On August 8th, 2021, the final M9 to be delivered to the American military rolled off the assembly line. Beretta posted about it to their social media pages, and when I came across the posts, I couldn’t help but feel a little tinge of nostalgic sadness. I’m not saying the Beretta was better than the SIG, but I loved the M9.
The Beretta M9 replaced the famed 1911A1 pistol, and it was a tough show to follow. The 1911 had seen use in both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, and every other conflict, both big and small involving American troops since the year 1911. People loved the gun in the service and in the civilian world. Lots of people, conversely, hated the M9.
Many believed that the 9mm didn’t have the ‘stopping power’ a 1911 and its 45 ACP round had. Although ‘stopping power’ has long been disproven as a concept entirely. The M9 also suffered a significant setback in public perception when the slide on a pistol blew rearward into the face of a Navy SEAL while training. Beretta quickly fixed the issue, but the SEALs went with the SIG P226. The P226 came in second place during the 1984 trials that resulted in the M9 selection.
Sadly the poor M9 got a bad rap from the get-go and had trouble ever overcoming those early issues. Much like the M16, the M9 went on to serve with distinction as America’s first 9mm, double-stack general issue handgun.
Why the M9?
In 1984 the United States military was looking to modernize and join NATO in adopting a standard 9mm sidearm. The 1911A1 had been in service for over 70 years at that point and was painfully outdated as a military pistol. The 45 ACP round combined with the weapon’s single stack magazine ensured your capacity remained low–at 7 or 8 rounds (with one in the chamber) total. The pistol was single action only, and the remaining examples were beaten to hell after their decades of heavy use.
A competition was launched for a modern 9mm pistol to equip the United States Military. It started in 1979 with a series of trials in which the Beretta 92S-1 succeeded. In 1984 a new set of trials were hosted, and again Beretta rose to the top. In 1985, the gun saw its official adoption. However, once more in 1988, another pistol trial began. Once more, the Beretta came out on top.
The Beretta 92 model beat out entries from SIG Sauer, Smith and Wesson, HK, Walther, Steyr, and FN and became the M9 after some minor changes. Testing included saltwater corrosion tests, high and low-temperature tests, repeated drops on concrete, and burial in mud, sand, and snow. The M9 passed all tests swimmingly.
Over time there were minor issues with magazines in sandy environments, but this was quickly fixed, and the M9 would go on to be relatively controversy-free during the Global War on Terror.
Breaking Down the M9
The M9 offered the United States Military a modern fighting pistol that featured a 15 round, double-stack magazine. We also got a double-action / single-action design. This means the first shot fired utilizes a long, heavy trigger pull, but subsequent shots would be a lighter and short single-action trigger. A combination of safety and decocker adorned the frame and they were easy to use with a bit of practice.
One of the most important elements of the Beretta pistol is its open slide design with an exposed barrel. This offers numerous advantages. First, there is very little slide for a round to find itself caught. The ejection port is essentially the whole of the slide, and this ensures failures to eject are extremely rare.
An open slide means reduced weight, which is also good. A lightweight slide means less mass moving rearward with each shot fired, and this helped reduce recoil.
The barrel also cools faster, but this isn’t a big deal with a handgun. The M9 went on to receive a minor update in 2006 and became the M9A1. The M9A1 came with an accessory rail, a PVD-coated magazine, more aggressive grip checkering, and a beveled magazine well for faster reloading. M9A1s did not fully replace the M9 and were somewhat rare to come across in the service.
My experience with the M9
As a machine gunner, I was supposed to be issued an M9 as a secondary weapon to my machine gun. However, the Marine Corps rarely follows those rules closely (with a limited number of pistols, they tend to find their way into the hands of officers and senior enlisted troops). For a long time, I carried both an M16A4 and an M240 machine gun. I, and other machine gunners, never stopped fighting to obtain pistols.
Somehow we complained enough to the right people and were granted our request…as long as we could pass the pistol qualification. They sent us to pistol qual with absolutely zero training with the M9 or handguns in general. Maybe they planned for us to fail. Who knows. All but one of us passed the qualification, however, and they kept their word. We got our M9s, and I treasured mine.
I worked hard for it, and while it may seem like a small victory, it felt like a massive battle for a Lance Corporal to win. I loved the M9–maybe even outside of my victory to obtain it.
The M9 went with me to nearly a dozen different countries from Djibouti to Spain, and it never failed. The M9 served me extremely well, and it served generations of men and women well for the entirety of the Global War On Terror.
One of the defining pictures of the Global War on Terror is that of Sergeant Major Bradley Kasal keeping a grip on his M9 as two Marines carry him after a brutal and intense fight. The M9 is the pistol of my service and my war, so I can’t help but feel nostalgic for it.
So Why Replace It?
