Beretta M9 courtesy fas.org

By ST

You poor non-military gun owners must be frightfully confused regarding the Beretta M9/92FS handgun. On the one hand law enforcement and many civil gun owners all but love their examples. On the other, it’s the rare vet who echoes those sentiments, as many military members seen to all but run from the M9 and anything associated with Beretta. Stories of malfunctions, accidentally engaging safeties and weak stopping power associated with 9mm FMJ NATO seem to paint a less than flattering picture. Who’s right? Ironically enough, both parties . . .

I write this as just another prior service gun owner who just happened to be in a position to learn a thing or two about the maligned M9. Back when I was active duty I acquired my CCW permit as a bachelor enlisted member. That meant I legally had to store my carry pistol at the Air Force Base MP armory. So,when I left post and returned, I had to store my cased firearm with the Air Force armory staffer with the accompanying paperwork. Imagine handing over the last gun you bought to a complete stranger and not seeing it again for days at a time. That gives you a good idea of what it was like for me to exercise my rights at the time.

As I diligently carried daily despite the legal restrictions, I got to know the armory guys pretty well. In that capacity I gleaned a few tidbits of wisdom regarding the M9.

Problem number one; the M9s are the firearm equivalent to abused biker gang groupies. Twenty years ago, those M9s probably handled and shot like a proper Beretta. Then, Airman Snuffy was issued his. After that duty rotation Sgt. Schmuckatelli drew it, and then Colonel Nolube picked it up next.

After twenty years of strangers shooting, carrying ,clearing, loading, shooting, hammering tent pegs and occasionally cleaning them, the M9s in service today are in bad shape. Once the armory guy cleared an M9 and handed it to me. It was so loose it felt like duct tape and prayer were the only things holding it together. The tolerances were so bad I could send the locked back slide into battery by merely rocking the pistol once from back to front.

By comparison, a Model 92F I bought secondhand as an ex-LE trade-in handles like a dream. Tight tolerances, smooth action and dead-on accurate. It was made in 1987 and it never malfunctioned once. Neither has the purchased-new 2013 model 92FS that I carry now, 2000 rounds later. So when you hear a prior-service vet dog the Beretta, remember that he or she was the latest user of one very abused gun.

That brings me to the stopping power issue. Without setting off another caliber war, it’s safe to say no handgun can stop someone by sheer force of the round regardless of the caliber. While 9mm FMJ may not be the deadliest caliber ever conceived, I wouldn’t stand in front of one. Many insurgent scumbags who did are busy fertilizing soil as I type this.

Why all the complaints, then? I’d say most of them stem from the DoDs criminal lack of handgun training. Any attendee of an NRA basic handgun course has more experience with handguns then the typical non-infantry or military policeman. Remember that for every frontline assaulter there are ten support troops in various job categories, of which I was one. And in those jobs, pistol training is an afterthought. At best, it’s a box to be checked off on a unit deployment form…and sometimes not even then.

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I know firsthand of two members of my squadron who deployed downrange with zero handgun time on the M9, and I’m not talking about Guam, either. Pistol training was considered an inconvenience by my unit leadership and I know we weren’t the only support unit with that attitude. But may God and Curtis LeMay’s ghost have mercy on your soul if you deploy without completing your Sexual Assault Deployment Briefing. Even if we did get some trigger time, it was all of 100 rounds total.

So you have people deploying to combat zones with lackluster to non-existent handgun training, issued ammunition which requires precise shot placement to stop a threat and it’s fired out of a metal-framed duty pistol with no or little basic maintenance over the course of two decades. Oh, and let’s use contract parkerized magazines which trap contaminants, too.

And folks wonder why there are problems. That’s why I have to chuckle at the idea that issuing (INSERT FAVORITE BRAND HERE) pistols would be better then the M9. Lend your Glock 17/HK USP/SIG P226 to Cletus for two decades, don’t change the recoil springs, slap in substandard ProMags and use it in the Middle East. I’ll bet it won’t do any better at all. It’s a sad fact that no matter how tough you make a gun, there’s an airman, marine, sailor, and soldier out there who can break it.

So with that background established, don’t write off the M9 – or that 92FS in your local gun store counter – just yet, despite the negative reports you may hear from our service members. I haven’t, and as I type this, my Beretta stands loaded and ready for the defense of myself, my family, and the mini-castle we inhabit.

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215 Responses to Why the Beretta M9 Gets No Respect

  1. I bought a Beretta 92FS from Cabelas several years ago, at least 13 or so. It was dead nuts right out of the box and I put a couple thousand rounds through it with proper cleaning and lube. Never had a problem, not one. When my son got his CCW, I gave it to him and he carried it faithfully for a long time. When he married, his wife wanted to carry and now she has it. Only God knows how many rounds have been through it by now as both of them shoot a LOT. It is still dead accurate and not as tight but that’s because it is broken in.
    Loved the article. Thanks.

    • What sort of outfits does your family wear that you, your son, and your daughter in law can conceal this monster? The M9 is freakin’ HUGE. I can’t imagine picking it as a carry gun, except for open carry. Its twice as big and heavy as it needs to be to shoot the 9mm cartridge. It also has the awful (to me) DA/SA trigger setup.

      • Don’t forget the awful slide safety that is terrible to work ergonomically and loves to flick off if the holster doesn’t have a retention strap covering the safety and hammer. It’s probably the worst CCW gun ever, because it isn’t. The military bought off on them because it has a stupid safety, it has a manual safety, and it’s DA/SA. This guy is totally lying when he said everybody in his family carries the same one.

        • that is “Not” a safety and easnt intended to be a safety its a hammer block for decocking the gun

        • Mine must be a mirage as well. I open carry mine everyday. Big, yes. Heavy, yes. But reliable and accurate as all get out. And yes the ‘safety’ is meant as a decocker. I carry mine chambered with the safety off due to the long DA first trigger pull. Great weapons.

        • I can attest to that as an MP post 9/11. 90% of the time I unholstered my M9, it was already safety-off simply from being pulled from the holster. Either way in a life threatening scenario, I’d want it that way, but, my thumb would still go up to take the weapon off of safe even thoug it already was most of the time.

      • I find the fact that the safety is also the decocker to be the most annoying feature. “No condition one for you!”

        • The 1911 was NEVER carried in condition 1 in the military. SOP was to carry hammer down on an EMPTY chamber in a slow-to-draw flap holster. The scene in Saving PVT Ryan where TS Horvath throws his helmet at the German then draws his 1911 and racks the slide before using it was accurate. Even Federal LE that had 1911’s (certain FBI units during and after prohibition) had to carry condition 3. Going to a DA pistol with a firing pin block was an improvement over the old empty chamber protocol.

      • Size for military matters doesn’t matter much you have it in a SERPA or M-12 holster on your hip or chest so size dont matter. Overall the design works and the gun is great the 9mm FMJ needs to be changed though.

        • 9mm FMJ definitely over-penetrates, but that’s what JHPs are for… At the end of the day, it’s shot placement that matters more than anything else.

      • I’ve been concealed carrying a 92FS for 13 years now. It’s inside the waistband, and I just wear pants and a t-shirt. No one has ever said they notice anything. Sometimes just to be sure I’ll ask my wife if it is noticeable. The answer has always been “No.” I am 5’9″ and I weigh 185 lbs. As far as stopping power, bullet placement and always double tap. Get used to doing these two things and I don’t care if you use .380, 9mm, .40S&W, or .45ACP you will get results.

        • I carry a Beretta PX4 with an IWB setup, sometimes with jeans and a t-shirt. Not often, but sometimes it is just more comfortable to go that way. I realize the 92FS is a larger weapon, but I feel confident that I could accommodate the 92FS with this setup without attracting attention.

        • As far as stopping power, anything with this kind of fps will stop anything. It is about placement. 9mm x fps = no one will be laughing at you walking into a stream of projectiles from a 9mm. Hell, I’d take cover from a BB gun with a fps over 1000fps.

      • I’ve carried a M9 and a 92sf, as well as a GP100, a G19, G20 and a ton of others. I Open Carry but more often than not CC. It’s not the size of the gun, it’s proper Holster. I know more than a few ppl IWB 44mags. It the M9 and 92sf carry really nice actually in a AlienGear IWB holster.

      • I carry and conceal a Beretta 96A1, a Springfield Long Slide, and a custom 1911 10MM with a 6 inch barrel with no problem, not all at the same time. Yes you have to dress properly, but it is easy to conceal a large pistol. I have been known to carry a S&W 44 magnum on a shoulder holster, concealed.

        • do you have a good holster recommendation for the 96A1? having trouble finding something decent, I’d prefer IWB and I don’t really like the idea of any kind of retention straps but just a quality holster would be nice at this point. intended for edc, like I said preferably concealed/IWB but doesn’t have to be

      • I’m decent/average sized guy: 200 pounds, 5’11”. I don’t find my 92fs a ‘monster’ to carry concealed. An inside-the-waist soft holster in the small of the back is perfect. Tucked in T-shirt with an unbuttoned, button-up dress shirt gives a casual appearance and comfort. I do the same thing with my .40cal Desert Eagle (Baby Eagle AKA ‘Jericho’). If its cool enough for a jacket the same right-hand holster on the left side makes a great cross-draw and keeps the grip from being a nuisance in car seats and other chairs.

      • I don’t understand why that sounds so crazy…I carry a SIG M11-A1 most of the time as my EDC. It’s all about having the right holster and dressing around it. I use Crossbreed brand IWB holster for everything from my glock 42 all the way up to my SIG P229 Elite TB. Sure the M9 is a big gun, but it can be concealed.

        • I hadn’t fired an M9 for years when I walked into a range with a couple of colleagues. They were new to guns and wanted to try out shooting what to them was the hottest things going… whatever they saw Arnold shoot in the movies I guess.
          I wasn’t carrying at that moment and asked for the Beretta to their surprise. The real surprise to them was the accuracy of the weapon and the consistant double tap grouping. It felt great to shoot a well cared for M9; low recoil, easy reaquire and consistant and predictable results. After almost 10 years away from the weapon it came back very quickly… some weapons just feel right in your hand and this one does for me. 50 rounds later only 3 strays and I was smiling like a kid in a candy store.
          Sure some of the other guns get lots of good press and some of them deserve it, but for a reliable “daily driver” I’d say this is way up on my list.
          Any gun as has been stated here already, abused and uncared for will give you trouble, but few guns that are asked to do what the M9 has been put through would survive.
          it still amazes me that hand gun training isn’t pushed harder in the services; Special ops excluded. We trained back in the day as often with our hand weapons as we did with the long rifles. Different mission of course but in the block to block fighting that’s been seen the last few years you’d think that command would see the value of hand gun training.
          Anyway… I appreciated the M9 for what it was… it fit my hand, worked well and when used often was as accurate as anything out there.
          Just sayin’

  2. If you consider buying a M9/92/96, etc., and you read gun forum reviews about the pistols, you will see Vets in particular bash the pistol. If you read enough, they’ll all say that the things were the worst guns ever, poor tolerances, horribly made, and so on.

    But if you dig around, you’ll find the same comments about service issue M1911s, M1s, M1903s, and M16s. So if I ever get around to buying a 92 series pistol, and someone bashes it in a conversation to me, I’ll ask them “are you a veteran?”, and then I’ll take their opinion with a lot more skepticism.

    • Absolutely.

      Little has changed from when I served four decades ago. You could substitute “Colt 1911 .45 ACP” for “M9” and in most regards everything ST stated, both in terms of firearm function and personnel training would be equally applicable.

      I now shoot Springfield .45’s, both Mil Spec and Operators. The difference is like night and day compared to what I recall of the Army issue stuff. Tight tolerances; the issue .45’s weren’t even close; but then I now shoot in a clean environment, not in field conditions where tight tolerances could easily leave you with an incessantly INOP weapon. Talk about being pissed about your gear; that would do it.

      I also shoot both the M9A1 and 92FS. They fit my hand much better than the Colt 45’s I remember. Tight tolerances as they should be for low mileage weapons; just as reliable as the Springfield, and more rounds than the .45 though a little less impact force. The Beretta is an excellent weapon.

      Like every other tool in the tool box, each has its place and its advantages.

