The 9mm continues to be among the country's preferred weapons, if recent manufacturing information are to be believed. According to the BATF's Yearly Firearms Production and Export Report for 2001, 626,836 pistols were produced (the latest year for which figures are readily available). Of that amount, 213,378 were in calibers above.380 to 9mm. That's nearly 30,000 more for the next-largest caliber segment, weapons above 9mm to.50 quality.
Undoubtedly, then, the 9mm continues to find large favor amongst the general shooting populace, and it continues to broaden its acceptance in niche locations of the market as well. Worldwide of competitive shooting, particularly Action Pistol and Practical Shooting, the 9mm is being given a boost. The USPSA now allows the 9X19 case to be filled to major power factor in its Open division. On both a national and global scale the Production departments in Practical Shooting favor 9mm pistols in their scoring. At the NRA Bianchi Cup the switch is on from.38 Super to 9mm too.
Essential, Gun Tests readers continue to ask us for 9mm tests, and in this concern, we have actually responded with a three-way contrast of the SIGArms P226, $830; the CZ-like Desert Eagle from Magnum Research Study, $499; and Beretta's 92FS, $676.
These pistols have constantly delighted shooters with accuracy and lower recoil. However we felt if the 9mm handgun was going to keep up with the larger quality guns, more aggressive ammo might be needed. Our test ammo would not just include simple target rounds however also include broadening and fragmenting ammo for self-defense use. Here's what we discovered:
[PDFCAP( 1)] Considering its production as a military weapon (the M9), this pistol is among the largest selling sidearms in history. The 92FS and the other guns are standard double actions. The first shot is double action; subsequent shots are single action. The hammer can be lowered securely using the decocking lever discovered on both the right and left side of the slide. This lever will then stay down and, acting as a security, disconnect the trigger. Raising the lever returns the weapon to double action.
A minimum of two functions make the Beretta 92 pistols unique. One is that the slide exposes the majority of the barrel, and the other is that lockup is almost totally accomplished from underneath the chamber. A barrel-mounted falling locking block achieves lockup. This contributes to the simplicity of field-stripping. On the left side of the frame is a button that when pressed enables the catch on the opposite of the frame to turn and release the slide. There is no slide stop to get rid of. When gotten rid of, the leading end breaks down to slide, barrel with locking block connected, and the recoil spring with the guide rod. The recoil spring is a single-filament coil, and the guide rod is polymer. This combination permits this pistol to be reliable with low slide mass and minimized recoil.
The energy expended to run the locking block also adds to a reduction of felt recoil, as does the full-sized frame, which contributes excellent ergonomics. The frame is alloy, with Beretta's Bruniton surface. Both the Beretta and SIGArms pistols in this test weighed in at 34 ounces. The all-steel Magnum Research handgun, although similar in total size, weighed 6 ounces more.
To test the efficiency of each of our pistols, we established a test apart from our typical benchrest session. We fired sets of shots from 7 lawns at a NRA D-1 target, which is used in Action Handgun (Bianchi Cup) and resembles its nickname, the tombstone. It is made from corrugated cardboard showing concentric circles beginning with a 4-inch X-ring. Next is an 8-inch ring, referred to as the 10-ring, and Beretta APX Carry a 10-inch ring, which ratings 8 points. Targeting at the X-ring we began firing double action, and followed as rapidly and as precisely as we could with a 2nd shot single action. This was repeated 15 times. We utilized a Competitive Edge Characteristics timer to tape-record the splits, or time in between shots. This device ($134.50 from Brownells, 800-741-0015) sounds a start signal and after that displays elapsed time each time its internal microphone hears a shot. Split times are likewise displayed.