Army buys 100,000 M9 Pistols

Beretta USA said on their Facebook page that the US Army has purchased 100,000 more Beretta M9 pistols and has confirmed that the M9 will remain their sidearm for the next five years.

1st Lt. Patrick Jerome Riley with his M9

[ Many thanks to Lance for emailing me the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • 15yroldgunman

    5 years??? So r these replacing old m9s cause it sounds like alot for 5 years

    • 15yroldgunman

      100000 I’m from Canada woops

  • Chris b

    Isnt 100+ years enough of the 9mm ? 45 or 40 cal at least. Yes i know we have had this debate 100+ years as well!

    • Marc

      Nope. 100 more years to come.

    • W

      as soon as there is a pistol round that is truly better across the board, 9mm will remain in service.

      • Esh325

        NATO wanted to replace the 9×19 with the 5.7x28mm, but the decision was postponed because of Germany’s reluctance to adopt it over their 4.6x30mm. So there is evidence that there are better rounds than the 9×19. Militaries don’t necessarily adopt equipment even if something is better across the board.

      • W

        i remain dubious of the claims that 5.7 is any better than the 9mm when you look at the big picture (ballistics facts aside).

        Is it more flexible, perhaps. The Five seveN and P90, utilizing the same cartridge for a class of PDW weapons, shows enormous promise in supplementing, if not completely replacing, conventional pistols and submachine guns.

        There are conflicting reports of the 5.7’s effectiveness against unarmored human targets. Perhaps this explains the reluctance to completely replace pistols and SMGs within NATO.

      • Burst

        There are some rounds better at individual applications.

        But the 9x19mm is ADEQUATE as a pocket pistol, service pistol, small frame revolver, and submachine gun. It’s also going to be one of the cheapest rounds in all of those classes.

        Good luck topping that.

      • bbmg

        I like this idea.

        The “full bore” 9mm should be retained, and supplemented with subcalibre high velocity loadings in order to match the flat trajectory and high penetration of the 5.7/4.6 rounds should the situation require it.

    • bbmg

      Yeah, the 45 ACP is a real spring chicken by comparison. And the 50 BMG, also developed last year which is why it is still in use today 🙂

    • schizuki

      If it works, why change? There’s an awful lot of expense involved in changing caliber. And for a sidearm?

    • Bob Z Moose

      Guys, stop being so mean to Chris. Personally, I’m ashamed to say that financial reasons have forced me to carry a gun that uses a 112 year old cartridge. I keep telling myself that the 38 Special is just too old to be useful, but I just can’t afford to get a super duper high tech 5.7 or 4.7. I’m pretty sure harsh language will be more effect than this antique of a round. I had to get in contact with Old West Scrounger just to get shells. What ever shall I do?

  • NI Shooter

    I thought they’d only recently ordered the M9A1 in a laege quantity within the last year or two, anyone know why they switched back?

    • Pete Sheppard

      As Matt noted, the M9A1 purchase was for the US Marine Corps.

  • CanadianSoldier

    Just wondering, but are these M9s or M9A1s? I was under the impression that the M9A1 has superseded / replaced the M9 in regular service. Can someone shed some light? Thanks

    • Matt

      From what I can tell, these were M9s. It would appear only the USMC is using the M9A1.

  • Janis Petke

    According to my internet sources, 70000 M9’s snapped their slides in half, decapitating the operator, while 30000 where M9’s were thrown at the enemy in frustration because of the lack of stopping power.

    • schizuki

      I guess some people don’t understand satire. I LOL’ed.

  • MattInTheCouv

    Dear Army:

    STOP! Buy something else! There are lighter, higher capacity, safety [lever] free options out there, and they are all about the same price! Ugh. It’s not that they are horrible guns, but come on, you can do so much better! At least get rid of them through attrition!