      • I concur. During my time as a USMC Infantryman with Golf 2/24, the M9 pistol was considered an afterthought. I literally never shot the M9 in the Corps, despite working as a fire team leader, squad leader, and platoon sergeant. Qualification was a box of 50, with maybe another practice box of 50. The guns were already beat up in ’94, and were really beat up in ’01.

        Having shot properly maintained M9s and 92FSs in the “civilian” world, I was pretty impressed by the gun. Accurate, reliable, and low recoil. If the M9 was my issue gun, I’d load it with some nice JHP’s,
        and consider it an upgrade from my 4006 TSW. I wouldn’t purchase one of the ex-mil guns unless it had lived a rare life of proper maintenance and carried a sweet price tag.

        It is ridiculous that the US military carries FMJ handgun rounds.

        • Hollow points have been banned in warfare since the late 1800’s. I believe it was 1898 or 1899 at the Hague Convention.

      • I guess I was fortunate in my military experiences with the 1911. Of course, I was always part of the submarine force, and our handguns didn’t get that much usage — and carrying was on-duty aboard ship, so less damage from dirt and water. Anyway, the ones I shot were reasonably tight and accurate — not match grade, but certainly accurate enough to readily qualify Expert Pistol with tons of luck and do-overs.
        But, yeah, the article makes a lot of sense. I do remember friends in other services who were less-than-pleased with their 1911s. I think I now know why.

    • It still leaves the question of: why would you want the Beretta in the first place? In the same category – full-size, all-steel 9mm handguns with double-stacked 15-18rd mags – there is plenty of competition that it as least as good, even if you discount all the vet stories. Price-wise it’s also a draw with many options, e.g. CZ 75. So why 92?

        • Better ergos and accuracy than the CZ? Don’t buy it.

          Better choice of accessories and farkles? That I do buy.

        • Ergonomics is in the hand of the gun holder. I like the 92, but I LOVE the SAR K2 .45. If you’re not familiar with that, it’s the Turkish GI sidearm licensed by CZ, made by Sarzilmaz(sp?). My buddy hates both, prefers *shutters* Glocks and M&Ps.

          As far as accuracy goes, I find that 100% of the time, the gun is more accurate than the shooter is capable if being. With that said, fired from machine rest, I’d bet the difference is negligible.

          As for aftermarket parts, Beretta does probably take the cake, but anything I need I can make in the shop, so I ain’t worried about that.

      • The M9 was adopted while the Cold War was still in progress, Czechoslovakia was behind the Iron Curtain, so CZ-75’s weren’t an option, and were mostly unheard of in the US.

        • People forget that when the Army competion occurred the only high capacity 9mm’s in the West were the Beretta, the S&W 59 series, SIG, the brand new Ruger and brand new Glock.

          No way the Glock was getting approved back then- the Beretta had been out for a while and its predecessor- the 1951- had a good rep from Israel using it in a few wars.

          I have a Taurus PT92 and carried it in my man bag sometimes- I’ve shot maybe 1000+ rounds from it- it fits my big hands well.

    • I am a Vietnam veteran-Carried the 1911-45cal, M16, M60 Machine Gun, Think it was the M79 Grenade launcher, Sawed off shotgun, think thats it-I have the Beretta 92fs and it is the finest gun I ever shot-Wish I had it back then-Accurate and dependable-Also have a .40 cal Beretta for concealed carry-comes in handy in New Orleans-My .45 & M16 both jammed, but it was my fault for not cleaning properly-Dumb 20 yr old-

    • I am a vet and I was an armorer for my team. I agree with this story and disagree that this can’t be a concealed carry weapon. It is big & heavy and for this reason it has less jump when the bullet leaves the chamber this makes it an accurate gun for a beginner. The safety is not a stupid design if you are trained to use it properly. In fact because of where the safety is it makes it easier to take the safety off if you know how to hold a gun properly and withdraw properly. I have spent many rounds through many m9s I can honestly say I have only had two jams in 5 years. If you are not combat arms or a combat athlete I can see how you would stray from this weapon. Guns can be a lot like a corvette compensating for something you might not have. As far as I am concerned CCW is everyones right and they should if they feel the need to express that right. But the fact remains if you do not train and there comes a time you need to draw by the time you even think about pulling it out you will be dead or injured. I hope no one ever has to experience these circumstances. Be smart just reading and taking the word from me or anyone else is useless be proactive and train hard for a time I pray never happens to anyone. Just because you have a CCW does not make you an expert.

  3. This. A thousand times, this. I’m active AF, and I love the M9. My hands happen to be the right size for it, and it shoots like a dream. When I get one that’s in half-way decent shape, that is. If my M&P9c wasn’t $200 cheaper than the M9, I’d have bought one for carry purposes, even though it’s a full size rig. Accurate and goes bang every time. Also doubles as a club when you run out of ammo.

  4. Another major weak link is the magazine. If you leave the gov. issued 15 round magazines loaded for more than two weeks, you can turn the magazine upside and shake out the rounds. The springs are absolute garbage. One of our Platoon Sergeants had three mags fail on him in this manner during a fight in Baghdad. No good mister.

    The Iraqi Police were being issued Glock 19s by us at the time, and they thought they were toys because of the polymer construction. I wish I could of traded them my M9…

    • +1. Only malfunction I ever had with an M9 was exactly what you described.

      During my last deployment we shot them a lot on the range, and they were always reliable.

    • As a defense contractor for DHS and DOD (USCG) I carried a loaded M-9 for a long time with factory mags loaded. No problems whatsoever. Also been in competition for years Ive seen Glocks malfunction too they have downsides too if you want to compare apples and Oranges.

    • I remember commentary about the M9 from Gulf War 1. The M9 worked best with only 6-8 rounds in the magazine. The rounds have to rotate as they move up the magazine and if any dirt, grit, sand, etc gets in there, the rounds will stop moving causing a jam. The M1911s worked fine in the same conditions.

        • I did too, my last deployment. I think we got newer mags?

          The ones we had in Bosnia were the ones that malfunctioned – and those malfunctioned exactly as described. You could shake the bullets out.

    • That my friend is not a weapons issue but a unit armorer & supervision issue. Your unit armorer is supposed to replace the magazine springs with new ones on a rotating schedule. It is nuts to think you can keep these springs for years and not get feed issues after thousands of rounds. Invariably though whenever I took over a new arms room, or inspected one I found that the resident impostor had not replaced these springs in eternities. If you keep having feeding issues in your unit bring it to the attention of your chain of command that someone is retiring on active duty in your arms room! The dud is your maintenance guy, not the weapon.

  5. Want a metal 9, haven’t decided between this and a CZ 75 variant of some kind. Thanks for the review, more info is a plus.

    • I’m a CZ 75 guy. Feel both and pick the one that fits you best; for me that was a CZ (well, ok, “several” of them) . And like was said above, get good magazines. Won’t go wrong either way.

      • Sounds good, thanks. So far I’ve been able to rent a Beretta and thought it felt fine, but my local gun shops don’t stock CZ for some reason. I’ll be on the lookout.

        • You might want to check out the Canik 55 CZ clones. I bought the Canik Stingray C on a whim last year to complement my other CZ’s and it is awesome. The build quality is on par with it’s Czech cousin, and the for $350, you cannot go wrong. I think JG Sales and Classic Firearms still have some in stock in both all black and satin/chrome finishes. YMMV, but it might be worth looking into if you are interested in a high quality metal frame pistol.

        • I also bought the Canik Stingray C, but on gunbroker for $280. It came w 2 mec gar 14rd mags, and I bought 5 more.for $100. It is a heavy bastard, but it shoots well. and the guys at my local LGS are all Lady ga-ga over it asking if they can shoot it when I get to the range.

        • I bought the Canik 55 shark C, with the hard chrome finish sold as a “tristar T-100” at Davidson’s. Came in a few weeks ago. It’s a clone of the Jericho 941/baby eagle compact, which is a CZ clone. Has 2, 15 round mags. Was $383 OTD. Much lighter than the Stingray as it has an alloy frame. Really excellent fit and finish. Don’t have many rounds through it yet, but flawless so far. I’ve shot the 92FS and would much rather have the Canik, given the $300 lower price tag and more compact size. Seems the perfect “do it all” pistol (for me anyway) if you don’t have much money to spend.

      • I went for the CZ too, though I did like the 92FS as well. May get one down the line.

        Regarding the article, I’ve heard these same things before, especially in regards to the 1911s. Good pistols, but they’re not indestructible either. I think sometimes people just like to bash things for the hell of it, without really thinking of why something might be the way it is.

        • I own both the Beretta and the Taurus PT92, as well as several iterations of the CZ in 9mm and others.

          Between the Beretta and the Taurus- I can’t tell a difference. Why? Because they’re identical, save for the magazine catch window and the grip screw locations.I’d go to war with either.

          Throw the CZ into the competition (I have a Mini Desert Eagle in 9mm, a Tanfoglio Witness in 9mm (both poly and metal frames in my collection, a CZ75b, and another that is escaping me at the moment) and if we’re only comparing the metal-framed variants I’d say it’s a hard decision which I’d rather carry, the Beretta/clone orthe CZ/clone. In my case, it would come down to the grip- my size-medium hands (big palms, stubby fingers) fir the CZ better than the Beretta. I can shoot well with the Beretta, but it’s a bit more work to manipulate the weapon due to fingers being a tad short.

    • Both are excellent firearms. I’m somewhat partial to the CZ-75 because I like the ergonomics a bit better. I only had limited exposure to the M9 when I was in the guard, but I found it to be a pleasant shooter, reliable and user friendly. I personally think both guns are a tad heavy for EDC, but as far as a nightstand/range/target gun goes they are great. To be honest, I don’t think you would be disappointed with either pistol.

    • I have a CZ 75, too (stainless steel model-had a local gunsmith add Meprolight night sights). Nicest shooting 9mm in my collection. The aftermarket Mec-Gar mags with the blue followers work like a charm.

      JhonnieB
      Lancaster, PA

    • Another vote for the CZ, if you can find one. At least in my area they’re impossible to come by but if you find one you won’t regret it. I’ve comfortably carried my 75b both IWB and OWB and it concealed very well, especially for a gun of its size.

    • I’ve used and carried many of the weapons mentioned on this post. Of all I’ve used, and that includes SIG, I prefer the CZ SP-01.

      For me the ONLY down side with that weapon is the less than perfect trigger pull on the stock version. But the trigger pull doesn’t affect my accuracy either in DA or SA. Never once experienced a FTF after many miles, and it makes me appear to be a more accurate shooter than I think I really am. It also configures well with a quick mount Tac light.

      If inclined, you could have the trigger worked at CZ’s custom shop in AZ. I have not on the SP-01 because it’s not an issue for me, though I did have custom work done to a CZ 75 for trigger and sights; didn’t make enough difference to matter IMO.

      For my hands the SP-01 is an ideal automatic handgun and my go-to choice for self defense carry whether concealed or open.

      • +1 on the SPO1 – in my nightstand as I type. Got the tactical version with night sights. Carries a light/laser. I always loved the 1911, and still covet several, but as a nightstand gun, the CZ is a tad easier for all of my family to use. Stunning ability to handle recoil – just makes it disappear. I simply cannot get my wife to the range, but she knows enough that all she has to in an emergency if I am gone or down is pick it up and squeeze the trigger… yeah, I know, it’s not optimum, but sometimes compromise is required.

        But I have always loved the Beretta, at least since Mel in “Lethal Weapon”. That was a Beretta he used, wasn’t it?

    • My personal opinion, is that CZ is better on pretty much every count: more accurate, more ergonomic, better trigger. I prefer the SP-01 model, largely for aesthetical reasons.

      That said, any such opinion is going to be subjective. Well, accuracy, not so much – slide-inside-frame gives CZ an objective advantage here – but for this kind of firearm, the difference is going to be so negligible as to be mostly theoretical.

      For trigger, ergonomics etc, no-one else can tell you what will feel good for you. The only right way to select a handgun is to narrow your choices down to a few that satisfy all your requirements spec-wise, and then go and actually shoot them at the range. I actually spent two months doing this kind of research, lining up candidates then going to the range over the weekend and trying them out. CZ was the one that won me out in the end, but with that many options out there, it is quite likely that the perfect choice for you may be something else entirely.

