Beretta M9 Semi-Automatic Service Pistol
The Beretta M9, based largely on the Italian Beretta M92F model, has been the primary sidearm of the United States Army since adoption in 1990.
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In 1980, the US Army sought to replace its venerable - though highly outdated - Colt M1911A1 semi-automatic handguns as its standard issue sidearm. For the subsequent trials, the Italian concern of Beretta took their Model 92 series as a starting point and modified the type to suit the American requirement. The safety catch was made ambidextrous and the magazine catch was relocated aft of the trigger guard. A firing pin lock was added for an additional safety measure and the grip was refined with grooves for a firmer hand hold. The hammer was slightly reworked to incorporate a half-cock notch. All in all, however, the pistol was still decidedly the Beretta offering and operated and appeared very much like its original form. Under these changes, the weapon was assigned the designation of "Model 92SB".
After testing, the US Army requested several more changes to the Italian product that included a lengthened magazine for a longer grip and a new trigger guard for an improved two-hand hold. A lanyard loop was added to the base of the grip handle. Internally, the barrel was chrome-lined for longevity while the exterior body received a special coating called Bruniton. Beretta responded and delivered the modified form as the "Model 92F". Satisfied with their handgun, the Model 92F was adopted into the inventory of the US Army as the "M9" in 1990 and remains the standard issue sidearm of the US military to this day (2013).
Externally, the M9 features the same lines of its Italian cousin with its rectangular slide mounting the safety lever, gripped section for slide management, the ejection port for spent shell casings and a front and rear-mounted iron sight. Internally, the weapon takes on a standard configuration with the barrel over the recoil spring. The hammer is set at the rear and protrudes slightly from the slide. The grip is well-formed and patterned for a sure hold. The trigger assembly is curved in the usual way while the trigger ring is oblong and suitable for a gloved hand.