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Beretta M-96
Length overall Barrel Length Weight  Caliber Action Type Magazine Capacity
8.5" 4.9" 34.4 oz. .40S&W Recoil Semi 12+1
    These are large heavy, duty guns designed and tested to put up with abuse, and spotty maintenance. The gun has excellent fit and finish and good combat accuracy. It can be fired double or single action, although my favorite option (cocked and locked) is unavailable because the safety drops the hammer upon being engaged. The hammer has half and full cock settings, and the gun features an ambidextrous safety. The front of the trigger guard is serrated as are the front and back or the grip. The gun has a good single action pull, and a double action pull that is as good as any. I personally do not like double action automatics, but this is as well executed a one as I have seen. The double action feature, and lack of cocked and locked capability, is designed to keep those who carry but are not necessarily gun enthusiasts from shooting themselves accidentally.
    For the extra klutzy or foolhardy, Beretta makes a double action only gun. Law enforcement administrators in New York have recently shown the respect and esteem in which they hold the rank and file police officer, by issuing a double action only version of the Beretta with an extra heavy trigger pull so that even the most dull witted person could not fire this gun unintentionally. This same Group of administrators has had Glock develop what has come to be called the "New York Trigger" an extra heavy, long pulling trigger for the issue duty Glocks. The problem with these triggers is that they make precise shooting difficult if not impossible. This is a sorry attempt to replace good training with a mechanical substitute; it also discourages men from becoming highly trained, skilled shooters, because the hard trigger pulls make guns so equipped, incapable of precise shooting.
    My personal gun has been modified somewhat. I have replaced the standard sight with an adjustable target sight,  shown in the photo to the left, and the gun has been accurized with a match barrel and a general smoothing up of the action. The .40 S&W is a relatively new cartridge, which has gained a well deserved popularity. It is ballistically almost a match for the .357 Magnum,, but it is available in pistols that hold 12 to 15 rounds, which can be rapidly reloaded. It is shown, in the photo to the right, alongside the 9mm cartridge. Another new cartridge, the 10mm, was developed around the same time and is some what more powerful; too powerful. The original full power loads were too much for most law enforcement officers to handle. A new load "The F.B.I. Load" was developed which turned out to be a downloaded version of the 10mm which was identical to some .40 S&W loads. In it's full power loadings, I would consider the 10mm to be about on a par with the .41 Magnum.
matter of weight and cost; but mainly it was one of logistics. It appeared that the outcome of the next major conflict would be decided in Europe, and the European     The M-92 version of this gun, in 9mm, has been adopted by the U.S. Army, as the M-9 service issue handgun. Both the switch, and the new caliber, were not greeted with much enthusiasm, by fans of the classic M1911 handgun in 45 auto. The switch was made for a number of reasons. The military had been considering switching over to a 9mm handgun, since the end of the Second World War. In part, this was a allies all used the 9mm cartridge. The Army also wished to have a lighter pistol, though this did not happen.
    Well, of course, nothing worked out according to plan. The Army soldiered on, with the M1911, for several more decades. The big war in Europe never happened, though numerous conflicts broke out in Asia, and the Middle East. The gun eventually procured is almost as heavy, and even bulkier than the old M1911, and logistically, we still have multiple calibers, since many American military units, as well as some allies, are still issued M1911 pistols. Well, what do you expect? It is, after all, the government.
    The controversy continues. Most people, who are firearms enthusiasts, consider the 9mm to be inferior to the 45, though it is still a matter of considerable debate. There are many who point back to the time, a century ago, when the United States dropped the 45 Long Colt, in favor of the 38 revolver, only to find that the new caliber was ineffective against marauding Morros. A few of the old Peacemaker revolvers, in 45 Long Colt, were still around, and these proved be be quite effective, even where the new 38 caliber had failed. So the Army quickly switched back to the big bore pistol, when they adopted the M1911. There are those who shake their heads, considering that fanatical muslim fundamentalists, our most likely enemies for the next decade or two at least, will probably be about as tough to kill as had been fanatical morros. Quite a bit of the controversy could have been defused, by going with the 40 S&W version of the big Beretta.
    There were other criticisms, however, relating to the guns themselves. For one thing, many here were not happy about procuring a major piece of military equipment from a foreign producer. Then there was the cracking scandal. Some of the M-9 pistols began to show signs of wear, and cracking, around the corners of the cutout in the open topped slide. It was claimed that this could cause the slide to break, with the rear portion ending up embedded in the shooter's face. Pistols found with cracks were retired, and all of the M-9 pistols were examined for any sign of wear or cracking. Note that this was a problem with military pistols, and that the average civilian pistol will not see as many rounds fired in it's lifetime, as a military pistol will see fired in a single year. It should also be noted that there are no incidents, of which I am aware, in which a slide actually broke.
     The Germans, and the Italians were allies, during the Second World War, and there was much exchange of technology, manpower, and resources. Due to this sharing, when Beretta decided to embark upon the design of a full sized service pistol, their point of departure was the German P-38. The M-9, and all of the full sized Berettas, share the dual locking lug action of the old P-38. Since this action type requires no locking logs on the barrel, or down the top of the slide, the top of the slide can be milled away, leaving the action open. the lugs of the Beretta action, fit into a pair of grooves milled into either side of the slide, which can be seen in the photo above. This action type dispenses with the tilting barrel; but has not been widely adopted. Even Walther no longer uses it, in it's newest designs, having moved to a Browning style of action.


Disassembly is begun, by depressing the release on the right side of the frame. This allows the takedown lever to be rotated downward.

The slide may then be pulled forward, off of the frame.

Pressing forward on the guide rod, will release it, and the recoil spring, allowing for their removal, by pulling up and back.

Pressing on the locking pin, of the barrel toggle, will permit it's release from the slide.

The barrel may then be pulled up and out of the slide.

The Beretta M-96, stripped for cleaning.