      • Id say the M-92 is better if you want a metal frame 9mm. More accurate has a slide big enough for a normal man to operate Mags are cheaper and alot more tactical gear for it. Better holster laser sights/grips and night sights. If you want a factory new Beretta they may be more but a good shape used one is cheaper than a CZ by far.

  6. Didn’t Colt 1911s undergo the same abuse and neglect? Did they fare any better (or worse)? Was training more of a priority then? Or more of a priority in the other services?

    • Yes. See my post below. I was there when the change over to the M9’s was happening. The service 1911’s were terrible. Ancient pistols, many of which had been through war in Europe, Pacific, North Africa and the CBI theater. Not to mention Vietnam, Korea etc. After 1945 the Army never ordered another M1911. The ones used were all built previous.

    • The 1911’s that I saw in service were battered just like ST’s m9. Cracked frames, buggered internals and mags. They shot a pattern on a target like a smoothbore.

      My m16 had a bent nail holding the front sling swivel in place. It was a field repair. I was walking along and at that moment the roll pin that had the job first just died of old age and dropped my rifle in the dirt. Later I had duct tape applied to holding the front handgaurds on. My m16 had the old FA giggle switch on it. If you were to somehow track it down and find it still in one piece and were to offer it to me free of charge and paper work with no legal penalties I would still tell you No.

    • Yes, the 1911’s poor reputation is a result of the abuse a military firearms takes. Unless you are old enough to serve with Elvis the 1911s you shot were very old and poorly maintained. Qualifying wiht a 20 old pistol that has fired multi-thousand rounds without good maintanence was quite an accomplishment. You give a Glock the same treatment and it will be a POS as well. Just wait to see what the wunderwaffen looks like after GI Joe uses his plastic pistol for a hammer.

      The lethlity issue is not trivial. The military is prohibited from using all the fancy ammo civilians use to make their wimpy 9mm round equally the lethal of a 45 ACP FMJ round. 45 ball is way more lethal than 9mm ball. Every study conducted by the military before and after the adoption of the M-9 shows that to be true and you know how government studies are designed to support what you have. In the fall of 2001 we were getting E-mails from SPECOPS guys in theater telling their buddies to bring a 45 with them because the 9mm wasn’t good enough.

      The M-9/FS-92 is an excellent design and the open slide keeps the gun internals cleaner. It has good ergonomics and is an accurate shooter. The only reason I don’t carry one for when I carry a 9mm is the double action first shot and a safety that goes the wrong way. My wife doesn’t have the experience with a 1911 for that to be an issue for her.

      • The other thing no one is mentioning is that the newer M9’s aren’t made by Beretta, but are pieced out to several other companies. I remember my armorer puzzling over how he was suppose to assemble all of those pistols with limited tools while many of the parts needed to be remachined completely. The malfunctions that happened had nothing to do with abuse and lack of maintenance.

        • You might want to let Beretta know that they aren’t actually building those pistols that they are building! Whoever gave you that information is a fool, a liar, or both.

        • I believe that. With how large the miltary is, replacement parts are usually outsourced to other manufacturers.

      • tdiinva,

        The US Army Medical Department (who might know a little bit about gunshot wounds) weren’t convinced, finding that in combat the 8mm and 9mm were more damaging to any victims.

        “…it can be readily appreciated that the .45 caliber bullet is of little value as a wound-producing agent except in the softer tissues and at near ranges. The bullet often fails either to penetrate or to fracture bone and practically never shatters bone in the manner common to the rifle bullet or fragment. The Japanese and German sidearms with muzzle velocities of approximately 1,100 f.p.s. were much more effective as antipersonnel weapons than the .45 caliber weapon. While the same bullet with its characteristics was used in the submachinegun, multiple hits probably compensated for the weaknesses, so apparent in single shots.”
        http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwii/woundblstcs/chapter2.htm

        A .45ACP on target will undoubtedly give most people pause, but so will a 9mm, and there’s a lot to be said for larger magazines. I’ve got big hands, so until the ’98 ban came down I shot a Glock 21: .45ACP for Major power factor and easy handloading (200gr LSWC @ 850fps), and 13+1 between reloads; best of both worlds. Of course, concealment wasn’t an issue in the UK…

        A USAian friend also liked Glocks, but just couldn’t get his paw around a double-stack .45; no problem with high-capacity 9mm, though. He’d carried a M9 in Panama, liked it, but his intent if SHTF was to get hold of a rifle.

        • The Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual has the data for the lethality of 9mm and 45 ACP. Lethality is defined as the probability of an untreated wound in location x being fatal after y minutes. The lethality indices for the 45 are significantly higher than those for the 9mm. If you have a security clearance you and can find the JMEM then you can verify this statement.

    • I carried a 92FS with no issues. My father in the Army in the late 50s and early 60s had .45 1911s in his MOS (Armor) They where worn out the slides rattled when fired and they were not trained to shoot pistol much outside of your qual and hitting a paper target 25+ years out. SO the author is right no matter what pistol is in use vets who get them 2nd + hand will hate them.

  7. My complaints are simple. I don’t like the ergonomics, specifically the safety location. My thumb is just too short to reach it without a significant hand grip shift. I also don’t like the double action trigger pull. No malfuctions ever. Never carried one in combat, just Quarterdeck watches on a ship.

  8. Double Action = No thanks for me. I had one when I was in. It was an OK gun, I am just not, nor ever will be a DA fan. I would take a G17 8 days a week over a M9

    • Not to pick nits, but all Glocks, being striker fired pistols, are double action only. The M9 is DA/SA.

      • No, they were classified as DAO a long time ago for important, classification reasons, and to help sell them to police. The police were used to DAO revolvers, so it was an easier sell to tell them it was a DAO pistol even though they technically are not.

        • It’s been a while since I’ve shot an M9 (prior to my deployment in 2006-2007 I think) but after the first shot in DA, I seem to remember it resetting to SA. So technically it’s DA/SA, but it’s classified as DAO for marketing reasons? Color me confused. I’ve shot a ton of guns since then so maybe I’m thinking of the -92fs?

      • Actually the striker operated firearm is a hybrid between a pure single and a pure double. The return of the slide partially cocks the striker, and the trigger completes the rest. (Paraphased from the glock owner’s manual)

  9. I’ve never handled a Beretta 92FS, but I have the Taurus PT92 and I love it.

    Good accuracy and never had a malfunction, even though Beretta fanboys will balk at buying the “cheap knock-off” version of the original Beretta 92FS.

    One big complaint I often hear about the Beretta 92FS is the position of the safety… Most people don’t like it mounted on the slide. The Taurus alleviates this by having it mounted on the frame, not unlike the 1911.

    • Except for mags and safety they are the same. I love my Beretta and have respect for the Taurus. The Brazilian Army uses them.

  10. I am a Marine Corps vet and actually worked as a Marksmanship Instructor for almost 3 years… I LOVE the M9… yes they get LOTS of abuse and most have fired better than 200,000 rounds and that is a conservative guesstimate. Think 1 shooter a week, times 52 weeks a year and an average of 250 rounds being fired during training… most of these guns have been in service over 20 years now… you do the math.

    I agree the M9 gets a bad rap, personally I LOVE them, they fit my hands well and I have had very few issues with them on the range even with the amount of rounds that have went through these things.

    • I have echo your sentiment and your experience. As a marksmanship instructor for my unit(s) over the years (retired now) I have handled 1000 M9’s, if I handled one. All of them including the two I own and the one I purchased for my Son, L/Cpl Joshua Bernard, KIA, Dahaneh, Afghanistan 08/14/2009, have all performed flawlessly. As an instructor on the outside I tell students the very same thing; the 92FS is 100% reliable, 100% of the time. Personally I never witnessed nor heard of a malfunction…and it is uncannily accurate for a combat pistol.

      As far as lethality is concerned; its all about shot placement and therefore; practice, practice, practice…

    • I have echo your sentiment and your experience. As a marksmanship instructor for my unit(s) over the years (retired now) I have handled 1000 M9’s, if I handled one. All of them including the two I own and the one I purchased for my Son, L/Cpl Joshua Bernard, KIA, Dahaneh, Afghanistan 08/14/2009, have all performed flawlessly. As an instructor on the outside I tell students the very same thing; the 92FS is 100% reliable, 100% of the time. Personally I never witnessed nor heard of a malfunction…and it is uncannily accurate for a combat pistol.

      As far as lethality is concerned; its all about shot placement and therefore; practice, practice, practice…

  11. I went into the Army in the late 80’s. As a tanker I spent more time with the M9 and M3 in training then the M16. Ours were virtually brand new. I thought it was a wonderful pistol. Easy to disassemble and reassemble, reliable and more then accurate enough for Soviet torso targets out to 25 meters every time. When I got to my first post they still had the M1911. My issued weapon was dated 1944 built by a typewriter company and was a 45 year old piece of crap. I thought the 1911 was the worst pistol on the planet. Jammed constantly, only held seven rounds and was a PIA to tear down and put back together. IMO whatever the 9mm lacked in stopping power, was made up for by having more then twice the rounds, and ability to stay on target.

    25 years later, I own many 1911’s but no 92/M9’s. I chose a CZ75 over it. Validating your point, the new M9’s were great, the beat up old 1911’s sucked.

    • Funny, I carried a 1911 for almost my entire hitch as a 19K, My 1911 in Germany rattled like a new year’s eve noisemaker and was fairly inaccurate. But it was easy to disassemble and maintain. We received brand new M9’s in Fort Polk and it was amazing to see something new after training with junky guns for my entire career. We just fam fired and I ETS’d soon after.

  12. I own two, and am in the process acquiring a third. It has great ergonomics, enough heft, is accurate and ~100% reliable. No gun is 100% reliable but the 92 is pretty damn close. I have a competition model with 1911 style frame mounted safety and a standard 92FS (inox version with nickeled barrel and adjustable rear sight). I’m getting another competition gun.

  13. Fired a 1911A1 when I was on active duty with the Army (1970s), The pistols looked as if they were issued in WWII – loose, worn finish, worn magazines, etc. Fired every time I pulled the trigger. Had to adjust the rear sight to get onto center of mass, but that sucker fired every time and fed without jams. And there is a reason the SpecOps guys who can carry any pistol they want tend to pick the .45 cal.

    And if you are shooting FMJ per the Geneva BS, a 230gr .45 caliber round beats the 9mm 147 gr hands down. I don’t care how many rounds the 9mm holds, if you have to shoot FMJ I would rather smack them with one .45 than three 9s.

    End OFWG rant.

    • And if you are shooting FMJ per the Geneva BS

      It was the Hague Convention, not Geneva. And the US never agreed to the provision against expanding ammo, even though we honor it for reasons unknown.

      • It is US policy to honor international weapons treaties even if we didn’t sign them. The US never signed the Geneva accords on chemical weapons but we abided by them until we signed the new Chemical Weapons Convention during the Nixon adminstration

  14. I remember the M1911 way back when I was a lieutenant, and not at all fondly. I was ecstatic with the M9 and have liked it since. I bought one 20 years ago and still have it. I don’t understand the nostalgia for the M1911. I like the caliber, but the design leaves a lot to be desired.

    I’ve only had one failure to feed about a year ago on an issued M9 that I can recall. It rattled me on my pistol qual at the last stage, and I blew the last ten shots out of the black. Just barely missed expert, if I recall. Otherwise, it’s been a great machine to shoot with.

    I also had a problem with magazine springs when I was in Iraq. I had to periodically remove the rounds from my magazines and disassemble the magazine and stretch the spring out, or the rounds would stick at the bottom of the magazine after the first round or two was removed.

    A sergeant with my battalion in Iraq used his M9 while waiting for more 7.62mm ammo for his machine gun in the turret. Killed two with it. Got a Navy Cross for that engagement (which was more than just shooting two people with his M9). He is very happy with the M9. I met him several years later and he was pretty vocal about his support for the M9 and the 9mm round.

  15. I too own an M9, got mine new though. Not the 92f an actual M9. I love it, put well over 10k rounds through it, and it still works great and would trust my life to it. If I could afford it, would I rather have a degal shooting the 50bmg, yes. But, would I feel s safe with that over my M9? No. Thats why it is sitting next to me as I type. Take care of a gun and it will take care of you.

