Recently, I took some time to go back to Washington state and visit friends and family for the first time since I moved to Alaska 3 years ago. Alot has changed in myself and in the place I left, to say nothing of the changes to the lives of those I left. While I was on vacation, I was taken out shooting a couple times and I found myself highly drawn to the M9A3 that my friend had. Every time I had several guns to choose from, I always chose the M9A3.
When I mentioned that I had other firearms to choose from, I truly meant that there were guns available that were more expensive and highly customized, such as the Wilson Combat 92G Centurion and a heavily modified Glock.
This pistol was great to shoot, but it just seemed to be lacking in the ergonomic and shootability side. The M9A3 had a smaller grip for my small hand size, and it seemed to have better sights. I only say that the M9A3 had better sights because it seemed that the WC Centurion had a shorter sight radius and a larger front sight as well. This made the Wilson Combat faster into action, but considerably more difficult to hit accurately with at range.
Now, when I first looked at the M9A3, I was not a fan of the new trendy FDE color it has, and I still am not a fan of the color. I am not convinced that people like FDE for any other reason other than the fact that it is associated with current military operations overseas, and they wanna look cool.
Now, if you know anything about the M9A3, you know that it is not an inexpensive pistol, by any means. It carries a sobering MSRP of $1100. That is a helluva price to pay for a pistol that kind of has limited application. Realistically, I think this pistol almost falls into a niche category. I couldn't imagine just being okay with using this pistol in a serious defensive role and then having it put into an evidence bag for eternity. That said, some people like to justify using guns like this by saying that price should have no factor when it is to save your life. That is on the individual to judge, but I feel like there are too many other good options that cost a third of the price.
So, now that I have gotten my gripes about this pistol out of the way, and covered a few little details, let me give you my thoughts. First off, I found the M9A3 to be ergonomically simple and efficient. I really fell in love with the thin profile of the M9A3, and I think it may cause me issues with going back to the standard grip on the 92FS that I have. I guess my hands are actually small enough to need that smaller grip. Perhaps that is why the PX4 Storm pistols have always fit me so well, even with gloves on. Their grips are very similar in size to the M9A3, from what I felt. So yeah, I am in love with the grip of the gun, and how it comes with an option to have the old school fatty grip too.
I think most people that are regular visitors of my channel know that I am not really much of a trigger snob. That said, I think I performed pretty darn well with the M9A3 in double action thanks to how light the trigger was from the D spring. I do not advocate using tech and mods in order to supplement skill, but if you have the skill already there, you may or may not see an improvement. With the WC Centurion, I did not really perform as well, even though the pistol was custom built. Sometimes price and technology isn't going to make you a better shooter.
When it came to shooting at range, I think the M9A3 was just a natural. I had almost no problem hitting targets at range, as long as I did my part. The sights being a bit narrow helped me place shots out to about 50 yards. I usually don't shoot out that far, but with my general standard for precision, it would seem that I sympathetically have the ability to place pretty well aimed shots at range.
When it came to shooting rapid follow-up shots, I think a combination of the sights, grip, and trigger allowed this pistol to be easy for me to shoot accurately. Being able to get a solid grip and have good confirmation of the sights being aligned is essential to shooting fast and accurately. Without those two things, your shots are basically just sent on a prayer. The grip not having that enormous palm swell seemed to dampen the recoil a bit because now it isn't all just being transferred into your palm. Instead, it seems that it is well transferred across the entire hand, effectively lowering the felt recoil. But this is just how I perceived it from my evaluation.
One other little thing about the M9A3 is that the thread protector on the barrel never once came loose during the course of about 1000 rounds. I checked it during the last few mags of shooting, and I was quite surprised that there was no play. This was actually one of the many concerns that I had about this pistol. No review that I watched or read seemed to cover how secure it was, and so I had to default to my experience with such things. I am glad I got to shoot the heck out of this pistol so I could get answers to these questions.
When I started shooting this pistol, I wasn't looking for answers to anything. Instead, I was just shooting with a friend and having fun with a gun I had zero experience with. It ended up that reality hit me and I took the time to evaluate a gun that is too expensive to just buy before I have answers to my questions and curiosities. I am glad that I did, because now this affair may turn into a full relationship. I don't know what I will do with this pistol, but perhaps I found the Beretta that is right for me.
Do It Rite
Alaska-Based Youtube Vlogger, Retired Marine, gun enthusiast, and passionate firearm and gear evaluator.