Well, technology moves forward. It’s been a long time since 1984, and pistols have advanced. Polymer frames, striker-fired designs, rails, modular pistol frames, and optics cuts are now the standard. The M9 doesn’t even have an interchangeable front sight. There are complaints regarding the beastly sized grip and unergonomic design for servicemembers with small hands.
Pistols are rarely used for general warfighting, but specialized roles like MPs, Investigators, Personal Security Details, and Special Operation forces can make use of a more modern handgun.
Plus, it might be a fair bit cheaper to purchase modern pistols with modern polymer frames versus an all-metal design. Even if the SIG is the same or near the same price as the Beretta M9, the advancements and features it offers make it a more attractive purchase.
Even though I acknowledge the M9 is a bit outdated, I can’t help but feel some internal resistance to the new pistol. As I sit here, like an old man, I can see why people clung to the M1911A1 pistol. Sure, it might be a little outdated, but I have nothing but fond memories of the M9 and found it to be an amazing pistol.
What was your M9 experience? Let me know below. I’m curious if you have your own stories, and I’d like to hear them.
Sgt Blurp says
Pistols were still basically Symbols of Rank in the Army Infantry during GWOT.
Call of Duty Bois use like 3 incidents in 20 years like Gunny Kasan to gunsturbate to the Beretta 92FS they bought “muh pistol is mil-spec”
An M9 was probably utilized in actual combat far less than people actually imagine. Pretty much any service member in an active Combat Zone outside the wire, besides Senior Officers or NCOs like CSM’s carried a rifle as well an an M9. Also yes, pilots but when tf is someone like a Blackhawk pilot using a pistol in actual combat. It’s an emergency “oh shit” gun and a symbol of rank. I remember these guys in the DFAC overseas with an M9 in one of those cool leather shoulder holsters. It instantly identified them as a Warrant and usually a pilot.
Even Warrants and SF guys in Nam carried Ruger Blackhawks and old S&W .357s because the clapped out shit they were issued was a lesser alternative than bringing your own hand cannon.
Big Mike says
Never in the military. Too tall at
6′ 8 1/2″. When I was 20, walked into a USMC recruiting office. Sarge says. “How tall are you there big guy?” He tells me the Corps height limit is 6’6″…..no exceptions. Then he says, “Try the Army or the Air Force. Don’t join the Navy or I’ll be mad at you” !!!
Several vets after that told me that at my height, military life would for the most part be particularly miserable for me, and to forget about it. One Korean War vet told me there are other ways to serve one’s country that don’t involve saying, “Yes Sir” to some asshole that doesn’t have half a brain, and killing people or getting killed. So went to work in the Aerospace and Defense industry, slowly but surely got an engineering degree, and life was good. Later worked in the Automotive industry making and testing Automobile Air-bag Systems. Imagine that! Saving lives instead of taking them! Who’da thunk it !?!?!
Anyhoo, throughout all this, my unbridled passion for things that go bang and boom has never waned. I love to shoot, hunt, compete, instruct, tinker with, test, repair, and customize GUNS.
I also love to research Small Arms and ballistics. So much so that I was at one time a court qualified expert.
Throughout this journey, I have come to the following conclusions…..
95-99% of “pistol instructors” are about 95-99% FULL OF SHIT. I watch and listen to some of these jokers on YT and I cringe. But I digress. Here’s a FACT…..The 1911 pistol in its various configurations is a clumsy, clunky, undependable, HUNK OF JUNK. If it wasn’t for the 1911, most gunsmiths would starve to death from lack of work. Do yourself a favor…….Take that clunker to a auto wrecking yard with one of those big-ass shredders that turn old cars into confetti and throw the worthless piece of shit in it and get yourself a Beretta 92FS. You’ll thank me in the morning.
Nite nite, ladies.
Pretty sure the M9A1 for the last maybe 10 years before the Sig.
Gary Ladd says
Hi Travis Pike,
In 1969 I was one of the “big strong men” whose help was requested by Uncle Sam because “he got himself in a terrible jam” (to quote Country Joe McDonald’s “I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag”).
I did basic at Ft Jackson and was subsequently sent to Ft Benning for advanced infantry training.
The standard issue sidearm was the Colt 45 1911, so I’m very familiar with it.
(As an interesting aside, I’ll also note here that the military had just switched over to the M-16…but training facilities weapons depots (Ft Benning for sure) still had some M-14’s, and over the course of 2 or 3 days we were allowed to fire off their remaining stock of 7.62 ammo with M-14’s to give us a comparison with the M-16. The superiority of the M-16 was like a night and day difference compared to the M-14.
Other than that little thumb switch position of “auto” (full auto), the present day AR-15 is essentially the same…and is still…in 2022…the best rifle I’ve ever owned…and continue to own).
But Travis, I noted with some amusement the first part of your post, wherein you stated that…World War, Korean, and Vietnam service members “loved” the 1911.
