Beretta 92/M9 Service Pistols

Beretta 92 FS     Beretta M9A1      Beretta M9A3 


The Beretta 92 is the pistol that replaced the M1911A1 in U.S. military service in 1985.  The Beretta 92 is a modern 9mm pistol.  It fires double action for the first shot and single action on subsequent shots.  Its magazine holds 15 rounds of ammo.  Additionally, another round can be safely carried in the chamber and the pistol also has an external safety/decocker.  However, it does not have a magazine safety and thus, can fire manually chambered rounds in an emergency.  The Berettas most distinctive feature is its cutaway slide which makes it one of the most reliable semi-automatic pistols, since it eliminates the possibility of shell casing catching on the slide while cycling.

The Beretta 92FS was selected, after a very contentious series of trials, as the U.S. military's primary sidearm in 1984 with an initial contract for over 320,000 guns.  It was designated as the M9.  Though, being a 9mm, it does not have the stopping power of the M1911A1, the M9 is more reliable, more accurate (as issued), easier to disassemble and clean in the field, and it carries more than twice as many rounds, at 15.  The less powerful caliber was chosen to ensure commonality of ammo with NATO allies.

The adoption by the U.S. military led to its adoption by hundreds of U.S. law enforcement agencies and several other U.S. government agencies.  It is also used by the French Military, Italian Military, and many other foreign military and police forces.  In addition to the 600,000 made for the U.S. Military in the late 1980s and early 1990s, in 2012, an order was placed for over 100,000 guns to supply the U.S. Military.  The Marines have even ordered around 20,000 of an improved version called the M9A1.  

The Beretta M9 was finally superseded by the SIG M17 in 2017 after 32 as the U.S. Military’s standard service sidearm.  With the numbered ordered, the M9 will still be used by the U.S. military for a decade or more.  The latest and probably final variant of the Beretta 92/M9 is the M9A3.  This is an improved version of the M9 that was offered to the U.S. Military as a cheaper alternative to an all new pistol.  

Beretta 92s

Beretta 92FS, top; Beretta M9A1 with Insight/Streamlight M6X weapon light/laser, middle; and Beretta M9A3 with Surefire X300U-A weapon light, bottom.


T© Richard Murphy 2011 - 2017 - No reuse or reproduction of the pictures or content on the Radarms site is permitted without the express written permission of Richard Murphy.   If you are interested in a license to reproduce any the pictures or content, contact Richard Murphy at radmacs@mac.com.