SHOT 2015—Beretta M9A3

Side view of the flat dark earth Cerakote finished Beretta M9A3 9mm pistol

Last month, Beretta caused quite the stir when it announced its improved M9 9mm semiautomatic handgun made specifically to bid for the U.S. Army’s sidearm—the M9A3. It was the first time many of us in the industry saw and was able to shoot the Beretta M9A3 for the first time at Media Day at the Range.

Though the Army rejected the new Beretta M9A3, shooters will appreciate the improvements to the classic design. The enhancements make the pistol modular and more comfortable to grip. It has a better trigger, as well.

Built on the Vertec thin grip frame with a reduced grip circumference, the Beretta M9A3 comes with a wraparound backstrap for those with larger hands or for those who prefer a fuller grip. The 5-inch barrel is threaded for a suppressor and the sights are tritium night sights with a removable front dovetail sight. The Picatinny accessory rail has three slots. There is an oversized magazine release for easy and quick reloads when wearing gloves and an over-center safety lever.

The Beretta M9A3 switches from a G model to an F model and obviously finished in flat dark earth Cerakote. It has a host of safety features—a decocking safety lever, automatic firing pin block, loaded chamber indicator and an external hammer with half-cock notch. One of the best improvements to the M9A3 is the 17-round sand-resistant magazine. Beretta says its M9A3 should start shipping in about three months as soon as it solidifies all the different models and configurations.

Beretta M9A3
Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 5.1 inches
Caliber 9mm
Overall Height 5.4 inches
Overall Length 8.7 inches
Overall Width 1.5 inches
Weight Unloaded 33.3 ounces
Sights Blade dovetail front, notched bar rear tritium night sights
Grip Vertec grip frame
Capacity 17 rounds

What do you think about the Beretta M9A3? Tell us in the comment section.

To learn more about the Beretta M9, read these articles


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Comments (16)

  1. More than 10 years ago I bought a Vertec 92 (mine was Inox ). I wonder at the “new” and “improved” model being released. I acquired mine because it had a grip similar to a 1911 in angle shape and size (little thicker but I found the straight backstrap preferable). It had dovetail sights and an accessory rail. All of the safety features referenced in the article are included on my 2004 Vertec. .It only held 15+1 and had no threaded barrel. (A close look at the pic with the suppressor makes me wonder – why suppress a gun when it full obscures the sights.) I would be interested in what makes the new trigger “better”. The M9A3 may be newly released but I am struggling to see how it is much more than anew finish on model that’s been available for more than 10 years. ( As a final note, I do not consider this observation to be a bad thing. In those 10 years I have found my Vertec to be dependable and accurate as well as easy and fun to shoot)

  2. I like Beretta firearms in general. But these “improvements” seem to be of very little importance. So they gave it a different colour; so what? What’s a “Vertec” frame? The safety has been fiddled with, but it’s still in the wrong location; it should be on the frame as it is in the Taurus versions of this design and it should allow “cocked and locked” carry. The sights are a real improvement. The threaded barrel is a plus, but no big deal. There is mention that the trigger has been “improved” but no hint of what that really means. This looks like a lot of marketing hype to me.

    1. Beretta is limited in how much they can change the M9 without having to submit it to the Army as a whole new design versus a modified version of the existing standard pistol. Changing the manual of arms by moving the safety or supporting “cocked and locked” carry would be too substantial a change.

  3. i am going to buy this gun but now i realize it looks to be made out of plastic. the U.S. Army may have turn the gun down because they want a steel gun. amry like a gun that will last for ever.people do not realize that plastic deteriorate over time.

    1. The frame is aluminum, just like the original M9, the SIG “classic” series, and many 1911-style pistols. The plastic you see is the removable grip module, intended to make the pistol adjustable for various hand sizes.

  4. They still need to get rid of the open top. I like the lightweight slide in reducing the rocking effect that comes with a heavier slide, but I believe polymers in that opening should be the next step in their pistol.

  5. I like what I read. I love my 92M9A1. The threaded barrel is a big plus. Is the barrel interchangeable with the 92 series?

    1. Not sure I see the big improvement over my 92FS – mine already has a threaded barrel for suppression, tritium sights, internal laser sight, and 20rd mags – and it’s not dark earth which is a major plus in my book – as for cocked and locked, it’s important for a 1911 but not sure I see the need on a DA with a good trigger pull like the 92

  6. I like most of the improvements made to the M9 What I don’t understand is why all the rave over “dark earth” paint jobs on firearms. Does everyone think that we will never fight another war anywhere other than in a desert? I know i’m a traditionalist, but to me a gun should be black with exceptions made for stainless steel models and special collectors (like the beautiful Blue Sig 1911 Masterpiece model) and engraved presentations models. . But brown, tan, pink or other colors just seem frivolous to me.

  7. I agree that the slide should cover the barrel. This provides for a little more protection with squib rounds, if nothing else. I also think it should be made in DA only like the Model 96 Brigadier in .40 caliber was made for US Immigration back in the 90(s).

  8. the improvements are about ten years late. the slide should cover the barrel completely, allowing for no debrie fouling up the action and the safty needs to be lowered down onto the frame,like on the tarus 92af ,other than that ,the added features, color,magazine,and sound supresser will work

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