For those who frown at the sheer idea of a desert tan pistol, the Beretta M9A3 is now available with a more classic matte black finish
As most gun enthusiasts worldwide now know, the Beretta M9A3 is the latest chapter of a history of global success that started in 1975 with the launch with the first Beretta M92 pistol. Initially presented in a desert finish, this year the Beretta M9A3 has been presented in a black finish also, the one you see in this page.
The Italian-made double-stack, 9mm pistol has been the best of its kind for decades ever since, being produced (more or less) under license in many Countries and adopted by the military and Police forces of at least 50 Countries – including the United States of America, where it was indicted in 1985 as the "Pistol, Semiautomatic, 9mm, M9" following the JSSAP XM9 competition.
While still a solid and valid handgun for most of the uses it has been originally conceived for, the Beretta M92 pistol design has however witnessing a slow but steady phase of decline that the industrial and commercial strategies of the manufacturing company have so far been unable to halt.
The recent phasing-out of the pistol by many Police and military services – including the U.S. Armed Forces themselves, following the introduction of the SIG Sauer M17/M18 – made it clear how the Beretta M92 is following the path of many other legendary pistols such as the M1911 and the Browning High Power. It's not a "bad" handgun all of a sudden: it's just growing old.
One of the latest attempt to "revive" the design, however, led to the birth of what is possibly its best and finest incarnation to date: the M9A3.
A direct evolution of the M9A1 variant adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps in 2006, the M9A3 does not change from its predecessors in terms of working system, but features new production materials and techniques to make it more cost-efficient and more reliable under adverse conditions.
Entirely manufactured in Beretta USA's new Gallatin (Tennessee) plant, the Beretta M9A3 feeds through improved double-stack magazines holding 10, 15 or 17 rounds of 9mm Luger ammunition; the magazines are beveled for a quick or blind insertion and coated to be sand-resistant.
Both the steel slide and the aluminum alloy frame are Cerakote-treated for resistance to scratching and corrosion; the frame now comes with a three-slot Picatinny rail for tactical accessories and with a "Vertec"-style, straighter grip that will fit either wraparound grips, old-style M92/M9 or Vertec-series grip panels.
The 127mm/5" barrel has a threaded muzzle, protected by a screw-off thread protector, to provide an attachment point for competition-oriented muzzle devices such as flash hiders or compensators, or for silencers.
Last, a modular slide provides quick replacement capability for the factory iron sights and allows the M9A3 to be converted from the F configuration (manual safety - decocker) to a G configuration (decock only).
The latest version of the M9A3 design, as you see it in the pictures illustrating this page, is called the Beretta M9A3 Black. The only difference between this and the baseline M9A3 is the matte black finish on all outer surfaces, replacing the flat dark earth original finish.
Those among our readers who frown upon the idea of purchasing a desert tan handgun will now have no more qualms about purchasing the M9A3.
This is definitely the peak of the classic Beretta 92 design, and it's highly unlikely that either the Beretta Company or any other player in the industry will ever be able to make it better – particularly with the new Beretta APX bent to send the M92 into a well-deserved retirement...