In accordance with the terms of its current M9 contract, Beretta USA has presented the U.S. Army with a modified M9 pistol-the M9A3-with new features the company says will increase the firearm's operational effectiveness and operational suitability.
Improvements to the pistol are listed as design and material enhancements, including a removable, modular wrap-around grip panel, a Picatinny accessory rail, removable tritium night sights, and an extended and threaded barrel for suppressor compatibility. Beretta says it has also made minor improvements to many of the gun's small components with an eye toward providing modularity, increasing durability and improving ergonomics.
"After listening closely to the needs of U.S. Army and other Service small arms representatives, we determined the M9, much like its counterpart legacy weapon systems like the M4, M16 and M240, was capable of being upgraded through material and design changes," said Gabriele de Plano, vice president of military marketing and sales for Beretta USA. "The resulting M9A3 we are offering to the Department of Defense will likely cost less than the current M9, and will answer almost all of the Services' enhanced handgun requirements."
Manufactured in Accokeek, Md., the M9 has been the standard issue sidearm of the U.S. Armed Forces since its adoption in 1985. In July 2014, Beretta announced that it will relocate all manufacturing to Gallatin, Tenn., in mid-2015. To date, Beretta has delivered 600,000 M9 pistols to the Department of Defense, and was recently awarded a new contract for up to 100,000 M9s. It is the goal of Beretta that the improvements incorporated into this new model will keep the M9 in the holsters of America's servicemen and women well into the future.
Beretta also announced that a law enforcement and commercial variant of the M9A3 is being produced and will be introduced at the 2015 SHOT Show in January. Current estimates are for this civilian version of the gun to hit shelves in the second quarter of 2015.