Top Five Beretta M9 and 92FS Magazines

Before we jump into a discussion of Beretta 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.

As far as handling goes, the Beretta 92FS is easy to control.
As far as handling goes, the Beretta 92FS is easy to control.

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.

 Beretta M9, target, shot group.
I may have more time behind the trigger of an M9 than I do any other handgun.

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.

The Beretta shoots flat.
It shoots flat. This shot is of my 13-year-old shooting it.

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.

Beretta 92FS. That brass is hardly ejected and I'm 100% back on target.
This is the same gun in my hands. That brass is hardly ejected and I’m 100% back on target.

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.

Beretta M9 muzzle rise
This is about all the muzzle rise I get, even one-handed.

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.

Beretta M9 magazine stamped to restrict capacity.
The equivalent of a dowel in a shotgun’s tubular magazine.

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.

I find that you either love the 92FS or hate it. I'm on the love-it side.
This is a 20 Round mag from Mec-Gar. These are my favorites, and the ones I carry in the M9.

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).

Mec-Gar Plus 2 heavy bumper adds a touch more length to the M9's grip.
The heavy bumper on the end of the Mec-Gar Plus 2 adds a touch more length to the M9’s grip.

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 M9 magazines: 15 rounds, 20 rounds, and 30 rounds.
15 rounds, 20, and 30. I love the increase in capacity with these.

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 30 round Beretta factory mag is a serious upgrade to the M9 capacity.
The 30-round Beretta factory mag is a serious upgrade to the M9’s capacity.

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 you stack these 30-round Beretta M9 magaziness with cartridges, the springs can get stiff.
As you stack these mags with cartridges, the springs can get stiff.

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?

Close up of followers in M9 magazines.
Some followers help close up the body of the mag. Others leave a small gap where range garbage can get 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.

Sig P226 mags have the mag-catch much higher on the magazine body--but they're still easy to confuse.
Sig P226 mags have the mag-catch much higher on the magazine body—but they’re still easy to confuse.

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.

Beretta 92 Compact Magazine Addendum ~ish

If you’re in California or some other place that restricts magazine capacity, this one might be of interest to you. This is a blued-steel 10-round capacity magazine for the Beretta 92 Compact. Does a 10-round restriction suck? Yes, yes it does. So just carry another magazine and practice your reloads until we can get the laws changed. 

Find it in the warehouse right here. 

California compliant Beretta 92 Compact 10-round magazine
This blued steel 10-round Beretta 92C mag is California compliant. It features witness holes and an injection molded polymer follower.
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.

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