Beretta recently announced the end of an era as the final M9 pistol left the factory for bound for a U.S. military contract. 

A variant of the Beretta Model 92, which was introduced in the 1970s, was adopted by the U.S. Army as the M9 in early 1984 to replace stocks of the M1911A1 that dated back to World War II. The initial five-year $56.4 million contract, to produce 315,930 units for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard, ended up running more than three decades, greatly surpassing those numbers. The famed Italian gunmaker built a plant in Accokeek, Maryland to produce the pistol, then moved production to a new facility in Tennessee in 2014.

"Last week marked an end of an era for Beretta USA. The Beretta USA team in Gallatin, Tennessee, packed and shipped the last Beretta M9 pistol for the US Armed Forces contract," said the company on social media. "Thank you to every Beretta USA team member who, over the last 36 years, has proudly manufactured the M9, and especially to all our brave servicewomen and men who have carried the M9 in their service to the United States of America."




The final U.S. martial M9 shipped last week. (Photo: Beretta) 
The final U.S. martial M9 shipped last week. (Photo: Beretta) 
The final U.S. martial M9 shipped last week. (Photo: Beretta) 
The M9 was first adopted in 1984. (Photo: Beretta) 
The M1911A1 compared to the M9 Beretta in 1986 NARA
The M1911A1, which ended production for the military in 1945, compared to the then "new"  M9 Beretta in 1986. (Photo: National Archives) 


To put into perspective just how long the Beretta M9 has held the line, look at this image from the shooting line during exercise Contending Warrior at Nellis Air Force base during September 1988, shortly after it was adopted: 


M9 Beretta 1988
Check out the mix of chocolate chip and ERDL pattern uniforms, along with LC-2 belts with suspenders, as well as the Bianchi UM84 flap holster that was adopted alongside the M9. (Photo: National Archives)
M9 beretta ad
Beretta has long used the M9's adoption and use by the military in its marketing. 


The Beretta 92 platform, meanwhile, remains very popular with consumers and has seen a number of updates over the years with the 92X series being the most contemporary. An M9A4 line is often mentioned by Beretta fans as being just over the horizon. 


RELATED: Beretta 92X Review After 2 Months & 2,000 Rounds


What is replacing the M9?


The M9 is being phased out of service by the Modular Handgun System. The MHS, based on the Sig Sauer P320 platform, consists of the M17 Full-Size Handgun replacing the Beretta-made M9 pistol, the M18 Compact Handgun replacing the Sig Sauer-made M11, and General Officer (GO) variants. Based on an award first issued in 2017, the Army has taken possession of 233,429 guns by 2020 to meet its needs. 

The M18, the smaller pair of pistols adopted under the Army's MHS program, was adopted by the USAF to replace its stocks of M9 (Beretta 92F), M11 (Sig Sauer P228), and M15 (S&W Model 15 K38s), some of which dated to the 1970s. In all, the USAF is acquiring some 125,000 new M18s from Sig Sauer at a cost of $22.1 million, which breaks down to about $176.80 per firearm. A statement by the Air Force says the new M18 costs “about one-third of what it would cost to buy an M9 today.”

 As noted in the Navy’s FY 2019 procurement budget justification for the Marine Corps, 35,000 M18s will not only replace aging M9 Berettas but also the Colt M45A1 CQB .45ACP railgun and the newly-acquired M007 Glock. Likewise, the Navy is set to purchase 60,000 M18s to replace its current M9s.

The Coast Guard, meanwhile, has bucked the Sig Sauer trend and is reportedly going Glock, piggybacking off of the Department of Homeland Security contract negotiated with the polymer-framed pistol maker by the CBP. 



revolver barrel loading graphic