Despite that Beretta fixed the slide problem of the Beretta 9mm military service pistol with the Model 92-FS, it appears that the Department of Defense and US Army is looking to replace the Beretta M9 with something else after 25 years of service that replaced the Colt M1911 that served the US military for 75 years.
So, beginning in 2012, there has been a search for a possible replacement for the Beretta, which, by the way, is a great semi-automatic pistol in my opinion. I have admired the Beretta shotguns for years, the oldest firearm manufacturer in the world; especially interested in their new line of assault rifles (beyond their 9mm carbine) that is represented in the Model ARX 100 carbine that is so impressive.
The old diehard fans of the M1911 still think that the .45 caliber heavy bullet is the way to go, but like one veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan wrote:
As a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan I have to say that .45 ACP, in a 1911 is a poor choice in a military sidearm. It takes up far too much space in a magazine limiting capacity. The bullets are heavier and slower, thus more prone to drop at distances in which someone in a military engagement is likely to need. The lighter, faster bullets of the 9mm have tended to be better penetrators through hard barriers, a bigger concern in combat operations than civilian defense purposes. Excellent! This is one reason why I'd be satisfied with a 357 SIG switch also, but still happy with 9mm.
Guns & Ammo Handguns magazine posted an article in March of 2012 concerning five guns they think should replace the Beretta M9. They are:
Colt M1911, .45 ACPM1911A1 in .45 ACP … Why not just go back to the 1911A1 in .45 ACP? Modern CADCAM 1911s have great sights, are much more reliable than the GI models of your grandfather's army, and the single action trigger (pull weight and quality) is the standard against which all other trigger pulls are judged.
SIG P226 in 9mmSIG P226 … The M9 just barely beat out the SIG P226 during the trials after which it was adopted. The SIG P226 is currently in use by a number of our troops, and has been in use by U.S. Navy SEAL teams since the 1980s. It's finally been given an official designation, the Mk 25. Many people don't like the Beretta, and won't like the SIG as well, because it's chambered in 9mm instead of .45. Our troops are burdened with FMJ pistol ammo, and jacketed round nose ammo just doesn't provide the same kind of punch as hollowpoints.
Glock 21, .45 ACPGlock 21 … If we can't go back to the 1911, how about we go back to a real man's caliber, the .45 ACP, only in a modern package? The Glock 21 is a great gun, and holds 13+1 rounds of the caliber against whom all others are compared when it comes to man-stopping power. The first Glock I ever owned was a Glock 21, and carried it on duty. I think the G21 will have a longer service life than an M9, but it has many of the same problems, and some of its own.
S&W M&P 9 (9mm)S&W M&P9 … Every complaint I have with the Glock platform has been addressed with the S&W M&P. It has metal sights, and a trigger pull that, while not lighter than the Glock, is a bit crisper. There is also more of a difference between the smallest and largest grip inserts than you'll see on the Glock. The M&P is also made in the USA. The M&P has been adopted by a number of law enforcement agencies in this country, and is as easy and soft to shoot as any other pistol you're likely to find.
FNX 45 Tactical (.45 ACP)FN FNP-45 … Presently offered in black and Flat Dark Earth (FDE), it has an extended threaded barrel for suppressor attachment (0.578x28 TPI) and comes with a thread protector when not using a suppressor. The barrel is cold hammer-forged stainless steel and the frame is of polymer construction with replaceable steel frame/slide rails. It comes with a MIL-STD 1913 accessory mounting rail and with two interchangeable backstraps with lanyard eyelets. Fully ambidextrous it features decocking/safety levers, slide stop lever, and magazine release. The sights are fixed, 3-dot night type and includes two mounting bases for optional red-dot electronic sights. It most likely will be the choice if/when the Department of Defense decides to replace the Beretta M9 (92FS) for US Joint Combat Pistols.
The major question is whether the DOD is prepared to return to the .45 ACP cartridge over the NATO 9mm – and why would they? Remember, that the M1911 served well for 75 years, the only complaint is that it was never converted to double-action. Another feature that the DOD and US Armed Forces may be considering is a sidearm with the capability of suppression for certain operations.
FN-Herstal has had and retains respect by firearm owners and collectors. Quality is excellent and would be a good consideration if the Beretta M9 is replaced. It is boxier than the Beretta and the SIG P226, like the Glock; but could not go wrong as far as quality and dependability in various climates and conditions. A 15-round magazine capacity matches the present Beretta military sidearm.
Frankly, the list of possible replacements, including the new/improved Beretta Model 92FD/M9 are all good handguns for those looking for home defense and/or conceal carry firearms.
The M1911 may return, especially if it features double-action capabilities and decocking lever - and if the return of the .45 ACP heavy ammunition is wanted. It is extra weight for a combat soldier that is already encumbered with the weight of a combat pack and vest system, as well as required ammunition for issued weaponry: pistol, rifle, hand grenades, or grenade launcher.
If you put five firearm enthusiasts in one room, you can have five different opinions, like auto models, as to favored firearms. The main focus should be on dependability under different climatic conditions and quality of workmanship and design. The firearm must perform as intended.