Before we jump into a discussion of M9 magazines, I’ll admit I’m a bit of a Beretta fan. Ironically, my love of the brand began with a Taurus—a PT92—that was used as a prop in the 1996 Baz Luhrman Romeo and Juliet film. Such a kickass take on the classic–the gas station gunfight alone was worth the price of admission.
The second gun I ever bought was a decommissioned 92FS from a police department. And over the years, I’ve owned several. The fanciest was a stainless 92 that I had rebuilt by Wilson Combat into a 92G—the greatest of all 92 variants. That remains one of my favorite guns of all time, but I gave it away to a friend who felt even more love for it than I did.
I regularly carried a 92 for years—right up until I bought a Sig P226.
The 92FS, or in this case a gun that’s stamped M9, is still a rock star. And it remains in my range rotation.
Feeding the 92FS
When I bought this gun, it came with a couple of weedy magazines. The 92FS is not a small gun, and the grip is absurdly large by contemporary standards (thanks to the screw-on grip plates). 13 round magazines in this gun feel oddly insulting to the M9’s legacy. Yet they exist. And I think there might be some lingering mag capacity laws out there that make the 10 round, and 13 round, and even 15 round magazines worth knowing about.
But I like the 20s. More on that in a moment.
Shooting the 92FS
Beretta builds a solid pistol. The reason I liked the Wilson upgrade—and the P226, too—is that the traditional safety lever functions as a decocker. As I’m not one for external, manual, slide, or frame-mounted safeties, this makes shooting both of these guns that much faster for me.
And the 92FS flies. The balance of the frame’s weight with the skeletonized slide works well for me. I can hold it down very flat, even with +P 9mm. This is a gun that I can run fast, and a gun that I can run accurately.
The balance of the M9 continues to impress me. I’ve been carrying the P226 for a while now, but sometimes I think I should put the old Beretta back in the daily rotation as my go-to full-sized pistol.
But what about the M9 magazines?
As soon as I picked up this gun, I knew I’d need some new mags. The 15 round mag isn’t bad—but there’s so much more room in there. They even have to stamp the steel in on the sides to keep the capacity limited.
The 20 round mags are the sweet spot for me. The increase in capacity doesn’t change the balance, and I’ve yet to have a mag malfunction on me.
For me, the winner is the 20 round mag from Mec Gar. I really like the bumper, and I’ve used these in this gun for more than three years now with no hiccups. Mec-Gar makes solid mags (and often mags the mags that are sold with guns as “factory” mags).
If you want a solid flush-fit mag, Beretta makes good 18 Round mags. 18 seems to be the nice middle ground between the 13s and 15s but is still not 20.
Beretta also makes 20 round mags. These are not as compact as the Mec-Gar but are still good mags. The middle mag in the image above is a 20 round mag. It protrudes from the grip by more than an inch, so has a collar that extends down over the baseplate. This is a bit of insurance—the last thing you want is for the rounds to exit the wrong in of the magazine.
Bigger M9 magazines?
The really long dudes are Beretta 30 round mags. These are extendo-long. 30 rounds add a bit of weight to the bottom of a 92, but not so much that the gun isn’t manageable.
The 30-round M9 magazines are great for the range. Carrying them is awkward, of course, but this isn’t really a magazine built for EDC or even duty. But if you hate reloading on the range, this is the mag for you.
As the fine print on the GMW pages note—these mags will fit more than the M9. Any of the Berettas—the 92FS, 92D, 92F, 92G, 92 Brigadier, 92 Elite/EliteIA/Elite II, 90-Two in 9mm, 92 Billenium, 92 Combat Combo, 92 Stock, 92 Vertec, 92 Type L (Inox, Carry), even the CX-4 Storm (with 92FS adapter). The same design has been in use now for many years, and will likely pull forward into new designs. It works well—why monkey with it?
You can’t really go wrong.
All of the M9 magazines that I’ve seen are steel. There are stainless bodies, but they’re very rare. Much more common is the powder-coated steel, or the blued bodies.
And don’t get confused with the multitude of other mags that are built off of similar designs. I have numerous unmarked mags for my Sig P226 that look almost identical. Many are even made by the same companies. The only visible difference is the mag-catch location, and I often have to check both in guns, just to remember which is which.
David Higginbotham is a writer and editor who specializes in everyday carry. David is a former backcountry guide in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Boundary Waters Canoe Area who was a college professor for 20 years. He ultimately left behind the academy for a more practical profession in the firearms industry and was (among other editorial positions) the Managing Editor for a nascent Mag Life blog. In that Higginbotham helped establish The Maglife’s tone and secure its early success. Though he went on to an even more practical firearms industry profession still, he continues to contribute articles and op-eds as time and life allow.