Fact or Fiction

A Note From Beretta USA

While this information is compiled by Beretta USA, it is based upon facts collected by professionals with military service and combat experience, engineers with 30+ years of weapon design, test, and evaluation under their belts, law enforcement officers who use the M9 and 90 series (the M9 commercial pistol equivalents) on a daily basis, armorers who have properly maintained the M9 for years beyond the minimum service life required by the M9 Specification, and industry experts with no reasonable expectation to gain anything from sharing this information other than to set the record straight about one of the most famous and successful pistols ever made to serve the US Armed Forces.

Every week we will present new information on our iconic pistol. Please come back to learn more about the M9: Reliable, Accurate, Proven.


Reliability is defined as the ability of a system or component to perform its required functions under stated conditions for a specified period of time or amount of usage. In firearms, reliability is most often measured by Mean Rounds Between Stoppage (MRBS). MRBS is the standard benchmark for most, if not all, military related weapons testing; it is quite plainly, the number of stoppages a weapon has during a pre-determined number of rounds fired.

The M9 has been subjected to millions of rounds of testing…by conservative estimates, well over 200 million rounds – not including all the tests conducted by Beretta on predecessor versions of the M9 prior to the US Military’s selection of the pistol in the mid-80s. Beretta tests, monitored by US military observers, have found that random pistols chosen from the M9 production lines for testing fire an average of 22,500 rounds without a stoppage.  In one test session, under Army supervision, twelve M9 pistols were pulled randomly from the production line and fired a total of 168,000 rounds without a single malfunction.  An inquisitive mind might ask the Army what the requirement is for their future replacement of the M9!

M9-roundsOverall reliability of the M9 is also proven by the fact that it passed not one, not two, but THREE US DOD pistol competitions, making it unquestionably “the most tested pistol in US military history”.  The first round of tests began in 1979 under the JSSAP (Joint Service Small Arms Program) managed by the US Air Force.  The Beretta 92S-1 (a precursor to the M9) won this series of trials.  In 1983, the “XM9” testing started, this time with the US Army leading the selection process.  Once again the Beretta prevailed.  And, finally, the “XM10” trials kicked off in 1988, once again conducted by the US Army and under very close Congressional scrutiny.  The M9 won one more time.

The M9’s reliability is also aided by the fact that it is a direct-fed pistol. The barrel on the M9 does not tilt or ‘fall’ during the cycling and operation. The cartridge is stripped from the magazine via the breech face and is chambered on the same horizontal axis as the barrel, resulting in less chance of failure to feed. Additionally, the bore to barrel concentricity is extremely precise; strict manufacturing tolerances ensure the absolute center alignment of the firing pin strike on the primer. This concentricity results in consistent ignition and less chance of misfires.

SFC (Ret.) Greg Stube, U.S. Army on the reliability of the M9…we consider him a ‘reliable’ source: “I have to give credit to certain things that were with me the whole time…certain pieces of equipment. Very few of them were with me the whole time but the M9 was, and it never failed me.”

–SFC (Ret.) Greg Stube, U.S. Army, 23 year active duty; awards include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, multiple Army Commendation Medals, multiple Army Achievement Medals, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the -Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the NCO Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, multiple Expeditionary Medals, multiple NATO Medals, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Romanian Parachutist Badge, the German Silver Marksmanship award, as well as the Special Forces Tab and many other notable military honors.