The Beretta 92: love it or hate

The title of this article lives up to the general views expressed on this weapon: it is praised and cursed in equal measure.

It could not be otherwise, since it is the service pistol of a major armies of the world, a status to which he agreed in perhaps the first major competition of this type of the modern era. It is also one of the most numerous police gun 4 in the U.S., as well officially used in at least 36 states.

The circumstances surrounding this contest, and misuse that was made by some users (SEALs), contributed to some bad reputation that has been impossible to eliminate, as much as you have explained the reasons for each ” failures “. Indeed, as we shall see, most of the complaints / incidents that occur are provided (with their solutions) in the gun manual itself. I sincerely believe to be few who have read it “cover to cover”.

Its size (9m / m Luger), which was not to the liking of the “customer”, has also undoubtedly contributed to these negative opinions. At the time it was adopted, the truth is that there were many more options. The Beretta is one of the “wonder nine”, and one of the common denominators of these was the large capacity magazine. Besides 9m / m Luger, to mid 70 other gauges were not viable to manufacture the charger 15 shots, and the power pistol grip comfort. Currently, we know that the .40 S & W, 357 SIG, even 10 m / m, offer advantages over 9, but it would be a work mammoth replace a standard caliber in NATO with over half a million weapons in service, only the main army of its component.

Therefore, I believe that many of the criticisms made this gun and not have much to do with its quality itself (I mean weapons “original”), but with external elements, use of non-original accessories or simple cultural or social prejudices (attachment to certain caliber, uniformity is not adapted, etc.).

-History, users and variants:

The design of the Model 92 itself, began around 1970, looking for a weapon for police use that combines the features of traditional Berettas with others that the Italian manufacturer estimated that they would ask a gun of this type in the years ahead (of was well done, and really the 92 is the “mother” of the guns “wonder 9”). In 1975 he published the basic model, a mixed and single action, with 15 shots charger and a manual safety fin located on the frame, a Colt 1911 type position. At that time, the Brazilian government was looking for a gun to its armed forces, and was actually the first customer of the Beretta. Therefore, the Taurus PT92 maintains the manual safety in that position. Today, sports models such as Steel 1 have returned to this provision.

In 1977, Italian police 92S adopted to replace the 34 and 51 models. Just one year later, the U.S. government launched the program Joint Service Small Arms Program, aimed to replace the Colt 1911. From this period date models 1 and SB-92S.

Four years later, in 1981, the U.S. Air Force as regulatory adopts 92SB. Since then this decision was criticized, perhaps under pressure from the country’s arms lobby Yankee (with Smith and Wesson to the head).

While these diatribes continued, Beretta redesigned the gun with a new bow trigger guard, with straight anterior to support the left index finger in a 2 empuñamiento hands. This would be the 92S-13-F or 92SB. Interestingly, this mode of taking the gun, so fashionable at the time, has now completely abandoned, and new Berettas again have the rounded trigger guard of the first version.

Smith and Wesson did his utmost to topple the contract (no wonder, 500,000 orders were anticipated weapons), but finally in 1985 achieved an order of Beretta pistols with 315,930 official designation M9. Flock of American police agencies revolvers replaced by S & W 92, of Springfield fact that did not take anything right.

The shot came from France, which in 1987 called for 110,000 92F police forces (PAMAS G1). In the long term, the French do not delight the Beretta, which is currently being replaced by a derivative of the SIG Pro

In 1988, Smith and Wesson managed to paralyze the second batch of Berettas requesting a new contest. The government agreed to request an “M10”, but said it would not repeat the tests 92F. S & W protested by withdrawing from the contest, so they bought 57,000 additional M9s.

To this date, the implementation of the 92 was unstoppable. Today 92F is one of the three or four most popular pistols police community in the United States. It is also, like Glock, one of the most controversial: is loved or hated in equal measure. My opinion is that, a weapon which by 1997 had sold over 2 million units, may not be as “bad”.