    • Anonymoose

      Having a safety lever is a good thing. It keeps you from NDing as easily and is a general liability issue for the government. Glocks (and their clones) and DAK/LEM-based systems are generally fine for civilian use but have caused the rate of NDs to skyrocket in the last 30 years. For example:

      • Chase

        The only thing that Lee Paige video proves is that the only ones professional enough to carry a Glock .40 need safety levers.

    • Doug

      Outfitting an entire military with a whole new (secondary) weapon would be financially reckless to say the least. I’m a Glock fan myself, but my personal satisfaction of seeing our military using Glocks can wait.

    • milehisnk

      the only issue with these weapons is when racking the slide, you can inadvertently trip the decocker. I’ve practiced 100s of times with mine and haven’t done it once, but I’ve heard of it happening. Nobody in the military should be carrying it decocked, if they do, they weren’t trained properly. Also, if you’re that concerned about a decocker, get a 92D slide. That slide is from the dual action only model, and because of that, it doesn’t have a decocker lever.
      I’m also sure that the military would rather have a pistol that has DA and SA ability. Otherwise, they are easier to clear jams in because of the open slide design, that is, if they jam. They are also durable and have proven themselves in very rough terrain. I do agree that reducing weight is a good thing, but the additional rounds something like a Springfield XD-M holds would make the difference negligible. Even comparing my standard 16rd XD to my Beretta there isn’t a lot of difference in the weight in hand.

  • Big Daddy

    And while the DOD said years ago the .45 will no longer be in the inventory the USMC buys some and SOF uses .45s and who knows what else. Yet the Feds use .40 and .357 SIG. Do they still use 10mm too?

    I guess the idea is for our own government to insure they KILL the people of this country but not other countries.

    This is very confusing…….I have stopped trying to make sense of anything the USA does anymore.

    OK let the downrates begin!!!

    • Marc

      9 mm has been used to kill more people for longer than all those cartridges.

    • Anonymoose

      No US government agency ever used 10mm except for the FBI, and they switched to .40S&W and .45ACP a long time ago.

      • Bob Z Moose

        There’s a couple of PDs that still use the 10mm, the Albuquerque PD being the biggest. Just pointing that out. Alberta Sheriffs still use it too, eh.

  • Lance

    The M-9 is a good pistol and is just as good if not better than the SiGs in use. The 9mm is world standard cartage and is NATO round which is why we adopted it. Some cry and look at the MARSOC pistol but that’s SOCOM only which HK and Colt hve made sales of .45 auto pistols in the past but its only small numbers. Ive carried one for 4 years not a problem. As for long term planning with cuts in budget and the fact we are stuck in NATO I doubt we will ever leave 9mm for a long time. The Beretta will stay in use for a long time.

    Overall the M-9 with good ammo and mags is a reliable and good weapon.

    • Anonymoose

      It is most certainly not better than a SIG. With factory mags I would say it’s probably just as good in most situations (read: “adequate”), but it’s been proven that it is generally inferior to P226-based designs.

      • Lance

        Thats a lie. Both the Glock and Beretta are the only two pistol that can shoot under water. In the 80s the M-9 beat your 226 in dust tests. Though both pistols where finalist and SiG shot themselves in the foot by making them very higher price than the M-9.

      • W

        “Though both pistols where finalist and SiG shot themselves in the foot by making them very higher price than the M-9.”

        They werent “very higher priced”. The SIG pistols were cheaper, though the overall accessories bundle from Beretta was cheaper, which lead to the Beretta being less expensive overall.

        Take it for what it is, “(some allege Beretta was tipped off about SACO’s bid ((the importer of the Sig P226 at the time)) so they could lower the per unit cost on their candidate by $1.00 and win the contract)”

        Im not sure how true this is. With a purchase of over 100,000 guns, this can make a difference (even if the difference truthfully is 10-15 dollars rather than 1$ for prediction’s sake).

      • FourString

        Wait a second—the only two pistols that can shoot underwater?? Where are you getting this?

        The H&K USP can shoot underwater completely STOCK—no maritime springs needed, unlike the Glock.

