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Army Not Interested in M9A3 for Modular Handgun System

Beretta2-M9A3-600x400Army officials will not consider Beretta USA's M9A3 for its Modular Handgun System program, Military.com has learned from sources close to the program.

Beretta USA released the M9A3 in December with promises to release a commercial version at  the NSSF Shot Show this month. The upgraded M9 was part of the contract Beretta has with the Army under the Engineering Change Proposal.

However, Beretta officials had hoped the Army would consider the M9A3 for its Modular Handgun System program. Military.com reporter Matthew Cox spoke with Army sources who said that will not be the case. He wrote a longer story on Military.com explaining the Army's problems with the M9 and Beretta's reaction.

The Army maintains that the M9 design does not meet the MHS requirement. Soldiers have complained of reliability issues with the M9. One problem has to do with the M9's slide-mounted safety. During malfunction drills, the shooter often engages the lever-style safety by accident, Army weapons officials say.

The M9A3's "over-center safety lever" can be configured to act as a de-cocker, a change that eliminates the accidental safety activation, De Plano said.

As part of the joint requirement process for MHS, Army weapons officials did a "very thorough cost-benefit analysis" that supported the effort, Army weapons officials said. The old fleet of M9s is costing the Army more to replace and repair than to buy a new service pistol, officials said.

Gabriele De Plano, vice president of military marketing and sales for Beretta USA, said the company was disappointed in the decision upon receiving word about it from Cox.
"Obviously, they didn't take a whole lot of time on this," said DePlano, reacting to the news of the Army's pre-Christmas decision after the M9A3's December 10 unveiling.

Army officials "didn't ask a single question; didn't ask for a single sample" for evaluation, De Plano said.

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