Judging by your picture, you don’t look near old enough to have been around in the Vietnam era, so I’m not really sure how you concluded that Vietnam era service members “loved” the Colt 1911.
From first-hand experience I can tell you that I know of nobody…Drill Sergeants included (many of whom had done tours in Vietnam)…at Ft Jackson or Ft Benning who “loved” the 1911…in fact, just the opposite.
Now Travis, I’m not trying to break your balls, argue with you, or engage in any kind of one-upmanship with you…but I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt, the 1911 was despised…DESPISED…it was highly inaccurate (just firing only one shot at a time) at anything beyond about 20 meters…and absurdly inaccurate firing anything more than one shot at a time due to its excessive recoil.
And I’ll also add…the .45 doesn’t have “knock down” power either (LOL)…just like a high powered rifle won’t “knock down” a 180 pound deer…unless the shot placement is in the exact right place.
I only saw a 1911 used one time overseas…
An infantry PFC emptied a magazine at a guy (a little puny guy, who appeared to be only about 120 pounds) who was running straight towards him (and seemingly fearless).
Every shot fired by that PFC missed…every single shot.
That little 120 pound guy subsequently…and very quickly…gutted that 19 year old PFC with a knife, about the size of a hunting knife…then continued running into a stand of trees and was gone.
The 1911 seemed like a joke then…and even more so now.
Nowadays, I’d pay $450 for a G-19 Glock and keep its magazine loaded with personal defense rounds…rather than having a 1911 given to me for free.
The 1911 that 19 year old PFC had in Nam was probably about as old and worn out as the 1911 I inherited from my grandfather.
Grandad never served in the military, having been born in 1908 he was too young for WWI and too old for WWII. I have no idea where he got the 1911 but based on the serial number and markings it was made by Colt in 1918 and delivered to the Springfield Arsenal. Based on its condition it obviously saw service in the Great War and was never rebuilt because it still has its original diamond grips and was never parkerized. After grandad passed in 2000 and granny presented me with his gun collection I decided to take that old Colt out and shoot it. So I put up a target stepped off 25 paces and emptied a magazine into it. I only managed to get 2 rounds on the paper. I cleaned it up and put it away and have not fired it since.
Grandad also owned a German Luger that a friend of his brought back from WWII and traded to him for another gun back in the 1950s when Lugers were a dime a dozen. I put up another target and did the same thing with that Luger. Every single round was in the bullseye!
Needless to say that old Colt stays locked up in my gun safe and that Luger is my home defense weapon. I might manage to scare a burglar away with the old Colt but I know I can drop him with that Luger.
I call BS. That sounds like a REMF doggie fairy tale.
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Mike Orick says
Easier to stop stuff if you put holes in it.
The Army went looking to replace the 45 just after WWII, before NATO even existed.
Tests done showed the 45 FMJ bounced off the steel helmets at 50yds while 9mm FMJ went through both sides at over 120yds. That was from pistols. With SMGs the difference was even worse. Same for most common tactical barriers. Like doors, walls, and furniture.
Smaller holes beat bigger dents was the thinking.
Only took ’em 45 years to get finally get the switch done in 1985.
Doesn’t matter what it does after 50yds?
Tell that to the Chair Force, I mean Air Force, skycop who stopped a guy at 70yds with a head shot…
Lt Van Vuuren did better in combat (11) with his 9 minimeter than Sgt York did (7) with his 45.
I was issued the M15 (38 revolver), M1911A1, M9, and M11. Liked all of them. They all worked.
More chances to put holes in things beats fewer chances.
Lay off the crack pipe.
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I was a 3/4th echelon 2111 (armorer) in the Marines (11th MEU) and worked on both the 1911 and the M9. The M9 in almost all aspects for the user, was a superior weapon. From the Armorer’s side it was actually more reliable by far. There were more parts and detailed disassembly was more complex and detailed but was never an issue as long as the users kept the flipping hand grips on and didn’t loose the trigger bar spring. I called one daily for 6 years and shot it twice a week nearly the whole time. I love it and bought one when I got out.
In my opinion,
If your target looks like it’s sprayed with buckshot, more capacity…
If you’re driving nails, more stopping power…
I’ve shot both, I just didn’t like the change from double action to single action trigger on the 9. However the beaver tail safety on the .45 is inconvenient if you need to shoot the weapon in an abnormal way outside of the conventional way to hold a pistol. If I need to use my pinky finger to fire my secondary weapon, due to getting shot in the hand or suffering another wound that takes away dexterity(granted this is a REALLY bad situation), I’d like the security of knowing I can do so in a room with an adversary.
