By Dan Kidder
For any veteran who has served since 1985, reviewing the Beretta M9 is sort of like going out on a date with a former lover. One of those relationships that ended, but the feelings of attraction never quite went away.
Handling this gun brought back a flood of memories. The feel of the beefy grip, the exquisite balance, and satin-like finish, all reminded me of the sidearm I carried daily for years.
The M9 is the civilian version of the same M92F 9mm carried by American service personnel for more than 20 years. It has seen combat in Afghanistan, Iraq, Grenada, Kuwait, Haiti, and dozens of other theaters around the globe. It has been fired by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of American GIs.
I have heard all of the complaints about it, as have many others. It jams, it is clunky, it can break, etc. The American military is notoriously poor at properly maintaining any gun. These are the same complaints they had from 1908 through 1985 about the 1911. They are the same complaints they have about the Stoner designed AR-15/M16. Any gun, if not properly maintained, cleaned, and lubed, will suffer failures and breakages.
For those who properly maintain their firearm, the Beretta M9 is a gun lover’s dream. They are supremely reliable with either hollow points or ball ammo. The ergonomics favor those with larger hands, but this makes it a great fit for comfort when wearing gloves. I can’t speak for those with tiny mitts, but for me the M9 has always felt as if Beretta had molded my hand and created a custom grip just for me.
Everything just feels like it is in the perfect spot for just my hand. I can reach all of the controls while maintaining a proper shooting grip. The slide is just of the ideal stiffness to reliably chamber each round, yet not so stiff that it is difficult for the average user to manipulate.
The military is comprised of people of all strengths, sizes, and backgrounds, so it is a great representative cross section of the average shooters out there.
The natural point of aim, high beavertail backstrap, and elongated trigger guard make this a very comfortable gun to shoot. The weight of just over two pounds is more than many of the smaller handguns on the market, but adds to its overall controllability by providing greater inertia to overcome recoil.
High contrast dot on dot sights make aiming very easy, even for those who have a tough time aligning the plane of the front sight with the top of the rear sight. Placing the white dot of the front sight on top of the half circle on the rear sight completes the dot and takes all of the fine tuning out of the equation.
The 12 pound double action trigger is what you want for a self defense gun that you will carry with a round in the chamber. It requires you to really mean to pull the trigger for the gun to fire. The 4 pound single action break makes follow up shots more consistent. The trigger breaks cleanly and smoothly, as you expect from a company like Beretta that takes the extra steps to ensure a bright polish on all internal and external parts.
A fully ambidextrous safety/decocker, as well as a reversible magazine release make it a great fit for left-handed shooters. Not to mention the brass ejects straight up and over your head so lefties don’t get pelted in the face with spent casings.
Needless to say, I have missed spending time with this girl, and I am glad I had the chance for a second date after so many years.