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Occasionally, I hit the bossman up for ammo, but it always seems to come with a catch. Usually in the form of a gun or piece of gear thrust in my hands along with insistent demands for a review. I certainly don’t mind because I like guns and I like writing, but I must have gotten to platinum status in the last few months based on the recent haul. Specifically, he shoved two Beretta 92 pistols at me that had been kissed by the wizards at Wilson Combat . . .

I’d anticipated picking up some 5.56 for a torture test when I got a text that said, “I’ve got some Beretta 92s for you to test ASAP. Full zoot Wilson Combat.” I don’t speak that language, but knowing that I’d see Farago in a few days, I figured I’d understand soon enough. And sure as you’re sitting there reading this, I had my pickup parked next to his German automobile a few days later in the parking lot of my bank. While he and I loaded ammo and guns from one vehicle to another, he indicated that these were on loan from a nice gentleman in town. The directive from on high was that I had a week to shoot them, take pictures, test them, beat ’em up, and then return them. We both celebrated our freedom at doing a gun transaction free from bureaucracy and paperwork and then headed off in our separate directions.

I’m always nervous about having guns in my possession that don’t belong to me, but I’m extra double throw-down nervous when they belong to an individual instead of a large firearms manufacturer with insurance policies and profit margins. Naturally, I went directly to my house and stashed the guns in my safe. But I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t sit in my shop and dry fire them a bunch first.

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The first 92, a FS model, with the following worklist is a real gem.

  • Action Tune
  • Contour Magazine Well
  • Battlesight Rear Sight
  • Fluted Steel Guide Rod
  • Checker Frontstrap and Backstrap
  • Round Trigger Guard
  • Custom Carry Safety De-Cocker
  • G10 Grips with Wilson Combat Medallion
  • Armor-Tuff Complete Pistol
  • Wilson Combat Logo Laser Etch Slide
  • Oversized Checkered Magazine Release
  • Machine 92F/FS Fixed Front Sight for RED Fiber Optic Rod
  • Shorten Barrel to 4.7″ and Reverse Crown.

The second 92 is an official Wilson Combat edition Beretta 92G that includes the following.

  • M9A1 frame with 92A1 round trigger guard profile and improved checkering
  • Dehorned 92G Brigadier slide
  • Enhanced slide to frame fit
  • Trijicon tritium dovetail front sight
  • Stainless barrel with recessed crown, 4.7” Elite II length, black finish
  • Oversize steel magazine release
  • Steel de-cocking levers
  • Skeletonized Elite II hammer
  • D hammer spring
  • Lanyard loop pin
  • Lanyard loop, aluminum
  • Steel trigger
  • Wilson Combat rear u-notch battlesight
  • Wilson Combat fluted steel guide rod
  • G10 Dirty Olive grips with Wilson Combat logo medallion
  • Wilson Combat logo on slide
  • 3 15rd M9A1 Beretta sand resistant magazines
  • 9mm caliber only

This is the same gun we talked about here in November. The Wilson edition has a metric crapton of “things” and despite Farago’s assertion that there was some brand dilution going on in the partnership, I’d say the 92G is more a Wilson gun with Beretta badging than the other way around. Think Carroll Shelby Mustang as being more of a Shelby car than a Ford gussied up by a guy with a woman’s name.

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Whatever your opinion on the matter, know that I’ll detail the two guns in independent reviews to keep from breaking our review engine and making Leghorn’s head explode, but after 250+ rounds through both, I have some first blush impressions that are common to both guns.

Better than Stock?
I took both guns to the range along with a bone stock 92 on loan from yet another gracious benefactor. Loading up magazines of the same ammo, it was immediately apparent that the extra money spent on both guns was worth it. The sights were better, the triggers felt crisper, smoother, and better to the finger. They felt similar in my hands, and they all ate whatever I threw at them, but it was apparent that the Wilson guns have a bit more polish.

Aesthetics
The Wilson guns are hands down stunning in person, especially the official Wilson Combat one. Nary a machining mark could be found, the sights were ultra crisp, and the grips look fantastic. We’re talking about a gun designed by Italians here. It has to be beautiful. It must be. These are the people who brought us Ferrari, Lamborghini, and the phrase “Italian Supermode”. From the smoothly curved slide to the attractive yet functional backstrap, the exposed barrel, and even that ridiculous slide mounted safety, the 92 has sex appeal. Gobs of it.  I’ve always thought that. Now take an already pretty girl and hand her over to the folks at Wilson who make, arguably, some of the best looking 1911s on the market, and you’ve got a recipe for a winner.