Throughout its history, several rumors have tarnished its reputation, namely:

• The slide breaks and fly toward your face: several 92 suffered this problem when used with submachine loads, close to 50,000 psi. Other (used by SEAL), was fired with a silencer, which unbalances the barrel damaging the breech block. The 92 is not designed for use with a silencer, nor are many other models of guns (forward center of gravity affect how they behave during recoil mechanisms).
• You can shoot the gun pressing the looming transfer bar on the right side of the grip. This has not been proven, and it seems a malicious rumor spread by his detractors (see firms that lost sales).
• The gun battle suffers endless interruptions: this seems due to shippers “after-market” purchased by the U.S. Army at bargain prices (in Canada, to be exact). With original charger / Mec-Gar problem solved.
The variants were manufactured as follows:

  •  92: (1975-1976): only 5,000 units manufactured.
  •  92S: first amendment, police at the request of users. The changes included moving the manual safety flap, from the frame to the slide (design that has lasted until today, and that is the main aesthetic difference over the Taurus PT-92). This also introduced the manual safety decocking mechanism.
  •  92SB / 92S-1: a model was created for the U.S. Air Force. The design included a fall and the safe exchange of the slide retained by the heel of the handle to a position on the basis of classical guard.
  •  92SB Compact: Compact version of the previous one, with shorter barrel and magazine of 13 rounds. Combining a standard frame and a slide Compact, we get a “Centurion”.
  •  92F / 92SB-F: the best known model, candidate contest USA Armed Forces and several significant changes: redesign of the pieces to make them interchangeable, and thus avoid logistical problems. Changing the trigger guard bow design (one of the most recognizable details), the objective was to facilitate the support of the index finger of the supporting hand to control the front lift. This style of empuñamiento has fallen into disuse, in fact the new design takes up 92 A1 primal. Base recurved handle forward to improve grip. Treatment of chromium in the cannon to increase corrosion protection. General treatment in the slide with Brunitón supposed improved protection, especially considering users USMC / U.S. Navy.
  •  Compact 92 M: version monohilera charger (8 shots). This model is one of the most coveted by fans as it was discontinued though, is the 92 more comfortable to carry concealed (much thinner than standard).
  •  92FS: this model is born after the accident of Navy SEALs with 92F model. The hammer shaft is larger and fits in a recess of the slide. Thus this piece prevents fly toward the shooter’s face if a “blowout”. Since 2000, some parts (recoil spring guide, and charger base lift tile thereof) are manufactured polymer. The shutter flap secure, crank trigger, slide and hold the key cutting manufactured in polymer coated metal.
  •  90 TWO: appeared in 1996, is mechanically very similar to 92FS, but introduces a total redesign of the outside to make it more ergonomic. For example, eliminating protrusions that impede the unsheathe, and allowing a choice between handles of various sizes. It also has a Picatinny rail under the barrel, while built this accessory appeared in M9 A1, protected by a plastic piece while not used (this feature is unique to this model). Similarly, the views are further apart than in the standard 92, about 5 m / m additional chargers 17 and accepts shooter 9 m / m (2 more than 92). It is manufactured in 9 m / m Luger, 9×21 I.M.I and .40 S & W. There are three variants in their firing mechanisms: type F (DA / SA lifetime), type G (DA / SA uninsured manual), and type D (DAO).
  •  M-9: 92FS military version adopted by the U.S. Army 1985. The main difference from the civilian version, is the aiming device, such as “bar and dot” in the military, and 3 points in the business.
  •  M-9 A1: improved model with Picatinny rail appeared in 2006. The handle has a more aggressive chopped, the finish is matte and chargers have an anti-arena called PVD. The sights are 3 points.
  •  92 VERTEC: model introduced in 2002. The most important change is the redesign of the handle to close the gap with the trigger. The handles are also thinner. The result is that the distance between the back of the handle and the trigger, is about 20 m / m shorter than in a standard 92. Variants exists D and G.
  •  92 and 96 A-1 A-1 respectively at 9 m / m at 40, this model presented in the Shot Show 2010 and combines elements of the 92FS and the 90 TWO. Includes picatinny rail and rounded trigger guard (like the original models).
  •  93 / 93R: variant capable of semiautomatic fire, burst 3 shots, or fully automatic. It has a folding stock, a pistol barrel front and longer. This gun is single action only and does not include the decocking system. Usually fed loaders 20 shots (sometimes 15 standard rhythms), and was used by several Italian intervention units (NOCS and GIS) and Honduras. Today, a weapon of this type can cost over $ 20,000.
  •  PAMAS G1: 92F to France. It is marked “MAS Sous Fabrication License Beretta” and “9mm MAS G1”. The main difference is that you do not have insurance fin, this attachment would act only as decocking button, the style of a GIS. The Gendarmerie Nationale is being replaced by the SIG 2022, but many remain in service with the FAS galas.

