my own National Guard unit was still issuing me a 1911 as late as 1991. I will always have a 1911 in my collection, but I cannot deny that the Beretta 92, with its Italian sports car looks, its open slide (topless) design, and sleek lines, was the first handgun I ever owned. It never let me down and was reliable to a fault. It surprised me not at all that this was the final choice to replace the 1911.

Gun Details
beretta-m9a1-9mm-bBeretta’s M9A1 features a Mil-Spec-1913 (Picatinny) rail integral to the aluminum alloy frame.

The M9 is a short-recoil, semi-automatic pistol with a standard 15-round capacity magazine firing in double-action for the first shot with the trigger pull both cocking and releasing the hammer, and single-action for all subsequent shots. The open top design isn’t just for looks either, although it does help reduce the pistol’s weight, as does the aircraft quality 7075-T6 aluminum alloy frame. This slide design provides for easier, trouble-free feeding of rounds from the magazine to the chamber, reduces the likelihood of jams and malfunctions, and makes them easier to clear when they do occur. The M9’s disassembly latch is also a nice feature that makes it an extremely easy gun to disassemble for maintenance.

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  • I’ve used the m9 my entire deployment in afghanistan since may 2010. Although the m9’s we currently have at our company our probably older and have been used quite alot, I must admit the reliabilty is sub par although I’ve hear Baretta is a very good firearms company. The first m9 I took to the range jammed 21 times while I was shooting off three clips, yes I said 21 times. Just to rule out a dirty weapon, I cleaned the weapon and went to the range a month later and shot off 3 clips again, only this time I had about 4 jams and I’m not a fast shooter, I always try to have proper breathing technique, proper body balance, good line of sight, and trigger squeeze and follow through. The following month I took a different m9 to the range which I had cleaned the previous night, and that weapon had jammed 3 times at the range for 3 clips. These are pretty bad scores for reliability for the m9. I also took a different m9 to the range approx 3 weeks ago and had no jams, as that weapon was cleaned the day before as well, one noticeable difference on this day was the temperature was in the high 70’s and a very cool dry day for afghanistan. But this shouldn’t matter when firing any of thses m9, I take any of thses m9’s out with me on missions as I’m a combat medic and honestly I dont trust this weapon like you should be able to trust a weapon and rely on it!!!! I trust the Colt M4 rifle we have as standard issue, you can roll that thing in sand, not clean it for a year and run it over with a bulldozer and it will still fire, althugh this is not the case for the old m16. All im saying is Please military keep the m4, it’s a great weapon and it’s with the times, although please replace the m9, I know their have to better and much more reliable 9mm’s on the market today that can stand upto the riggers of heat, sand and neglect of soldiers not cleaning their weapons say for lack of sleep or other circumstances. Thank you and hope this reply helps, it’s as honest as I could get with this m9

  • Chris

    I took in an used-but-not-abused, 80’s, made in Italy Mod 92F from a fellow co-worker years back. Not sure how many rounds went though it prior, but it’s still in tip-top shape; never once failed on me no matter what ammunition I put through it.

    The slickness in friction from frame to slide is unmatched out of all the handguns in my collection. I am not sure if this is a trait of the older guns, or if it is a sign just how well polished it got through use, but it is impressive to say the least.