There must be something Italian in the waters. Berettas seem to be popping up all over the place, this time the progenitors of the US M9 Service Pistol. C&Rsenal (a clever name for a Curio & Relic YouTube channel) has their hands on two rare service pistols from a century prior to today, the Beretta Models 1915 and 1917.
While Beretta was a renowned manufacturer of sporting firearms prior to the Great War, they were not steeped in military contracts. With the war in full swing, Beretta practically reinvented themselves into a fully industrialized company, championed by their internally designed Modelo 1915. The handgun was chambered for the 9x19mm Glisenti, a kissing-cousin underpowered 9mm Luger and featured blow-back operation. Capacity was 7+1, ergonomics were a bit rough (heavy springs and awkward safeties), but the military largely liked the design so much so they adopted its little cousin a scant two years later.
Now willing to abandon the Glisenti loading, the new Italian Army Modelo 1917 was chambered in .32 ACP. It kept many of the same features as the Modelo 1915, but was a more compact package and got rid of the secondary manual safety. A bit more compact, the chambering was ideal for the the 1917. The 1917 was a bit more manageable for the end-user.
But, the storied story of the development of the handguns is best covered by Othias of C&Rsenal. Enjoy the video below and make sure to set aside a 1/2 hour, as he presents a compelling story for any history buff.