  16. The 92FS was my first firearm. I love it. I have no ergonomics problems wirh it at all. BTW, one oft overlooked “feature” is the ability to load and fire single rounds without a magazine. Try that with a 1911.

  17. Hey Dan! Please look up the words “then” and “than”. I trip and fall every time you misuse them. And, no, I’m not an English major. . .

    • While you are busy correcting people on their grammar (you are correct in that respect), perhaps you could take the time to look at the post again and maybe you will notice that Dan didn’t write this piece. The name at the top above the image is the poster, not necessarily the author. The very first line in the post reads “By ST,” which should immediately indicate to anyone paying attention that this post was authored by someone who goes by ST, not Dan.

  18. I’m a vet, and I don’t really have a negative opinion, I was an armorer as a young soldier and saw both good and bad examples of the M9. If it’s in good shape, either new or properly cared for, they are an excellent example of engineering, if they’re abused, they suck, but what doesn’t? The mags, as others have mentioned are the biggest point of failure, I had a commander once that went through the company supply of mags and scrapped any that didn’t feed reliably, many of the bad mags had never been used. The other problem was a$$hats who insisted on dry firing a disassembled weapon that has an aluminum frame, a short browse through the elementary school reading level TM would prevent many problems.

  19. In this case I think you are wrong about the M9. I carried new ones and old ones, Never had any problems with the firearm and its functionality. I have shot thousands of rounds out of the M9. Why I hate the thing was it was too big and bulky, a slow long reset and the 9mm ball is meh. I also always kept my weapon clean and handed it in clean. Your description of the abuse and handling of these weapons are over the top and insult a lot of vets that relied on these and took care of thier weapons.

  20. I was Army infantry way back in the early 80’s. I showed up with a Colt Combat Commander when I posted to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. This immediately pissed off my new 1st Sgt (more paperwork for him). But, it immediately made the unit armorer a new buddy of mine. My issue weapon was a 1911, so having the Commander meant I must know what I was doing (mostly true). My new friend, the unit armorer, let me assemble the tightest pistol I could out of all the worn out, WWII vintage 1911’s we had. It was still loose compared to the Commander but, felt new compared to the other pistols in the arms room. Not a bad shooter either. I imagine this could be tried with the M9.

  21. My Dad was around for both the 1911 as a standard issue and later the M9. He said the 1911 rattled like a box of BBs when he was issued his, of course it had been in service a LOOONNNG time by then. Later he got the M9 and it was only marginally tighter by the time he received it (again he wasn’t the first user of that particular pistol). When it was all said and done, he wanted his 1911 back when he did his last tour in Iraq II. There is your comparison. The reason was both guns were abused, the 1911 still threw its lead down range with regularity and more punctuation than the M9 and after the firefights he was in over there, the M9 became persona nongrata.

    • Now this post makes me feel positively ancient. My equivalent story is my Dad talking about his unit’s transition from the ’03 Springfield to the Garand at Fort Riley in the spring of 1941.

  22. Well said sir. I have been looking at the M9A1/92A1 models lately, now that they’ve been modernized a little bit and (I think) aesthetically improved. The new 92A1 Compact Inox has a particular “WOW” factor for me.

    • I have an Italian made 92 compact type-L and want a matching inox one, which just came out this year. Smooth shooting guns, grip is short enough to be concealed easily, and the only ding is its HEAVY (as all metal guns often are.)

  23. I never was a member of the service, so I can’t speak to experience there. But this I do know. My uncle in law, himself a USAF officer, owns a 92FS made in 1990 or 1991. To this day it has the STRONGEST magazine spring of ANY handgun I have ever handled, and I have handled many handguns indeed. I’ve fired probably 1500 rounds through it. Like Sigs, it has the ‘von Stavenhagen’ or dot-the-i sight picture I prefer over everything else. About the only downside is the very long DA trigger pull. It’s never malfunctioned that I’m aware of, although my uncle cleans his guns before putting them away after every shoot. I personally prefer the Taurus safety, and owned a PT945 in the late 90’s. It too was a pretty good gun that was marred by poor fit resulting in great difficulty firing the trigger DA, something that could have been remedied by custom grips, and more importantly, a very cheesy magazine floorplate design that looked to disassemble itself at the slightest impact (and indeed, did when I inadvertently dropped the mag with my middle finger (yes you read that right). The Beretta (and Taurus) 92 platform had no such issues, being a double stack magazine. Just the really long trigger pull and the push-up-to-release safety in the Beretta.

    Although there are other guns I’d rather have for the same coin now, I’d not feel one bit insecure with the 92/M9, and indeed they remain my favorite platform for both Beretta and Taurus semiautos.

    Tom

  24. I’m one of those vets who hates the M9 and will never, ever buy anything produced by Beretta because of it. It’s a poorly made gun, for military purposes. The author is likely correct, it’s the years of abuse and mishandling that destroy the guns, but THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS TO MILITARY WEAPONS. If they can’t stand up to it, they shouldn’t be in the arsenal. The M9 was the opposite of the M4/M16. I entered the military thinking the rifles were plastic crap and too delicate. Hundreds of thousands of rounds later, I love the AR/M series. I’ve shot M4s so loose they rattled a good quarter inch between upper and lower, with bores so shot out you couldn’t see rifling. They all ran, and they all put lead on E-type at four to five hundred yards. I shot a half dozen M9’s, not a one of which would fire three rounds successively. They are not semi-automatic weapons. They are hand-operated. Yes, military guns get abused, and if they can’t take the abuse, leave them to the civilians. The M9 may be a fine carry gun, I don’t know. But it is a shit military weapon, the worst I’ve ever seen. Maybe it’s unfair of me, but when a company gives me a failure of a piece, I don’t patronize them ever again. Beretta is dead to me.

    • I doubt your crappy SIG or Glock would be much better they get beat up and malfunction too. Seen Glocks malfunction too.The M-92s ive handled all worked well.

      • Gonna go out on a limb and say it’s not impossible to build a pistol that can fire without jamming after a few dozen thousand rounds. I’m not a fanboy of Glocks or Sigs, though they are both fine guns, I’ve never seen them as worn as military weapons. I appreciate the simplicity of Glocks, but we’d need to kit a brigade with them for twenty years to see if they still work. Thing is, it’s dangerous to send soldiers into battle with their backup piece a functional lever action. The Army can and should do better. I’m good with 9mm, .45 fetishists are silly and can’t do maths. I’ll not deny the Beretta is accurate. It just doesn’t feed. We deserve better.

        • We have a great v9mm pistol we dont deserve better since we got already is one of the best in pistols. Ive seen Beretta’s competition have just as many issues as Beretta and I take a M-92FS over a SIG any day.

    • Never had a issue with a A2 I carried too. Long yes but more accurate and with the large size iam it fits me better than a M-4 ever can.

  25. I can certainly attest to ST’s recount of the Beretta. I was deployed back in December 2010. Reported to Fort Jackson in January 2011. We had three weeks to prepare for our deployment. Three weeks. Guess how much time we spent shooting during those three weeks. Not much. One day to practice with the M16. One day to qualify…in a day where it snow the night before. One day to practice with the Beretta. One day to qualify. To me it was more of a fam-fire than a qualification. We had practice with the 9mm/M16 simulators. However, that is nothing like firing the real thing. During my 12-month deployment, I only had one day of fam-fire…where I had a chance to shoot one magazine. WOW!! While I was not part of the group outside the wire, they should have at least given us more time to practice regardless of you job. In the end, when all hell breaks loose, you are the last defense.

  26. I was a RA Small Arms Tech and serviced 1000’s of infantry weapons, 90% of all breakdowns are user caused.
    I serviced 40 year old 1911’s yet I rarely had to repair them and I did not see the wear and damage you describe w/M9s. The Army and USMC had depot repair facilities which brought back aging weapons to ‘as new’ condition perhaps the USMC is using it’s repair facilities for more vital weapon systems, letting the M-9 languish. As for me I left the 1911 and went straight to a G-17 and have not looked back.
    PS
    For future reference; it is very poor form to address your readers in a diminutive manner in the 1st sentence of your article

  27. I always wanted a 92 until I shot one. It was big and bulky, and it carried its weight in a weird way. The gun felt light, which is normally good, but I couldn’t hit anything. I honestly shot better with an M&P Compact, even out to 25 yards.

  28. My 92F was the 2nd handgun I purchased, back in 1989 (1988 Italian Manufacture). I put 2K rounds through it at the Academy. Another 2.7K at ERT training (I had 300’ish left after the end so that’s where that number came from) and typically put a case through it every year. It has never broken/failed. I have proactively had it serviced professionally twice (once by Beretta) and it is still running strong today. The bluing is worn in a few area, there are dings from hard training in the past, but it still runs like a well-spun top. I still love to shoot it as it feels like that old glove that ‘just fits’ when it is in the hand. Many years, and pistols, later it holds a special place in my heart (and safe). Why has it run so well down through the years? Don’t know, really. I clean after each range session (in an OCD way, which is probably overkill), keep it lubed (many different tried down through the years, but keep coming back to simple Safariland CLP), function check it before and after each range session, smile and call it George (okay, maybe not the last one).

    My P226R and P225 are well down in round count (less than 5K each), but I’ve never had a break down from either of those either. I wish my G34 was as reliable as my G23 (which has been a workhorse since 1992). My M&P is still in the ‘newlywed’ stage with less than 1K through it. I hope to look back 20 years from now and have the same good things to say about those pistols.

  29. Remember when President George Bush sent out all those $600 checks to certain very luck people to help stimulate the economy? I was one of the lucky ones. The same day I got that check in the mail Gallery of Guns had Italian Police M9s listed for….. $600. Pro or Con, it was my first pistol and stimulated the economy. I think of it as a personal gift from the President. I always wanted to write him a Thank You letter. I’ve never regretted the purchase but I do need to replace the plastic guide rod for a new metal one.

  30. It’s a big pistol without that big pistol punch. If I was going to carry an oversized 9mm, it wouldn’t be an M9 or FS92.

    I think that the M9 suffers by comparison with the .45. Soldiers will always want the more powerful gun.

    • I think the M-9 isnt that BIG bigger wide by a bit but overall same size as a Glock-17 no issues. 9mm smaller than .45 ACP but you can carry more ammo and with HP ammo can kill a bad guy just as easy just need training training and training to get good with one. Took me a few years to get good with one now I can out shoot your Glock 17 any time any wear with a M-92FS M-9.

  31. This is probably one of the most dead on accurate articles I’ve read in a long time concerning the M9!
    The only issue I draw is in the very beginning the author refers to Air Force armorers as “MP”s. We are Security Forces, or in olden days Security Police. We are very proud of our distinction and how we differ from, say, Army or MC MPs. For Air Force members Security Forces is not a “extra duty” or something to be transfered into when you can no linger serve in the infantry. It is a specific career choice and focuses on law-enforcement and security over duties like prisoner of war details.
    Why understand why the author did it, mostly to not confuse the uninitiated or people ignorant of the functions of the Air Force versus army/Marine Corps, it is definitely not a “semantics” issue. I mean seriously, if your Army infantry or artillery would you want me to refer to you as an “army guy”?! You’d probably laugh at my ignorance. But are you really paying me my dues when it comes to understanding how I served?!
    Aside from that this article is pretty much dead on. I’ve carried those beat up old M nines regularly. They were pieces of garbage. We were always excited when the unit would get in new weapons because that meant that we would get the leftovers from the folks who work in offices. Now this meant that we were still getting secondhand weapons, but these were weapons from people who rarely ever drew them from armory and only qualified twice a year. Of course the brand-new weapons went straight to leadership but that meant that leaderships weapons would go to the flight leaders. In fact, new weapon shipments could be verified actively by an increase in marksmanship and qualifications scores immediately after issuance! We got better equipment that meant that we could shoot better.
    This lack of stopping power of the M9 led me to swear off of 9 mm in general. I know that hollowpoint and better constructed rounds from specialty Manufacturers ballistically equal a 40 Smith & Wesson, but I just heard too many bad reports on the 9 from friends. And let’s also remember that law enforcement personnel carry hollow points which have better stopping power and wound ballistics than FMJ. So of course law-enforcement don’t see problems with the stopping power like the military does with NATO FMJ. As a result I carry 45. Because I never remembered my grandfather or any of his friends ever bad mouthing the 1911 from World War II! Even the ball rounds carried back then.
    Kudos on this article. It spells out everything pretty much perfectly.

