Before You Buy - The Beretta M9A3
Born out of the Modular Handgun System competition but never actually entered into it, the Beretta M9A3 is the answer to what they would do if the Military’s bid for a new service handgun didn’t require the system to be striker fired. The M9A3 takes the bones of the previous M9 or 92FS pattern double-action/single-action handgun and updates it to meet nearly every requirement that was put out by the MHS contract bid including modular features, alternate magazine options, and even made its debut featuring a hodgepodge tan and FDE colors across its slide, frame, and grip. Today we’ll go over the M9A3s specifications and features, and also detail my experiences at the range with it so you can make an estimation on whether or not you’d like to add one of these to your collection.
The Beretta M9A3 is chambered in 9mm, is 8.7 inches in length, and weighs approximately 33 ounces. It has a 5-inch barrel and a maximum capacity of 17 rounds. The M9A3 is a single/double-action pistol with manual safety and a decocking lever. However, models such as mine known as a “G Model” feature a decocker only and no manual safety. The only real difference here between the standard M9A3 and the G Model variants is that when you use the decocker/safety, the G Model variant will simply return the lever to the firing position after the gun has been decocked. It also features an accessory rail for attaching lights or lasers, and a high-visibility, three-dot sight system. I’ve currently removed my rear dovetailed sight and replaced it with a Trijicon RMR dovetail adapter.
- Action: Single/Double
- Barrel length (mm): 127
- Barrel length (in): 5
- Caliber: 9x19 (PARA)
- Grip Width: 1.3"
- Magazine: 17
- Overall height (mm): 137
- Overall height (in): 5.4
- Overall length (mm): 220
- Overall length (in): 8.7
- Overall width (mm): 38
- Overall width (in): 1.5
- Safety: Ambidextrous Safety, Decocker (F/S)
- Sight radius (in): 6.1
- Sight radius (mm): 155
- Sights: High Visibility Orange/Green Tritium 3-Dot
- Weight unloaded (g): 946
- Weight unloaded (OZ): 33.4
- MSRP: $1,100 USD
Features and Range Use
One of the most notable features of the Beretta M9A3 is its improved grip design. The removable wrap-around grip allows for customization to fit different hand sizes, making it more comfortable and easier to shoot.
The M9A3 also features a threaded barrel for the attachment of suppressors or other muzzle devices, which can reduce noise and muzzle flash.
Its high-visibility, three-dot sight system is also a valuable feature, as it provides better accuracy in low-light conditions. As I stated before, I’ve replaced mine with a red dot mounting solution but it’s not an ideal one. As of writing Beretta has released the M9A4 which features an optics-ready slide, and Langdon Tactical Technologies has also released its own version of an optics-ready slide which I personally believe to be the best of the bunch as it reduces the height over bore of any mounted optic. The two other options including mine place any red dot optic very high over the barrel meaning you’ll have a bigger difference in point of impact with a typical zero of 25 yards.
Another important feature of the M9A3 is its new sand-resistant magazine, which can hold up to 17 rounds. This is an improvement over the original M9, which had a maximum capacity of 15 rounds. The magazine is also easy to remove and insert with the handgun's slightly beveled magazine well, making it quicker to reload in the field.
Finally, the M9A3's accessory rail allows for the attachment of lights or lasers, which can improve accuracy and visibility in low-light situations.
The Beretta M9A3's features are designed to improve the gun's functionality and versatility. The improved grip design allows for greater comfort and accuracy, while the threaded barrel and accessory rail make it more adaptable to different situations. The sand-resistant magazine and high-visibility sight system also improve the gun's reliability and accuracy. These features are especially important for military and law enforcement personnel, who need a firearm that can perform in a variety of environments and situations.
One major hurdle most people will have to work through when practicing and improving their performance is the pistol's somewhat strange trigger. The Double Action Single Action design means the handgun doesn’t do either quite perfectly with the double-action pull being quite long and the single-action pull having a great amount of creep before breaking. However, as with any handgun, the pistol can not only be improved through the use of aftermarket parts but simply practicing with it will greatly improve your accuracy even with these limitations.
Falco Holsters offers custom holsters for Beretta M9A3.
Pros and Cons
- Improved grip design for greater comfort and accuracy
- Threaded barrel and accessory rail for greater versatility
- Sand-resistant magazines with a larger capacity
- High-visibility sight system for improved accuracy
- Reliable and durable design
- Lots of aftermarket part support
- No native optics mounting solution for red dots
- Higher cost compared to some other firearms on the market
- May be too large or heavy for some shooters
- Single/double action design may be more complicated for some shooters
- Based on the light you are willing to use with this gun, there might be a limited offer of holsters. Thanks to Falco Holsters you can have a custom holster for M9A3 with more than 40 available lights.
- May not be legal or even available in some states or countries
Overall, the Beretta M9A3 is a high-quality firearm with numerous features that make it a great choice for military, law enforcement, and civilian shooters. Its improved grip design, threaded barrel, and accessory rail make it more adaptable to different situations, while its sand-resistant magazine and high-visibility sight system improve reliability and accuracy. However, it is important to consider the higher cost, weight, and complexity of the M9A3 before making a purchase.
Author: Luke Cuenco