Rob Smith says
My reserve unit issued me an M203 when I reported for duty (as a Fire Support Man 0861, so if I ever needed to use the grenade launcher, it meant that I hadn’t done my job). I lugged that thing around for 5 1/2 years, never once having a chance to shoot a grenade through it. But when I was promoted to S/SGT, I traded the M203 in for an M9. I wrapped it in a sock, never took it out of the holster, and never cleaned another weapon again. Still have very fond memories of it still being clean when I turned it in to the armory…
Both pistols are semi automatic. Yes, the 1911 mist be manually cocked for the first shot, but it is designed with 2 safety’s and can be safely carried cocked. That means it can be fired quicker than the M9. Only a fraction of a second faster you say, I say that may save your life. And, even if you don’t carry the 1911 cocked, you can cock as you draw. That long initial trigger pull on the M9 affects accuracy and the first shot may be the one that counts the most.
Lay off the meth. Do you how stupid your comment sounds.
Dan Pollock says
Never in military, but gotta believe” gone horribly wrong” My brother proudly served in USMC 84-88.
John N Romero says
Although the 9M has round capacity and lighter weight than the1911. For knock down power I prefer the 45. Yes they came out some hydro sock rounds for the 9M but an old Marine, I would still go with the 1911!😃
As a FMF corpsman the i hated the M9 because it made me stand out and made me useless in a firefight. Eventually got issued a rifle. Never used the M9 outside of the range .
Stephen Gluck says
My “favorite” experience was cleaning it. I wore it during my job in an armory as a 2171. We all carried it on our duty belt, depending on who was the one “on duty”. Never used it outside of the range but was a good feel. Glocks are great, not sure why the Corps doesn’t use it. I served 3rd Marines HI K-bay. My personal view is that 3 types should be offered. A 22., 9 mil, and a 50 cal. Say a Walther P22, a Glock 19, and a Desert Eagle. I mean seriously; the 5’2″ female and 6’2″ male should carry something of equal weight in proportion to their frame!
Ronald Dunne says
There are a variety of hollow-point and other reliable “quick-stop” rounds available for the .45 too, but the military won’t use them. Neither will they use anything but hardball in the 9mm, crippling it’s effectiveness. Like the old saying, “A 9mm hollow-point MAY expand, but a .45 will never be smaller than .45. Personally I’ve used both and have no complaints with either, given effective ammo. My carry pistol has been and continues to be a Glock 21, which holds 13+1 .45acp. My .45acp Combat Commander and 9mm Browning HiPower have long since relegated to the safe, the one due to lack of capacity and the other due to the “stopping power” issue.
Retired Navy Corpsman, I carried the M9 while in the service. I loved the M9, never had issues with, although doing a complete disassembly then reassembly was a pain but field stripping no issues. I will confess that the 1911 is badass, love that pistol as well. Haven’t handled the Sig yet.
The SP2022 sig sauer would be an excellent replacement.
Kerry Pool says
Small , Cheap gun… the p320 is a better service pistol
Jefferson Bargeron says
Opinion: Not aware of concept of stoping power being disproven. Rather sweeping and broad statement. I would like to thank the author for his service. I may be mistaken but believe the Corp has a contract with Colt for a limited 1911’s to support the Patriots who are lowed to choose their own sidearm. Excuse me Sir but I really doubt your wisdom. It may not be what you do not know that is troubling but what that you think you know is wrong. Do you feel qualified to speak for all hand gun, rifle, shotgun, etc situations. All Corp men can swim, but were you one who was Battery Creek? Please send me documentation for your bold statement.
Steven Wilke says
Yeah, give him a break. If you look up terminalballistics of 45 ACP Ball vs 9x19mm NATO BALL you’ll find the 9mm actually has more muzzle energy, and is going much faster (fps) as well; .45 ACP 230GR Ball around 855 fps, 9x19mm NATO at 1200+. The .45 would be better for a silenced pistol, which I believe was a feature of the MARSOC M45, an updated M1911. I do believe the M45 has been retired.
They couldn’t keep the M45s running. they replaced them within 3 years and DX’d them within 5. MARSOC bought glock 17s off the FBI contract the “17M, which influenced the Gen5 Glocks” and the marine designation for it became M007. They still have some in inventory but they’re being phased out for the SIG M18.
Ronald Dunne says
Muzzle velocity and muzzle energy arent the same thing. Other factors are barrel length and bullet weight. .45acp 230 grain bullet lumbers along at 850 fps @ M.E. @352 ft-lbs muzzle energy, and the military 115 grain 9mm ball round zips around 1200 fps, M.E. @ 335 ft lbs.. muzzle energy. The .45 hits hard and always has, the 9mm has a reputation (with ball ammo) for poking holes into the target with no bullet deformation or tumbling.
