A display of M-9’s and shotguns attracted a lot of attention at GovSec’s main expo floor in May. (Jeffrey MacMillan )

When Beretta moves its manufacturing to Tennessee next year — a protest, the company says, of Maryland’s tough new firearms laws — one of the most familiar guns to Washington’s military world will move too.

That’s the 9mm M9, pictured above.

The U.S. military has used the 9mm semiautomatic handgun as its sidearm since the late 1980s. The gun has a short recoil, making it easy to fire, as well as three-dot sight system for quick aiming, ambidextrous safety features and “impossibly-rigorous durability,” the company says.

While gun aficionados have sometimes had to come to its defense against the more widely popular .45-caliber 1911, Beretta has continued to win contract renewals, including a five-year deal in 2012 for up to 100,000 M9s.

“It has proved to be an incredibly accurate pistol, with soldiers who may have never even fired a handgun before qualifying with the M9 on 25-yard courses,” Guns & Ammo magazine said.

A version of the gun known as the 92 FS is available for consumers for about $600.

In announcing its move, Beretta said the M9’s production will continue in Maryland  “until all current orders from the U.S. Armed Forces have been filled.”

Do you have experience with the M9 or the 92 FS? Drop your memories in the comments below.