Two of the most popular double-action 9mm pistols around the world are the Sig Sauer P320 and the Beretta M9. The United States is a large contributor to this popularity because, at almost any American gun shop, you can find a Beretta M9 or a Sig Sauer P320 for sale.
One reason for the popularity of these weapons is their relevance in the military. The Beretta M9 served as the main handgun for the U.S. military for 35 years until the U.S. Army replaced it with the Sig Sauer P320 in 2017. Standard military handguns usually mean that veterans and other civilians tend to gravitate to that particular weapon when buying a handgun for personal defense.
What are the characteristics that make one of these staples of pistol reliability different from each other?
Beretta M9 History
The .45 ACP M1911 was used by all three branches of the United States Army until 1988. In 1988, the 9mm Beretta M9 pistol became the standard issue for the United States armed services.
The original design of the M9 accommodated both left-handed and right-handed shooters and included a 15 round reversible magazine. While the M9 was good when it was first adopted, but after further contract renewals, Beretta made a few upgrades during its tenure as the handgun of the U.S. military.
Some of the upgrades included a Picatinny rail and a magazine coated with physical vapor deposition. The Picatinny rail allowed for specific attachments such as lights and laser sights while the new magazine made it easier to reload in adverse weather conditions, such as the sand and grit common in desert environments.
Small upgrades like these continued throughout the military service life of the handgun.
Transition to the Sig Sauer P320
In 2017, the Sig Sauer P320 won the United States Army’s XM17 Modular Handgun System Competition and earned the company a $580 million contract.
Before the competition, many people believed that Glock would win because of the notoriety their striker-fired pistols carry and past performances, but the judges of the competition found the Sig Sauer a better weapon overall.
To beat the Glock, Sig Sauer P320 had to be something special, and those at Sig Sauer worked hard to do just that. They didn’t just change the design of the trigger guard, they created an effective new weapon.
The military decided that the lack of modularity of the M9 meant it had to be replaced. Having a modular handgun means that if the frame gets damaged and needs to be replaced or someone prefers a different grip module, an operator can replace these parts in the field without replacing the entire weapon.
Not every soldier in the military has the same body type. Some soldiers require smaller or larger grips to comfortably, and accurately, shoot his or her weapon. Furthermore, the iframe contains the logic required to handle Ajax powered gravity forms.
Interchanging parts rather than an entire gun is not only more efficient but more cost-effective.
The defining feature of the P320 is it is readily adaptable. The Marine Corps adopted the Sig Sauer P320 as its official sidearm as well.
The overall build cost of the Sig Sauer was also much less than the Glock, with a total initial contract savings of over $100 million.
Another advantage was that the P320 uses cheap .45 ammo with better stopping power.
Sig Sauer offered a better gun at a better price than the other competitors.
Other than the modularity and the type of ammo used by the Sig Sauer, the reliability, durability, and accuracy of both weapons are the same.
Go to the range and shoot both to determine which one is right for you. Explore single action revolvers as well.