Muzzle energy isn’t the same as energy delivered to the target, at which the .45 excels.
mitja kavec says
45 acp vs 9 luger round is minor vs major or to be blunt 45 is one third more power on target vs 9 mm that s why ipsc count 9 mm minor 40 sw just get to be major /in ipsc out of eu 380 super can be used as major but in eu due to load accidents only major 9 mm is if you shoot 357 revolver
in guns no 9 mm is major even some 280 x23 rounds can have mag count same as 9 luger but power to get up to major force of impact due to accidents in eu 10 mm or 40 is smallest semi pistol major //for revolver 357 is major
Casey Maxwell says
Do a little research yourself there bud, you will find that the concept of “knock down” power is a proven myth. Clearly just butthurt because you prefer the 45. Also if you’re going to question someone’s knowledge, learn to write in proper English and proofread your shit.. sounded like a 4th grader wrote that. I’m pretty sure with his service record and being an nra licensed instructor makes him pretty qualified to speak on this topic, probably more than you.
GYSGT Gay says
There is no such thing as “accidental discharge” That is a Negligent Discharge. These scumbags claiming so are looking for a paycheck. Yes, when dropped from 5ft at a -30 degree angle the weapon will most likely discharge. Don’t drop your weapon Marine! As far as the M9 goes, nothing to write home about. Extractors were junk and the ergonomics sucked if you had to decock. Some how always shot expert though. Still made a better hammer second to my K Bar.
Steve Shannon says
I did four combat tours between 2008 and 2015. All four M9s issued to me were good shooters I fired expertly in Pre-MOB training. Still prefer shooting my .45 cal Glock 21 Gen 4 and 9mm H&K USP.
Lucky Flightdoc says
As a flight surgeon, the M9 allowed me to shoot expert every time I was at the range. I carried a ratty one in Iraq, but luckily never had to use it to protect my patients. As a general officer, I was issued one worked on by an AF gunsmith that blued it, polished it, and added walnut grips. At retirement, I was offered to purchase it at the US Govt price, which I gladly did. Problem is it is so nice, I shoot my Glock 30S .45 instead. It is ready, with rounds preloaded if ever needed, but likely will go to my officer daughter unused when I pass.
Well the M9 is now officially to be out of service. Not to say it was a perfect pistol, but I loved mine. Never failed and and always got me home. I for one own about six of them and a few shorter variations of the pistol for edc. Well can anyone say cheap surplus parts and mags soon
I started as a Sapper platoon leader in 1981 with a .45 and M16. When I retired in 2011 as an O6 I had a 9mm. I liked them both. That being said, if you have to use your pistol in combat then something has gone horribly wrong.
You got that right..
Former Sgt 1984
Dan Pollock says
Never in military, but gotta believe” gone horribly wrong” My brother proudly served in USMC 84-88.
M9 is a piece of sissy shit.It’s no good. Everybody hates it. The 45 was sweet
Mark Gonzalez says
My dad was a 1917A1 machinegunner USMC in Korea carried a 1911A1 as a side arm. I asked dad comparing the 1911 with the M9 as to which handgun he would prefer to do it over again with. With a quick response he said most definitely the M9. Dad was wounded twice in battle by machinegun fire and grenade burst. He said the 1911 is not a one round stopper against a pissed off chink drugged up on opium the extra rounds would be most welcome with deeper penetration. Enough said.
Charlie Miller says
If Pop was wounded twice while fending off Waves of Chinese hourdes bent on his destruction then he can call them whatever he wants.
Yes, that is what we called the bad guys
Really really. Chink, dink, gook, slant, slope.. guess you had to be there. They all mean “enemy in the field”.
Dan Pollock says
Well said, but don’t care for use of “chink”. With your last name, how would you like to be called “spic” ?? Nuf said!!
I’m a Marine combat veteran and former law enforcement. Didn’t need to use a pistol in nam. In law enforcement we carried the 1911. There’s no myth about knock down power. Saw cases where nine millimeter s did nothing to stop a meth head. In a neighboring county, the officer empties All fourteen rounds into a huge
Fat guy. Only one round penetrated the body cavity. The difference being , one round from a .45 is like being hit with the fat end of a baseball bat, vs, A bunch of irritating small rounds. Stopping power is key.
Tyson B Bumgardner says
Headline should include “Just kidding they won’t” The M9 is a piece of garbage weapon. Its didn’t outperform what it replaced and it was outperformed by competition all around. A political token to appease the Italians. A huge handgun that’s role could be fulfilled by several other option at half the size if we had to insist on 9mm. A foolish weapon to take into multiple desert wars because that open slide invited dirt and sand. And an appeasement to the military’s lowest common denominator approach to arming non pistol shooters. When using this weapon in PSD platoons we just carried it with the decocker on red, To make it seem more like a Glock on the draw. Literally the last choice of anybody with a choice. SIG/CZ 75/GLOCK/1911/Springfield.
Not sorry to see this clunker go away.
I agree, I wouldn’t trust my life to this piece of junk!! I have had failure to feed and to extract with it. It’s NOT the ammo as I have used different types and not bargain basement ammo or reloads. Good riddance.
Says the POG who never drew it with a purpose.