    • Lance

      I read it was over a few hundred dollars difference. Overall doesn’t matter the SIG will not replace the Beretta and your SIG does have some small dod roles be happy.

      • Dbl Dist Shtr

        The Sigarms M11 is a superior weapon to the M9 Beretta. I’ve owned several of both, had an M11 issued to me as well as a half dozen M9s over the years and shot thousands of rounds out of both. In the end I chose the M9 to compete with because an extra inch of sight radius helps when shooting fast at a 5″ scoring ring at 25 yards. For a duty weapon though I wouldn’t ever consider the M9 if given a choice. I’ve broken several locking blocks over the years and when that happens the weapon becomes a expensive rock to throw at the bad guys. Sigs just don’t break, and they’re inherently more accurate as well as sight change friendly.

      • Lance

        Strange ive out shot guys with M11 and 226s with my M-9 all the time even Glocks lost to me. In accuracy the M-9 is far better and dose not have a cover slide rubbing the barrel after each shot. Ive carried a M-9 in all heat conditions and in ocean (salty) air and never consider any other weapon for duty.

      • Dbl Dist Shtr

        Nothing strange about it. A competent shooter with a High Point can out shoot a no talent ass clown with a Kimber every day, that doesn’t make the gun better. As far as being vastly superior accuracy and reliability wise, you’re just plain wrong. There’s a reason no one in the spec ops community uses them. Did you ever stop to ask yourself why? If enclosed slides are bad, 1911s must be junk…

    • Lemming

      Just for the record Lance, the Russian Gsh-18 also fires underwater.

      • Lance

        You have to modify it like the Glock your partly wrong Lemming.

      • Lemming

        Hm, that’s not what I’ve heard, can you provide a source for me?

      • Lance

        NRA American Rifleman

      • Lemming

        I meant a link, I don’t want to have to go searching for it.


    • mosinman

      actually lance…. ive seen videos of revolvers and various automatics fired under water. the thing is (as i understand it) the weapon must be entirely immersed so that there is no air to cause a KB.

    • Andrew

      I think a lot of commentors suggesting a change of the M9 have never used one. I have a 92fs and a Glock 19. Both are great but I love the performance, feel, durability, accuracy, and general ease of use of my Beretta.

  • Michael Pham

    It works. This will piss a lot of fanboys, but pistols don’t win wars, and the M9 is more than adequate. Any money spent on a new handgun design will not dramatically decrease casualties or improve the lives of the soldiers who have to use them compared to a further investment in other weapons or technologies.

    • bbmg

      Very well said, if you’ve had to resort to your pistol the proverbial excrement has long since struck the ventilator.

    • Esh325

      That’s exactly correct. I think there are better pistols than the Beretta out there, but I don’t really think it’s worth the money to replace them. Just like I didn’t think it was worth the money replacing the 1911. And I’m not a fan of the 1911 either by the way.

  • Anonymoose

    …I guess the MHS program is dead then…or are they postponing it for 5 years so they don’t have to spend craploads of money all at once?

  • John Doe

    Truth is, the M9 is perfectly fine. Yes, there are better SIGs, Glocks, etc. But in combat, are they vastly more effective than the M9? Probably not. In combat, 9mm pistols are only so different.

  • Sam

    Overall the 5.7 is not that great of a round to replace 9×19 it over penetrates and is way more expensive to make. This whole 5.7 idea was Belgium’s pride trying to force NATO to a new round and it was rejected more than just Germany most did not want a all 5.7mm requirement. Sorry 9mm is here to stay.

  • Komrad

    There are better pistols out there, but nothing wrong with Beretta. Second to CZ-75 and 82/3 type guns, they fit my hand the best.

    It would be kinda cool if the military switched to something exotic like 6.5 CBJ,, 4.6mm H&K, or 5.7mm FN, but the benefits don’t really make it worthwhile.

