The Beretta M9 was the standard side arm for the U.S. military for more than 30 years only to be recently retired by a more modern duty weapon design. The M9 has not only withstood the test of time in the hands of our troops, but also here state’s side with various law enforcement agencies as well. With the current trend of duty weapons shifting away, though, it makes me wonder: what’s the Beretta M9’s place in today’s marketplace?
We already know that the M9 is reliable. You cannot spend three decades as a military sidearm fighting in deserts, on mountain tops, and everything in between only to be deemed unreliable. The M9’s open slide design works to its advantage by not trapping spent brass or dirt in the action. The most common malfunction you may run into would be a failure-to-fire but even that is mitigated by the M9’s strong single- and double-action hammer. This is a gun that will not quit on you with minimal maintenance required.
You will be hard pressed to find a more comfortable shooting handgun than the M9 straight from the manufacturer. This is a full size “fighting handgun” with a nice high beaver tail to allow for a very aggressive grip. Unloaded the M9 weighs 33 ounces, which is heavy and probably not the best choice for concealed carry, but it aids in keeping felt recoil to a minimum. Once the M9 is out of the holster it shoots like a calm lake.
During a 40-year period a gun can develop a lot of aftermarket support. The M9 has an extensive supply of aftermarket parts, holsters, mags, etc. Some of this support is military surplus from extensive service life and some is from the cult like following Beretta has developed over the years. I will say that if you are buying from the surplus market that a lot of the parts and pieces have been well loved. Make sure you do your homework when buying and if you can physically inspect the components that is even better.
Thank you to Ammunition To Go for the quality ammo supplied in this review.
Some would consider retirement a death sentence, but others might consider it a time to re-invent themselves. The M9 is still the same great gun that has been carried by our military for three decades. It will need to find a bigger role on the civilian market and I think it really is starting too. There are plenty of gunsmiths out there boosting the popularity of the M9 by tuning them up for competition and concealed carry. For those out there that want to start messing around with a great SA/DA gun or breathe new life into a military classic, the M9 is one of my top choices for you.