    • And there are modern 45 JHPs that increase the round’s lethality over ball ammo. The 45 is still a better round than a 9 or 40.

    • No disrespect to Security Forces.I used the MP label initially as not all readers would know SF represents military police for the Air Force.

  32. I was USAF Security Police 88-04, and then a 1st Sgt gig, now retired. I carried the M9(and a M-16A2or GAU-5) for most of my career. I’ve taught hundreds how to shoot the M9,(I was at a small base, cops did the Quals for base populace) I shot in competition(Peacekeeper Challenge) and qualified with it many times. I have NO complaints about the M-9, it is reliable, accurate, and user friendly. Yes it is a big pistol, but I personally like the de-cocker system and DA/SA. My next purchase will be a M9/92.
    FYI: USAF standard for carrying the M9 is round in the chamber, de-cocker lever up (on “fire”)

  33. One of the first handguns I fired was a 92FS rented at a local range. It had been thoroughly cleaned the night before and I put the first 50 rounds through it that day. Three failures to fire and seven stove pipes later, I was sorely disappointed and haven’t touched anything made by Beretta since. I fired Sigs, Bersas, Glocks, and H&Ks before finally realizing the 9mm round just didn’t click with me. I now focus on the .45 acp and .357 magnum cartridges and delve into 9mm if, and only if, Lugers and P38s are the potential purchase. To each his own.

  34. “…it’s the rare vet who echoes those sentiments, as many military members seen to all but run from the M9 and anything associated with Beretta.”

    Wow, who T-F- are you asking? You have some hard-core pool of three guys who absolutely hate it?

    I carried the M9 every waking-hour of my deployment in Iraq, and bought my own INOX (and other Berettas) after I got home, and I’ve never had an issue with any of them. And 9mm JHP is every bit as effective as higher calibers, despite the moaning of 45acp-whores who never hit what they’re aiming at, anyway.

    Get over yourselves.

  35. My brother’s a retired LEO. He almost talked me out of buying a Beretta 84 Cheetah (380.) because of his ill will toward his M9. Boy am I glad I didn’t listen to him (rarely do). I absolutely love the Cheetah. I’m just throwing my 2 cents out there in the hope that Beretta designs in general don’t get tarnished. The 84 has awesome ergos, it’s accurate and NEVER malfunctions.

  36. “But may God and Curtis LeMay’s ghost have mercy on your soul if you deploy without completing your Sexual Assault Deployment Briefing.”
    Hahaha, this is the truth! Active AF here as well. Went to Afghanistan late last year, got home this year. I support aircraft. My unit got no pistol training unless you were of at least an E-6. E-5’s and under, “Sorry, schlep this 20″ M-16 with you everywhere you go.”
    People hate on the rifles too. On numerous occasions I heard people refer to their M-16 as “a piece of shit.” The reality is it’s endured the same treatment you described for the M-9’s.

    • Truth be told, Marines below the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6) rarely get pistol training either, even in the infantry.

  37. Accuracy, reliability, and durability aside (already beaten to death): Changing the front sight is nearly impossible since it is machined as part of the slide. So I hope you don’t want fiber optic or tritium, etc. As for ergonomics: the bore height relative to the grip is significantly higher than many other pistols increasing the muzzle flip. Try clearing a plate rack or making double taps with a 92 series vs an M&P, Glock, CZ, etc and you will notice a significant difference. The location of the safety on the slide is a significant reach for anyone with medium or small hands to operate.

    • Tooltech will install a Fiber Optic front and rear sight for $100 on any Beretta 92 you want.Hardly “impossible”.

      Recoil on the 92 is slightly less then the M&P9. I know because I own both pistols and shot them back to back yesterday.Bore axis has nothing to do with it,as double taps are quite easy on both weapons.

      As to ergonomics, all of us are people with different hand sizes who will therefore have different preferences for handguns.I cannot shoot a Glock pistol very long before my support hand starts hurting.I believe the term is “Glock Knuckle”.That doesn’t make them any less servicable for someone else.

      • Looks like Tooltech charges $175 according to their website. Nothing like spending 25-30% more to get a feature that every other pistol comes with standard….

        Bore axis has a lot to do with muzzle flip. The higher you can grip, the more you can control it. Not rocket science here, just like the pitch of a shotgun stock. Find someone who shoots competitively (USPSA, IDPA, etc) with a 92 and finishes in the top 10% at the regional or national level.

        I never said you should throw away your 92 and get a Glock, I was just pointing out common complaints with the system that hadn’t already been mentioned.

  38. Now, I WANT to hate the M9. I like the fit and finish of a 1911 and I like the simplicity of a Glock.

    The “used and abused” description by the author is spot on. Typically, Field Grades and above all get issued M9s and I have yet to see one clean an M9. The Army, as a whole, qualifies regularly but doesn’t train or practice. An accurate quip I’ve heard is that if you have to use your M9 for business, you’ve undoubtedly made grave errors in the planning process.

    Anyway, Glocks can beat M9s for price per unit. Glocks are simpler and being striker fired, have fewer (albeit different) things that can go wrong. Additionally, the Glocks are more enclosed than the M9 allowing less sand and crap to foul the action.

  39. I own a wide selection of handguns, the Beretta 92FS is my wife’s hands-down choice over Glock, HK and several SIG options. Big handgun for the round helps control the recoil, the SA trigger pull is as nice as it can be and there are a whole lot of rounds in the magazine. It’s very accurate in her hands, and as a lefty she doesn’t feel as disadvantaged as she would with the non-ambi controls you get on a SIG.

    I like mine just fine and don’t feel inadequately armed with one. If my wife wants an Italian safety blanket, I’m fine with that.

  40. I hate the M9, but I shoot awesome with it. Thing pretty much points itself without even needing the sights, and I can pop the safety off on the draw without thinking about it like a 1911. That flip up thing on draw thing is just drilled in my head and it still messes with me. When qualifying on the range I had a magazine stick. Would not drop, just completely jammed up. Armed drilled Sergeants yelling at you to drop your mag does not make a good time. I haven’t trusted the M9 ever since, totally soured on them. Unreasonable maybe, but its how I feel.

  41. The last M9 I used was for qual lasy FY. I knew I was in trouble when upon receiving the pistol I noted rust(!!@!) along the entire top of the barrel (this M9 was provided by our MI Company…. the one group that I, as a Signal guy, feel comfortable making fun of). Then the thing proceeded to put the bullets where ever it felt like, not where I was pointing (I was getting so angry I was about ready to throw the damn pistol at the target). Sad thing is that my buddy and I (fellow CPT, who also carries and shoots on a regular basis) beat the MAJ and CPT we had a gentlemen’s bet with. Thats what happens when shooters compete against non-shooters.

    BTW, don’t forget that pretty much every magazine is beat to h… When the standard table for qual involves a magazine swap you don’t think these people are actually catching the magazines as they drop. But it is a fun table to shoot and I will volunteer every time. And I love my my 92FS.

  42. Good write up on the abuse and neglect that service weapons suffer as well as how poor training and unfavorable presentation can influence vets opinions on the weapons they’re issued.

    I’ve have the dastardly duo of a Colt m1911A1 and a Berretta 92FS. Both purchased new and both thoroughly carried and fired for a couple of decades.

    For a couple of commenter’s above, I have CC’d the 92 many 100’s of times and still regularly to nearly daily CC a full size 1911. I am a small framed man with no particular advantage to concealment at all, other than an abiding will to carry enough pistol(s) and circumstances which largely permit me to pack such large ones.

    My anecdotal experience is that even 5000 to 10,000 rounds did little to harm the tolerances of either pistol, though of course over the years spring sets, minor repairs and replacement magazines have been necessary. Both are still spot on accurate out to ranges that would make you think me a liar were I to suggest them.

    The 92 is of course larger and heavier than is in anyway necessary to launch 9mm projectiles, it is however well conceived and made for doing so with great rapidity and accuracy. I’m a 1911 guy down the line, but the 92 impresses me so much I would never feel as if I were at any disadvantage if I were armed with a good example of the pistol as a duty/open carry weapon.
    The 92s controls do take some getting used to, though this poses far more of a problem to a civilian who frequently switches between pistols than a soldier issued only the one type for years on end. Once mastered all of the controls make sense, there placement is adequate and the pistol acquits itself nicely with rapidity and accuracy as well as reliability.

    What I read above is a condemnation of military armorers that could, as mentioned be repeated throughout the history of the business regardless of weapon. The 92FS is certainly not the best pistol available for the militaries needs, but it is much more than acceptable.

  43. That was one of the most insightful and well written articles I have ever read on a gun blog. The maligned 92 series is definitely a better gun that it’s current day reputation would lead one to believe. It’s nice to read an article supporting a gun design without having to bash it’s competition. Fanboyism and brand loyalty should not delude one into thinking that every other design is inferior because they do not own one.

  44. I like this article very very much. Never was in ther service but worked wit the Gov as a armed security contractor. carried a M-92FS Police Special and loved it. I find it more accurate than the short barreled SiG or full sized Glock. It fits my hand 100% ok. And in fights with Glock lover using G-17s and G-19s Ive out shoot them both with the Beretta some may have been in muddy conditions.I feel its lack of Army in particular policy over pistols and lack of training and maintenance made the bad reputation for them. Most I seen from Iraq was the pistol were cleaned but never lubed and so friction eventually made them malfunction.SO its the solder fault not the Beretta. The M-4 got this bad rep when the SCAR lover came calling after Wanut in 09 this lead to ICC which found the SCAR has nothing over the M-4 and so dropped. Any large armed group you get gun nuts who take care fo there weapons and they treat them well then you get people who dont give a crap about guns never take care of them and they fail.

    Overall the Army is buying thousands of M-9s till 2017 so I say its still going. As a man in a LE setting M-92FS work fine and is may fav semi auto pistol. I count my life on it. I do say a 147gr round is needed and so use what Portland Police use which works a 147gr HP is the best 9mm round around and can out do lighter 40 S&W loads below 180gr bullets. Goto FP or HP ammo dump Euro FMJ is my recommendation. Dont get me wrong Glocks a good gun its 2nd place in my book. I think my Beretta is the best.

  45. Excellent article, and your points are well taken. When I was in the Army (late 80s to early 90s), our M-9s were pretty close to new and I loved mine. My only complaints: I didn’t like the safety / decocker location, and I thing the gun is too big overall for what you get in terms of firepower. But reliability was 100%.

  46. Before I go into this, I want to say that I own each of the guns I’m comparing.

    I don’t understand the bemoaning of weight when it comes to Berettas, what is the empty weight of a 1911 compared to a m9a1? Colt Series 70 – 37.5 ounces, Beretta – 33.9 ounces. People bemoan how big the Beretta is for what if fires, but look at the slide weight, significantly less than the 1911.

    You get a whole lot of firepower out of a Beretta, the new factory 17 round mags put it in the same class as Glocks. Anecdotally, I have introduced many new shooters and bring out 9mm’s and 22’s, everyone seems to shoot better with the Beretta than my Glock, especially when it comes to the last few rounds out of the magazine. I think it has to do with more mass being the frame and significantly less mass in the slide than the Glock.

    Carry what you want, just don’t complain about Beretta’s being to big and bulky.

  47. I am sorry, but I will take a SIG P226 over anything on your list. Furthermore, I am not Cletus and would field strip that puppy and have it running properly with TW25 (that’s what SIG specs for it). Of course I would do the same thing with the M9. Even with the lack of training, there is no excuse for guys not getting themselves up to par.

  48. Right on. Since I’m such a CZ partisan, I’d suggest that a CZ-75B might be able to handle military-level abuse (much like the AK platform), but that opinion is subject to a huge number of variables.

    As for the reliability issue, I was lucky during infantry school – my M16 was pretty decent. I shot “Sharpshooter” (above “Marksman”, below “Expert”) with something like 34-35 (of 40) rounds on target during qualification. Then, I got to my unit (which wasn’t full staffed, being new and all) and got issued a POS M16. And then I got about 5 minutes to zero the iron sights, and let loose to qualify. Three serious malfunctions later (I had a round get so thoroughly jammed that I couldn’t fire at about 1/4 of the targets – trying to pry the little bastard out), and then I had to re-qualify with someone else’s M4. After a quick inspection (before grabbing Sgt. Whoever’s M4), the range NCOIC decided my M16 wasn’t in any condition to attempt qualification with. So, to sum up, yeah – military weapons are spectacularly abused and a terrible basis for deriving any reasonable expectation of a weapon’s performance.