Edwin Estrella says
I was a 5811 right when the transition between the 1911 and the M9 happened. I was also one of the few (at the time) serious defensive pistol shooters within the MP Community back then, spending many hours at the FBI Academy with some of the folks referenced here regarding the “stopping power” concept.
Simply put, it was about even.
The 1911 had better ergonomics when it came to defensive shooting but the M9 had more rounds and was easier to shoot. The REAL difference for us in military law enforcement was the ability to have a “ready to shoot” firearm; we had to carry the 1911’s with an enjoy chamber – “slingshotting” a round into the chamber during a defensive encounter… not exactly the way to enter a gunfight.
I can’t speak to usefulness during desert combat. However, with many thousands of rounds fired with the best shooters of the time, I got to see and experience both weapons quite a bit and finally realized it’s the shooter and not the pistol that makes the difference.
I’ve carried both, and I’d carry either.
Todd Logan says
I served in the USMC aboard the USS JFK Mar-Det 91-93. We all carried the M9. I was part of the the Mar-Dets CQB team and shot thousands of rounds thru my M9. Never did I have a gun failure or any real issues.
We also carried the M9 at Camp Lejuene as an MP in 1993-94. Great pistol, Wish i has one.
STS2/SS Manzenberger says
I qualled on the M9 for topside watch (SUBMARINES!). I loved it on the firing range once a year, and during SRF-A in North Carolina. Easy enough to clean, easy enough to hit a target, no real recoil. Never was shot at, never had to shoot anything but paper, but I did love it.
James Parolo says
40 cal is better than 9mm or 45 cal
WRONG! With the newer double stack .45’s and the right loads I guarantee you the .45 will stop you whether your on drug’s or not! Carried my own in Vietnam 1970-71 U S Army.
Read Tim Gramins story about double stack 45 !
If the M9 9mm is underpowered, why not in 40 cal ???
9mm isn’t underpowered, decades long studies have proven that ALL pistol rounds are equally shitty until you get below a certain threshold, about 380 ACP, then they get shittier.
Modern loads with JHP or bonded JHP for penetration have pretty much made pistol rounds better for stopping threats, but a long gun is still the best option.
Jim Shaffar says
The M1911A1 is far superior to the Beretta. Yes, the old guns rattled and were a bit loose, but they were still good. Also I believe the move to 9mm was more about NATO standardization than anything else.
.45ACP >(slightly) 9mm, but (18)9mm >>> (8) .45ACP
Your opinion, LAPD swat doesn’t think so anymore!
Airman Mike says
Qualled with an M9, had a few in the safe in our shop, (4 with magazine inserted, 8 magazines with 14 rounds each, 10 9mm rounds loose in a box, 4 web belts with mag pouches and holsters, ) inventoried those a bunch. Had one issued to me a few times for currier and augee doggee duty. Outside of training and qualify zero rounds fired. Not a fan don’t like the grip much don’t like the trigger. Haven’t messed with the sig. Really like S&W m&p line for myself, but have a feeling things might go down hill with it if it was ever adopted as a duty firearm.
Steven Hamlin says
You’re right about politics in the selection process. (FSSG EngSptBn 1391 Sgt mid 70’s to early 90’s / some of us carried both M1911 & M16A1 mostly for air field ops) Lots of news & scuttlebutt at the time. I remember the SEAL incident was almost a deal breaker.
For me the M1911 always fired, but the rattle bothered me to no end and resulted in several heated conversations with our armorer. The M9 extra training needs meant that we had ONLY two quick-draw incidents inside the cage with minor injuries (one a SSgt that spent some time explaining).
Eventually I was able to feel comfortable with either, but I was always irritated that I just missed my pistol expert to go with my rifle expert. Just didn’t have the time to spend for qualifying.
You stated the 1911 is single action only. That is not correct. It is single/double. The only handgun that is single action only is a single action revolver or derringer.
Rexford L. says
A single action on a semi-automatic pistol is where pulling the trigger only accomplishes one action, releasing the hammer to fall. A double action pistol pulling the trigger both moves the hammer rearward and causes it to fall, the 1911 is definitely a single action pistol.
I Don’t know where you obtained that “Misinformation” that the 1911 is single/double Action?!?
If you believe that.. I have some Beach front properties that I’ll sale you in Afghanistan.. Lol In Actuality the 1911 is ONLY single Action and while we’re on that note the P-35 (AKA.. Browning Hi-Power) is also single action Anyways.. I’m gonna miss seeing the Beretta Model 92 from being utilized in the u.s. Armed forces I purchased my first one commercially back in the late 1970’s because it had something that the 1911 and P-35 was missing… single /double Action capability!
Joshua Bishop says
Right at the top. Single action
charles brice says
another military industrial complex move to may military buy more new weapons to wage war
You are wrong. The 1911 is a single action only handgun.
Wow! Renamed the most famous single action semiautomatic pistol!
Coronel Jeff Cooper will be hilarious!
