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  • 'Pistols do not win wars, but they save the lives of the men who do'.

  • A handgun cannot match the accuracy or range of a rifle, but can prove a valuable substitute

  • in the absence of one.

  • The Beretta 92, also known as the M9, is a definitive 9mm pistol - both in service and

  • on the silver screen.

  • S o how did an Italian pistol end up replacing an American classic?

  • Why is it a staple weapon in action films?

  • And which is better - 9mm or .45 ACP?

  • Founded in 1526, Italian co Beretta is the oldest active firearms manufacturer in the

  • world.

  • Gunsmith Maestro Bartolomeo Beretta made his name producing arquebus barrels for the Arsenal

  • of Venice, and the company still exists today in a similar line of business.

  • They were tasked with supplying the Italian army with weapons during both world wars,

  • but perhaps their best known product today is a semi-automatic pistol design first devised

  • in 1975.

  • The Beretta 92 was a development of earlier Beretta pistols such as the M1922 and M1951,

  • with the latter lending much to the 92's exterior styling, and the German Walther P38 providing

  • the locking system for the barrel.

  • In the middle of the 20th Century, most American police forces were reliant on classic revolvers,

  • chambered in .38 Special or the more powerful .357 Magnum.

  • While familiar and reliable in action, their major limiting factor was capacity: with most

  • revolvers carrying just 6 rounds - with a relatively slow reload to boot.

  • In the wake of arms development during World War 2, many European forces were switching

  • to 9mm millimetre semi-automatic weapons, with their double-stack magazines giving them

  • a large capacity advantage over older designs.

  • Earlier pistols such as the Browning Hi-Power and Walther P-38 proved their worth, and would

  • pave the way for a new wave of modern, high-capacity semi-automatic pistols: such as the CZ-75,

  • SIG Sauer P226, Glock 17 - and of course - the Beretta 92.

  • These new service weapons were dubbed 'Wonder Nines' - with a hint of sarcasm from those

  • who preferred the more proven revolvers: but eventually the advantages of these new pistols

  • started to erode any resistance.

  • The original Beretta 92 design, intended for the Italian army and police, saw relatively

  • limited production - it was later variants that would prove more popular.

  • The 92S added a slide-mounted safety, in accordance with some law enforcement's requirements - and

  • the 92F - and the later 92FS - added further improvements, which would eventually lead

  • to its adoption by the US Army.

  • The US armed forces had long been aware of the advantages of a semi-automatic sidearm:

  • after all, the venerable M1911 pistol had been in service since 1911.

  • Although the classic Browning design was much-loved, by 1980 the design was starting to show its

  • age, and the US sought a replacement.

  • One of the driving forces behind the change was the NATO Standardisation Agreement: in

  • order to simplify supply logistics, NATO forces would use the same calibres - and since 1962,

  • 9x19mm Luger rounds had been elected as the pistol calibre of choice.

  • A controversial point even today, the 9mm versus .45 calibre debate is a particularly

  • divisive one: .45 ACP offers greater punch, but 9mm rounds are smaller (offering greater

  • capacity), and have both lower recoil and higher velocity.

  • While some lament the loss in stopping power, modern 9mm loads prove more than adequate

  • for most needs: and in 1985, the Beretta 92F edged out the more expensive SIG P226 to be

  • adopted as the US Army's service pistol, under the M9 designation.

  • Reliable, with its all-steel construction able to weather battle conditions - and with

  • generous magazine capacity - the Beretta is a thoroughbred workhorse.

  • Its selection by the US Army has led to its inevitable inclusion in a whole host of modern

  • military games - often a default sidearm, it is a ubiquitous ally to the American M4.

  • It's the go-to choice for those looking to play soldier - although in reality pistols

  • are only issued to select roles: rear echelon troops, drivers, officers, etc.

  • In games, pistols fill a curious niche - they are often intentionally weaker than most other

  • weapons, with limited range and semi-automatic fire.

  • In Counter-Strike, pistols are the cheapest option, and such weapons determine the outcome

  • of the first round: but once the money rolls in, they're quickly ditched for automatic

  • weapons.

  • The one place they do excel is in reactivity - fast switching and quick on target, true

  • to reality, the true strength of a pistol is as a backup to your primary weapon.

  • They are ignored by most in favour of their rifle, or even replaced with an enemy weapon

  • - but for those with the reflexes to use it, a trusty sidearm is valuable.

  • In almost every Call of Duty, the tutorial slips in the old adage: 'switching to your

  • pistol is always faster than reloading'.

  • The Beretta is a large weapon, as far as handguns go - and as a result it has quite a formidable

  • on-screen presence.

  • Much of the weapon's popularity can be attributed to Hong Kong film director, John Woo: he was

  • a fan of the pistol's stout size and near-bottomless magazine - and gave it prime placement in

  • many films, often wielded as a pair.

  • It's the protagonist's weapon of choice in A Better Tomorrow - and the same goes for

  • Inspector Tequila in Hard Boiled.

  • These seminal action flicks have had considerable influence - and this heroic bloodshed has

  • seeped into games inspired by cinema.

  • It's certainly no coincidence that the Berettas come in pairs in Counter-Strike: but it's

  • the Max Payne series that is perhaps the most explicit of examples, with Max imitating classic

  • Woo gunfighting action with dual Berettas in all three instalments.

  • Of course, the most direct link is in John Woo's own game, Stranglehold - where Tequila

  • reprises his role from Hard Boiled with a pair of the iconic pistols.

  • A far cry from its military service, it seems the Beretta has a darker side: two guns, infinite

  • ammo - and paired with a thirst for vengeance.

  • So, the Beretta is a weapon with a distinct yet sudued charm.

  • It makes a bold statement, but is never brash.

  • Its legacy might never live up to the M1911, but while it's cut for a different calibre

  • - it shares many of the values of the classic Browning design.

  • Just a regular handgun.

  • No showing off, just showing up and getting the job done.

  • The Beretta 92:

  • Classic Wonder Nine.

  • Reliable.

  • And always on your side.

  • Thank you very much for watching - and until next time, farewell.

'Pistols do not win wars, but they save the lives of the men who do'.

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A1 UK pistol weapon automatic classic army mm

Beretta 92.

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    30410陳韋仲 posted on 2022/03/15
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