U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Austin M. Schlosser

Editor’s Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.

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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.

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