The original Beretta 92 in 9mm Parabellum was designed in 1975 and entered production in 1976, but made its biggest splash in 1984 when it was adopted by the U.S. Armed Forces under the designation of Bereatta M9 to replace the venerable M1911 .45 ACP as the standard issue sidearm. The M9 faithfully served in that role for 33 years.
The Italian gunmaker has something new in store – one chambered for the .22 LR.
Dina Sanders, Beretta USA’s Brand Marketing Manager, informs this reporter, “We started taking delivery from Umarex on the .22 LR pistols in 2015.” The Umarex that Sanders is referring to is a German firm that’s primarily known for making air guns but also happens to be the owner of Carl Walther GmbH and indeed produces the .22 LR M9 under license from Beretta.
The .22 LR M9 matches the dimensions of its 9mm parent gun – other than the bore size – from the 4.9” barrel length to the 8.5” overall length to the 5.5” height to the 1.3” grip width. It even matches the 15-round standard magazine capacity as well as the 10-rounder for restrictive “Blue States.” However, its empty weight is a mere 26.08 ounces, 7.22 oz. lighter than the original.
Personal Shooting Impressions of the Beretta M9 .22 LR
I was able to rent the gun at the nearest indoor shooting range, Cindy’s Hot Shots in Glen Burnie, Maryland. The shop just recently made a .22 LR Beretta M9 available for rental. Ammo selected for my first live-fire session with her was 50 rounds of Aguila High Velocity 40-grain Copper Plated Solid Point ammo, delivered from the Classic Weaver Stance and using the Thompson Target B27-IMZ Immobilize Zones paper silhouette target.
The course of fire was as follows:
—7 yards, 25 head shots, the first shot of each magazine in DA mode, single-action the rest of the way.
—25 yards, 25 torso shots, all single-action (SA) mode.
Well, at the risk of sounding like a politician talking out both sides of my mouth, the answer to whether this firearm stacks up is “Yes and No.”
The sheer aesthetic beauty, comfortably hand-filling ergonomics, smoothness of manually racking the slide, and ease of manipulating the controls – slide stop/slide release, magazine release, and safety decocker alike – were all these, as was the superb three-dot sight picture. The DA trigger was even smoother than any of the three 9mm Berettas I own, and the SA trigger was delightfully crisp with an absolutely top-notch reset.
Reliability-wise? Er, well, there were no failures to extract or eject, nor any failures to fire or any feed ramp hangups … but I did have two premature slidelocks within my first 20 rounds, which is simply unheard of with the centerfire M9s/Model 92s.
Accuracy-wise, the very first shot at 7 yards was absolutely spot-on perfect, landing in the white spot at the dead-center of “Fatal-T and Spinal Immobilize Zone” 10-point scoring area of the target’s head, which presumably represents the cerebellum and medulla oblongata. Alas, the second shot went slightly high into the 5-point upper edge of the “Fatal-T” zone, which presumably represents the cerebellum. The remaining 23 head shots grouped quite satisfyingly within the 10-zone, albeit night as tightly as my typical 9mm Beretta shot groups. At 25 yards, however, I was disappointed, as my first five shots went way too high, with four giving me non-scoring peripheral hits in the shoulder and neck area and one just barely taking the 5-point (lung) of the “Upper Chest Immobilize Zone. After taking 5 o’clock “Kentucky windage,” I got 13 hits in the 10-zone (heart) and three in the 5-zone, with one going low right.
But, knowing just how finicky .22 LRs can be, I decided to give this gun a second chance a few days later, this time using 50 rounds of CCI Mini-Mag 40-grain Copper Plated Round Nose ammo. The course of fire was the same as before, only this time using an SL-ST1 Silhouette Target (USPSA) from Baker Targets. This time reliability was 100 percent, which is better than I can say for the Ruger 22/45 I tried out during that same range session. Accuracy was also much better. Of the shots, 24 out of 25 A-zone hits at 7 yards, with that ever-constant single flyer going into the B-zone of the head. At 25 yards, I pulled slightly right, which is the polar opposite of my typical tendencies as a cross-eye dominant right-handed shooter. Four of my shots pulled rightward into the C-zone, along with two that strayed into the left C-zone when I overcompensated on my Kentucky windage. But the remaining 19 were delightfully centered in the A-zone, and much more in keeping with the accuracy standards I’ve come to expect from Beretta.
Suffice it to say that this’ll be my top candidate whenever I finally get around to buying a .22 LR handgun.
Want Your Own?
Current MSRP is $469.00. True Gun Value states that “A BERETTA M9 .22 LR pistol is currently worth an average price of $437.71 new and $275.75 used. The 12-month average price is $437.71 new and $275.75 used.” Cabela’s current asking price is $419.99, and ditto for Palmetto State Armory. An absolute bargain by all counts, especially coming from the world’s oldest gunmaker and oldest industrial firm of any kind, which is getting ready to celebrate the 500th anniversary of its Italian corporation and the 50th anniversary of the Beretta USA subsidiary in 2026 and 2027 respectively.
Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.
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