M9 Pistol
Overview
The Beretta M9, formally Pistol, Semiautomatic, 9mm, M9, is a 9×19mm Parabellum pistol of the United States military
Military of the United States
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 adopted in 1985. It is essentially a military specification Beretta 92F
Beretta 92
The Beretta 92 is a series of semi-automatic pistols designed and manufactured by Beretta of Italy. The model 92 was designed in 1972 and production of many variants in different calibers continues today...

, later the 92FS.

The M9 won a competition in the 1980s to replace the M1911A1
M1911
The M1911 is a single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, and recoil-operated handgun chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. John M. Browning designed the firearm which was the standard-issue side arm for the United States armed forces from 1911 to 1985. The M1911 is still carried by some U.S....

 as the primary handgun of the U.S. military, beating out many other contenders, and only narrowly defeating the SIG P226
SIG P226
The SIG P226 is a full-sized, service-type pistol made by SIG Sauer. It is chambered for the 9×19mm Parabellum, .40 S&W, .357 SIG, and .22 Long Rifle. It is essentially the same basic design of the SIG P220, but developed to use higher capacity, staggered-column magazines in place of the...

 for cost reasons.
Encyclopedia
The Beretta M9, formally Pistol, Semiautomatic, 9mm, M9, is a 9×19mm Parabellum pistol of the United States military
Military of the United States
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 adopted in 1985. It is essentially a military specification Beretta 92F
Beretta 92
The Beretta 92 is a series of semi-automatic pistols designed and manufactured by Beretta of Italy. The model 92 was designed in 1972 and production of many variants in different calibers continues today...

, later the 92FS.

The M9 won a competition in the 1980s to replace the M1911A1
M1911
The M1911 is a single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, and recoil-operated handgun chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. John M. Browning designed the firearm which was the standard-issue side arm for the United States armed forces from 1911 to 1985. The M1911 is still carried by some U.S....

 as the primary handgun of the U.S. military, beating out many other contenders, and only narrowly defeating the SIG P226
SIG P226
The SIG P226 is a full-sized, service-type pistol made by SIG Sauer. It is chambered for the 9×19mm Parabellum, .40 S&W, .357 SIG, and .22 Long Rifle. It is essentially the same basic design of the SIG P220, but developed to use higher capacity, staggered-column magazines in place of the...

 for cost reasons. It officially entered service in 1990. Some other models have been adopted to a lesser extent, namely the M11 pistol, and other models remain in use in certain niches.

The M9 was scheduled to be replaced under a United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 program, the Future Handgun System (FHS), which was merged with the SOF Combat Pistol program to create the Joint Combat Pistol
Joint Combat Pistol
The Joint Combat Pistol was the name for a former US program for a new military sidearm to replace the M9 Pistol, extant from late 2005 to early 2006. The program was started in 2005 and run by USSOCOM. It is the result of a merger of two earlier programs, the Army's Future Handgun System and the...

(JCP). In early 2006, the JCP was renamed Combat Pistol (CP), and the number of pistols to be bought was drastically cut back. The joint U.S. Army/Air Force Modular Handgun System
Modular Handgun System
The Modular Handgun System is a U.S. military competition for a new handgun. The Modular Handgun System is anticipated to be the next U.S. military standard side arm replacing the M9 pistol.- Requirements :...

 could select a commercial off-the-shelf
Commercial off-the-shelf
In the United States, Commercially available Off-The-Shelf is a Federal Acquisition Regulation term defining a nondevelopmental item of supply that is both commercial and sold in substantial quantities in the commercial marketplace, and that can be procured or utilized under government contract...

 handgun to replace the M9 pistol in Fiscal Year 2011–12 if budget funds allows the implementation of the study.

History

In the 1970s, in an effort to make all of the five branches of U.S. Forces' weapons sync, the Joint Services Small Arms Planning Commission was formed to test a variety of guns to find a replacement for the M1911. The 9 mm round was selected for compliance with NATO standardization. In 1980, the Beretta 92S-1 design was chosen over entries from Colt
Colt's Manufacturing Company
Colt's Manufacturing Company is a United States firearms manufacturer, whose first predecessor corporation was founded in 1836 by Sam Colt. Colt is best known for the engineering, production, and marketing of firearms over the later half of the 19th and the 20th century...

, Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson is the largest manufacturer of handguns in the United States. The corporate headquarters is in Springfield, Massachusetts. Founded in 1852, Smith & Wesson's pistols and revolvers have become standard issue to police and armed forces throughout the world...

