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Army buys more M9 pistols

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The U.S. Army is trying to replace the M9 9mm pistol, but it’s still buying new M9s from manufacturer Beretta.

Beretta Defense Technologies announced today that the Army will spend “a quarter million dollars worth of additional M9 pistols from Beretta U.S.A. Corp," according to a press release from Beretta.

The Army acquired the additional pistols by issuing the 6th delivery order to date against a contract for up to 100,000 pistols awarded by the Army to Beretta U.S.A. Corp. in September 2012, the press release states.

The Pentagon adopted the M9 in 1985. It has been in U.S. production since 1987 and is manufactured at the Beretta U.S.A. facility located in Accokeek, Maryland. To date, Beretta has delivered over 600,000 M9 pistols, with 18,000 already scheduled for delivery under the new 5-year contract.

As the lead agent for small arms, the Army will hold an industry day July 29 to talk to gun makers about the joint, Modular Handgun System or MHS.  The MHS would replace the Army’s inventory of more than 200,000 outdated M9 pistols and several thousand M11 9mm pistols with one that has greater accuracy, lethality, reliability and durability, Army officials maintain.

The Army began working with the small arms industry on MHS in early 2013, but the effort has been in the works for more than five years. If successful, it would result in the Defense Department buying more than 400,000 new pistols for the entire military during a period of significant defense-spending reductions.

Army officials maintain that the M9 suffers from reliability issues. Beretta continues to praise the reliability of its flagship pistol. The average reliability of all M9 pistols tested at Beretta U.S.A. is 17,500 rounds without a stoppage, and the average durability of M9 slides is over 35,000 rounds, Beretta officials maintain.