    They’re the rental cars of the firearms world. At best, and more often than not, look/perform like entrants in a destruction derby.

  49. I carried a 1911 in the army in the late 80’s that was probably at least 30 years old with zero formal pistol training. Did some familiarization with it and could not hit anything with numerous malfunctions. Obviously a combination of a worn out gun and an incompetent shooter. Got issued an M9 with again no formal pistol training and was able to at least stay on the paper with my familiarization rounds. Obviously an upgrade to a gun that was not worn out but the shooter was still incompetent. Became a LEO 11 years ago. Issued a Beretta 96. After formal training in proper maintenance and competent pistol training, I became an acceptable marksman with a pistol. Had no gun caused malfunctions with the 96 over a period of 5 years. Transitioned to a P226 which I do prefer over the 96, however the Beretta M9/92/96, in my opinion, is an acceptable service pistol.

  50. The Beretta 92FS was the first pistol I had ever shot. I have never been in the military or law enforcement, I was just your average citizen looking to get to know firearms and how to use them for the safety of me and my family.

    Before I purchased my 1st pistol I tried dozens of different models from various manufactures at my local gun range. We became members of the range so the rentals were free. The 92FS was the first pistol recommendation from the range officer. The first shot from the 92FS was as smooth as butter and I loved it. And this is from a range rental gun. This thing was nasty looking and I’m sure it wasn’t well maintained. Not a war torn pistol by any means so there is no comparison to the M9’s that have been handed down from soldier to soldier through the years. but it was pretty ratty looking. I loved it! A tried many different pistols after that 92FS but none of them seemed to be as comfortable in the hand as the Beretta. I ended up purchasing the M9 because I really liked the straight backstrap, post dot sight and straight dust cover. Minor differences!

    I’ve purchased a few more pistols since the initial M9 but my M9 comes to the range with me every time and is always ready to go in the gun safe in my nightstand.

  51. I was in from 78-98. Was issued the M15 revolver, M1911A1, M9, and M11. Liked them all. They all worked fine. My 1911A1 had many parts replaced by the time it was issued to me in 84 (special duty assignment), and it was not as reliable as the M9 that replaced it in 87. The M11 was easier to carry concealed. You can do better today, but given the specs at the time, the M9 was a good choice. It was that or the SIG P226. I know a PD that issued the P226 about the same time (86) that had the slides and/or frames crack on 52 of their 1300 issued pistols in the first 10 yrs. Nothing is perfect. Both are better today than they were in 85, but today the HK, FN, or S&W would be better choices IMO.

    • There nothing out now that’s a game changer better than the M-9 and the Glock and SiG are not really better. Ive handled the G-17 several time like it but not as accurate or as comfortable to shoot as the Beretta.

  52. Well I have a 99 year old 1911, my grandfather kept it as payment for his leg in the Pacific Theater, I also own a 92A1 While I like the 18 rounds it carries the fact that my old Colt is much more reliable than my finicky Beretta, it will stovepipe ever third round or so, sure I don’t have to drop the magazine nearly as often as I do with my Colt, but I can put seven rocks down range with less issues than the jam factory that is my 92

    • Gun·smith (/ˈgənˌsmiTH/)
      noun: gunsmith; plural noun: gunsmiths
      1. a person who makes, sells, and repairs small firearms.

  53. I own 7 Berettas, 6 Sigs, 4 H&K’s. The M9/92FS is a good gun, just because you worked with or had an old one doesn’t mean anything. what’s important is finding a gun that has the features you want on it. For me I love having DA\SA with a DE-cocker. But some people want striker fire, polymer frame small, light, some people are .45ACP 1911 people. My personal opinion is the gun could drop the safety and go with the DE-cocker only.

  54. As a prior service member I was lucky I suppose. Our M9s were very clean and no issues. I have my expert marksmanship ribbon with 2 clusters. When I had the chance to purchase a Beretta 96A1 I jumped at the chance. It is my favorite weapon. I own sigs, glocks, tuarus, springfields and the 96A1 is accurate fun and a joy to shoot. It disassembles easier than any gun I own and back together is even faster. Great gun and at 40 cal is the best Bertta in my opinion to date

  55. I have owned a Beretta 92FS for a couple years now I love it! I actually went to the gun shop to buy a Glock 17 they were out, so while there I was feeling out some other handguns picked it up and feel in love with it. I like Glocks don’t get me wrong, but after shooting 1000+ rounds through my Beretta 92FS I have had ZERO malfunctions. I can actually not say the same for my brothers Glock 19 that I’ve shot. I have a variety of pistols but, my go to open carry pistol is my Beretta. I have converted a couple people from Glock fans to Beretta, the Glock may be just as reliable and all but the Beretta is much more of a pleasure to shoot.

  56. Think about the M16s knocking around National Guard and Reserve armories- total and complete pieces of junk. And realistically, those rifles have received better care than the average M9 currently in service. Why? The military mindset is that pistols are things you use shortly before you die. You depend on your rifle, but if you’re depending on a pistol you should probably make you peace with God. The author is right- Glocks, Sigs, whatever- they’d all be rattly POS if they had the same treatment. At least an M9 is heavy enough to use as a hammer when the slide falls off- you’d be hard pressed to even break a window with a Glock.

  57. I currently have a Beretta 92FS and a pair of its poor step-brother Taurus PT (9mm & .40 cal) and have zero complaints about either. Left LE many years ago where we carried issue S & W model 59 (I know that be a LONG time ago) I had the privlidge of working with the Guard folks at several armories in the southwest and all the 1911’s were worn out back in the 80’s anything would have been an improvement. I wondered for years why anyone would carry the 1911 (nostoliga?) they I had a chance to shoot a pristine Nat’l match and understood. I now carry one of two Kimber custom’s for most days.
    The Beretta and the Taurus now spend most days in the safe. I would not hesistate to carry either though if necessary they are very reliable pistols and very well made. I have large hands and long fingers for a guy so the grip/safety was never a problem. I always wondered who in the military actually selected the gun though, most folks I know cannot grip a 92 properly and still work the safety w/o using the other hand. I’d say most of the responders are much younger than myself and are raised on striker fired pistols. The DA/SA action was how we were trained in LE years ago, it was considered the best/safest way to carry (i.e. safety off, round chambered, hammer down) you had to make an effort to set off the first round a lot of LE folks were coming from revolvers so this was no big deal. Times change, it looks more and more like the pistol is designed now for people with little or no training trying to create an idiot proof pistol. The 9mm was chosen because of its worldwide appeal, low recoil and capacity it has piss poor stopping power in FMJ, when did the .45 become difficult to handle? I don’t notice recoil when I’m being shot at and returning fire…..

  58. I just got an a1 haven’t even taken it to the range yet. I liked the fell it is a little two chunking for a conceal carry gun but it had a nice feel. I still love my G19 that is my current carry gun but the a1 is growing on me.

    Thanks
    Robert

  59. I owned a 92FS out of the box I bought some 15 years ago. Loved the finish and fit….and then it sat in the box….eventually, I gave it away…..NIB! No Shiite.

    The point? Simple, despite whatever one is issued, prefers, hates, loves, disputes, blah blah blah, a lot of the perceived value is based entirely on that. When I served we had the worn out .45’s of which folks speak. No matter how you aimed, it landed in the dirt 10-40 yards away…..until I bought a new one.

    All that time I loved the look of the Beretta but, when I actually shot a friend’s 92FS, I simply decided to give it away to a friend’s father as a thanks for the time he allowed my kids to play around on his farm when they were young.

    That shooting kind of gave it away. I have medium sized hands the long take up on the first shot just didn’t sit well….the slack on takeup for subsequent shots made the gun feel….shaky…..no matter, gave it away. He still has it. Keeps it in his truck.

    I’ve owned a myriad of pistols and in the end, I found out that the ones I liked tended to get better care and miraculously, shot well. This includes, Kel-Tec PF9….yes, I said that, a Taurus TCP .380 (this is the most under-appreciated gun in the world), A Springfield Defender model circa 1991 (well made frame and slide), Browning Hi-Power, slender, accurate but that f’in hammer bite…..a Taurus PT-111 (cheap, shoots, belongs in a boat or glovebox), S&W Sigma’s (another under-appreciated gun, what a value for the money), S&W SD which I actually prefer over the M&P, trunk of .22’s, SW 442 (accurate to a whopping 7 yards), some L and N frames, Glocks Gen 1……3 digit serial number…man, have these come a long way, and so on and son…….

    To the vet’s point, take a Sig, Colt, Smith, Glock, CZ, and run it like a prom date for 25 years and I’ll show you one worn out gun. Drive a car for 25 years and get back to me. Things wear out. Guns are no exception. Metal to metal with violent detonations within…kind of alike an old Chevy 350….they run a long, long, long time but, sooner or later, that oil pump is gonna go….has to.

    I don’t think many of us, myself included, ever look to replace springs unless they are VERY active…we shoot them for years…..on occasion? The Beretta is a fine weapon. You can argue the caliber to death but, all that Sanow and Ayoub and gods of ballistics crap goes right out the door with double taps. As the writer previously posted. OSS…..as if….who, if they have an ounce of brains, shoots one shot and takes a peak? Ergo the high-capacity magazines….NOW you see why one needs them……

    An old .45 gives 3.5 swings at bat…..the newer polymer jobs give you 8-9….that’s it….and do that enough and no matter WHAT you buy, it too will have the appearance of your first love, 25 years removed…ahem….

    Shoot what YOU want, get GOOD at what YOU shoot and take care of it. Throw in COMPETENT practice with double taps and clearing your surroundings and you too will be the kind of your immediate surroundings more often than not.

    Nuff’ said.

  60. I really enjoyed the article, I think you really hit all aspects directly. I have 11 1/2 years Navy Reserve – Logistics. I have been in theater twice. We did get some pistol training, first time was over two days, about 500 rounds each and included pop-up walking range. Still not enough to make any of effective, but the Reserves also urge us to spend time off duty shooting. We also had 3 days on M16 with 500 or more rounds. Next trip over, different command, no pistol time (they would have enough to go around) and very little M16 time. But, once in theater they did find time for folks to shoot 240B, M2 and Mk-19. I completely agree with your view that service weapons have been over used and in adequately cared for. I am looking at getting a Berreta 9mm and look forward to be pleasantly surprised by the difference in quality.

  61. It’s the best service pistol we’ve ever had.

    The Brits often remark that U.S. Soldiers are the best equipped and worse trained. By and large I’d have to say we’re the 2nd best equipped behind the Germans, but I’d agree that U.S. Soldiers are poorly trained, specifically speaking about small arms – from understanding the theory, to execution of basic skills, individual skill is not anything close to “mastery.” We have very good training strategy that is poorly executed – especially in the Army.

    Even among those units and “operators” that one would expect to shoot very well are just “ok.”

    The service M9’s that our team uses in competition are “rack grade” regularly used and deployed for years. We win with them because we train properly with them. There are no fancy sights or extended mag releases or fancy trigger jobs. We just put in the WORK and train (dry fire mostly). There are no short cuts. You can spend $400 on a decent 92FS or M9 and crush all comers provided that you train. Chapionship skill, or Mastery can never be purchased from any rockstar cool guy gun teacher or obtained through the shiniest accessory or laser sight. Mastery is earned alone. Reading. Studying. Fingers rubbed raw from reloading. In your sleep you see the front sight. You hear the “beeeep!!” of the shot timer in your mind, you know courses of fire by heart, you visualize excellence. But above everything else – you get on the firing line and compete – unafraid to fail. And when you do lose – you never lose the lesson. You practice more than the next guy. Relentless in your plan for perfection.

  62. As a combat arms instructor for the Air Force (CATM), I carry, shoot, teach and repair this weapon as needed. I’m not sure what Dan Nimmerman was talking about when he said the gun had ” no or little basic maintenance over the course of two decades”. First off, duty weapons are inspected and gauged once a year plus before and after they deploy. Trigger pull testing, (set lbs for DA/SA fire and no fire), firing pin protusion and the recoil spring is measured and must meet a certain length. If they are not carried everyday and are in extended storage, they get inspected every three years and before and after they deploy. Anyways, the people that hate the safety/decocking lever. 1: I can put a round in the chamber, weapon on FIRE or safe, throw it on the ground and it will not fire. The trigger HAS to be pulled which raises the firing pin block and allows the hammer to strike the firing pin extension in order for it to be fired. 2: Sweeping the Safety/Decocker is a hell of alot quicker and safer than having to ride the hammer down cowboy style. 3: I can shoot the shit out of this pistol accurately, any of them. 4: it has a half-cock notch, meaning since the hammer is foward and I draw my pistol on a threat and say he has a gun, as I am pulling the trigger and moving that hammer back, he suddenly drops the handgun and complies to my directions, I can release the trigger and the hammer will not slam foward and cannot fire the gun. In the US we carry hollow points, one in the chamber, weapon on fire with the hammer foward.
    It is a very easy gun to work on, and since these T.O.s that we use are available (if you know where to look) anyone could build, strip these down to nothing, fix, gauge and inpect these and rebuild them. I love the M9, less recoil means more rounds on target quicker.

  63. I was in an Army infantry division in the late 1960’s…the 1911’s we had then were held together only by the great work of the unit armorers, and MOST who had to carry one were not happy about it. The old 45 became a religion for some reason, despite it being a relic…FWIW, the US is the only country in the world that idolize that pistol.
    I have an Italian made 92F that is the second most accurate 9mm pistol I have ever shot…(the first was an old Star 30M). It has been 100% reliable and I have never had ANY trouble remembering how the safety works. IMO, if a person is too stupid to remember how the pistol he is carrying works, perhaps he should not carry at all. The M9 – 92 is a GREAT pistol, a huge improvement over the antique it replaced and serves many today as a home or carry arm.
    Get over it.

  64. Fair enough evaluation of the abuse that a recycled M9 has to go through and the miserable condition the latest poor schmuck has to deal with.
    My question is which hand gun by which manufacturer would be any different under these same conditions?

    • There isn’t the 1911 got the same rap in the 60-80s when in use. No matter what is used tacti cooler whiners always cry that some plastic gun they think looks cool isn’t used.

  65. I have never heard of anybody getting a custom sidearm made of the M9 like folks do of the 1911. Also, if it’s such a great firearm, then why is it not a sot after like a Colt or other 1911’s? Also, a military 1911 draws a huge price while a M9 the price of scrap.

    • No Wilson Combat is now making customized M-9s and specialized M-9s. I keep reading here GIs who have no problems with the M-9!

    • Give it time the 1911 had a 70 year jump on the m9. Plus there are people who order highly customized versions of the 92FS and this will only continue to grow. I was in during the late 80’s and was witness to the M9’s first test in a combat theatre (Panama). I was envious of the oldtimers who were allowed to carry the 1911 because they were grandfathered in. The group I was assigned to pretty much allowed you the pick of several small arms both pistol and rifle; however because I was a FNG I had to carry the M9 but did get to carry the very handy HK MP5. My envy quickly wained after I was envolved in an enemy contact situation and witnessed the lack of accuracy from the 1911 leading to several of my team mates suffering very close calls or non fatal injuries while the situation didn’t call for the extreme rapid fire fom my MP5 my M9 accounted for my ass remaining unscathed. While I will agree all day long with the so called superior stopping power of the fmj 45 it’s a moot point when you can’t connect with your target. Leason learned…..there is no substitue for fast accurately place firepower and this may account for the majority of operators choosing a 9mm over a 45 in most mission dictated situtions because they practice enough and have unlimited budgets when it comes to ammo procurment which unfortunately regular Army or other branches do not.

  66. Was issued the M9 in the Corps. Shot at Far East Division matches in Okinawa, ’bout 1992 timeframe. One of the most accurate “stock” pistol I have shot. Did not like the long DA trigger, nor the frame mounted safety. The real problem, especially in the fine sand of Saudia Arabia and Kuwait, were those damn magazines that were always bound up with grit and spring issues! For uniformed carry, who cares about the size. As for 9mm vs. (you name the caliber, in FMJ), well, absolutely nobody will take my self designed test to observe the effectiveness of _ vs _ (you name the caliber). You probably have an idea of what the test entails!!!! Cheers!

  67. I find this article to be spot on. I too carried the famed 1911A1 in the military for six years. My first handgun purchase shortly after my 21st birthday in 1975, was a Colt Mark IV series 70 Government. Still have it today. My civilian model has always been much better that the one I was issued in the military. Still is! Last year, I bought a Beretta M9. I love this gun every bit as much as the 1911’s… maybe more. Contrary to what others may say or believe… I DO NOT find the Beretta to be a huge monster! It’s just a tad bit wider than the 1911… but it’s lighter in weight.

    While in the military, we were trained on the 1911A1 to carry with the hammer down on an empty chamber. And I’ve carried my personal 1911 the same way for the past 40 years! Being a big fan of revolvers for personal defense, I found the Beretta, with the DA/SA trigger, to be very appealing. Cause if I ever have to pull my handgun, I don’t want my nervous finger resting on a 4lb trigger! I can carry the Beretta hammer down on a live round… just like a revolver. I find that very comforting.

    My Beretta M9 is just as accurate (maybe more so) than my Colt 1911. It has become my favorite range gun, and as soon as I can find a nice holster for it, it will become my primary carry gun. Been thinking of retiring my Colt. Like I said earlier… I do not find the Beretta to be a big, huge, heavy monster. But just like the 1911 (or any other large framed gun), you have to learn to work with it.

    Personally, I think going to the M9 for a carry gun will be a piece of cake.

  68. I have had a 92fs for over 20+ years! what a great gun!
    I have never had a issue with the 92, we’ll over 5k rounds put thru her with all the factory parts still intact, I like it so much I just ordered another one, this one is stainless “inbox” and very
    Sweet looking……I also carry a glock 17 gen4 & a FN57 along with a Beretta px4 compact that I am not a big fan of, the 92fs
    Is a great gun.

  69. I will say, I am prior service and do not enjoy the M-9. I understand your first thoughts, but as someone who stood up the unit I was in, we picked up the armory, yes every firearm, brand new in wooden crates. The M-9s were only given to officers, and that took a year and a half. On the first outing, we had 2 of them that our armorer had to take because of the triggers falling apart. To be fair, I also am not a fan of many military arms. I just wanted it to be known that not all problems were due to abused firearms, and I believe what is issued to our troops is of lesser quality than what you can purchase yourself.

  70. This article is spot on. I spent 22 years (80-02) in the Marine Corps as a armorer (MOS 2111) and serve as the Senior Marine Instructor for the Smalls Arms Repairmen school at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD as a Gunnery Sergeant. As a young “boot” Marine, the M1911A1 was my T/O weapon. These pistols were old as dirt. Accuracy consisted of shooting a group, then place your black pastee’s opposite of that group as your aiming point. So you could hopefully hit black. We had a Technical Instruction that allowed you to cross reference the serial number and the year the weapon went into service. The oldest one in my armory had started service in 1937. When we converted over to the M9, it was night and day. The M9 was point of aim, point of impact. I’m sure by now those M9’s are now POS just like the M1911A1’s when I first holstered one. My personal caliber preference would be the 9mm over the .45. It’s simple for me…..higher magazine capacity. Give me 15 rounds over 7 any day of the week. I currently carry the Beretta PX4 Storm compact in 9mm. Sweet shooting pistol, with minimal recoil with the rotating barrel system. Semper Fi….Gunny Out!

  71. I carry a PT92fs Regularly. IWB with a either a savoy leather or a custom tuckable leather holster. No issues, i am 5’10 and 200lbs

  72. I carried a beat to hell m9 as an MP and I wasn’t to impressed with it. However when I got out and had the opportunity to buy my first gun I bought my Uncle’s 92fs that he carried as a LEO. It was a handgun I was familiar with and he made me a heck of a good deal. The 92fs I bought off of him was in much better shape and after a few trips to the range I changed my opinion. I love my Beretta. I don’t know about carrying that as my CCW when I get my permit, but she is a great shooter, easy to maintain, and fits just right in my hand. I’m young, but I am old school and I will be carrying a little old .38 special as my pocket gun.

  73. I’ll echo Gunny’s response above. I joined the USMC right before the transition to the M9. As a tanker, I was required to qualify and carry a pistol. The first pistol I used to qualify was the M1911. You can replace M9 with M1911 in your article and it would have been exactly the same in 1986. I’ll take an abused M9 over an abused M1911 any day.

  74. As a Veteran, I have no issues with the M9. I agree that the vast majority of stored inventory in the Army and the Navy, is old, and abused. However working as a rangemaster over the years, keeping a supply of M9’s off to the side, with the Ammo detail, being cleaned as we go (qualification) has enabled me to keep Soldiers putting rounds down range all day every day. Biggest problem in my opinion is “hot-seating” weapons. 99% of the time, I opened a range with about 50 M9’s laid out at at around 30 lanes with extra on standby. The majority of Joe’s showed up, walked to a lane, fired their “Q” and walked away. Only officers and Medics would come through and have their own sidearms. After about two or three courses of fire, we would be swapping weapons out every single “Q”, various issues contributed, heat, brass shave buildup, excessive lubricant to get that “Last” table fired off so we don’t hold up the line. There was the human element of course, as mentioned in your article…100 rounds fired every 6 months? Undertrained Joe’s and even officers resulted in poor shooting technique, failed “Q’s”, Stovepipes from “limpwrist”, unsat safety issues from nervous Joe’s, not keeping weapon pointed up and down range etc. All the while, these beat up old 9’s pouring hundreds and hundreds of rounds downrange every day, somehow we got the circus out of town, then GI’d the crap out of these dinsosaurs for a whole day. Then in 6 months? rinse and repeat. Thats why I respect them, they have taken a beating, and will continue too, even as I know my 14 year old son might end up firing a weapon downrange in 10 years that I myself handled 20 years previously. This is why when I chose to buy a handgun for my home, I went with the M9/FS-92. The only gripe I have about the thing is the plastic spring guide rod, it tends to get a little flacid on days pushing 110 degrees when I’m shooting in the desert, not wilting persay, but it is certainly a lot more supple after a few hours, think: “stiff garden hose that wont stretch to your car in the morning, but after laying in driveway till noon after your car wash, thing is soft as old leather, and rolls right up”. Now, thats not really a gripe, I mean; I COULD go buy a steel replacement, but any Army vet here will tell you; we live by the old adage: “If it ain’t broke…”. All that being said, this is the only handgun i will ever own, although I have spent some serious time in a local range on a Glock and H&K 40 and 45, just love the “punch” sometimes. It is also a fine weapon for my wife to use, she’s comfortable with the “Kick” and I have been training my Oldest Son on it this year as well, his fingers are a bit short, he still has to use his weak side thumb to operate slide etc, but he’s getting the hang of it, and in a year or so he’ll be completely operating that 9 with his firing hand only, safety, slide lock, slide release etc…I won’t be teaching him advanced “racking procedures” for sometime so he will still have to rack it with his weak hand:) As a Vet, and a former small arms instructor, for the Army, Navy, Marines, CID and Federal Security Forces, I highly endorse this weapon, and I’m here to agree with you, I love it in a personally owned capacity.

  75. I never cared for them in the USMC. Same exact reasons posted by the author. I reluctantly tried one many years after my service to find that they are extremely nice pistols. Fit and finish are superior, and it was extremely accurate; more accurate than my Glocks. Needless to say I bought one, and have been a Beretta fan since. My current favorite and main stay is a 96a1. If you based your opinions on the 92/96 based on your military service do your self a favor and pick up one and give it a spin. I’m sure your perception will change quickly. Then do your self one more favor by installing the D hammer spring. Lightens DA pull by 4 lbs. No idea why they don’t come with that spring stock. Enjoy

  76. As an active duty Marine, I can agree with most of what the author wrote in his piece. Yes, the M9’s, M16’s and M4’s get abused, tossed around, issued and re-issued all the time. I.E. they are not properly maintained for the level of use they get. In one week on the range I’ll shoot around 1000 rounds from practice all the way to qualification.

