Gun test: Umarex Beretta M9A3

Although the upgrades are subtle I found the improvement very noticeable

Although the upgrades are subtle I found the improvement very noticeable - Credit: Archant

The editor looks at the latest replica of the US Army’s preferred sidearm

I’m an unashamed fan of modern CO2 replicas, in particular those styled on semi-automatic pistols. Advanced engineering and well-developed ergonomics can make these fast-fire pistols an absolute blast to plink with, and some are even good enough for action competitions such as IPAS, if they’re compatible with lead BBs.

Just such a pistol caught my eye on the John Rothery website in the form of a Beretta 92F variant, listed as the M9A3, which sounds like a military designation rather than one from the manufacturer. The Beretta site tells us that this is an ‘evolution of the tactical pistol concept’ and therefore has all the upgrades you could want.

The biggest change, in my eyes, is the remodelled frame that seems to point more naturally in my hands and the square-cut chequering on the front and back of the grip. Older models always seemed to point down in my grip, whereas this one comes up level, which helps me to find the sights more quickly. These are fixed and enhanced with the classic ‘three white dot’ system that’s proven so effective.

Flat Dark Earth

As you can see, it comes in the Flat Dark Earth colouring that’s so popular today, and I noted that the slide and the grips are one tone, whilst the frame and barrel are another. Another improvement is that under the frame there’s a three-slot Picatinny rail to accept your laser or torch. Also, at the front you’ll see a barrel extension cut to accept a silencer.

The controls are extended perfectly, allowing me to access them all the from the firing hold, except for the safety. Like the original, it’s ambidextrous and mounted high on the slide, as is common with many European designs. Perhaps people with longer thumbs can reach it easier than I can. It fully disengages the trigger mechanism from the hammer when engaged.

The 12 gramme CO2 capsule and the 16 BBs are carried in a true-to-life magazine that drops free from the well at the touch of the release button, just like the firearm, adding to the realism of the replica. I was really pleased to find out that the M9A3 cycles perfectly with my preferred Excite Smart Shot pellets, which are copper-coated lead. This allows me to shoot it at my gun club where steel BBs are not allowed. It was also most accurate with these fine pellets, which was the icing on the cake for me.

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At 6 yards I had several 1” groups, the average being somewhat larger, especially during rapid fire strings, but this is an accurate pistol, there’s no question of that. The trigger was smooth and light and the blow-back action snappy, offering a strong feeling of recoil, all adding up to smile-inducing fun. I really enjoyed this pistol and would consider it a viable option for IPAS matches, where its huge capacity would give it an advantage over the more common 8-shot pistols. It has to be one of the best CO2 pistols on offer today and I highly recommend it.


Manufacturer: Umarex

Importer: John Rothery Wholesale


Model: Beretta M943

Type: CO2

Trigger: Double-and single-action

Power supply: 12 gramme CO2 capsule

Weight: 850 grammes

Length: 225mm

Capacity: 16 BBs

Spare mag’: £49.95

RRP: £169.95

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