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M9

Semi-automatic pistol

M9

The M9 is the standard issue sidearm in service with the US armed forces

 
 
Country of origin United States
Entered service 1985
Caliber 9x19 mm Parabellum
Weight (empty) 952 g
Weight (loaded) 1 162 g
Length 217 mm
Barrel length 125 mm
Muzzle velocity 365 - 380 m/s
Muzzle energy 500 Joules
Magazine capacity 15 rounds
Sighting range 50 m
Range of effective fire 50 m

 

   In the 1980s the US military issued a requirement for a new sidearm to replace the Colt M1911 pistols and Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolvers. The US Department of Defense decided that a new pistol would be standard across all five branches of the US forces, including the US Army, US Marine Corps, US Navy, US Air Force and US Air Force strategic missile crews. Eventually an Italian Beretta 92FS, a military version of the 92F, won the competition. It outperformed many other formidable contenders from Colt, Fabrique Nationale, Heckler & Koch, SIG-Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Steyr and Walther. The Beretta 92FS was adopted by the US armed forces in 1985 as the M9. This pistol replaced the previous M1911 and became the standard issue sidearm in service with the US armed forces. It has seen action during all recent wars, including invasion of Panama, Operation Desert Storm, wars in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 1985 Berretta has delivered some 600 000 of these pistols to the Department of Defense. This weapon has been exported to some US allies. Currently the M9 is becoming out-dated and is outclassed by most modern pistols. The US armed forces will replace it with a new design. In 2017 a SIG Sauer P320 pistol was adopted as the M17. Eventually it will replace the M9.

   The M9 is chambered for a 9x19 mm Parabellum round. It is a common NATO pistol round. However a number of US armed forces servicemen were dissatisfied with this new ammunition. Comparing with the previous M1911, chambered in .45 ACP, the M9 looses in terms of penetration and man-stopping power.

   The pistol has a short-recoil action and a double-action trigger. However it can be also fired in single-action mode. The barrel is chromed. It reduces wear and protects it from corrosion. This pistol proved to be reliable. Data from Beretta shows, that average reliability of this pistol is 17 500 rounds without a stoppage. The US armed forces require the M9 to fire only 5 000 rounds.

   The pistol has an ambidextrous design and is convenient for right- or left-handed shooters. It has a safety switch on either side of the slide. Also a magazine release button can be repositioned from one side of the grip to another. The front trigger guard has a finger support for easier aiming. However the M9 pistol is bulky and heavy. It is uncomfortable to hold, fire and is hard to handle for some shooters.

   A safety switch is on either side of the slide. Also there is an internal safety, that prevents the firing pin from moving forward without the trigger being pulled.

   The M9 is fed from a double-stack 15-rounds capacity magazine. It has twice the magazine capacity of the previous M1911 and that was a huge improvement.

   The pistol has fixed iron sights. This weapon is accurate. Range of effective fire is around 50 meters.

 

Variants

 

   M9 General Officer's Model. It is a special version, issued to the US Army and US Air Force General Officers. It replaced the previous M15 General Officer's pistol;

   M9A1. It is an updated version, that emerged in 2006. It has some improvements, and also, an accessory rail for the attachment of tactical flashlights or laser pointers. The M9A1 is used by the US Marine Corps;

   M9A2 unused designation;

   Beretta M9A3 is an updated version. The M9A3 is Beretta's model name, rather than official US Department of Defense designation. Beretta came up with a number of enhancements, such as better ergonomics, improved reliability, new sights and accessory rail. In 2015 Beretta proposed this updated pistol as a possible alternative to the US Army's Modular Handgun System. However the US Army has rejected this proposal, choosing instead to search for a more modern service firearm. The M9 was considered as an out-dated platform, outclassed by most modern pistols. Instead the Beretta competed with their new APX striker-fired pistol to meet the Modular Handgun System program requirements. However the APX lost competition to the SIG Sauer P320, which was eventually adopted as the M17.

 

Video of the M9 pistol


 
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