Also often referred to as the M9, the Beretta 9mm Blued 15RD 92 FS is a semi-automatic handgun that’s currently in use by the USAF. This has been the case since the mid 1980s when the decision was taken to adopt it for all personnel. 

At the time, there was a race going on to succeed the M1911A1 as the preeminent US military sidearm. This is a race that the 92 FS won over many other competing firearms. Another of the main contenders was the Sig Sauer P226, but it just lost out for reasons of cost.

After winning this particular battle, it officially became used in 1990. The vast majority of US military personnel now use the Beretta 9mm Blued 15RD, although the Sig P228 is in use for certain US military purposes. 

A Strategic Decision Was Made

The move to the 92 FS was taken as part of a strategic decision to ensure that weapons used by the 5 US armed forces branches were unified. It wasn’t immediately accepted by those on the ground, although the need to replace fatigued M1911 frames was understood. 

At the time, the cold war was raging across Europe and there was a requirement to standardize things with a uniform NATO pistol, for reasons of simpler logistics. 

As we mentioned earlier, the sentiment coming from US military personnel was not universally positive, resulting in the US Army challenging the decision. Conducting trials of their own in 1984, other options from Sig Sauer, Beretta and Smith & Wesson, Heckler & Koch, Steyr, Fabrique Nationale and Walther were brought into the mix.

Interestingly, the Beretta 9mm Blued 15RD again won this battle. It didn’t end there though, as just four years later in 1988, more trials were carried out. Guess what – the 92FS won again, although its design had been slightly adjusted.

Standing the Test of Time

Such is the success of the Beretta 92 FS that it is still used by the US military, displaying its longevity and ability to stand the test of time. Moving away from the military sphere, it’s a weapon that’s hugely popular with the public as a concealed carry option and for home defense.

While it might not be quite as compact as other modern handguns like the P320 (a firearm with a diminutive 3.6-3.9 inch barrel, depending on model) as its barrel is around an inch longer, it’s still a solid handgun that’s super reliable. 

Are Its Days Numbered?

Trying to work out how much longer the 6mm dasher brass will remain relevant is a little like trying to answer the question “how long is a piece of string?”. Great technological strides have been made by the likes of Sig Sauer and other major manufactures, offering performance and improved optics that are hard to argue with, but it’s seen off competition before and it could do so again.

The Beretta 9mm has been popularized in TV and Film with John McClain taking down all bad guys in Die Hard with one at his hip, so we’re talking about a handgun with a long and proud history. That said, nothing is ever permanent and however long it stays relevant, it will surely go down in history as one of the greats.


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