The Wrong Gun

9-Feb-12 – 12:02 by ToddG

People often get emotionally attached to their choices. Whether it’s the Chevy owner who has to insist Ford sucks or an iPhone user who prays for the redemption of all Android heathens, sometimes it’s difficult to see past works for me and realize it doesn’t necessarily equate with best for everyone everywhere every minute under every circumstance.

This is particularly true in the gun culture. Especially among the people who purchased a gun at least in part for self-defense, it’s sometimes hard to look rationally upon our choices and accept that there are other good choices out there. Does your SIG work well for you? That’s awesome. I like them, too. But does it mean you should have a problem with Glocks (or Glock shooters)? No. That’s just silly. Common, but silly.

Yesterday at the range with JV and SeanM, we spied a relatively new shooter with — and you may want to sit down for this — a Beretta 9000S. If you’ve never heard of the 9000S, don’t feel too bad. They were only in production for about six minutes. Think about that for a second: the 9000S was so bad, it didn’t last as long in the industry as, say, the Ford Pinto.

I was working at Beretta USA when the 9000S was introduced. When I was asked, as the new “handgun guy” at BUSA, what I thought of Beretta’s first foray into polymer my response was pretty straightforward: “it’s a gun designed by people who haven’t won a war since Rome fell.” Dr. Beretta didn’t think it was as funny as I did.

So our haphazard neighbor on lane seven last night pokes his head around the booth and asks if any of us are familiar with the Beretta 9000S. I volunteered.

To his credit, he took the news well. He didn’t get all defensive just because he owned one. If anything, our conversation seemed to confirm something he already suspected. The gun’s design, while looking cool enough for a Sense Cop or Time Police or whatever Tom Cruise was in that movie, isn’t comfortable or functional. Between the slash cut open on the web of his shooting hand and the stoppages, it wasn’t hard to convince him that perhaps he had, in fact, picked the wrong gun.

The 9000S is a great example of the Rule of Commonness: uncommon guns are uncommon for a reason.

(photos courtesy of wikipedia.org and tomcruisewallpapers.com … yes, that actually exists)

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG


  1. 25 Responses to “The Wrong Gun”

  2. I’ll admit, it’s a pretty neat sci-fi looking gun.

    Like many things Italian though, they sacrificed form for function. Also, I bet it randomly bursts into flames every 500 rounds, like most rare Italian exotics.

    By Jeremy Pagan on Feb 9, 2012

  3. So that’s the gun he used in that movie. I wasn’t sure. I thought they made it up for the movie, like the guns is Star Wars LOL

    By Dave S on Feb 9, 2012

  4. Good point on the “Rule of Commonness”. It took me a long time to get that one. I always liked the idea of having something a little different or finding that “hidden gem” that no one else knew about. In fact, I almost bought a 9000s once based on that. But those obscure guns are all gone from my collection in favor of Glocks and M&Ps and other boring stuff (unless you count the Walther PPS, which I still think is a bit under-appreciated). But I shoot the boring ones better, and have a great deal more options for mods and accessories.

    An acquaintance recently showed me his NAA Guardian chambered in .32NAA that he got for carry. He said he “wanted something different”. I didn’t offer my opinion except to say “well, I think you got it.” To his credit, he did buy a case of ammo for practice, but I don’t know if he’ll actually do it.

    If you want something uncommon, get racing stripes for your Glock 19.

    By Chris on Feb 9, 2012

  5. Dave S, fun fact: Han Solo’s blaster is just a Mauser C96 with a bunch of crap glued to it.

    By Chris on Feb 9, 2012

  6. HEEEY… That’s my Beretta from Wiki. I took that photo forever ago. ;-D

    I sold that thing a couple years back. Horrible gun. Just horrible.

    By T. on Feb 9, 2012

  7. And many of the stormtrooper heavy weapons are black plastic versions of the WWII German MG34 and MG42.

    By peter on Feb 9, 2012

  8. Be wary of the converse, though… common guns are common for a reason too, and not necessarily the right reasons. Bud’s Gun Shop lists Hi Point pistols as in their Top 10 sellers of 2011.

    J.Ja

    By Justin James on Feb 9, 2012

  9. I absolutely agree with the post in general, and your blog is both informative and entertaining. I don’t want to come across as negative across the board. It’s the overall high quality of your writing that makes the “Rule of Commonness” stand out.

    Your Rule of Commonness is cute in a snarky way, but on the other hand not very meaningful. Good rules still have exceptions, but they allow you to draw meaningful conclusions. The key isn’t IF a gun is uncommon, but WHY.

    Maybe you’re willing to pay more for thoughtful design and tight manufacturing tolerances and the relatively uncommon P30 is the way to go. Maybe you’re a professional competitive shooter and the extremely uncommon Razorcat is just the ticket.

    Contrast this to a rule like “If a gun feels wrong in your hand, don’t get it.” Sure that rule might have exceptions, but there’s a clear logic to it.

    On the other hand, simply saying that something is the case for some unspecified reason seems lazy. After all, I’m sure the sky is blue for a reason.

    I’m probably overanalyzing. Anyway, just 2c. =)

    By Curby on Feb 9, 2012

  10. Don’t buy a CZ-100 either.

    That was my first handgun and it lasted about all of about 3 months.

    I think that the DAO trigger pull on that one was very gritty and somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 lbs. Very pleasant!

    By bo on Feb 9, 2012

  11. Todd,

    can you elaborate in more detail what made the 9000s so bad? Was it prone to any particular failures or issues?

