In 2017, the Army swapped out their Beretta M9 pistols for the Sig Sauer P320 M17 and M18. This decision sparked a heated debate within the gun community: which is the better military pistol? Keep reading for a comprehensive Sig Sauer M18 versus Beretta M9A3 review!
Sig Sauer m18 Vs. Beretta m9a3 Review: Choosing the Better 9mm Pistol
Shooting preferences vary from person to person, so you cannot carelessly hail one gun better than the other. Each piece has a certain level of complexity. Shooters can fully utilize intricate handguns on casual occasions, but high-pressure emergencies might require uncomplicated options.
Despite these hindrances, you can still create an objective comparison by weighing the nuances based on technical criteria, which would include:
When it comes to reliability, the P320 and M9 are just about even. You can expose both handguns to harsh weather conditions, slam them against concrete, or submerge them underwater. Military test results even indicate that these pieces can fire upward of 10,000 to 20,000 rounds without malfunctioning.
However, reports indicate that the military variants of the M9 had a recent decline in quality. Beretta continued supplying M9s for the military, but magazine production was awarded to Check-Mate Industries.
While the military was able to significantly cut down cost production, the quality and durability of their M9 magazines heavily declined as well. Fortunately, civilian shooters wouldn’t have to worry about this mishap.
Both the Sig Sauer P320 and Beretta M9 are functional, ergonomic pieces. They have a crisp mechanism and durable makeup, making them both ideal military handguns. Shooters would be hard-pressed to find any other full-size pistol that offers the same top-tier functionality.
However, if you’re comparing the two based on everyday applications, the Sig Sauer P320 would take the lead. The M17 and M18 respectively weigh 29.4 oz. and 26 oz., while the M9 staggers at 34.2 oz. Even large, burly shooters would have trouble using the M9 as a CCW.
Winner: Sig Sauer M18
As we mentioned above, the M9 has a double-action trigger that some shooters find tedious and redundant. However, once you hit the single-action trigger, you will experience a drastic increase in shootability and accuracy. Expect top-notch accuracy at a 25-yard mark.
Of course, this isn’t to say that the Sig Sauer P320 lacks accuracy. Both the M17 and M18 have crisp triggers, which most shooters would find straightforward. Casual shooters wouldn’t even know the difference between the M9 and P320.
Winner: Beretta m9a3
Several factors contribute to the overall shootability of a handgun. First, measure the grip size. Shooters with small hands often have trouble grasping the M9’s large grip, thus compromising their shot quality.
Second, check the round capacity. Both the M9 and P320 have a 17 + 1 round capacity, allowing shooters to fire consecutive shots with minimal reloading needed. This feature is crucial for military personnel who engage several targets at once.
Third, test the shooting speed. While the double-action trigger on the M9 serves as a safety mechanism, many seasoned shooters find this feature redundant.
Disengaging the safety trigger at the start of a round will compromise your shooting speed. A two-second delay might not mean much while practicing, but it could spell the difference between life and death during emergencies.
Winner: Sig Sauer m18
The P320 series and M9 have just about the same stopping power. They are both 9mm-caliber handguns, so you cannot compare them to larger pieces like the .45 ACP.
However, keep in mind that most civilians do not need extreme stopping power. If you will primarily use your handgun for self-defense, any 9mm-caliber pistol would suffice.
A significant concern with the M9 is the position of its safety switch. Since Beretta placed the switch at the end of the slider, which means shooters run the risk of hitting it every time they cock the slider back. On the contrary, the safety switch of the P320 lies on the frame.
Winner: Sig Sauer m18
Aesthetics and Specs
The Sig Sauer P320 M18 is a striker-fired full-size pistol packed with a 9mm-chamber, while the Beretta M9 is a DA/SA full-size pistol chambered with a 9mm luger as well.
Based on the specs, their only difference is their trigger mechanism. Aesthetic-wise, P320 series guns often come in beige, brown, or tan, while Beretta M9 handguns come in a sleek, jet-black color.
Should you go with the Sig Sauer P320 M17 and M18 or the Beretta MA93?
Casual shooters who prioritize functionality and convenience would benefit from the P320 series. Both the M17 and M18 come with practical, ergonomic components, making them one of the most convenient handguns on the market.
We recommend these for self-defense applications. The M18 is a full-size handgun, but it only weighs 26.4 oz., so most casual shooters can strap it to their waist or leg without worrying about printing.
Apart from their compact size, theP320y also offers excellent shootability. As we mentioned before, the P320 and M9 are reliable handguns, but most shooters would have an easier time shooting P320 guns.
Meanwhile, large gun owners who prefer the stability and recoil absorption of a heavier handgun can opt for the M9. Just remember that it has complex features; learn to utilize them before deciding on the M9 as your everyday weapon. Otherwise, you will end up compromising your shot quality.
Do you want to see how the best military pistols shoot on the range? Check out this detailed Sig Sauer M17 and Beretta M9A3 review by Honest Outlaw:
Overall, this Beretta M9A3 versus Sig Sauer M18 review should serve as a good starting point for gun owners stuck between the two handguns. For a more personalized comparison, we encourage trying the civilian versions of these military pistols yourself. Take them out on the range for a few rounds.
Remember that one-size-fits-all weapons do not exist. You need a gun that matches your shooting experience, preferences, purpose, and lifestyle. Take online reviews with a grain of salt, and always rely on your judgment.
Have you tried the Sig Sauer M18 or the Beretta M9A3? Share your experience with these guns in the comments section below!
- Gun Review | The Beretta M9A1 Defies Its Critics
- Springfield Armory XD9 | Gun Carrier Handgun Reviews
- [PODCAST] Gun and Gear Review Podcast Episode 380 – KP-9, InEar Howard Leight, Sinter, P9-2, Flash
Disclaimer: All content on this site is for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer here.