ACCOKEEK, Md. -- KitUp visited Beretta USA on Monday for a closer look at the new Beretta M9A3.
We received a detailed briefing on the engineering change proposal to the U.S. Army’s existing contract for M9 9mm pistols. We also had the chance to shoot the new pistol at Beretta USA’s on-site firing range.
I wrote a Jan. 9 Military.com story that described how Army weapons officials have decided not to evaluate the new M9A3 as an alternative to launching the Modular Handgun System competition. If successful, the effort would replace all Army M9s and potentially become the new sidearm of the entire U.S. Military.
In late December, the Army's Configuration Control Board decided not to accept the M9A3 ECP, according to a source familiar with the decision.
But on the day the story was published, the Army contracting officer in charge of the M9 contract contacted Gabriele De Plano, vice president of military marketing and sales for Beretta USA, to tell him that the Army’s decision on the M9A3 ECP is not yet final.
De Plano said the contracting officer told him the ECP is “still under review and that we would be notified officially probably toward the end of the month.”
“She is the contract manager; therefore she is the only one who can make a change to the contract,” De Plano said. “Now, again, is she the decision maker -- probably not because she relies on a lot of other departments.”
The contracting officer is an expert on contracts, not Army small arms requirements. In this case, the contracting officer will rely on Army officials that sit on the Configuration Control Board to guide the final decision on the M9A3 ECP, according to sources familiar with the process.
The Army has not contacted Military.com on the story, and we continue to stand by our reporting. Time will tell on whether the CCB reconsiders its decision on the M9A3 and asks Beretta USA for test samples.
And stay tuned for video coverage and our impressions of the new M9A3.