Old School becomes ‘New School’ after a fashion.
I carried & qualified with issue M9’s on active duty when our S&W M-15’s were replaced in the late 80’s (the Smith was a great revolver, but not up to tactical employment…just sayin’). We immediately liked the M9 it a lot – had a lot more rounds, more powerful than the .38 Special the USAF seemed to be enthralled with for so many years, was magazine fed, could be field stripped in about 3 seconds, and was accurate as the Smith (which was very accurate) give or take (the M9 has fixed sites; the Smith had adjustable) for qualification to 25 meters, and if you were serious, you could practice and hit to 50 meters on a human silhouette target. The decocking lever caused us a bit of anxiousness until we found out it worked, and the pushing the decocker/safety lever to ‘fire’ was easy enough to learn, even though it was reversed from the 1911 (the 1911 safety is pushed down to go to ‘fire’ and the M9 is pushed up). The only drawback was the HUMONGOUS amount of pressure necessary to fire the pistol in DA! But…we got used to it.
I liked it so much I had a Beretta 92C (Compact) POW (Personally Owned Weapon) from 85 until I sold it before I returned home in 92. I didn’t want to go through the paperwork to have it added to my orders, and then stuck in my ‘hold baggage.’ In hindsight, it was a bad decision, but I digress.
Years flew, and then I started looking at them again a couple of months ago. Mostly because the M9 is being phased out of the service, and I was thinking ‘CHEAP MAGAZINES and PARTS’ in addition to some reminiscence on the range, and adding another good service grade pistol to the stable.
So, I found a safe queen for sale with a purported use of less than 2 boxes of ammo on gunbroker that was essentially new for about $200 less than retail, and it was a M9, not the 92FS. The civilian M9 is a 92FS with a military designated slide, but is still a replica (because it’s not property of the US Government) though everything else down to the lanyard loop, (including the markings) are the same, and was made and originally sold around the 20th anniversary of the pistol’s service use. Came with 4 original mags to boot, so how could I lose? The only thing Beretta didn’t do well on the M9 is the plastic (steel replacement already on the way) op rod and the hammer spring, which can quickly be replaced with the ‘D’ version, bringing DA trigger pull down from about 14 pounds to about 8. HUGE difference in performance!
Once I received it, I did an overall inspection and figured the round count was probably right; not a bit of wear internally. It was like taking a new pistol out and looking it over. It was really sweet, too, except for that famous looooooooooong and heavy first trigger pull if shooting double action. (I have since replaced the hammer spring, and voila! Shoots like a dream.)
So, the first thing is to break it down and clean it (and that’s where I was able to see the lack of wear internally). Especially if it’s a used gun, even though it was a safe queen. Then, after about an hour of refamiliarization with dry fire, mag change outs, and such, made sure it was lubricated to specs, and ready for the range. Everything is functional, so it’s off to the range this morning to wring it out with a couple hundred rounds.
That’ll be part 2 of this post. Until then, here’s what she looks like:
Now, don’t think for a second I’m giving up my Glocks or Kimbers; just adding this to the stable of proven ‘go to’ sidearms.
Get yourself some range time.
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Range Trip: I wasn’t able to devote the time I’d like to acquaint myself with a new pistol, but in 45 minutes I was able to check the inherent accuracy of this pistol pretty well with both deliberate slow fire as well as some 1 & 2 shot drills. I fired at 10 meters, indoor range, Winchester 124gr FMJ finishing up with some Federal 124gr HST. The first two pictures are to simply show the distance and the first 15 rounds. The pistol is worth having, especially if you’re just getting started and want a reliable pistol. Especially if you can find a surplus police example that’s still in good shape for around $300 to $350 or so. The offset group to the left of center is not the weapon; it’s my poor vision. The last picture demonstrates why the M9 eats anything. The magazine puts the rounds almost perfectly in line with the chamber, so there’s no worry about ‘bullet bump’ that can cause failure to feed.
The indoor range – 10 meters, 50 ft small bore target augmented with a 3 inch Shootnc target.