Mystique
Nobody told me that when you have a Wilson gun in your hands, you have the potential for great snobbery. I got my first taste of this at my local indoor range. Since I had limited time with the guns, I needed to find a place as geographically close as possible that would let me burn through a case of 9 mm. Luckily, I have a range within 10 minutes of my house. But they are SUPER restrictive on range rules, and the various pock marks in the floor, ceiling, and walls speak to why. Besides the restriction on drawing from a holster, they also don’t allow double or triple taps. Each shot must have 1 sec between it or you’ll get a tap on the shoulder from one of the ROs. There I am blazing away with the 92G punching a (large) ragged hole in one of their targets when I got a tap on the shoulder and a stern warning about leaving one second between shots. I replied, “OK” and gave the universal thumbs up sign. As he left, an utterance straight from my soul escaped. “I’m punching ragged holes in a target with a goddamnned Wilson Combat pistol. How are they going to tell me how I can shoot it?”

Face red with embarrassment at my utterance, I slowed my shooting and wondered what had come over me. Soon after, I got another tap on the shoulder. “Hey you clearly know what you’re doing. Feel free to double and triple tap, just don’t do any mag dumps.”

These guns are powerful stuff man.

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Shootability
Mystique or not, I can’t shoot these as well as I can any of the plastic self defense pistols I’ve tried. And gosh I sure did try. I wanted, nay needed these guns to shoot well. This is the American military’s sidearm for crying out loud. John McClane killed about a million Eurotrash bad guys in Die Hard with a 92F. Martin Riggs shot that smiley face target in the very first Lethal Weapon with one. Yet here I was, sweat pouring down my face, shooting an iconic pistol built and tuned by Wilson effing Combat and I couldn’t make a ragged hole at seven yards if I wanted to.

As I’ve mentioned about a billion times here, I have smallish hands for a man. They’re slightly larger than your average woman’s hand. Small feet too for what that’s worth. The rest of the TTAG staff has average to large hands so I’m the one always screaming, “But this GLOCK doesn’t fit me” to anyone who will listen. And now, I can add the Beretta 92 series to the list.

I bet if you put either of these guns in a Ransom Rest, they’d bore holes in pie plates at 50 yards. There’s no doubt in my mind that removing the human element from the equation would reveal these as really accurate guns. But put human with un-naturally small hands behind it and this is a fair shooter on its best day.

Leaving the range dejected, I texted the owner of these to tell him that I’d swing by his office by the end of the week to return them. I explained that they were real swell and all, but I just couldn’t shoot them worth a damn. It might be worth noting that the owner is a combat vet who has been around guns since birth (I think), and has expended an uncountable number of rounds downrange on the taxpayer dime through the M9/92 platform. I fully trust that he can run and gun with just about anything you put in his hands. So when the reply text basically said, “Glad its not just me”, I felt marginally better.

Sitting in his office later that week, he told me that he’d always felt very comfortable operating the M9/92 platform, but try as he might, he could just never shoot them as well as others types of pistols. So as an experiment, he acquired these two guns, the creme de la creme of Beretta 92 variants, to see if it was pistol or operator. We both agreed, it’s the gun.

I hopped in my truck and made a beeline south for my duck hunting trip, but I just couldn’t shake this Beretta 92 thing. It was gnawing at my guts. Or that could have been the puffy Cheetos and Red Bulls. But it might have been those damn pistols. I tried to put it out of my head, but with a few hours of windshield time and some Creedence on the radio, I started to see a small Italian designer in my head.

Hunched over a table, he blew away the pencil shavings and eraser dust to reveal a beautiful, hammer fired, fighting gun. Hidden behind those beautiful curves was a gun that the world’s militaries could use. Picking up where His Holiness, John Moses Browning, left off with the 1911, this gun was hammer-fired, but carried a great deal more capacity. Where the 1911 would need to be reloaded after eight shots, this one could go double the distance. It must have had a frame-mounted safety with a big, ambidextrous paddle. And though it was a double stack design, it had been made to fit snugly in the hand. Equal parts 1911 and SIG P210, it must have been a beauty.

