While I’ve always found machine pistols especially interesting, I haven’t always found them particularly useful. I typically define a “machine pistol” as a handgun with the capability for select fire and for affixing a stock. Beretta’s Model 93R (“93” is for the gun’s 9mm caliber and for it being the 3rd model; the “R” stands for raffica, or “automatic” in Italian) is one of the more interesting and functional machine pistols I’ve encountered. The 93R shares some features with the Beretta 92—or M9—including the same short-recoil, locked-breech system, the open top slide and a mag well designed to take a double-column magazine. But unlike the Beretta 92, the 93R is a single-action pistol.
Designed in the 1970s, the 93R was produced from 1979 to 1993—only 2,000 were produced. The gun was reportedly developed for Italy’s two counterterrorist units: the NOCS and GIS. If this is correct, then we can reasonably assume the 93R was intended for protective assignments, as both the NOCS and GIS used the Beretta Model 12 submachine gun as their primary pistol-caliber automatic weapon before later acquiring HK MP5s. I have only once seen the 93R in use, and it was by a few Polizia di Stato officers at Leonardo Da Vinci Airport. Since the NOCS is part of the Polizia di Stato, it is possible the 93Rs were deployed due to a heightened threat level, which would have made sense given the reason I was traveling through the airport. Alternatively, the airport police may have been issued 93Rs.