Beretta M12

The Beretta Model 12 is a 9×19mm Parabellum caliber submachine gun designed by Beretta. The production started in 1962, the first users were the Italian Carabinieri and the Italian State Police even though in limited number, only in 1978 it was widely issued replacing the old Beretta MAB. In 1962 the Italian Army bought a limited number of Franchi LF57 submachine gun, judged better than the M12 but never issued to the troops, and only in 1992 the M12S2 variant was introduced also if in very limited number. The Italian Air Force, instead, bought a large number of M12S and M12S2 for the airport security units. However the weapon had a higher initial success in the Arab countries and South America. Its debut in combat came during the Tet Offensive in 1968 when the Marines guarding the U.S. embassy in Saigon repelled the assault by the Viet Cong using the Beretta M12. It is also used by various South American and African countries, and made under license in Brazil by Taurus and in Indonesia by PT Pindad.


Beretta M12
Class Manportable
Type Machine Guns
Manufacturer Barretta
Origin Italy
Country Name Origin Year
Italy 1959
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Italy 1959 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Barretta View
Taurus (manufacturer) View
Defense Industries Organization View
Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne View

In 1959, Beretta weapons designer Domenico Salza revisited an old project, the Armaguerra Cremona OG44 submachine gun, in order to made a new submachine gun to replace the old MAB model 1938. The Model 12 was the final production model, and was followed ten years later by the M12S with differences in the safety and other mechanics.

The Model 12 weighs 3.48 kilograms empty (about 3.820 kg loaded) and is 660 millimeters in length with stock extended (418 mm when retracted). Its short length is achieved by use of a barrel recessed into the bolt head, known as a telescoping bolt. This reduces length without reducing barrel length or bolt weight. It fires from an open bolt and has a cyclic rate of fire of 550 rounds per minute. Its muzzle velocity is 380 meters per second. It is accurate to 200/300 meters.

The barrel and rifling are chromium-plated to prevent fouling. The bolt housing has grooves to allow bolt movement, even in extremely adverse conditions such as exposure to mud, dust, or sand. The exterior surfaces of the firearm are finished with epoxy resin coating for protection against corrosion and damage.

The weapon has a selective-fire option allowing a choice of single shot or fully automatic fire.

The weapon has three safeties: a manual safety which blocks the trigger; an automatic safety on the rear grip which immobilizes the trigger and blocks the bolt in a closed position; and a safety on the cocking handle locking the bolt in case it does not retract sufficiently.

The weapon is provided with a front sight (adjustable for elevation and windage) and a rear sight with a two-position flip aperture (up to 100 m and up to 200 m).

The gun is equipped with a side folding stock, but is also seen rarely with a fixed stock.

Twenty, 32, and 40-round box magazines were available for the original Model 12, which was chambered for the 9mm Parabellum cartridge.

Weight - Metal stock: 3.0kg (6.61lb) (M12)3.2kg (7.1lb) (M12S)3.480kg (7.67lb) (M12S2)Wood stock: 3.4kg (7.5lb) (M12)3.6kg (7.9lb) (M12S)

Length - Fixed stock: 660mm (26in)Folding stock: 645mm (25.4in) stock extended418mm (16.5in) stock folded

Barrel length - 200mm (7.9in)

Height - 180mm (7.1in)

Cartridge - 9x19mm Parabellum

Rate of fire - 550 rounds/min

Muzzle velocity - 420m/s (1,378ft/s) (variable with ammunition)

Effective range - 100 to 200 m sight adjustments

Feed system - 20, 32, 40-round detachable box magazine

Sights - Two-position flip rear aperture, shrouded front post285mm (11.2in) sight radius


End notes