Quality and Safety Problems With the Beretta M9 Handgun

NSIAD-88-213: Published: Sep 15, 1988. Publicly Released: Sep 15, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's M9 handgun program, specifically: (1) quality and safety problems; (2) an alleged Army cover up of the quality and safety problems; (3) differences between M9 the Army tested in 1984 and the current M9; and (4) efforts to conduct recompetition tests for awarding a follow-on contract for additional handguns.

GAO found that the: (1) Army experienced quality and safety problems with M9 but did not attempt to cover up the problems; (2) Army rejected the production lots of the handguns due to frame crack problems, and issued a safety message to all M9 users; (3) Army determined that fatigue cracks caused the slides to fail, and was attempting to determine what caused the cracks; and (4) contractor implemented engineering changes which resolved the frame crack problems. GAO also found that: (1) an independent testing laboratory found that the configuration changes to the handgun made it easier for the manufacturer to comply with contract specifications; and (2) the Army included M9 in recompetition testing, which began in mid-August 1988, and expects to award a contract in May 1989.

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