, Walther
Walther
Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen or Walther is a German arms manufacturer. For more than 100 years, Walther made major breakthroughs in the development of pistols...

, the Star M28, and various Fabrique Nationale
Fabrique Nationale de Herstal
Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal — self identified as FN Herstal and often referred to as Fabrique Nationale or simply FN — is a firearms manufacturer located in Herstal, Belgium....

 and Heckler & Koch
Heckler & Koch
Heckler & Koch GmbH is a German defense manufacturing company that produces various small arms. Some of their products include the SA80, MP5 submachine gun, G3 automatic rifle, the G36 assault rifle, the HK 416, the MP7 personal defense weapon, the USP series of handguns, and the high-precision...

 models.
The result, however, was challenged by the Army, and new tests were done by the Army. In 1984, the trials started again with updated entries from Smith & Wesson, Beretta, SIG Sauer, Heckler & Koch, Walther, Steyr
Steyr Mannlicher
Steyr Mannlicher is a firearms manufacturer based in the city of Steyr, Austria. Originally a part of the Steyr-Daimler-Puch manufacturing conglomerate, it became independent when the conglomerate was broken in 1990.-History:...

, and Fabrique Nationale. Beretta won this competition, but there was a new trial, the XM10 competition, in 1988. This resulted in two different trials that were more limited but resulted in the Beretta design being kept, with an update to it happening during the same time frame.

The Beretta 92F survived exposure to temperatures from -40°
Degree (temperature)
The term degree is used in several scales of temperature. The symbol ° is usually used, followed by the initial letter of the unit, for example “°C” for degree Celsius...

F to 140°F, being soaked in salt water
Seawater
Seawater is water from a sea or ocean. On average, seawater in the world's oceans has a salinity of about 3.5% . This means that every kilogram of seawater has approximately of dissolved salts . The average density of seawater at the ocean surface is 1.025 g/ml...

, being dropped repeatedly on concrete, and being buried in sand, mud and snow. Additionally, the 92F proved a MRBF (mean rounds before failure) of 35,000 rounds. That number is often touted as the equivalent to five or six times the pistol's service life. While this is normally true in European militaries, armed forces of the United States normally subject sidearms to much more extensive use. The Iraq War, which featured frequent urban and room-to-room combat, has necessitated American soldiers to rely more heavily on their pistols.

Technology

The M9 is a short recoil, semi-automatic
Semi-automatic firearm
A semi-automatic, or self-loading firearm is a weapon which performs all steps necessary to prepare the weapon to fire again after firing—assuming cartridges remain in the weapon's feed device or magazine...

, single-action / double-action pistol which uses a 15-round staggered box magazine with a reversible magazine release button that can be positioned for either right- or left-handed shooters. The M9 is used with the M12 Holster, though other holsters are often used.

The M9 was modified to the M9A1 in 2006. It added—among other things—a Picatinny rail
Picatinny rail
The Picatinny rail or MIL-STD-1913 rail or STANAG 2324 rail or a "Tactical Rail" is a bracket used on some firearms in order to provide a standardized mounting platform. A similar system is the Weaver rail mount.-Description:...

 for the attachment of lights, lasers, and other accessories to the weapon. The M9A1 has more aggressive front and backstrap checkering and a beveled magazine well for easier reloading of the weapon. M9A1 pistols are sold with Physical vapor deposition
Physical vapor deposition
Physical vapor deposition is a variety of vacuum deposition and is a general term used to describe any of a variety of methods to deposit thin films by the condensation of a vaporized form of the desired film material onto various workpiece surfaces...

 (PVD) coated magazines developed to better withstand the conditions in the sandy environments in Iraq and Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

.

The M9 features multiple internal safeties, including a firing pin block that prevents the firing pin from moving without the trigger being pulled, and a firing pin striker that rotates when the safety lever is engaged preventing the firing pin from being hit even if the hammer falls. The M9 also has an ambidextrous external safety lever allowing both left and right handed people to comfortably engage the safety mechanism.

Controversy

Prior to its widespread adoption by the U.S. military, questions were raised in a 1987 General Accounting Office
Government Accountability Office
The Government Accountability Office is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the United States Congress. It is located in the legislative branch of the United States government.-History:...

 report after an incident where a slide
Pistol slide
The slide is the part of the weapon on a majority of semi-automatic pistols that moves during the operating cycle and generally houses the firing pin or striker and the extractor, and serves as the bolt...

 failure on a Beretta 92SB injured a Naval Special Warfare member, and two more failures were later observed in additional testing. These failures included both military and civilian Beretta models with very high round counts, and after investigation they were deemed the result of ammunition supplied by the U.S. Army which exceeded the recommended pressures specified by NATO but nonetheless provoked a modification in the M9 design to prevent slide failure from causing injuries.