    • Bob Z Moose

      Or just clone the Russian 7N21 AP load and use it in a reinforced Beretta or CZ75 variant. All the fun of a 5.7 while maintaining NATO compatability. 9mm is here to stay for awhile (as general issue, anyways). It’s just the system is thats up in the air.

      • bbmg

        No need to increase the stresses on the pistol with a +P load, a slightly subcalibre projectile (say 7 or 8 mm dia) made of steel in a nylon or delrin sabot should do the trick, and will punch clean through armor by virtue of its higher velocity and projectile hardness.

        Something like this perhaps:

        … but with a synthetic cap over the point of the projectile to give it a rounded profile identical to a FMJ round to ensure reliably feeding.

      • Bob Z Moose

        @bbmg Now that’s an idea. Improve the terminal performance on soft targets and you got a winner… Or they could use a carbine.

    • Lance

      5.7 or 4.8mm dont offer nothing in combat a good 9mm could bring the fact is that level 3 armor most nations Russian and China included can stop 5.7 and it offer nothing against unarmored terrorist like we face now .45 or 9mm are king of military sidearms.

  • Bob Z Moose

    Not as man fanboys as I would expect. There’s a lot of suggestions that the 40 S&W would make a better cartridge. Hate to say it, but it was designed primarily as a LEO duty round, which means it was built for hollow points from the ground up. The high velocity with a FMJ would have similar effects as the high velocity 9mm that is currently in use (with a .005in increase in size of the hole), IMHO. The 45 was made in an era of FMJs as the ONLY bullet option (aside from lead). The 45 is better (slow and heavy) than the 9mm in military applications, but what would we get with a switch back? Lots of money spent for NCOs to have a better “OH F***” option? I would rather have the extra room on my vest for more M4 mags. How much money would this cost? The elite guys already have their choice of whatever they want, right?

    Wouldn’t a better option be rechambering most front line weapons to 6.8 SPC? Better ballistics for PRIMARY weapons would definitely be more of a benefit for the front line soldier. Better than the 5.56, anyways.

  • idahoguy101

    Does anyone know the total numbers of M9, M9A1, and M11 pistols the DOD has purchased by type?

  • Thomas


    This is a military procurement issue and has nothing to do with the quality of the firearm. Historically, for non-SOG infantry units, the pistol is not even a secondary weapon [that role belongs to the knife], it is a tertiary weapon. Until the last decade, or so, issuance of the pistol was reserved for NCOs, support troops, SOG units and officers. Therefor, it was not considered very important for the bulk of the Army, Navy and Marines. And, in the Spec Op world, most units preferred the .45acp cartridge or, in the case of the SEALs, the Sig Sauer M11. All the current USSOCOM units currently use a weapon chambered in .45acp. So, there is really no pressure on Army procurement to move away from the M9, for which they have warehouses full of spare parts.

    Just as the M16/M4 in 5.56 NATO is here to stay, so is the MP in 9mm.

    • SD3

      People who fight wars with handguns are doomed to both premature death & failure.

      And I also own, enjoy & depend upon the outstanding Beretta 92FS.

    • W

      “All the current USSOCOM units currently use a weapon chambered in .45acp”

      …Alongside a mix of other 9mm and 40 designs.

    • bbmg

      Worth pointing out that the ultimate SOG pistol also comes in 9x19mm

      • Thomas

        The WelRod was a British design [B.S.A] and was manufactured, primarily during WWII. It suffered from the same problems that all other suppressed firearm chambered in 9mm have, the supersonic nature of most 9mm rounds. The suppressor system on the WelRod was, supposedly, designed to keep the 9mm bullet from reaching supersonic speed by bleeding off gas after firing. You’ll only find this weapon in museums today. Right along sidfe the .45acp Liberator pistol.

      • bbmg

        The Welrod is obviously a historical weapon, though claims abound that it is retained in some special forces armouries.

        Makes you wonder why after making a whole new weapon, they didn’t take the extra and obvious step of developing a dedicated subsonic load with a heavier bullet for it, something like the 147 grain we have today. Granted, in the hands of agents behind enemy lines, being able to use standard 9×19 rounds is a big bonus, but nonetheless specialised rounds would boost suppression and muzzle energy.

