After the U.S. Army’s rejection of the initial M9A3 proposal, Beretta is trying again with a new Engineering Change Proposal. American Rifleman’s Mark O’Keefe reports:
Beretta, the maker of the standard-issue “U.S. Pistol, M9” for 30 years, has submitted to the U.S. Army its Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) to the contract signed in 2012 for up to 100,000 pistols as another attempt to improve the pistol bought by its largest single customer. After the widely reported rejection of Beretta’s ECP in late January, Beretta resubmitted through proper channels again, letting the Army know it can make the changes it wants—not necessarily all of them. The resubmission took place about 10 days ago, and Beretta has not received a thumbs up or down from the Army at the time of this writing.
The M9A3 incorporates a number of improvements identified by Beretta, soldiers and the Request for Proposal (RFP) of the relatively new Modular HandgunSystem (MHS). Beretta has done a good job of updating a pistol designed in the 1970s, tweaked into the M9 of 1985, and used by soldiers since the Reagan Administration, to make it more suitable for the modern solider—meaning one that has many features needed on a military combat handgun today that is also more likely to fit all soldiers’ hands.
Reasons for the rejection are not clear at this time, as the Army initially said there were too many changes. But the Army and other branches often incorporate more numerous ECPs from its contractors, regardless of the “weapon system.” The MHS, which you can read about here, I am told is on hold at this time. And the M9A3 was not eligible for participation in that trial, anyway.
Will the M9A3 be realized as the new US Army handgun? Hard to say, but it’s not difficult for me to imagine it going either way.