There are others like Vektor Z-88 (version manufactured under license in South Africa, by the way, have stopped production recently to reimport 92F), the Taurus PT92, etc..

– What caliber is made?

92 The model itself is manufactured in several sizes. This is common in the Italian arms, as in the Alpine country on 9 m / m Luger is prohibited caliber individuals. Therefore, if the manufacturer intends to sell weapons in domestic civilian market, is forced to recamarar for other cartridges, typically 9×21 m / m IMI.

The regulations in Spain Berettas trigger the 9×19 m / m Luger, but it is interesting that there are the following options:

• Series 92: 9×19 m / m Luger.
• Series 93: 9×19 m / m Luger.
• Series 96: .40 S & W.
• Series 98 and 99: 7.65 m / m Luger.
• 90 TWO: 9×19 m / m, 40 and 9×21 IMI.

-Insurance and decocking system:

The Beretta has insurance mechanisms typical of wonder nine: one drop that blocks the firing pin unless we press the shutter, and other manual flap that blocks the needle and hidden behind a metal wedge, of so that the hammer can not touch. Prior to implementation of Glock, and today still in the military, was widely believed that a service weapon had to take a manual safety.Beretta-M9

The flap was originally manual safety on the frame, in a position similar to that we see in 1911 or in the H & K USP. As the Brazilian military adopted it soon hit the market, the Taurus PT92 fin have continued in the same position. The Italian arms suddenly moved to the slide, which raises the problem of carrying the gun “to Israel” as with the Star 28/30, if we pull the slide is easy to turn on a secure (down the fin), so that you have a gun that can not shoot.

This problem besets in those cases in which regulatory imperative, the gun must be no round in the chamber, as in the Civil Guard (user no American military or police, leads them in this way). The solution is “simple”: not mounted with the method “overhand” (grab the slide from above), but with the “slingshot” the slide catch from behind with your thumb and forefinger, and below the fins of insurance. This will make it much more difficult to change insurance.

As a curiosity, note that in the U.S., how to carry Berettas also depends on the “house” in which we work: the Army and Marines have as doctrine the safety catch on, while most police users Air Force and lift it removed. A matter of taste (and training).

In the Berettas with cocked (like the French), the piece has a spring that returns to horizontal position after acting on it.

What kind of ammunition I can use the Beretta 92?

In principle, 92 is one of the most reliable handguns have occurred, the open design of the sliding type interruption virtually eliminates “chimney” (stove pipe), since the friction surface of the sheath is minimal. If there have been problems of extraction, as discussed below, in uncleaned weapons or many shots behind.

A very positive aspect is that the manufacturer does not put any obstacle to the use of munitions spicy (+ P, and + P +, including high pressure NATO). Nor mark limits the number of shots (usually a standard police pistol is designed to hold 10,000 shots), and some have exceeded 50,000 rounds before being “retired”. The renowned instructor Ken Hackathorn said it was “the most reliable pistol all service.”

Some ammunition which has been shown to work well the Beretta 92 are:

-JHP Federal 115 grain.

Olin-Winchester Super Match 147 grain JHP.

-Federal Gold Medal Match 124 grain FMJ.

Winchester Ranger 127-grain + P +.

-Speer 100 grain frangible RHT cleanfire.

Pro-load 124-grain FMJ + P Qualifier.

Federal 123-grain FMJ.

-Black Hills 115 grain FMJ.

