11 Dec 99

This from a senior training officer with a large State Police Department:

“From 1993 to this year our agency used 40S&W Beretta 96D (self-decocking), NP3-finished pistols, each issued with three, ten-round (metal baseplates) magazines. This year, those pistols were replaced with Beretta 96D Brigadiers, each issued with three, eleven-round (polymer baseplate) magazines.

During an inclusive magazine check earlier this year (of the metal-baseplate series), one-third of issued magazines (one hundred or so officers) were discovered to have developed hairline cracks near the feed lips. These cracks developed on the rear wall of the magazine in the lower corners of the “U” cutout at the top of the magazine. They were initially discovered when an officer’s pistol began experiencing numerous failures to feed. I originally thought the cracks may have been related to the NP3 coating, but, upon examination of four personally owned, blued magazines, I found the same, identical cracks.

In addition, during our training sessions, I personally have observed no fewer than six of the cast baseplates break off, rendering the magazine unserviceable. These failures were all abrupt and wholly catastrophic. Our shooting range is grass covered and usually muddy, thus frequent drops of the magazines onto hard surfaces was not a contributing factor.

All the magazines involved were factory Beretta of American manufacture (not Italian) ten round, 40S&W caliber.

We have had no problems with the new, polymer-based magazines issued with the Brigadier Series.”