With the M1911A1 showing its age, in regard to lack-of-capacity, The American Joint Services Small Arms Program (JSSAP) began its search for a pistol replacement in 1979. As a member of NATO the United States would begin testing 9x19mm handguns. These are the results of the first trials, alphabetized and organized for your convenience (click to enlarge).The Beretta 92S failures consisted of “…three feed, two chambering, two ignition, six extraction and one ‘other’…” Of note is that the military 9x19mm ammunition was of such low standard that commercial ammunition had to be used for the trials. This has been cited as part a contributor to the poor performance of some of the contestants. While this may hold some truth, it is more a testament to the Beretta’s reliability, confirmed by it being the only handgun to achieve and even exceed the JSSAP’s required 1,500 Mean Rounds Between Stoppages (MRBS).
My personal fandom of FN is more a study of history than a particular desire to root for a team. So I have to ask, how standard it is that they should be able to enter three models into such a potentially rewarding competition? It is a question of curiosity, I am certainly less concerned over the deeds of the 1980’s than today’s procurement blunders.
Since I have compiled this information I now feel obligated to add some references on the Wiki page. I expect I’ll locate and post the data from the second trials shortly. These are of more weight since it resulted in the M9 contract being awarded.
References: Markham, George. Guns Of The Elite: Special Forces Firearms, 1940 To The Present. London: Arms and Armour, 1987. P.58,62
I have two manuals published by Colt, both undated as follows:
1. Colt Manual No. CM111 (Upper right hand corner of cover) titled: “XM9 9mm” followed by :”SEMI AUTOMATIC PISTOL” over “OPERATOR AND MAINTENANCE MANUAL”. The paperback booklet of 38 pages measures 5-1/4 by 8-3/8 inches with a pen & ink drawing of a pistol, and the Colt logo in the lower right hand corner. This manual was most likely associated with the 1983 XM9 trials.
2. “TECHNICAL MANUAL” over “OPERATOR’S MANUAL” over “(INCLUDING REPAIR PARTS AND SPECIAL TOOLS LIST” over a drawing of a pistol over “OFFENSIVE HANDGUN PISTOL” over “(NSN XXX-XX-XXX-XXXX)” over “CONTRACT NO. N00164-91-C-0215” over “CDRL’S (A002 AND A003)” over “MANUFACTURED BY:” over “Colt Logo” over “545 NEW PARK AVE” over “HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A.” Booklet has 40 pages counting the inside of the front and back covers. It measures 8-1/3 by 11-0 inches. This documents rekates to the 1991 trials for an Offensive Weapon requested by SOCOM. Please see the YouTube video by TIA on this pistol at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnY6FSLFy3c
If anyone is interested, I can send excerpts from these manuals for study or review.
If you have the time and willingness, I’d like to see the excerpts, yeah!