Soldiers in the field had a lot of concerns with the M9, notably a lack of confidence in its stopping power
Stopping power
Stopping power is a colloquial term used to describe the ability of a firearm or other weapon to cause a penetrating ballistic injury to a target, human or animal, sufficient to incapacitate the target where it stands....

 resulting from the use of the 9mm ball round, a significant factor in military evaluations because the Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
The Hague Conventions were two international treaties negotiated at international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands: The First Hague Conference in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907...

 prohibit use of expanding or fragmenting bullets in warfare.

The U.S. military has been criticized for not purchasing magazines from Beretta. In 2006, the military awarded a contract to Airtronic USA because the previous manufacturer, Check-Mate Industries, was charging too much per magazine, though Check-Mate magazines are still sometimes issued. Prior to Check-Mate magazines being purchased, the military purchased magazines from the Italian firm Mec-Gar. Airtronic has stated that its M9 magazines will be made similar to Mec-Gar's because of reliability problems with Check-Mate magazines.

In 2003–04 there were reported failures with the government-contracted 9mm magazines. After extensive testing and actual testimony given by the troops it was concluded that the failures were caused by the heavy phosphate finish called for in the government contract, combined with the unique environmental conditions in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. After corrections to the government required specifications for the magazine finish, almost two million new magazines have been distributed without any further malfunctions.

In the competition to find a new vendor, three finalists were chosen. These three were: Airtronic Services, Inc. classified as a "Moderate Risk", PHT Supply (partnered with Triple K Mfg.) also classified as a "Moderate Risk" and Check-Mate Industries, Inc. classified as a "Very Low Risk". Of the three, Airtronic Services, Inc was chosen by their low bid of $22,471,600. Airtronic Services delivered the first 900,000 magazines with zero failures while costing less than the previous supplier Check-Mate Industries.

Users

The M9 is the standard pistol of the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 and the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

. The M9A1 is also seeing limited issue to the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

. A large number of M9s and M9A1s were ordered in 2006. During the 2009 SHOT Show
SHOT Show
The ' is an annual tradeshow for the shooting, hunting, and firearms industry. It is the biggest event of this type in the world together with IWA & OutdoorClassics , also taking place annually. "SHOT", besides being a general reference to shooting, is an acronym for "Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor...

, Beretta announced it had received a US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

220 million contract for the delivery of 450,000 M9s and M9A1s to the U.S. military, within a five-year span.

The Marine Corps Times
Marine Corps Times
Marine Corps Times is a weekly newspaper serving active, reserve and retired United States Marine Corps personnel and their families, providing news, information and analysis as well as community and lifestyle features, educational supplements, and resource guides.Marine Corps Times is published...

reported plans in July 2007 for all officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

s below the rank of Colonel
Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank just above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general...

 and all SNCOs to be issued the M4 carbine
M4 carbine
The M4 carbine is a family of firearms tracing its lineage back to earlier carbine versions of the M16, all based on the original AR-15 designed by Eugene Stoner and made by ArmaLite. It is a shorter and lighter variant of the M16A2 assault rifle, with 80% parts commonality.It is a gas-operated,...

 instead of the M9. The new assignment policy will still assign M9s to Marine Colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

s and above and Navy Petty Officer First Class
Petty Officer First Class
Good conductvariation,12 years or moreof good conductPetty officerfirst classinsigniaU.S. Navy &U.S. Coast GuardPetty officer, first class is the sixth enlisted rank in the U.S. Navy and U.S...

 and above.

The United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

 has replaced most of its M9s with the SIG P229 DAK, though some M9s remain in service with certain units.

The M9 is issued to crew members on Military Sealift Command
Military Sealift Command
The Military Sealift Command is a United States Navy organization that controls most of the replenishment and military transport ships of the Navy. It first came into existence on 9 July 1949 when the Military Sea Transportation Service became solely responsible for the Department of Defense's...

vessels.

BerettaUSA announced on September 30, 2011 that the U.S. Army's Foreign Military Sales program has purchased an additional 15,778 Model 92FS pistols for the Afghan military and other U.S. allies. The Model 92FS is the non-U.S. military designation for the M9 pistol.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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