        Worth noting that aside from bleeding off barrel pressure, wipes were also used which slowed the bullet down through friction.

  • S O

    100,000 in addition to existing pistols sounds excessive.

    The U.S. Army has about 550,000 personnel and about the same qty in ANG and reserves.

    Even assuming the total, more than 9% of troops equipped with a pistol sound excessive to me.

    Even rear troops have little use for a pistol, for even if a HQ far in the rear is under attack by paras, the troops in there would still at least need carbines for defending the HQ.
    Pistols are almost only good as psychological support for medics, for MP, flag officers and for guards in non-war zones.

    So how exactly can there be a demand for 100,000+ pistols in a 1,100,000 force?

    • Sid

      For personal protection and defense.

      Paras attacking the TOC in the rear area would have to confront the heavily armed gate guards, perimeter security, and roving patrols. But the guy working the radio who walks out to the latrine just needs to be able to shoot the bad guy in his way.

      • S O

        There was a time when rifles were on wooden stands, ready to be taken in an emergency.
        Litter the base with such carbine stands, problem solved.
        An unarmed intruder would get some useful firearm if he needs one anyway. He wouldn’t even need one, of course. You can actually kill better as intruder with a garrotte or a dagger.

        Besides, entire multimillion men armies had their soldiers only equipped with a 110 cm rifle and still expected them to make their way to the latrine.

  • Sid

    It is the number of new pistols to be purchased that is the real story. Which pistol purchased was decided in the mid 1980s. This is not a 9mm-vs.45ACP news item.

    The bigger story is “why so many pistols”?

    For those of us who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, the answer is daily living. You cannot walk around all day carrying a SAW and not mutter to yourself “if I had a pistol”. Going to the latrine, going to the dining facility, going to the gym, just walking around….. you have to be armed but you don’t necessarily want to carry your long arms. Have you ever watched a soldier try to go through the mess hall carrying a M240 and his tray?

    The story here is why so many pistols?

  • Dbl Dist Shtr

    Why so many pistols? That’s easy. The frame is aluminum and they wear out. Steel slides can be rebuilt, frames once worn past standard cannot be rebuilt. A steel framed pistol or polymer frame with steel rails would’ve been a better choice, but it is what it is.

  • Tony

    I love my M9, and I wish I had two

  • AR GUY

    A lot of really valid arguments in both keeping and replacing the M-9, however, aren’t we overlooking reality, other than SOF, boots on the ground won’t see these and the only time they are used in combat is as a last resort before grabbing your K Bar! I prefer the M9 A1, this is all IMHO…

  • AR GUY

    Sorry, meant to add that effective training is the best weapon,2 well placed shots beats the Hell out of 15 misses!!

  • josh

    As a currently deployed infantry XO, former armorer and user of the M9.. I can tell it comes down to price.. for the money.. the application and use, the M9, as much as I hate it, is the most practical for big Army in a budget crunch.. I wanted a glock for a service weapon for years but budgets and contracts rule.. plus they have this huge issue with needing a external safety…

    • Nicks87

      Nothing wrong with the M9…

      But if I remeber correctly the Army has the highest number of accidental discharges among the services so you guys better stay away from Glocks lol. 😉

      • Julio

        Probably one of the biggest reasons for the ND’s is the fact that they are constantly loading and unloading their weapons due to absurd regulations of empty chambers in “safe areas”, as if in a war zone there were such a thing.

  • Nicks87

    Thank God they didnt copy the dumb-@$$ Marine Corps MEU and adopt a 1911 style pistol.

    Say what you want about the Beretta 92 series pistols but at least they hold 15 rnds and are DA/SA. Those two features alone make it superior to the 1911.

    • VMax

      I wish I had a dollar for every anti-1911 post of yours. Did a 1911 kill your family and/or molest ya as a kid or something?