    By Hoss on Feb 9, 2012

  12. Todd,

    Is that the gun you had at the West Virginia State IDPA match one year? I shot it and tried to be polite when I handed it back to you. :)

    By Bill Nesbitt on Feb 9, 2012

  13. Besides the emotional investment there’s also the financial investment that can help seal the deal and build an ideologically defensive posture. Men are real prone to this, perhaps women are less-so. Hell I’ve got close to $400 in P220 magazines as a side-bet, besides the two guns…

    By DirtCrashr on Feb 9, 2012

  14. SigArms Mauser M2… Winning!

    By JodyH on Feb 9, 2012

  15. Todd,

    Mind if I use that “rule of commonness” quote in my pistol-forum signature? Great stuff.

    By Eric on Feb 9, 2012

  16. I owned a Beretta 9000S briefly, before converting to Glocks. It was, in fact, one of the main reasons I switched. I bought it because it looked cool, was concealable and would take Beretta 92 magazines. Unfortunately it was unreliable and not particularly comfortable to shoot. Sold it, bought a G26, and never looked back.

    By Argus on Feb 9, 2012

  17. T – “HEEEY… That’s my Beretta from Wiki. I took that photo forever ago. ;-D”

    How cool is that?

    Curby — I don’t disagree at all. By common I don’t mean in general but in specific. In other words, while the P30 might not be common at the local gravel pit, it’s very common among good/serious students. The Razorcat may not be common at the local police department, but it’s definitely not an odd bird in appropriate competition. Etc.

    Bill — I plead the Fifth.

    Eric — Be my guest.

    By ToddG on Feb 9, 2012

  18. The Ford Pinto was manufactured frrm 1971 to 1980. I owned a ’72. It rates as one of the best cars I’ve owned (really).

    By DonWorsham on Feb 10, 2012

  19. Todd, good running into you at SHOT Show. Small world.

    Secondly, as a long-time XD guy who used one in a class and in matches for a year, I know the feeling.

    Guess who has two thumbs and is a Glock guy now? That’s right, THIS guy!

    Maybe you don’t care, but I thought it might interest you to know. :)

    By Tony D on Feb 10, 2012

  20. The thing is, although these things were only produced for a short time, the oversupply had them getting blown out at wholesalers at fire sale prices for years afterward.

    A lot of people who should have known better couldn’t resist the combination of the Beretta name and the sci-fi styling combined with a ~$300 retail price. “C’mon, it’s a Beretta! It can’t be that bad, can it?”

    Yes. Yes it can. Not only of iffy reliability, but also possibly the least ergonomic self-loading pistol turned out by a major manufacturer in the last thirty or forty years….

    By Tam on Feb 10, 2012

  21. Chris,

    That is awesome. I did not know Hon Solo’s Blaster was a Mauser C96 with stuff glued on it.

    By Dave S on Feb 10, 2012

  22. I chalk this one up to another in a long line of attempts to find the right “executive” gun (especially one that is not commonly seen as a USG issue piece). For folks that routinely wear suits (not of the generic G-man variety), the hard square lines of most service weapons can cause printing issues. Yes, this can be dealt with through other changes – but precisely these changes make one look for a weapon that won’t create the same issues.

    I used a Beretta 9000 series for a while whilst in a European country. I didn’t have any function issues with it, but wasn’t on a hard use schedule at the time (The old quarterly qual, maybe covering 250 rounds…)

    On the other hand, the feel of the thing was just too slick when firing – had to fight not to lose sight picture on controlled pairs as the thing twisted in the hand in recoil. And given the ranges were typically 25 meter and 50 meter fixed wall scroll targets, made for some embarrassingly bad targets (with of course other shooters turning in Olympic precision coin size groups with highly tuned and entirely customized competition gear.)

    Ultimately switched over to a Walther P99 at the time due to the recognition that if one was going to have a weapon that thick, the extra frame and slide length wasn’t enough to matter that much within the compact envelope.

    Found out the hard way with P99 that lateral pressure on the trigger could cause malfunction as the “wings” on the articulated trigger safety failed to engage – I should have listened to an elder on that one. (I believe it was Walt Rauch who first called out the problem. I also believe they have since changed that design, but it’s been a while… the PPS certainly doesn’t have that issue, but then again the Glock / Sigma lawsuit was settled by the time that one was introduced, so less pressure for a new trigger safety that didn’t use either of those designs.)

    By abu fitna on Feb 12, 2012

  23. TonyD — You, too. Can’t believe you didn’t tell me about your conversion at the show!

    By ToddG on Feb 13, 2012

  24. “I was working at Beretta USA when the 9000S was introduced. When I was asked, as the new “handgun guy” at BUSA, what I thought of Beretta’s first foray into polymer my response was pretty straightforward: “it’s a gun designed by people who haven’t won a war since Rome fell.” Dr. Beretta didn’t think it was as funny as I did.”

    I choked on hot coffee, Todd! ROTFL!!

    Awesome!

    By Kevin Reed on Feb 19, 2012

  25. Funny line, but one can only assume that he who uttered it didn’t have any serious prospect of long term employment in mind!

    By Dean Speir on Feb 20, 2012

  26. I always tell people dont belive everything you hear about a gun. Most of the time people assume because its cheap is crap, or over priced is better. Handle the gun, and enjoy it no matter what someone else says.

    By Maine NRA Certified Instructor on Mar 9, 2012

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