The Beretta 92F is a semi automatic pistol, the standard-issue sidearm of the United States Armed Forces.
When the U.S. military was directed to conform to NATO caliber requirements, a joint service pistol program was held to replace the M1911A1. The Beretta 92F won over the SIG Sauer P226 on grounds of price, despite the fact that the test model failed the trials at Aberdeen Proving Ground, and was adopted as the M9 Pistol. The M9's early service record was met with numerous problems, infamous among them the instance of the slide cracking and launching into the wielder's face due to extremely poor metallurgy.
However, it was realized that some of the pistol's flaws stemmed not from a particularly fragile design, but cheap, lowest bidder magazines, over powered ammunition and a manufacturing error on Beretta's part, and a majority of functional errors have been worked out. M9s are still notorious for wearing out rapidly. The main controversy over the M9 today is the stopping power its caliber offers compared to the M1911A1, though the same can be said about any other 9mm weapon. It has also proven to be very temperamental in hostile environments, with troops deployed to Iraq suffering frequent malfunctions with their M9s despite regular cleaning. Interestingly enough, several Special Forces units adopted variants of the 1911 and SIG Sauer P226 over the Beretta design, notably the Marine MEU (SOC) units and Navy SEALs, respectively.
The military M9 and the civilan 92FS were largely similar aside from slide and frame markings and, in some cases, the sights (the 92FS having 3-dot type sights,and the M9 having a more vertical 2-dot type), but, in 2000, the 92FS was altered from the M9 in several respects; the 92FS (as well as 96 and 98 pistols) were all given heavier frames, making them stronger, and the backstrap of the grip was made more ergonomic for small hands. The M9, remaining a contractually built pistol, has undergone no such redesign, and is thus distguinishable from the current make of the civilian 92FS.
Usage by Solid Snake and Raiden
The M9 pistol was Solid Snake's weapon of choice during the Outer Heaven Uprising and the Zanzibar Land Disturbance (although the weapon used in Zanzibar Land seems to be a hybrid of this and a Springfield Operator)They were also the standard sidearms of FOXHOUND and also used by Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land, respectively.
In 2007, Snake, now a member of Philanthropy, used a modified M9 on board the tanker USS Discovery. This version of the pistol had been modified to fire anesthetic rounds instead of actual bullets, making it a non-lethal alternative weapon ideal for the NGO's sneaking missions (where casualties were not an option). The M9 had an attached sound suppressor, as well as a visible laser sight and tritium-illuminated 3-dot iron sights, making it ideal for both keeping a low profile and making precision shots, even in low-light environments. In addition, its anesthetic rounds were also powerful enough to it to affect the target upon contact within seconds, and can last for hours, although the exact time in tens of seconds it needs to take effect will vary depending on the body part it makes contact with, and could even knock out an elephant should the tranquilizers make contact with it. A downside to this, however, was that it required manual reloads every time a tranquilizer round was fired, as the slide locks after each shot. A regular-issue Beretta was also utilized by a Marine in the same time period, in an attempt to stop Revolver Ocelot from stealing RAY, although he was eventually shoved aside by another Marine and ordered to get out.
Following the incident, fans of Philanthropy and Solid Snake began to create models similar to the M9 used in the ill-fated mission (according to Iroquois Pliskin). One such model found its way onto the Big Shell offshore decontamination facility, where it was used by Raiden during his infiltration in 2009. Upon procuring the non-ID-tagged weapon, Raiden believed the possibility of terrorists having brought it onboard was suspect, since it had apparently been in storage prior to their armed takeover of the facility. Dead Cell leader Fortune also kept a standard M9 on her, although she never actually used it.
Behind the scenes
- "Pistol. Push the button to shoot one round at a time. Can be fitted with a suppressor."
- ―Handgun description in Metal Gear
The standard M92F first appears as the Handgun in the original Metal Gear, followed by its sequel Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. In the Nintendo Entertainment System version of the former, it was referred to as the Baretta M92F. It is the first weapon available to player in both games, each located within a cargo truck. Aside from its appearance in the main games, the model is identified in the games' accompanying user manuals, and it can also be seen alongside 9MM bullets in the story intro to Metal Gear 2. Because of the Modified M9's appearance as a procurable weapon in Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, a remake of Metal Gear Solid, several guards (more specifically, the shield soldiers) were shown using the standard version of the Beretta 92F in the same game. In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, a standard Beretta M9 is seen used by U.S. Marines firing at the Metal Gear RAY prototype comandeered by Revolver Ocelot.
- "A semi-automatic pistol used as the standard firearm in the U.S. military. Can be fitted with a suppressor. Can also be reloaded."
- ―Handgun description in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
The M9 presented in Metal Gear Solid 2, as well as the remake of Metal Gear Solid, The Twin Snakes due to the latter game using gameplay elements from the former, is based on a real weapon; a special ops modified M9 designed to function in the same role as a Mk22 "Hush Puppy." The first modification was to the barrel; notches were ground into the sides so as to allow the application of specially designed (and, reputedly, highly effective) snap-on sound suppressor. This suppressor overshadowed the sights of the M9 and so crude iron sights were affixed onto the suppressor itself.
The second modification was done to the frame of the pistol by means of an added mechanism resulting in a change to the function of the weapon that allowed the slide to remain forward after each shot: instead of the pistol self-loading a fresh cartridge after every shot, the user would have to manually work the slide and chamber a new round themselves. This feature increased the silence of the weapon by disallowing the normal and noisy functions of the standard M9, but could be disengaged as well, allowing the weapon to resume a normal semiautomatic role. All modifications were done by Knight's Armament Company (the same company that produces the sound suppressor for the Mk.23 SOCOM). However, the modification greatly decreased the service life of the frame, reducing it to about 100 shots. This was due to the increased stresses the frame had to absorb due to the slide-lock feature.
The downside of the modification as present in-game is a severe firing delay; the modified M9 is not a combat pistol, but a weapon better suited for concealed users operating outside of heated combat.
- "Tranquilizer with suppressor. Press button to aim, and release to fire. Equipped with laser pointer."
- ―M9 description in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Tranquilizer with suppressor. Press A Button to aim, and release to fire. Equipped with laser pointer."
- ―M9 description in Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
Known real-world users of this modified M9 include AFSOC (U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command).
An article about the weapon can be found here, along with a different, updated version of the suppressor system manufactured commercially by a different company (Feb. 2000).
The novelization of Metal Gear Solid 2 by Raymond Benson depicts Raiden as having the M9 upon his entry into the Big Shell (this applies to the Very Easy difficulty in-game where the M9 is availiable from the first area). In addition, he carried a lethal M9, but he kept tranquilizer darts in his backpack if needed.
- Metal Gear
- Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
- Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty