A Side You Might Not Know of a Company You Do

If you think you know Beretta Defense Technologies, the professionals’ side of the 15th-Century gunmaker… do you recognize this?


That state-of-the-art looking sniper rifle is a Sako TRG M10 bolt-action sniper rifle, availble in the three most common Western sniper chamberings: 7.62 NATO/.308 Win; .300 Win Mag; and .338 Lapua Mag. Beretta says this about that:

The TRG M10 is a bolt-action sniper rifle that is available in multiple calibers, manually operated and shoulder-fired, as well as magazine-fed. It has a high-capacity magazine and fully adjustable stock that make it a multi-functional system in a single weapon, suitable for many different situations. The M10 sniper weapon transforms from a compact medium range precision tool into a full-bodied sniper platform capable of engaging targets out to 1500 m and beyond–in minutes and virtually without tools.

Currently TRG M10 offers three different calibers (.308 Win, .300 Win Mag, and .338 Lapua Mag) and all these in multiple barrel lengths. Each of the calibers feature a high-capacity magazine. There are also three standard color options to select from: Stealth Black, Military Green, and Coyote Brown.

The folding stock shown on this example is an option. And the M10 is far from the only BDT sniper rifle; there are four separate sniper product lines, ranging from a light law enforcement Tikka T3 in .223 up to this Goliath in .338 LM.

That’s one of the things we learned stooging around Beretta Defense Technologies’ new website  today. BDT represents several other Beretta-owned brands including Benelli, Sako (as above), and Steiner (Optics).

Of course, Beretta has a whole line of pistols, for which it’s probably best known in the USA, as well as several carbines.

Aside — We’ve never understood why so many are eager to badmouth the M9. It deserved its selection, given the competition at the time, and back in the 1980s when they selected it we were very pleased. (Some military units had already jumped the gun and been using them, bought with a forerunner of MFP-11 money). Yes, there was the debacle of the locking blocks, and that shook the gun’s reputation badly. But once they got over that, M9s were back to running really, really realiably).

It’s almost as if familiarity with the M9 has bred contempt. And in some people, it’s such great contempt that they don’t even consider more modern weapons, like the PX4 or the new striker-fired APX.

End of Aside.

It is a mystery to us, as well, why Beretta’s rifle- and pistol-caliber carbines haven’t gained more sales.

Finally, the BDT website is a gateway into Beretta’s armorer courses, conducted at Beretta HQ in the People’s Republic of Maryland, or at various agency sites nationwide.

32 thoughts on “A Side You Might Not Know of a Company You Do

  1. Cap'n Mike

    Beretta’s are good guns.
    I carried an M9 and shot it in competition while working for my Uncle.

    I have nothing but fond memories.
    I always felt that the slide release on the Beretta was in the perfect place for my thumb. I love the ergonomics of the 92F.

    I have since gone over to the other side of the XM9 fence and mostly carry and shoot Sigs, 220s and 226s.
    Sometimes I think I’m stuck in 1985.

  2. BAP45

    My beef has always been the ergonomics of the slide/safety layout. Not nearly as much purchase as as others like glocks and 1911s and the safety is in an awkward spot for me. However the little time I have ever shot one it was an absolute pleasure to shoot.

  3. DSM

    I was never enamored with the huge number of parts on the M9 and didn’t like the slide mounted safety-decocker. The Taurus pistols kept it on the frame and made more sense. All that said, I own one and have shot thousands of rounds through it. They work and after the locking block and slide/hammer pin mods were made, pretty durable. The DoD could do a lot worse than going with Beretta’s M9A3 update as the infrastructure is already there. In the long run swapping to a simpler pistol would make just as much sense however.

    The Steiner Optics looked to be jumped up versions of the newer Burris scopes. I don’t know if that’s the case or not but at face value that’s what I took away.

  4. brian jaynes

    I think that the M9 got such a bad rap these days due to the fact that for all of us GWOT veterans we were working with 30+ year old weapons that had been poorly maintained and rarely sent for above-unit level overhaul. Also the magazines… geezus were they horrible! My father had a Taurus 92 and it was a fantastic pistol so I can’t really fault the design for the piss poor performance we experienced with all of our battalions weapons (we once did a Q course with the pop-up ivan targets and had multiple pistols actually fire in the single digits out of 30 (?) targets fired at. It might as well have been a tap-rack-bang drill lane.)
    I would not be surprised by this in a NG or AR unit but we were an active duty infantry battalion.
    In order to get any kind of reliability out of my issue M9 I resorted to bribing my arms room guy to put in an aftermarket rebuild kit and ‘acquiring’ some new magazines from supply. It was horribly in accurate and had enough play in the slide to rattle when I shook it but it at least went BANG! when I pulled the trigger. Basically beign neglect not bad design so to speak.

    1. Miles

      When Ich Bin was active duty, my and my fellow smallarms repairer’s biggest gripe was with unit armorers who wouldn’t take the time, or initiative, to simply bring us their broke weapons. It was like pulling teeth even when we reminded them they needed to bring the weapons over to us that we had deadlined during a gaging! Hell, we didn’t mind even doing their level of work they should have done themselves.
      Not only did we like working on guns, when we had work, our shop supervisor (at the last me) could tell the First Sergeant he would have to go elsewhere when he called for bodies for some dumbass battalion or post police detail. “Mission First!”

  5. SPEMack

    My problem with the Beretta (thanks to two loving sisters and Brownells, ITAR be damned, mine was practically rebuilt) wasn’t the gun; but having to shoot bleeping bleep FMJ in it.

  6. Pathfinder

    The location of the de-cocker and the magazines. That’s why I took my own after market mags with me on my last tour.

    On that one I had a brand new M-9 and M-4 that I took out of the shipping box.

  7. Jim Scrummy

    I’ve always liked Beretta Shotguns, they have always meant quality to me when I use them. Own a few of them. I keep wondering when the APX will hit the civilian market? I’d like to test drive one, someday? I’ve always wanted to get an AR-70, but that time has passed, possibly. I’ve had a few Tikka T3s on my wish list with their sweet bolt action. Too many wish list items and not enough cash.

  8. Alexander

    Years ago I had a 92FS for a while- I recently bought a 96A1 in 40 S&W as I wanted a higher-power beast but all-metal, and with external hammer (and that it was $300 less than a Sig didn’t hurt)… it had the familiar manual of arms of the 92FS- and dammit it has a nearly rifle-like crisp trigger break like my Kimber TLE and accuracy to match! Built-in shock absorber for the hotter 40 S&W round and heavier-duty frame too, not just re-barreled 92. Lower bore-axis than comparable Sig, handles very well. Factory mags and Mec Gar mags work flawlessly, not a single feed or extract failure of any sort so far. 12+1, reasonably large capacity… my primitive brain seems to prefer the ability to control whether the hammer is cocked or not depending on situation, something not possible in the striker world. Very happy with this under-rated or even unknown model! Zero slide rattle BTW, fit ‘n finish is first rate.

  9. John M.

    I chose a Beretta Nano for my EDC partly because Beretta has been in the gun biz for a while. (I prefer gun designs to have aged quite a bit before I bet my life on them. None that met that criteria were playing in the pocket 9 space when I was shopping.) So even though the Nano was a new design, it was from an old company.

    And aside from being a little ammo sensitive, and one stoppage due to–I think–a bum magazine, I’ve been correct. It’s a good gun.

  10. Kirk

    My beef with the M9 has always been the complexity, the safety, and the open-topped slide. I don’t know who thought that was a good idea, but every time I taught misfire drills with that damn thing, I swear to God, I got bit. I still have scars on my left hand from when I was trying to shoot my personal Berettas in IPSC-style shooting. After I had to borrow a Glock 19 from someone after one of my Berettas died, I’ve never looked back. The Glock is so far ahead of the Beretta in terms of ergonomics and the size/power ratio that it isn’t even funny. I personally think they ought to just chuck this whole “modular handgun” BS, and do a bulk purchase of Glock 19 pistols, after which they can spend the rest of the money on ammo to bring everyone up to proper standards in live-fire training.

    It’s a telling thing that every single person I had trouble getting to qualification on the M9, I wound up taking out to a civilian range and having them spend a few hundred rounds with me and my Glock 19. Every single shooter I had to do that with wound up shooting high expert the next time they qualified. I had one young lady who couldn’t have hit the inside of a CONEX container if you locked her in it with the Beretta, the first few times she went on the range with her issue pistol. She was really that bad–Horrible technique, frightened of the gun, unable to remember the complexities of operating it, all that crap. Took her out to a civilian range with the G19, had her concentrate on what she was doing in a non-threatening atmosphere, and bang… She picked it right up. Twerp actually wound up outshooting me by the end of it all, for whatever reason. Got her over the hump, and while she didn’t do as well with the clownishly oversized Beretta, she did well enough with it to shoot Expert with it.

    That, my friends, is what you might call a “clue”.

    1. Boat Guy

      I also have that scar on the web of my left hand but in my case it was from intervening with a hazard as an RSO. The shooter closed the slide on my hand and I left it there while quietly but firmky adminishing her and telling her to step off the line.
      I had another shooter; a switched-on capable officer of small stature who needed some time with my issue 226 (THANK YOU SPECWAR) to get the basics – and then went on to qualify/carry the M9 with confidence.

      1. Kirk

        The fact that it was easier to teach on the G19 was something that didn’t dawn on me until I’d done it a couple of times–I’d sold my Berettas by the point I was doing this, and all I had that was appropriate was the G19. After a few iterations of “Fail with M9; confidence/marksmanship with G19; success on M9 range”, I experienced an epiphany: The M9 is a horrible, horrible pistol to teach with, especially for those of diminutive stature and hand size. On the other hand, the G19 is nearly a perfect expression of the 9mm Parabellum caliber pistol; not too big, not too small, and dirt simple to use and train. The recoil isn’t particularly intimidating, and it is a lot easier to pick up the basics of handgun proficiency on than the M9.

        So, yeah… M9 does not look good, by comparison. I’d be a lot happier to have gone through my military life with one of those clipped onto my web gear as an adjunct to my M16/M4 than anything else. Not to mention, the damn Glock is ten times easier to clean and maintain. I don’t know how many (()&(^(^ %$$#*) times I had to spend hours helping some knuckleheaded field-grade go looking for that itty-bitty trigger bar spring that they’d lost in their office while “cleaning” their pistol. Not operator maintenance to take off those handgrips, but the all did it, ‘cos it made it easier to clean. And, with the no-SARP policy we rigorously maintained, I couldn’t just keep the fuggin’ things in stock down in the Arms Room, and replace as necessary. Eventually, I just found a bunch down at the local gun show, and kept them in my personal kit of M16 spare parts I sourced similarly. Bought 6, the first time, and I was out of ’em in six months…

        Berettas. Dead sexy, and I’d love to have a BM-59 or two. But, for the love of all that is Holy, keep those frikkin’ M92s the hell away from me. Please.

        1. Boat Guy

          I used to teach the “smaller statured” folks to cheat and thumb-cock the M9 on the way up; that way they had the single-action trigger with both it’s shorter stroke and lighter weight. I used to do it that way myself till the 1SG caught me at it. “Sir, you need to MASTER that trigger.” So I did.

  11. robroysimmons

    Dislike the looks of those gadget stocks, but I guess if real snipers doing real sniper stuff are ok with them that says a lot.

  12. Tierlieb

    > We’ve never understood why so many are eager to badmouth the M9.
    The slide-mounted safety/decocker is annoying if you do not wear gloves and power-stroke the gun. I never managed to accidentally activate the safety doing that, but other people claim they have.

    And I have never found one with an acceptable trigger pull on double-action: It is long, longer and then some and not even light or consistent. Truth be told, other military pistols (like the H&K P8) were equally bad, so I had to get a CZ75 Shadow to actually understand that there were good ones out there.

    > It is a mystery to us, as well, why Beretta’s rifle- and pistol-caliber carbines haven’t gained more sales
    The CX4 Storm seemed to be competing for the title of “most horrible trigger ever to be injection-molded”. I understand trying to find a niche in the market, but that was a weird one to go for. It is an awesome rifle to play around with, it handles nicely, points well, the sights are acceptable, the modular magwell is a nice feature… and then you try to shoot that thing.

  13. Wyoming

    My 92FS is one of my favourite pistols. It will never be traded or sold.
    Had a bad case blow up a while back and I’m sure a lesser gun would have caused serious damage to my hand, but the 92 just had a bent trigger bar and spring.
    I just wish they would move the rest of their operations out of Marylandistan, although it appears they might be repealing some of the new draconian restrictions soon!

    1. Hognose Post author

      The MD law is kind of ridiculous. If you go to their 92 armorer class, you can’t bring you 92 or M9 because it’s in Accokeek.

      The sad thing is, that part of MD is really nice, it’s not like the DC bedrooms and the ghetto of Baltimore, which is center of mass of the state’s politics. Kind of like upstate NY or western MA, it’s Norman Rockwell’s America, which is just exploited as a cash cow for the political and welfare classes (same thing) of the diseased cities.

  14. Tanner

    Typo: Beretta was founded in 1526 (source: Wikipedia) which makes it 16th century, not 15th.

    490 years is still darned impressive and makes me want to buy one just to be part of their family-owned history.

      1. Tanner

        Truly, no offense meant, Hognose. I corrected the assumed typo because I routinely read your back-issues and hate to find typos in good writing. Yours is the only blog I follow right now.

        Since you moderate all comments, no need to release this one to the general public. Just trying to help.


        1. Hognose Post author

          Uh, actually, I don’t moderate all comments. The plug-in I use seems to moderate all very long comments, all comments with links, and first-time commenters. No offense was taken, and thank you very much for reading & commenting!

  15. Hillbilly

    I never grew to like the M9 the way I like a CZ75, but I’m more than comfortable with it. I set up my issue pistol with a Langdon Tactical trigger , a 96D main spring and a set of Hogue grips.
    I have big enough hands that I would occasionally pinch the heel of my palm when doing speed reloads and find the issue grips a little small , which is the reasoning behind the Hogue grips.
    I never saw one that wasn’t more accurate than the person shooting it. The issue 1911 I fired on the other hand was horribly inaccurate.

  16. bloke_from_ohio

    During a formative experience with the weapon, the guy three stalls down from me had the takedown lever disengage and/or break during a slide lock reload. The slide made a beautiful arc as sailed through the air and landed two feet inside the red line. Watching him mull over reaching for it while the instructors circled like sharks was mildly entertaining. In the end the instructors retrieved the errant slide and chucked the whole gun in a bucket full of other misfit pistols. Said bucket appeared to exist exactly for situations like that. It was not exactly a confidence inducing life experience.

    Years later, after spending much more time with firearms, I shot a coworkers much better cared for M92. I actually really liked it. I am not a huge fan of the double action trigger pull. But, I really liked the single action pull that came after. And, while I don’t like the idea of a slide mounted safety in theory, in practice it does not get in my way.

    1. Kirk

      Yeah, that take-down lever is a bit of a questionable design feature. After I saw those videos of the convicts down in the California prison system practicing a disarm drill using that, and tried it for myself, I kinda went “Wow… Better include a bunch of emphasis on weapons retention, the next time I train this…”. It was always shocking to the students when we did that, and I had one of my trainers to the point where he could damn near perform sleight-of-hand magic, and be standing there with the pistol slide and barrel, while the student was going “What just happened…?”.

      I kinda figured that if cons in California could do it, so could any potential terrorist or Spetsnatz my students might have cause to hold at close-range gunpoint. Which was why I always told them to shoot before allowing anyone within ten feet, and to consider anyone closing to arms length to be attempting assisted suicide. I don’t know if I got through to some of them, but I always had thoughtful looks at the end of that block of instruction.

      I’m sorry, but there are just so many reasons that the M9 shouldn’t be a martial pistol. Range and safe queen? Sure. Self-defense, and military use? There are better answers to the question of what to issue as a pistol in 9mm. Much better answers.

    2. Hognose Post author

      On an SA/DA pistol a safety is mostly there to be a decocker. SIG uses two separate levers for that, but the M9 works like the Walthers (PP, PPK, P.38). However the most evolved 92, the 92G, has a decocker only. (It’s kind of like a momentary contact electric switch, flick on and it springs back). Wilson does a nice 92G like that.

      1. Boat Guy

        On the issue SIGs (226 and M11) I believe there is only the decocker; least back in the dawn-of-time that was so.
        Part of our drill with the M9 was decock-take off safe before holstering; that way our pistols were always hammer-down off-safe when holstered or when the “presentation” began.

          1. Cap'n Mike

            Most of the Coasties I know curse Kellerman and his trigger every time they go to the range. That abortion of a trigger could only be thought a good idea by administrators worried about liability. Being in .40S&W only makes matters worse.

            In my opinion Sigs work best in DA/SA with a decocker only. The Double action trigger is the safety, drastically reducing NDs, yet it is always ready to go bang right out of the holster.
            The two different trigger pulls is the only down side, but enough training will make that good.

  17. Wes

    Back to the actual long-gun aspect of the article I did once have, couple decades ago, a lovely Beretta plains rifle that was intended to be a companion to one of their .375 H&H or .458 (yuck) guns. Lovely wood, fit & finish, on a gem of Sako DNA. In 30-06 it was the quintessential African light rifle (except it wasn’t really light) – but it did swing & balance wonderfully & was scary accurate. One of those I wish I had back. Beretta & Sako have been doing neat things together for quite some time.

  18. Tom Kratman

    I suppose the M9’s okay, but I just don’t like it. I like M1911A1. I saw no sufficiently good reason to change. That said, no country has ever fallen due to the caliber of its officers’, military police, and weapons crewman’s backup sidearms.

    On the other hand, when I contemplate this ongoing and still more upcoming (or has that changed) replacement pistol fiasco I start thinking about bureaucrats, pols, and generals – to the minor extent those three differ from each other – lampposts, and ropes.

  19. Pip-Boy

    I watched Martin Riggs shoot the weapon on several occasion, I was very impressed, especially when he demonstrated what could be done with the Beretta on the range.
    Made me want to go buy rubbers… err I mean a Beretta!

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