    What I don’t agree with is the snide comment about the P226 being on equal ground as the M9. I own both. I have my own personal M9, that I bought brand new and yes, it’s night and day compared to my issued one. I also bought a P226 in 9mm. That is by and far a much better handgun than the M9. Better overall balance, better accuracy, better ergonomics and a MUCH better trigger. The only thing the M9 wins out on over it is the price tag.

  77. When clearing bunkers back in 1989, I found cases of the baby version of this pistol. I thought it was kind of messed up that I had to carry a Beretta when we hit state side. They shoot well but I don’t see why American soldiers should shoot the same thing that was sold to Sadam.

  78. When the 1911 was the issued sidearm it too was maligned. During the sixties we were issued World War Two rattle traps manufactured by the Remington Rand Type Writer Company. Love my civilian Berettas and 1911s as well as others

  79. Bought a 92 A-1 over a year ago; it’s my favorite pistol to shoot. It has never malfunctioned in over 2000 rounds, and the recoil is very mild. Have since bought a PX-4 and Nano. Beretta makes very good firearms that most working folks can afford.

  80. An ol’ revolver & contender shoot’n country guy here. I even like old hammer-shotguns, So a move to the 92′ just felt natural. Wow, an AUTO that Feels & Shoots nearly like a revolver! Even that ‘Half-Cocked’ hammer feature is an un-respected-safety plus. Points naturally & accurate – just don’t like the ‘Banana’ trigger (not enough curl)(the Taurus may be better there along with the ‘safety’ lever). Shoots all the 9’s I put-en-er!
    Hey guys, a great chat you got go’n here! Some fine experience to ‘Respect’. Brings back Dad’s Army tales of Korea (Frozen 45’s, M1 & M2 Carb’s. & hardly any ammo to spare). Yea, the old Vets seldom had any good to say of the ’45’ and the ammo wasn’t so great either! Atleast some Marines are now get’n ‘New 1911A1’s’ (45’s), Stainless Steel & Match Grade (Painted Tan/Brown). A few Service People even get an M11(Sig 9mm) or even M9A1’s so this handgun chat should really get stirred up now.

  81. Hey Guys I wanted to chime back in here, the Beretta 92’s have a fascinating history that is easily studied on this I-net. The M9s, Brigadiers, Vertecs & others up to the newer A1’s are not guns simply ‘Bought’ from Beretta. These are countless upgrades & modifications generally ‘Requested’ by the Military, Gov’t.s, & Law En. Agencies around the world. Beretta (since the Walther P-38) has simply answered those demands with fine firearms as well as all the production & support facilities in many countries (including the US & I believe a new Tennessee plant). As civilians/citizens, we are blessed with fine & proven firearms at modest cost. Faults we have with them are not generally to blame on Beretta but the spec.s imposed on them. It seems that even every tiny detail of them has a special story.

  82. Hammering in tent pegs?!?
    I bet medical officers reports along the lines off -”Subject shot him/herself with their sidearm while using it as a tent deployment device”- can still raise a snigger in some circles.

  83. I have been a reserve with our Sheriffs dept for over 25 years, I purchased my 1st 92 at the suggestion of my brother who sold guns to most local law enforcement personnel. When are dept transitioned from revolvers to semi auto pistols I took my 92 and passed all our training with only one problem. A squib load, bad reloads our dept gave us, other than that never a malfunction, misfire etc. I purchased a 92 g when they were available and have been carrying it for the last 16 years without a problem what so ever even when not cleaning or lubing as often as it should. I fire the gun all the time, qualification every month, extra training every month, range time every month, off duty desert shooting every month. I also used it in undercover , yes it is a little large and not the most concealable but it has never failed yet! Thank you Beretta! Keep up the good work, as soon as possible I will be looking at purchasing the M9A3.

  84. I bought a 92 FS-B (as they were known then) in 1985 before the M9 became standard issue. It was a fantastic pistol, and I owned it for 10 years before I traded it on a SIG 228. I should have kept it, and often wish I had. I was issued M9s often. I was Infantry, and in an Infantry company, there are not really a lot of pistols actually. I was confident with the M9 and think it was a great service pistol. The best? That’s hard to qualify. Not sure the M16/M4 I carried for 24 years was the “best”, but it was excellent for it’s intended purpose, just as the M9 is/was. I found that those that complained about the M16/M4, M9, M249, M60, M240, etc, etc, etc usually didn’t know that much about small arms, what they were for, and how to maintain and shoot them. Most competent, professional soldiers worry more about training and use more than fashion anyway. No problems with the M9, other than operator headspace and timing. For those of you that have actually timed and headspaced an M2 heavy barrel Browning machine gun, you will know what I’m talking about.

  85. I own two Beretta 92 pistols: Inox Brigadier and 92A1 Italian. Besides I own handguns made by Glock, HK, Sig, Ruger, S&W. I shot a lot, almost every week-end no less than 300-500 rounds each range visits. I could say for sure 92 are best of the best in any respect. Besides accuracy, low recoil, great in hands etc – they are looking amazing! I modified mine with parts from Wilson Combat, Wolff and VZ, they are stunning pistols now and I am glad I could own them.

  86. I own lots of hand guns including Sigs, Kimbers, S&Ws and Glocks. I know first hand that the reason non-sof soldiers complain about the M9 is because most of them cannot shoot. I have seen guys shoot a terrible qual and look at their M9 and get mad at the gun. More than once I have taken their gun from them and shot a perfect 300. The M9 is an outstanding shooter and I have only seen one or two malfunctions when guys left their magazines filled to capacity for an entire deployment. Really, that is a magazine failure, not a weapon failure. Come to think of it, it’s a shooter’s failure. Mine were always very accurate. If the shooter does their part with an M9 that has not been run over by a truck, it is easy to shoot 6-8″ groups at 25 yards (and much less on a good day) with the M9 — better than my P226s

  87. I am a Marine Veteran (1990-2000). Going through bootcamp, most of our manuals still had pictures of the M1911, though I never saw one, everything was the M9. Through most of my career, the M9 was my T.O. weapons. While in the infantry (0352), my T.O. weapon was an M249 SAW, which meant the Marine Corps also issued me an M9 (it used to tick off the Zeros and SNCOs at the range to see a LCPL qualifying with “their” M9). At the time, I was a big fan of the 1911, because I thought the .45 was superior (with no actual, real world reason for this). Meanwhile, all the while ragging on the M9, I had ZERO problems with it, and it served me well. Even in the fine, powder, red sand of Somalia. Maybe at the time the ones we were issued weren’t worn out like he discusses in this article, because all of mine had tight tolerances, excellent fit and finish (with some wear) and grouped well. I always noticed the magazines fit well, compared to the slop of the 1911 magazines.

    The reason the military bad-mouths the M9 is because that’s what we do. We b*tch about every thing. I never heard anyone not b*itch about their weapon and gear. Whatever you were issued, you b*tch about it. The M16A2 was a P.O.S. if you asked anyone that carried them, yet I never saw one jam (except for when shooting blanks and a few “well no sh*t, private!” moments that I saw. I never had one jam, personally. Yet, it was the worst thing ever made if you asked any of us. Same with the M249. Everyone complained. Mine never malfunctioned, though. As one other poster commented, I’m pretty sure every one who has ever carried a M1911, M1903, M14, M1, Mauser, Bertheir, SMLE, Brown Bess, etc, has b*tched about how bad it sucks.

    Nowadays, I love all guns and don’t discriminate, except for the few guns I’ve used that malfunction. If it works, I like it. I use Glocks, M&Ps, CZs, FNs, Berettas, HKs, Walthers, and anything else I can get my hand on. (Sorry SIG, I have little experience with them).

    • “The reason the military bad-mouths the M9 is because that’s what we do. We b*tch about every thing. I never heard anyone not b*itch about their weapon and gear. Whatever you were issued, you b*tch about it.”

      So funny…and so true. I even had people bitch to me about the fact that the slide could be easily released (in theory) by an attacker at close quarters. As if we were going to battle Jackie Chan on a boarding.

      I was in the Coast Guard at the end of the service life of the M9, and after 6 years of range training every 3 months and seeing thousands of rounds go down range through guns that had, for years, been dropped in sand, drenched in salt water, and possibly used to hammer in tent stakes, I never saw a single one malfunction.

  88. It weights over 2lbs unloaded which is more than a framing hammer so there was no need to leave it loaded to pound tent pegs. The weight was always my biggest issue with this gun. When I had a side arm it was because I was carrying a belt fed or a bolt action long gun. I despised carrying 4lbs of useless weight. That’s 2 quarts of water I would have loved on a few days LP/OP. Civilian now and my Glock with high cap mags, light and Tritium sights weights about the same as the unloaded M9. Not arguing Glock > anything else. Try everything. …choose what works best for you.

  89. Carried one as a secondary in the service. There were certainly some -9’s that were rode hard, I was always fortunate not to draw one. SOP was to decock and then safety off once holstered. It’s simple and intuitive to draw and fire in double action at that point. I was always issued 124gr +P JHP’s, so no issues with ammo conceptually speaking. Anything over 400ft lbs and has good penetration is good to go. Now, I have an M9a1, a G17, and a P07. The M9a1 has the smoother action and more predictable trigger, the P07 the smallest and crazy accurate, the G17 somewhere between the two. The target doesn’t care what I’m carrying, so it’s just a preference for what fits me better. Which is the M9 for me.

  90. The M9 or 92FS works well for a sidearm or it would not have been adopted by Military and Law Enforcement. Plain and simple fact. Is it the “best” ??? Maybe and maybe not. Would 100% consensus on whether or not every shooter prefers the pistol over all others be possible? The answer is no. I personally like it alot. I had one in my military duty and I own one which I carry daily in law enforcement. Are there other pistols on the market well suited for duty? Absolutely. I like many brands and models. I carry the M9 or 92FS because I like it. I don’t have to carry a glock. I don’t have to carry a Sig. I carry what I prefer as an individual. I like my pistol. It isn’t plastic. I can change grips. I can change lots of things on my personal pistol. The safety gets a bad rap on the Beretta. Most don’t understand HOW to carry the pistol in manner to prevent the safety from engaging itself coming out of a holster etc. When you chamber the first cartridge, with the safety OFF, back that hammer up slowly until you hear one click, and that happens at just a couple of millimeters travel. The safety will then not engage into the SAFE position but the hammer will appear to be fully down. It’s a sort of half-cock notch designed for this purpose. The hammer will appear fully down. In this way the safety is prevented from being casually bumped from FIRE to SAFE. It’s designed to be carried safety off, round chambered, hammer not at full cock. The long-pull of the trigger on the first shot is the actual safety feature. The safety lever is a decocking option. The pistol is a good one. Very excellent pistol. Other pistols can be excellent too. As an individual, you can carry what YOU like. As a squad member, you generally carry what the squad carries so everyone can use everyone’s ammo and magazines; and also maintenance and spare parts are also easily addressed. The M9 worked OK for military use. Eventually they wear from use, that’s a given. It’s a good pistol for a variety of missions and I like it so I carry one. I can hit with mine, so I carry it. I like it. I like several other guns too. But I carry this one.

  91. It’s quite easy to perceive from the comments who has served in the profession of arms with this pistol and those who read guns and ammo articles and regurgitate what someone else said. I used this firearm (Beretta 92) for 21 years in 3rd Special Forces Group. I trained with and used this weapon in any and every situation that exists. I trust my life with this pistol. I suppose I advocate this weapon because it is the only pistol I/we trained with and deployed with. We had the unique opportunity with pistol that a civilian will almost never get…massive round count. I estimate I was given 12,000-18,000 rds a year to train with. I could never identify any malfunction trends do to the weapon itself. All my malfunctions were due to magazine issues. It was quite common for us to leave mags loaded for a long period of time, if one doesn’t have a rotation plan/system, the mag springs will cause malfunctions. Most novice shooters do not even know about or account for this magazine consideration. The accuracy capability of this pistol far exceeds most shooters ability. Of the shooter has the time on trigger and uses solid fundamentals, the pistol will do its part. I have myself, and seen many shooters shoot a entire 15 round magazine at 1″X1″ pasties at 15 meters. (That is a eyeball shot) I don’t intend to sound boastful by stating that, just a illustration of what the pistol can do with the right man on the trigger.

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