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Beretta 92FS / M9: Underrated and Overlooked?

Beretta the Italian arms maker, has been making 92FS/ M9 pistols for longer than a lot of you guys have been alive. You’re probably thinking: why would I ever want to own this gun, when polymer 9mm pistols are everywhere? Well, we bet that there are some things about this pistol that just might change your mind and make you want to buy a Beretta 92FS / M9.

These guys know what they are doing.

Did you know that Beretta is the oldest active manufacturer of guns and gun parts, and they have been doing do since the 16th century? That’s almost as long as Joe Biden has been in politics!

Model 92 – is a classic (by borrowing a lot from the Walther P38!)

The Beretta 92 was born in 1976. It combined the grip angle and basic look of the Beretta M1951, the DA/SA design and slide-based safety/decocker of the Walther P38, and the open slide and locking blocks from both pistols. By the way, Walther developed the iconic P38 in 1938 as a sidearm for the German armed forces to replace the P08 Luger, and remained in service through the end of World War 2. Production stopped and resumed from 1957 -1963, followed by its adoption by the modern German army (Bundeswehr) as the P1. This amazing pistol served with the Bundeswehr until well into the 1990’s! We’ll be blogging about P38s and P1s in the future.

Post-War P38 (P-01)
Post-War Walther P38 (P1) with reinforced alloy frame and slide

The Baretta 92 series of pistols remain extremely popular and versatile. Increased weight is one of its useful features in lowering muzzle flip and dampening recoil. Furthermore, the fixed barrel design and high beaver tail permit a very aggressive grip and make this a very accurate firearm that is surprisingly easy to shoot. High reliability and accuracy make the Beretta 92 pistol (notably the 92FS) one of the most appealing sidearms on the market and a classic 9mm handgun of the twentieth century.

Beretta Joins the US Military!

The government announced a competition to design a sidearm for its overall forces, and Beretta then adjusted the 92 into the M9 specifically for military use. After a controversial competition, in 1985 the US military replaced the .45 ACP M1911A1 pistol in 1985 with the Beretta 92FS, designated as the M9. Baretta supplied over 600,000 M9 handguns to our armed forces. The 92FS consistently bests the US military requirement of a 10-shot group of 3” or less at 50 meters (just short of 55 yards).

Beretta M9
Beretta M9

After the US Military adopted the M9, there was much internet hate on the M9 that continues to this day. The major issues focus on slide cracks and problems with feeding rounds from mags. The slide crack issue seems to be traced to 3 separate incidents in which slides cracked and injuries resulted. Whatever the cause – ‘hot ammo’, manufacturer defect, etc – it appears that this issue was resolved in the late 1980’s. P38’s suffered slide cracks attributable to a design flaw and also use of ‘hot ammo’ in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Walther slightly increased the thickness of the slide after 1967 this solved the problem.

Initially, the Italian company Mec-Gar made the Beretta M9 mags, and they appeared to perform without issue. The US Military, with different specs and in search of lower costs, turned to Check-Mate to make M9 mags. Sand caused mags to malfunction in environments where troops using the M9 were deployed. The US Military switched back to Mec-Gar M9 mags, and apparently this solved the problem. When you now buy Beretta 92FS and M9 pistols and mags sold under the Beretta label, Mec-Gar makes the mags.

A third issue concerns cracked locking blocks, but this seems to have occurred in pistols that chambered thousands of rounds.

While we can’t say for sure what the causes were for these problems, it seems like they have been solved. Reports of crazy reliability, durability, and accuracy now far outnumber reports of problems with these guns.

Beretta Gets Discharged!

In 2015, the US Army and Air Force announced the XM17 Modular Handgun System competition for a new service pistol. The SIG Sauer P320 were chosen in 2017 and given the designation of M17 as the M9 replacement. Despite no longer being the standard US military sidearm, the Baretta M9 remains an extremely popular and versatile pistol. After over 25 years in service around the world, the M9 can truly be considered the ultimate tactical pistol.

Why Buy a Beretta 92FS / M9 now?

We didn’t have any big interest in this pistol, but we came into possession of a brand new M9. After putting over 600rds down range, we gotta tell you: THIS GUN IS AWESOME and absolutely one of our favorites. The grip is great, especially for large hands. Functioning has been flawless without a single misfire) and the accuracy is super. Disassembly for cleaning is very fast ands easy! In our experience, the M9 is our FAVORITE to clean because the cleaning process goes so fast. Read our cleaning blog and we’ll convince you why cleaning is so important).

Shooting 50rds with the Beretta M9. We’ve got a way to go with our aiming point and groups, but wow it was fun!!

The 92FS and M9s have all steel frames and the recoil is incredibly soft. One of the great things we love about this gun is the the safety/decocker combo. There is a LOT of internet hate about it. People complain about the counterintuitive movement of up for fire and down for safe. They also complain about its location on the slide. But this safety/decocker is SO cool. The hammer hits the exposed firing pin plunger when the safety is off (left pic below). The plunger in turn hits the firing pin. The plunger cleverly moves out of the way when the safety is on (right pic below); thus, the hammer hits the frame!

Beretta 92FS / M9 firing pin plunger
Safety not engaged and plunger exposed (left). Safety engaged and plunger rotated (right).

When this works correctly, there is NO WAY you are getting an accidental discharge. By the way, this works so much better than the P38. In these pistols, a dropping hammer strikes a blocked firing pin and transfers energy to the safety catch/decocking lever. This eventually will can cause the more flimsy wartime P38 safety catch/decocking lever to crack, with disastrous results! Walther solved this problem in the P1 by redesigning the firing pin and safety catch.

Beretta has upped the game by making in Italy the 92FS, which has an eye-catching satin stainless steel finish. Beretta also modified and improved the M9. The latest version is the M9A4. This pistol includes a red-dot optic compatible slide, short reset trigger, thin grips, threaded barrel, and chrome-lined barrel. At Patriot Tactical Exchange, you can buy Beretta 92FS / M9 pistols. Right now we are selling the 92FS and the M9 A4. We also sell Beretta 92 / M9 9mm 10rd Magazines (JM92F).

Beretta 92FS, made in the USA
Beretta M9A4

Bottom Line

Did we convince you to buy a Beretta 92FS / M9? For super reliable, durable, accurate all-steel pistols with soft recoil and very smart design features, look no further! If you want a foolproof safety on a modern hammer-fired shooter, we really can’t think of a better pistol than the Beretta 92FS / M9.

Buy Beretta Pistols from Patriot Tactical Exchange!

Right now we are selling the 92FS and the M9 A4

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