Test: Beretta M9A3 pistol in 9 mm Luger

The Beretta 92 family

The Beretta 92 family belongs unquestionably to the pistol classics of the late 20th century, since the gun – with its characteristic open slide and falling locking block under the barrel derived from the  Walther P.38 – under the designation M9 established itself as the service weapon of the US army for over 30 years from the mid-1980s. In 2006 a first revision called M9 A1 followed. In 2015 Beretta presented a revised version called M9 A3 at the SHOT Show. (In case you notice the A2 is missing in the enumeration: it was planned, but never made it to the series.)

This is the M9A3 by the Italian manufacturer

Beretta M9A3 pistol disassembled
Top, the slide and barrel with the falling locking block, underneath the recoil spring with its guide rod as well as the frame with the Vertec-style grip back, next to it one of the three magazines.

92's fans are immediately struck by two things with the M9A3: on the one hand, the Cerakote finish in Flat Dark Earth including the matching grips (only the extractor, the grip screws as well as the sights and controls remain black). On the other, the grip contour – which at first reminds a bit of the design of the Colt M 1911 Government but in fact represents the recourse to the in-house Vertec style – should be mentioned: Beretta has been building pistols with straight handle backs for years (for example, the 92 Vertec Inox). The advantage: the distance between the back of the grip and the trigger is somewhat shorter. If you'd rather have more distance, no problem: Beretta supplies a one-piece replacement grip which also covers the back of the grip. The frame is also fitted with a Picatinny rail in front of the trigger guard, which is common for service pistols today, and a new checkering. The re-design made some parts around the grip a bit slimmer than the older ones. The barrel was also modified: It is now a bit longer to accommodate the thread for the silencer assembly.

Beretta M9A3 data in detail 


Beretta M9A3 

Price:€ 1849,-
Caliber:9 mm Luger
Magazine capacity:17 + 1 cartridges
Barrel length:5”/ 129.5 mm
Dimensions (L x W x H):8.7 x 1.37 x 5.62 in (221 x 35 x 143 mm)
Trigger pull weight:SA: 79.3 oz (2250 g) / DA: 151.67 oz (4300 g)
Weight:33.89 oz / 961 g
Notes:all-metal pistol with single/double-action trigger, external hammer, windage adjustable front and rear sight, tactical mounting rail, Cerakote FDE coating.

The Beretta M9A3 under test 

Rear side view of the Beretta M9A3 pisto
The steel rear sight features two dots and can be laterally adjusted. Below you can see the decocking lever.

The testers awarded the full score for the two categories regarding cycling/safety and sights, since the gun passed the test without malfunctioning (-0 points) and the sights, which were designed with military considerations in mind, achieved exactly what you could expect of them (-0 points). The fact that athletes may also wish for height adjustability is not due to the concept of this gun. Not quite as good were the trigger characteristics: several tested M9A3 pistols showed a slight creep in single action mode, and overall the SA trigger pull weight seemed a bit too high (-2 P.). Although the Vertec grip was greatly liked, the gun shown had a sharp edge inside the hand at the bottom of the magazine well (-1 P.). The controls also were hard to operate: developed with right-handed users in mind, 2 out of 3 testers had problems pushing the decocking lever up into the fire-ready position with one hand using the thumb tip (-3 p.). As for the fit & finish section, there were a few very light machining marks inside the slide and casting seams on top on the slide stop lever (-1 P.). All in all, however, the gun appealed for its careful workmanship, which was also aesthetically pleasing. It achieved its best grouping of 43 mm (-7 p.) with the heaviest and slowest bullet load.

Beretta M9A3 review

Rating Points

Accuracy (max. 50 points)
43 points
Cycling/safety (max. 10 P.)
10 points
Trigger characteristics (max. 10 P.)8 points
Grip design (max. 5 p.)
4 points
Controls (max. 10 P.)
7 points
Sights (max. 5 P.)
5 points
Fit and finish (max. 10 p.)  
9 points
Total points (max. 100 P.)
86 points
Test result 
Very good
5 out of 6

Wrapping up: what the Beretta M9A3 can do and is suitable for 

The front sight of the Beretta M9A3 pistol
The front sight comes from a series developed for the M9A3 and can be adjusted sideways.

A semi-automatic gun developed with the military in mind, but also very chic from a civilian's point of view, well thought-out, unquestionably the most innovative “A” version of the 92 family. The pistol shot accurately enough for normal sports. Its cycling was impeccable, but the "right-handedness" of the controls should be mentioned, as well as the fact that not every tester was able to operate the decocking lever with one hand. The gun comes generously equipped with three magazines, a wrap-around optional grip, a padlock, 3 spare O-rings for mounting the barrel thread cap, an English-language instruction manual and a sticker. And all this in a stylish, sand-colored plastic case, the lid of which can be opened on the side in the style of an ammunition box. 

For further information, please visit Beretta website.

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