Beretta Is Trying To Take Over The Military Sidearm Space

Gear
The Beretta M9A3, seen here, is the Italian company's update to the M9 pistol, which entered U.S. service in 1985. While the M9A3 retains the same basic design, it has new sights, an accessory rail, and a tan finish, among other changes.
Photo via Beretta

Italian firearms manufacturer Beretta announced an updated version of the M9 pistol in December, as the final submission deadline for a joint Army-Air Force competition called the Modular Handgun System approaches. The program is intended to find a replacement for the 30-year-old M9 design. Beretta’s update is called the M9A3, and features improved sights, an accessory rail, a tan finish, a slimmed down grip, and a new 17-round magazine, among other improvements. Beretta states that parts from older M9s will remain compatible with the new version, and that they can convert the current five-year order for M9s to M9A3s. The new gun will also work with current holsters and other pistol accessories currently in use. Beretta is banking on these attributes to ensure that it continues to build pistols for the American military, and bypass the Modular Handgun System program altogether by submitting the M9A3 as an engineering change proposal to the existing M9 contract.


The M9A3 will have to beat out some stiff competition, though. Smith & Wesson and General Dynamics have partnered together to offer a version of the former’s M&P; service pistol, and entries from major handgun manufacturers like SIG Sauer and Glock are expected as well. Glock handguns are popular with U.S. special operations units, are used by over 60% of American law enforcement agencies, and arm numerous foreign militaries and police forces. SIG’s pistols are also popular worldwide, and the SIG P226, which lost to the M9 in 1985, is now the sidearm of choice of Naval Special Warfare units. The entry from Smith & Wesson and the possible entries from SIG and Glock are all polymer-constructed and striker-fired handguns, features that enhance reliability and save weight over the steel double-action design of the M9.

The new M9A3 will also have to battle a controversial reputation; a Center for Naval Analyses study from 2006 indicated that the M9 had the lowest levels of confidence, reliability, and overall satisfaction of any U.S. small arm among troops. The M9 design is also tied to the limits of 9mm “ball” ammunition. Hollow-point ammo improves the terminal ballistics of 9mm bullets, but the U.S. has abided by the rules set by the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, despite never ratifying the sections of the treaty that prohibited the use of "bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body.” Competitors’ entries are offered in multiple calibers, which may be an advantage if the military decides to switch away from 9mm as the Modular Hand System program evolves.

The Modular Handgun System program is the third attempt in the past decade to find a replacement for the M9; the Joint Combat Pistol and follow-up Combat Pistol programs were both suspended. With the current uncertainty about defense spending swirling, the military may decide that it’s not worth spending money on what amounts to a back-up weapon system, and stick with the original M9, which would suit Beretta just fine.

President Donald Trump speaks during an event with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Pratt Industries, Sunday, Sept 22, 2019, in Wapakoneta, Ohio. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he discussed Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son in a call with Ukraine's president.

Trump's statement to reporters about his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky came as the Democratic leader of a key congressional panel said the pursuit of Trump's impeachment may be the "only remedy" to the situation.

Read More Show Less
"It's kind of like the equivalent of dropping a soda can into canyon and putting on a blindfold and going and finding it, because you can't just look down and see it," diver Jeff Goodreau said of finding the wreck.

The USS Eagle 56 was only five miles off the coast of Maine when it exploded.

The World War I-era patrol boat split in half, then slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. The Eagle 56 had been carrying a crew of 62. Rescuers pulled 13 survivors from the water that day. It was April 23, 1945, just two weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany.

The U.S. Navy classified the disaster as an accident, attributing the sinking to a blast in the boiler room. In 2001, that ruling was changed to reflect the sinking as a deliberate act of war, perpetuated by German submarine U-853, a u-boat belonging to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.

Still, despite the Navy's effort to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking, the Eagle 56 lingered as a mystery. The ship had sunk relatively close to shore, but efforts to locate the wreck were futile for decades. No one could find the Eagle 56, a small patrol ship that had come so close to making it back home.

Then, a group of friends and amateur divers decided to try to find the wreck in 2014. After years of fruitless dives and intensive research, New England-based Nomad Exploration Team successfully located the Eagle 56 in June 2018.

Business Insider spoke to two crew members — meat truck driver Jeff Goodreau and Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer Donald Ferrara — about their discovery.

Read More Show Less
(CIA photo)

Before the 5th Special Forces Group's Operational Detachment Alpha 595, before 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment's MH-47E Chinooks, and before the Air Force combat controllers, there were a handful of CIA officers and a buttload of cash.

Read More Show Less

The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.

Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."

That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.

Read More Show Less

"Shoots like a carbine, holsters like a pistol." That's the pitch behind the new Flux Defense system designed to transform the Army's brand new sidearm into a personal defense weapon.

Read More Show Less