Already recognized as a leader in the field of handgun manufacturing, Beretta has taken one of their own popular products, the M9 pistol, and engineered improvements to it that clearly demonstrate the company isn’t content to rest on its laurels. Even though the M9 is the preferred sidearm of the Department of Defense and an upcoming contract will soon have Beretta building an additional 100,000 M9s to fulfill the order, the company has paid close attention to the needs of the U.S. Army and several other Service small arms representatives over the past few years and used their feedback to create the next generation of the M9, known as the M9A3.
According to Gabriele de Plano, Vice President of Military Marketing and Sales for Beretta USA, “We determined the M9, much like its counterpart legacy weapon systems (M4, M16, M240, etc.), was capable of being upgraded through material and design changes. The resulting M9A3 we are offering to the DOD will likely cost less than the current M9 and answer almost all of the Services’ enhanced handgun requirements.” Even more exciting news to gun owners was the recent revelation that the new Beretta sidearm would be available for purchase by civilians next year. In a company statement, Rafe Bennett, Vice President of Product Marketing for Beretta USA, said, “the M9A3 benefits from having a law enforcement and commercial variant that will be launched at S.H.O.T. Show 2015 in Las Vegas, NV. The M9A3 offered to the DOD is the exact gun that consumers will be able to purchase in the second quarter of 2015.”
Enhancements made to the M9A3 over the M9 stand to vastly improve how the gun functions under standard military working conditions. Design changes have improved reliability, durability, and even how well the gun fits the hand of the owner. The changes made are being submitted through an Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) as required by the terms of the existing M9 contract.
The M9A3 grip is thinner than previous grips and will come with a removable, wrap-around modular grip. Additional features will include a MIL-STD-1913 accessory rail, suppressor-ready barrels in threaded and extended configurations, a 17-round sand resistant magazine, and detachable tritium sights on the front and rear. An earth-tone finish will accompany small components that have been redesigned to improve the lifespan and functional capacity of the firearm.
The Beretta family of Italy has been involved with weapons design and construction since 1526, an impressive history by any measure. Through fifteen generations, the company has engaged in non-stop research and development, an effort which subsequently supported and maintained the quality of their product line and increased their production to a current figure of approximately 1,500 firearms per day. Despite its relatively short lifespan, the Beretta M9 has been the U.S. Armed Forces’ preferred sidearm for the past 30 years. Built in the USA since 1987, the M9 has established itself as the premier military handgun, and if history is any indication, the Beretta M9A3 will no doubt make its own mark in the world of armed services weaponry over the next 30 years.