Jody Schroeder says
I was part of the testing to decide on which weapon replaced the 1911. I personally liked the Taurus 9mm. But the Beretta ended up being the better one. Still miss the 1911, though.
I’m from South America, we have Taurus 92 in our armed forces, comparing Beretta with Taurus is like comparing mercedes Benz with KIA, sorry to disappoint you, we have ton of issues and the basic accuracy isn’t there, some are good, les than 10%,
Randall Coon says
Worked 2nd FSSG Disbursing Office 1987-90 (2nd Marines was across the street when I was there, your chow hall was directly across the street, and was nothing to write home about). We had to qual with the M9, as we carried with a round chambered while on office duty. Shot expert twice. I remember it seemed to grip my hand damn near perfect. But never had to use it. Went to 3rd FSSG Disbursing in March 1990 so my time with the M9 ended when I left LeJeune, as Okinawa did not have that requirement. Now that the M9 is being retired, I have another reason to feel old, and tell people to help me find the bus to take me back to the nursing home, and for current Marines to ask me if I took fire when I stepped off Noah’s Ark.
I was next to you working in the Brig from ’87-’89 on t.a.d until I went back with my unit on Onslow Beach. Not sure if you remember this(it might have been you) but one of the Marines was caught using break cleaner on his rifle by the SrtMaj and he spend 3 days getting his dick pounded in the dirt. 3 days non stop running up and down the loading docks. The SgtMaj was screaming the whole time. It was a huge spectical.Lmfao………Your right that chow hall was terrible. Semper Fi Marine !!
Carried and qualed with the m9 during usmc security force training. During the training in the early 90s a glock rep and one of the firearm instructors had several of us shot the same qual with the M9 and the glock 17. Every single one of us scored higher with the glock then the M9.
The glock should of been the choice 30 years ago.
Dwight j. Silva says
I believe with the m9 you need to be bout 10ft from enemy combat close I think then though the glockenspiel but the m9 miss u.
They should have gone with the glock 19x this time around. I have one and I love it. Sig is nice but they are already having accidental discharge issues
Shawn Turner says
The Glock 17 should have been the choice 30 years ago, and the Glock 19 should be the choice now. It’s no secret that the Military preferred the Glock 19x over the Sig, but the Budget Office had the final say!
The beretta was always going to win because they promised to put a factory in southern Maryland and it appeased the Italians and we love airfield availability in Italy.
The Glock was immediately blocked from the trials when they added ‘must have double strike capability.’
Mike Shepherd says
I was a 2nd Marine Division marine during the transition from the 1911 to the M-9 Beretta. My issued 1911 rattled like an old car when I shook it, but it always fired when I pulled the trigger. We were advised that all our 1911’s were going to MCSA Albany Georgia, and if we obtained a letter from our CO we could purchase our issued weapon from there for 50.00. My only regret about the 1911 is that I never obtained the letter and purchased my old issue weapon. Loved that old war horse, and I wish I still had her.
I started out with the 1811 and then the changed to the baretta I liked both the platforms. The 1911 had safety issues that you had to watch for and the early baretta had exploding slide issue that we experienced but once the problems were resolved they became formidable weapons in my opinion. Semper Fi
Rod Pontious says
I was in Vietnam carried a 1911a1 I was a police firearms instructor and tested Beretta and Glock. I chose the Glock. You could throw it
any where and it would still work
can change sight. The
would do that. I carry a 3″ 1911 with double action and crimson trace laser trigger pull is set a 3 lbs beretta has a long take- up trigger, both Glock and my 1911a1 have a 1/8 trigger take up.
J jackson says
The M9 is inferior to the Glock 19 in every single way. The ergonomics and trigger of the M9 are widely regarded as among the worst of any prominent pistol.
Maybe the 4th and 5th gen Glocks are ergonomically better, I’ve never shot one, but the 1st 2nd and 3rd gen didn’t fit my hand worth a damn. The grip angle to slide angle was too high, and I would have to break my wrist forward to line up the sights. A quick snap shot would be 3 feet high at a target 5 feet away. My favorite piece now is a Sig P320 Legion. Shoots like a dream, almost no kick, makes for dead-on follow up shots.
If the last one rolling off the assembly line is now being delivered that means the Marine corps will still be using them for the next 20 years. As a marine I had gear in boot camp the said “die NVA”…. 30 years after Vietnam!!
