M9 Handgun

The M9 handgun, known by many as a Beretta or a Beretta M9, is a semi-automatic, locked breech, single and double action, recoil-operated handgun. The M9 pistol is a relatively recent addition to the list of adopted military firearms. Though associated with and used mostly by the Army, it is the official sidearm for all United States military branches. The official adoption by the military of the Beretta M9 was not without controversy.

A Brief History of the M9 Handgun

The M9 handgun was officially adopted by United States military in 1990 after winning a competition that lasted almost a decade to replace the M1911A1 pistol.

The controversy surrounding the M9 centered on the reports of injuries to personnel caused by slide failures. It was eventually determined that these failures were the result of ammunition that exceeded the recommended pressures prescribed by both Beretta and NATO. This did result in some modifications in the M9 and as a sidearm for the United States military. It is considered a success among military guns.

The M9 has been modernized in recent years, most notably with the addition of a rail to allow for the attachment of lights and lasers. Since the modifications, this Beretta carries the designation M9A1.

The M9 is produced by Beretta of Italy, though after being given the contract for all United States military personnel, a consideration was given to Beretta USA to also produce the M9 pistol.

Features of the M9 Handgun

The M9 handgun fires a 9mm cartridge with either single or double action. It requires a trigger pull force of 5.5 pounds for the single action and 12.33 pounds for the double action. The Beretta M9 uses a 15-round staggered magazine. This magazine has a reversible magazine release button to accommodate both left-handed and right-handed users.

The M9 ‘s short barrel length of 4.92 inches and light weight make it ideal as a sidearm for close-quarters conflict. It weighs only 2.1 pounds unloaded and 2.56 pounds fully loaded. The rear sight is a notched bar and dovetailed to slide, while the front sight is a blade, integral to slide. The Beretta M9 has a sighting radius of 6.22 inches.

The Beretta M9 has redundant automatic safety features which aid in preventing accidental discharges. This pistol has a de-cocking/safety lever firing pin block which rotates the striker out of alignment, de-cocks the hammer and disconnects the hammer mechanism from the trigger bar.

Uses of the M9 Handgun

The primary use of the M9 handgun for military purposes is as a personal sidearm for close-quarters fighting. It has a maximum effective range of 50 meters. With a muzzle velocity of 365 meters per second and a muzzle energy of 430 foot pounds, it can pack a powerful punch. However, the M9 can do little against armored vehicles and is used mainly against personnel.

As a personal hand gun, the Beretta M9 is also a popular civilian weapon. Compared to most military guns, the M9 is fairly cheap at $263. Most civilians use it for personal protection and/or for pleasure on the firing range. It is not considered a hunting weapon, and as with all firearms, should be used only with caution.