The 92 is a very accurate weapon due to the adjustment of the barrel and slide (but can be improved in the hands of a specialist dealer). Between the slider and the frame, however, there is some “play” to improve the reliability in environments where dirt. For this reason (and even surprising) gives better support groups pointing without him.

An important detail is that cheap ammunition with corrosive pistons very dirty gun, and use steel jacketed ammunition is likely to break the extractor. Some shooters warn of problems Cartuchería Blazer with aluminum cladding, while others stated the opposite. In any case, more experienced users (like Ayoob), ammunition always recommend using the highest quality, and that is also my advice (not just with this gun, but with all).

The barrel of the 92 is one of the most accurate among service weapons (perhaps even to the GIS), and if we change the standard for one special as manufactured by BarSto or Jarvis, can get groups like “match “. I’m talking about guns new or in very good condition, if we take a military Beretta with 200,000 dead and 2 tours given by Afghanistan, the accuracy will not be as good. Many U.S. military have complained about the accuracy of the M9, but most are, as I say, second-hand weapons that know their “working life”, and most likely be “crushed”. In Spain some Civil Guards who have received weapons used have also expressed disappointment, but I think this could be applied to any type of weapon.

Note that, with a barrel Jarvis 6 “+ P + ammo, can have powers equivalent to a .357 magnum.

A little known detail is that the end of tube protruding in front of the slide, and is able to design and install a suppressor screw it if the customer so desired. Unfortunately, as demonstrated later, the locking system is not suitable for this type of accessory.

Another striking feature of the design of the 92, the ramps are at the sides of the slide near the barrel, are used by some shooters and support to pull this piece, very dangerous action as some have noted that some shooters … Spanish is modified the abrasive belt Berettas placing them in this area precisely because their intention is to place well, although I never recommend.

On the other hand, the gun has a gauge cartridge in the chamber (just the fan), but the very Beretta USA discouraged rely on this device to see if the gun is loaded or not. Always check visually, and the Beretta 92 is one of the best weapons for this task, as pulling the slide, the area of ​​the room is fully exposed, unlike the other models (except the IMI Desert Eagle), where we only see the area which covers the ejection port.

In fact, the extractor is a problematic parts of this gun, because it tends to accumulate dirt or under the nail, or wear with use, resulting in failure of removal. You may also lose the spring force (has occurred in many military weapons).

– I can shoot the gun dry?

Like other conventional guns, it is not advisable Beretta shoot with the empty chamber 92, ie by squeezing the trigger and the hammer to fall, the air strikes the firing pin, supporting the inertia of motion. Usually the piece is broken at the height of the shoulder that prevents progress, once the grain looks stove (there are many testimonies of American soldiers on this topic).

The user manual, on page 16, aliviapercutores recommended, or otherwise, of a pod percussive.

– What kind of view I can install?

The sights of the Beretta series are somewhat small, inconvenient that remained in the compact Cougar 8000. However, the relatively low profile. On the contrary, if we install view profile adjustable up much in the style of the USP, with the aim less natural than other weapons as 1911.

A story on the front sight height of 92, is that sometimes, if we use a bikini-type case, or open bottom protruding in the spotlight, this tends to catch on the edge when trying draw. On one occasion, an American agent suffered this problem while had his finger on the trigger, shooting himself in the leg.

The traditional sights are unmarked, 3 point (M9 use all these), or with the rod-point system similar to the SIG. In the following link you can see how removing them:

– Are there different triggers for my Beretta 92?

The Beretta 92 is a classic gun DA / SA (the first shot double action occurs, and the following simple), with decocking system that leverages the same fin that the manual safety (as happens with other guns of its kind as the Star 28/30). However, there are also simple action alone modules (used in automatic versions 93R and 92CB, and in some models “custom” competition), or double action only (DAO), the latter are called 92DS (with manual safety fin) or only D (without this element). With DAO models also eliminates the crest of the hammer, so they are easily recognizable with the gun still in the holster.

In the U.S. it is common to find these double action only models, allowing a transition less traumatic in police revolvers used previously.

Regarding the hardness and travel, the double action trigger is the best, and the single action a bit hard (5-7 pounds) compared to other models. There are several tricks to lighten it, in fact is one of the most common changes in the Berettas: the first is to replace the mainspring by one of Colt 1911, reducing stress. However, this modification will void the warranty.

The second is to use a spring 92D (DAO), which has 3 turns less, so also is softer. Those who have no budget for the spring, have come to cut those 3 turns the serial spring … this has a price, and that while the trigger is smoother, the hammer will also fall with less force, causing problems percussion. Moral: It is better to master the double action trigger.

Although not the subject of the article, I will comment that the domain of the dual action is a process that requires modifying the gun (most immediately, polish the surface of the trigger finger to “slip” and firing mechanisms themselves for they are as gentle as possible), place your finger differently to traditional (supporting the last joint, not the tip), and practice much travel and reset continuously, without pausing or changing the pressure during the process. Passing the firing mechanism to simple action, no need to change the position of the finger, is something to see for yourself.
He criticizes much of the great distance from the back of the grip to the trigger. This makes women or men with small hands have difficulty compounded by the thickness of the grip (one of its biggest drawbacks). Fixed in 2 ways: by the handle type “Vertec” and with a lower trigger route was developed as a conversion unit for police, but is now also available for civilians. Another trick more “mundane” is replace by a thinner handle. From my experience with the 92, I find that actually the handle is bulky, but this factor is more apparent when shooting with one hand, not so much to do with two, as occurs with the USP standard.
Unlike other handguns, 92 is not very sensitive to the angle of empuñamiento (limp wristing) so that it can shoot from difficult positions without interruption.

– Where is the magazine catch?

The initial model was obviously ambidextrous (the catch was in the heel of the grip, the style of many European weapons early twentieth century). However, this position ruins the classical training of reloads with other pistols, so that the model “commercial” SB, was transferred to retained the usual situation in the birth of the trigger guard bow.

You can install an oversized charger retained (somewhat protruding outwards), for shooters who have problems in achieving it. In fact, this is one of the major problems of this gun, the deal with the grip size and access while at the controls. There are several tricks to solve this (almost all women and many men will suffer from small size): one is to use the thumb support to operate it, but of course will influence the charging technique. Another trick is to take the gun to a gunsmith and we place the hold button on the right side (is reversible, but better to do a technician), so that we can operate it with the index finger of the hand holding.

An interesting detail is that, like other parts of the weapon, since 2000 the magazine holder is made of polymer to remove weight.
– What types of chargers are there?

The original chargers Beretta or Mec-Gar does not give any problems, in fact the latter surprised by the thickness of the steel plate and the spring force. Bodies who bought chargers “deal” if they have had serious problems, as did the U.S. military in Iraq with the Canadian brand “Checkmate” or “Promag”. It also may be the case of a military magazine that has lost much use force in the spring, but then we realize quickly when loaded. A charger in disrepair cause a disruption in “fireplace”.

Of course, I would not recommend other chargers than Mec-Gar (in Beretta or any other gun). Currently this firm offers 18 cartridges chargers with the same size as the old 15 (no weapon protruding below), which is a good choice for consistency increasing firepower. 20 There are other protruding 19 m / m below the rim. In fact, as he could get, relatively popular chargers 20 shots of 93R.

Also, of course, there are also 10 shots from the “Clinton era”, though these are not very interesting …

-Hold the slide:

If one takes the position of two-handed shot, in which the thumbs are extended, it is easy to act on accidentally retained, and the slide does not remain locked after the last shot. To avoid this, we recommend shrink thumbs as is common to wield a gun.

We also recommend changing every 20,000 acerrojamiento block shots, but typically does not break up the 60,000. The firing pin and recoil spring should be replaced every 4,000 / 5,000 shots.


Although a weapon known for its reliability, the fact is that the Beretta 92 is not of those weapons that we drag through the mud, trampling and then shoot with it as usual. In fact, the sense that users transmit their police, is that it is a weapon of above average quality, and must be properly maintained. The manufacturer (as occurs in other models), recommends cleaning every time you shoot, or at least 1 time per month. In fact, those weapons that are exposed to large amounts of dirt / dust / sand (like the M9 in Afghanistan), it is recommended to be cleaned DAILY.

