|Beretta Model 1923|
Left side view of the Beretta M1923
|Place of origin||Kingdom of Italy|
|In service||1923 - 1935|
|Manufacturer||Fabrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta S.p.A.|
|Weight||800 grams (1.8 lb)|
|Length||177 millimetres (7.0 in)|
|Barrel length||87 millimetres (3.4 in)|
|Muzzle velocity||305 m/s (1,000.6 fps)|
|Effective firing range||50 metres (55 yd)|
The Beretta Model 1923 pistol was the standard service pistol for the Italian Army from 1923 until 1945. The M1923 was designed to consolidate the improvements of the 1915/19 model and to take the 9mm Glisenti round. However, the Model 1923 Glisenti cartridge was not powerful enough to be fully effective. There were also misunderstandings over use of the 9mm Parabellum cartridge, which was a much more powerful round than the Glisenti.
The Glisenti Model 1910 was the first Italian produced semi auto pistol adopted by the Italian military. Designed by Bethel Revelli it was originally chambered for a bottle necked 7.65mm round similar to the Luger round but with a longer body. The Glisenti Model 1910 suffered from a lack of robustness due to its weak frame design. The bolt assembly in the receiver is supported only on one side. This lack of structural integrity led all of the stresses of firing to be taken up by just one side rail. This weakness lead the Italian Army to look for a lighter, less punishing round. Due to this, it was chambered to use the same cartridge case as the 9mm Luger but with a reduced loading. This reduced 9mm cartridge became known as the 9mm Glisenti.
When Italy entered World War I, the need for more military pistols increased dramatically. In 1915, Tullio Marengoni from Beretta completed his design of a simple blowback action pistol utilizing the same under powered 9mm Glisenti cartridge. This pistol was adopted by the Italian Army as the M1915. The M1915 is unusual in the fact that it used 2 manual safeties. One is a slide stop safety on the left side of the frame. The other is a small lever on the rear of the frame. If either safety is set, the pistol will not fire. Also manufactured by Beretta and adopted by the Italian military was a scaled down version of this pistol in 7.65mm. In addition to being smaller, it did not have the manual safety at the rear of the frame.
In 1919 improvements were made in the 7.65mm M1915 design. The round post barrel mount where the barrel was lifted straight up out of the frame was replaced with a T slot mount. This required a larger opening in the top of the slide so the double opening of the M1915 was changed to a single longer one. The slide now looked like the open topped style still used by Beretta to this day. The redesigned pistol is marked on the slide 1915 - 1919.
In 1923 Beretta introduced a pistol in 9mm Glisenti caliber as a replacement for the military’s M1915 pistols. It incorporated the M1915/1919 changes plus adding an external hammer.
The M1923 is a semi-automatic pistol with a 4-inch (100 mm) barrel and 7 shot detachable magazine. The slide is marked "Brev 1915-1919 Mlo 1923." Some of the M1923 pistols have grooves for a shoulder stock holster machined into the bottom of the grip frame. The shoulder stock holster was unlike the Mauser in that it was a conventional leather holster with a hinged folding steel arm riveted to the spine. The end of the arm had a cut out that slipped over the butt of the pistol & locked in place.
- Fowler, Will The Complete World Encyclopedia of Guns, p.171. Anness Publishing, 2008
- Peterson, Phillip Standard Catalog of Military Firearms (5th Edition), p.230. Krause Publications, 2009
- Cliff, Carlisle. "Italian Semi Auto Pistols". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- Fowler, Will (2008). The Complete World Encyclopedia of Guns. London: Hermes House. ISBN 978-0-681-94996-6.
- Peterson, Phillip (2009). Standard Catalog of Military Firearms (5th ed.). Iola WI: Krause Publications. ISBN 978-0-89689-826-4.