For more than 30 years, the Beretta M9 has been America’s combat pistol of choice. It is a proven performer in humid jungles, arid desert heat or any other environment where our warriors go into harm’s way.

As modern warfare has evolved in the past three decades, so too has the equipment. The M9 has seen some hard use. As new requirements for how modern battles are fought evolve, the M9 has become the M9A3.

Like many Department of Defense contractors, Beretta Defense Technologies (BDT), the military sector of Beretta USA, took the initiative and looked at what could be done to make the M9 better. Similar to how the M4A1 evolved from the M4 and the Model 1911 begat the 1911A1, the M9A3 is the next generation of the M9.

BDT made a wish list of sorts with items that addressed improvements to the M9 that ranged from modularity and durability to grip size and ergonomics. The new Beretta M9A3 addresses nearly all of the complaints of the M9 and was presented to the Army as an Engineering Change Proposal (ECP), not an entry to the Army’s Modular Handgun System (MHS) solicitation.

Beretta has plans to make its new striker-fired APX an MHS entry. In the meantime, in real actionable time, the M9A3 can fulfill the remaining contract order with a pistol that offers enhanced performance over the M9 with a savings to the DoD—no new training, compatibility with existing equipment systems like holsters and magazine pouches, and potentially at a cost less than the current M9.

I had the opportunity to meet with the vice president of BDT, who explained the enhancements to the M9A3. Plus, I shot the new M9A3 alongside the long-serving M9. You can see for yourself that the M9A3 is built to perform.

Check out the video and keep your eyes peeled for a full review in an upcoming issue of SPECIAL WEAPONS FOR MILITARY & POLICE. To subscribe, visit

For more information on the M9A3, please visit

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