We don’t change often and we reuse everything
Your article is trash sir, you should learn about the military before your write on it
Billy Greene says
I’ve saw a M2 come through with a serial number dating it to 1934. I saw us go through several variants of the M14 (DMRs EMRs), and M40(A3, A5)only for them to field M110s and ask for the M14 and M40s returned to Albany. Countless optics peq2s, peq15s, peq16. All within 5 years. Some gear sticks around and is timeless, others go to the way side. I remember some army units rocking the M60, but not the USMC. The author was just reminiscing about his time with the M9 and how it’s days are numbered. The US military as a whole has been exploring a new standard sidearm for a while now. It could be a year or 20. That decision is well above any of our pay grades.
eric bigelow says
when i fiirst reported aboard a new 110 foot cutter we had a 20mm gun from ww2 as the main mount. the new auto 20mm was not yet ready for production/fleet use. we used to have to oil the rounds fed into that seemingly ancient weapon. loved firing it though. i have carried the .45 and the 9mm both as a boarding officer and a gazillion hours on the range. i liked both but being a small hand guy the 9mm was a better fit. my range scores from 45 to 9mm changed quite a bit. just a more comfortable gun to shoot and carry for me.
Allan Reynaud says
My experience with USMC equipment has been that they are issued only what the Army doesn’t want or what they want off their inventory.
SMSgt Jim says
As a retired USAF CATM guy, the locking block was the M9’s weak point. And if you didn’t catch the small crack in time, you had a helluva time dealing with the problem.
Was also never a fan of DA/SA handguns. Give me the same on every pull of the trigger. It’s also easier to teach a non or new shooter when things are consistent.
I’m happy to see the military moving on from the M9.
Jeff K Gore says
Where can I get my hands ahold of the M9R even the old 45 marine court issued pistol I spent 4 years in the Marine Corps back in the seventies I carried that 45 and I loved the action heavy pistol but I love the way it fired can I get my hands ahold of one without giving up my other leg
Charles Anthony Hammond says
Go to Civilian Marksmanship Program, you can pick them up there on their auction sake for less than $2,000 quite often!
Dan Gilmore says
Less than 2 grand? For that kind of money, I sure wouldn’t waste it on a used, possibly abused pistol.
CMP is currently sold out of 1911s. They were selling them recently in various grades from around $800-1100. Was lucky to get a WW1/WW2 rebuild that groups better than my personal M9. I’d prefer the 1911 in a heartbeat.
That said, I became endeared to the M9 after a qualification experience to similar to the author’s. I was between Army schools during a unit qualification. My temporary slot required qualification on the M9. I’d never fired one before and expected to suck. Instead passing was cake.
Seeing a lot love for Glocks in this thread. Great duty weapon, but I can’t get past that dreadful trigger.
Charles L Mandelin says
There were a lot of politics behind choosing the Beretta. The choice to field it wasn’t based on cost and performance alone. By the time I got in, it was the only show in town, but a lot of the war fighters I worked with, did not care for it. It had an awful reputation (well, the magazine) in the desert. I much much preferred the MEU(SOC) 1911. I have been out for a minute so I cannot comment about the SIG, but there’s a reason that so many units (MARSOC) are going to Glock.
Billy Greene says
I completely agree. Maybe if the USMC would raise the asvab score requirements the Whole Marine Corps could go with the glock. I would have trusted all team guys with glocks, but there were some definite rocks in that I trusted more with the redundant redundant safeties of the M9. The stiff double action first pull made NDs only possible for the dumbest of the dumb.
Andrew Alley says
Great Article. I served in the 80s when my USMC tank platoon transitioned to the M9 from the 1911. Nearly everyone qualified with much higher scores. The ease of use and target reaquisition were substantially better with the M9. And the double single action was a major improvement over the heavy trigger pull of double action only.
It was truly the dawn of 9mm and better capacity magazines. The M9 served us very well. Deployed many places without always on our side to include combat.
Sad to see it go but completely understand now that striker fired weapons are another logical step forward.
I retired more than 20 yrs ago. I’m a now a gray haired old woman. But the M9 was familiar and it was the weapon I chose for home protection. Best choice I ever made. I’m so glad I disregarded all those male gun “experts” and selected a weapon that felt familiar in my hands. It may have saved my life.
Billy Greene says
I spent 7 years as a 2111 for a force unit. I definitely can feel your pain on having to fight for weapons. I found the phrase “non mission capable” worked wonders and puckered enough b-holes to get your allowances for the Marines who needed them. I personally didn’t like the M9, and the M9A1s made some minor yet significant improvements. My main complain was with quality. When we finally received our M9A1s over a dozen were missing detents for the decocker/safety. Brand new and failed inspection right out of box. When I asked beretta if they could send me the dents (really cheap part) so I could get the guns up for an upcoming deployment. I was met with i needed to send them back for a “competent” armorer to look at them. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to wait on the supply system or beretta. I had to beg from another armory. I was always having problems with either cracked or lost locking blocks as well. I would liken the M9 to a volvo. Safe, ugly as sin, and functional. Quality started to slide, and if you wanted performance there were much better on the market.
Since 1987 I’ve never seen one fail. Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and a few other places they all worked. I was issued a 1911 but I didn’t think I’d like the Beretta. It grew on me. Now I couldn’t imagine not having one.
Ccsp Certification says
Thankyou for Sharing. Very easy to use. Time effective.