Regarding cleaning products, one that is quite widespread, TW-25B oil tends to evaporate in warm, dry and Berettas tend to malfunction. That is the great secret of the Beretta 92: to work well, they must be “dripping” oil (I exaggerate, of course, but I’m sure the reader will get the idea).

Specifically, the “lubrication” is full:

• Spending by recoil spring oiled cloth.
• Put a drop of oil on the edge of the flap secure.
• Another drop in the rear end of the firing pin (which looks to be struck by the hammer).
• Another in the tooth extractor.
• One front and one behind the python auto insurance.
• A fire in the grain.
• A couple of drops in the interior of the slide rails.
• A drop in the spring crank trigger.
• A drop on each side of the pivot that automatically lifts the safe.
• A drop in the catch of the hammer.
• A drop between the hammer and the frame on each side.
• A drop in block removal system.
• A drop in the trigger axis.
• Two drops behind the crank trigger.
• A drop in the area where the barrel acerroja generally this area should be lubricated well.

This seems an exaggeration, but as Massad Ayoob, “there is nothing worse than a dry Beretta”.


Some performance enhancing customizations are:

-Flared rim of the charger.

-Pulido firing mechanism (especially the improvement in single shot action).

-Pulido of the rear of the slide (the edges may cause injury to the shooter).

-You can change the standard hammer by one of the series ‘elite’, but the advantages are only aesthetic.

Although the barrel, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, is designed specifically for threaded and place a “silencer”, the closing rate IS NOT Walther, the weight imbalance produced by the accessory will break the slide.

-Several problems:

In this section, we can summarize the various problems I described in the other points:

-If the gun does not “work well”, we must remember if we’ve done the “break in” (500 rounds minimum), clean and oil as we have seen in the “maintenance”, and focus on magazines and ammunition. If these are OK, look at the extractor. If problems persist, ask someone to try if we are doing “limp wristing” without realizing (although 92 is not very likely to do, there is always a small chance). If you still have problems, change the recoil spring for Wolff.


-Personal conclusions:

My experience with the Beretta 92 is limited to sport, as it is one of the few models that I have used at work, or that I have owned particular. Chuck also some “informal” in which I have met with members of the Civil Guard, and where I could exchange views with them.

The truth is that complaints or issues with it are reduced to two points: the oversized undercover to carry it (also the weight, but this is not significantly greater than that of the old Star 30, I believe that this is due to many agents have special weapons “plastic”, and that if you notice the difference), and reliability issues. In that I owe them right because indeed there Berettas “first” and “second”. The first are made in Italy, and the latter those produced elsewhere (including the U.S.), which appear to have somewhat lower quality standards. The Berettas produced for the Civil Guard seem “bad”, and so seem the G1 PAMAS French (the steel contains tellurium, making it easier to manufacture but increases the risk of rupture).

When carrying the Beretta, there are small details to consider, for example, the tendency of the slider to be “open” to support the edges of the slide in the sleeve or in the body and pushing the piece back holster. This is especially true inner sleeve. There has also been activated for the magazine catch by pressing the gun against the body, and, as with other guns insured fin on the slide (in my case, I experienced with the Cougar), this piece tends to “dig” on our side being quite annoying. This can be fixed with a cover that incorporates a panel separating the gun body contact. Today there are many models of this type made kydex.

As I said I think the 92 is a big gun, but no more than other service as the standard USP or P-226, and in any case, taking a position based on the “kidney”, not notice it. I speak of course to go “undercover” in an outer sheath truth is I would not notice the difference between this and any other weapon. If you find it uncomfortable in the “appendix”, but I met a member of the GAR taking her there, but of course, measuring over 2 meters high …

On the behavior of fire, the handle being so great, “full” hand, especially when shooting with both, being a gun comfortable to use “real”, although we must suffer the rest of time.


2 thoughts on “The Beretta 92: love it or hate

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