A couple of months ago, I finally decided to take the plunge and order an all black Beretta M9A3. Earlier this year I shot and tested out the FDE version. That version was designed to update the Beretta M9 series that served as the standard issue sidearm for the military for the last few decades. As we know now, the military decided to go with SIG Sauer’s P320 modular system instead, but the M9A3 is the newest version of the workhorse platform. The FDE version of the M9A3 I shot had the manual safety that is well known on the 92 series. When I opened up my black M9A3, the first thing I noticed was the manual safety was replaced with a decocker only feature, and that is awesome.
Typically, I don’t like guns with manual safeties because they can hinder your ability to defend yourself. I typically carry SIG Sauer handguns because they are a DA/SA handguns with no manual safety. The M9A3 is a large handgun, to say the least. It has a 5-inch threaded barrel with an overall length just shy of 9 inches. The gun does seem like a full-size handgun when doing manipulations but doesn’t seem overbearing or cumbersome.
The slide stop/release is very accessible, but isn’t too big to be in the way. One of the biggest changes with the M9A3 is the grip angle and how it feels in your hand. The grip is more of a straight angle rather than the previous models with an angled grip. I love how the updated grips look on the handgun but once I started shooting it, I slowly started to realize how small the grip really is with the low profile side panels installed. Thankfully Beretta included a larger Hogue style grip in the box, and once installed, the gun felt way better in my hand. I also think the addition of night sights as a standard option adds value to the handgun, and it’s one more thing that’s ready to go out of the box.
Shooting the M9A3 is an extremely enjoyable experience. The weight and size of the gun help with recoil and with a Sure X300U light, the gun is crazy flat shooting and recoil management is very easy. The gun was fast on transitions and had a good balance of weight. It didn’t seem snappy or uncomfortable in any sort of way. The handgun is a tack driver for me. I had a riot shooting steel while running a course of fire. It gave me a huge amount of confidence when going up against the clock when shooting stages. I thought the trigger was good for a battle trigger but was not the shortest reset I’ve shot in a handgun. Shooting the Beretta M9A3 was really enjoyable and I found myself shooting it over other guns I own.
I bought the M9A3 back in October, and the gun was comfortable to shoot once I put the large grips on. The factory grips installed are very small for shooters with bigger hands. Once I put another set of grips on, it felt way more comfortable in my hands. Then the winter months came, and I started shooting with gloves. Usually, it is an annoyance to shoot with gloves on, but not the M9A3. I would say the enlarged trigger guard is what makes the gun easy to shoot when the weather is colder outside. One thing I’m not sure I can do is concealed carry this monster handgun. With the 5-inch barrel and the handgun being very long, it’s not an easy gun to comfortably conceal. Now I know there will be people who carry this gun comfortably every day, but I am not one of them.
In terms of accessories, the gun comes with a number of interesting things other than the gun. The first would be the hard plastic ammo case with foam inserts for the gun and magazines. The M9A3 comes with three 17 round magazines and a larger Hogue style grip which helps out a lot if you have larger hands. Everything else in the case is pretty standard, there is a nice gun lock with Beretta’s Logo and all the paperwork and manuals to go with the handgun. As a whole, the overall package of the M9A3 is a good buy for the money.
Some people may be turned off by the $999 price tag the handgun comes with. I would argue this is the apex of the 92 series evolution series. I feel like this gun is the swan song of Beretta’s line up. They did an amazing job perfecting this gun in my opinion. I think it is well worth the money because it’s a beast of a fighting pistol. If you guys have questions or comments don’t be afraid to leave a comment below or shoot me an email. If you’d like to see more, check out my Instagram as well. Stay safe out there.
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