According to the National Interest, the US Army recently chose a new handgun, the M17 Modular Handgun System, and excluded a new, updated M9A3 from the competition.
Although the proposed M9A3 failed to gain traction, it is still available on the civilian market and its improvements, adopted by Beretta for the twenty-first century battlefield, are worth examining.
The M9A3 Beretta looks like a futuristic, high tech version of its Reagan-era ancestor—which of course it is.
The A3 is finished in a three-tone black, coyote, and flat dark earth scheme, unlike the flat black of the M9.
M9A3 is equipped with a threaded barrel so operators can easily install sound suppressors for covert operations.
It has harder lines than the original Beretta, with a flattened mainspring housing eliminating the bulge along the backstrap, creating a more angular grip reminiscent of the M1911A1.
The Beretta is largely unchanged underneath the hood. The A3 is still a hammer-fired single action/double action handgun, with an initial long double action trigger pull for the first shot the Army preferred for infrequent shooters.
Subsequent shots are single action. One major change: the safety lever can act as a safety-decocker mode, or just a decocker mode depending on how the user wants it. This allows the shooter to lower the hammer without discharging the weapon.
The A3’s barrel is still partially visible along the top of the frame, and barrel has been increased slightly, to five inches.
The Beretta M9A3’s magazine has been increased to hold seventeen rounds of nine millimeter ammunition instead of the original fifteen, placing the newly redesigned handgun up there with the Glock 17 in terms of ammo capacity.
The US. Army may have declined to adopt the M9A3, but the pistol is still available on the civilian market.
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