Greetings. I have an early 92F, made in Italy, without the slide blocks (naturally), and am hoping someone can point me to the right direction regarding the risk of slide failure in this particular tool, Ser.# D676XXX.
This has been a fine sidearm: the first semiaauto 9mm I have had, bought new in 1989. I have shot it variously a little, a lot, not much, and now more. It has about 8-10 K rounds through it, I think, with only a few hiccups due to shooter error or ammunition.
This particular firearm is made in Italy. My understanding is that the early problem with slide failure occurred in early US produced weapons (T or F?), containing teryllium (causing problems for unspecified metallurgic reasons), in SEAL teams using subsonic ammunition (+/- suppressors), mitigated by adding slide blocks (so the slide would not come off and damage operator), and solved through metallurgic magic.
I am currently resuscitating it with a new 92D spring to improve the still bad first pull.
My question is this: Is there a source or other information that I can look at to see if this particular slide is at risk? Sending it to Beretta for inspection is always an option but I would like to do my own due diligence first.
PS A good story: When I worked in Florida in 89-90 I had the chance to talk at length with a Marine Corp Sargent stationed at Quantico during the M9 Trials. I asked him directly whether the Beretta had been chosen for either 1) political reasons, or 2) cheapest bid. He replied, "No Sir,
We shot it up, down and all around and it did the best." He had nothing bad to say about other handguns when I asked about the Glocks and Sigs, but reported that they had suffered more failures during that particular trial.
PPS I really like Glocks, and Sigs, and think that for a simple twist of fate either would be the currently designated M9.
The early M9 slide failures were with Italian made slides that had been built originally for a French contract. They are the ones with the whatever material that caused them to fail. I think the total number of US Military owned M9/92SB-F's that had slide failures were something like 17. Nearly half of those were tested to destruction on purpose, to find out why the other half failed in the first place.
To check your slide for cracks, when you have it apart for cleaning after you shoot it, hang the slide off your cleaning rod while you hold the rod in one hand. Tap the slide with your barrel and it should ring like a bell. A dull "thud" indicates a crack. If you check this every time you clean the gun, and you clean the gun every time you shoot it, you will know well in advance of any slide failure that you have a problem. A crack should appear well in advance of an actual slide separation.
As for just how bad the problem is? A little more than a dozen slides in over how many production M9's? Something like 300,000? All traced to the same lot of pistols with the same problem. Have you EVER heard of the FS stop actually being used?
I'd just keep shooting it, and just check for cracks as a precaution. The Beretta 92/M9 has actually been one of the most trouble free guns ever produced.