But then suddenly, our petite designer, proud of his work, felt a presence behind him. It was his boss, a government bureaucrat. “Is that your new design, young man?”

“Yes of course, sir! I’ve just completed it.”, our young designer exclaimed, beaming with pride.

“Nobody will buy this! Look at how easy it is to fire!” the bureaucrat screamed. “Make the safety smaller and locate it higher. Make it so you have to really think, and change your grip to get to it. How about up there on the slide? Also make it move in the opposite direction of every other manual safety that’s ever been made.”

“Oh, please no!”, our little designer exclaimed.

“And what is this crisp single-stage trigger? No, no, no. The Americans will never buy an unsafe gun like this. Make the first pull difficult. They like revolvers over there. Give them a long travel with a heavy first pull.”

Our designer dropped his head into his hands.

“Oh! But then make it so all subsequent shots have a totally different feel. Bring back that crisp single stage! But not three pounds. No, no. Too heavy. Make it six pounds. We can’t have this gun going off unintentionally.”

Tears started to roll down our designer’s cheeks as he stared out at the Italian countryside

“Now how will we take it off single stage mode? We can’t have American soldiers running around with a cocked and locked pistol and just a manual safety keeping them from touching one off. A ha! I know.”

“Oh please. You must stop.”, wept the little Italian.

“Make the safety a de-cocker! Yes, of course! When the safety is engaged, drop the hammer safely so that the Americans have the long double stage trigger back.”

Deflated, a small, “Yes sir” escaped the designer’s lips.

“One last thing, young man.”

“Yes sir?”

“Locate the trigger farther away from the grip. And give it a really aggressive curve. I’m sure you think the 1911’s flat face and straight pull make for a good trigger, but you’re wrong. I work for the government, so I know. Make it so that the trigger finger has to change angle and orientation over the course of the travel.”

“But of course” wheezed our designer looking up through puffy, swolen eyes.

I snapped out of it when I saw the sign letting me know that Port Aransas was a scant twenty miles away. I marveled at my discovery that Creedence, Red Bull, and fried corn puffs could be the key to finding my spirit animal, making a mental note that I might not need to take a trip to the desert to find peyote in order to achieve an enlightened state of being.

As I rolled into Port Aransas, it was time to put Italian handguns out of my mind in favor of Italian shotguns. But I couldn’t shake that feeling that this was a beautifully designed gun that had been worked over in such a way as to make it nearly impossible to fire. Between the weird trigger/grip ergonomics, the long double stage trigger pull, and the slide mounted safety that was hard to manipulate even when I wanted to do it, I heard the voice of the designer calling through the decades, “Please save me.”

These guns seem designed to thwart the user from firing them well. I’d never met a gun that was designed to not be fired until I fired a Beretta 92. And as good as Bill Wilson is, I don’t think even he can answer the pleas from an Italian figment of my imagination.

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73 Responses to A Tale of Two Beretta 92s

  1. You forgot the break-in period. Go someplace warm and use it as a pillow. Combat belt (padded type) drop-leg Safariland holster with the push-down flip-forward release, double mag pouch on the mount, rolled up real nice.

    You forgot the training class. First, listen to Gunny say “It doesn’t matter what we give you to shoot, it’s all about shot placement.” Watch Gunny as he (without turning his head to look at the target) draw from his POS green issue holster with a funky drop-leg addition strap and empty a mag into the ‘head’ of a green-dog silhouette target at approx. 30 meters. Do Ewok chant in admiration. Praise GOD, Thank Uncle Sam.

    Come home and buy one. P.S. they come in .40 S&W in the 96.

    Notice how the Wilson Combat MOD takes more off the weapon than it puts on? ; )

    • I’ve changed my name to Jeff in CO since there are other Jeff’s on here. The Wilson version (only available through their website) is only available in 9mm. They are only producing 1,000 of them in 4 runs of 250. Currently, all of the first run are sold. I’d like to get one!

      I have an Elite 1A in 9mm with the Vertec grip, brigadier slide, and rail. I also have an Elite II in .40, but it used the original frame, not the Vertec. Plus, the all-black Novak sights were useless for a combat pistol (I changed mine out to Trijicon’s years ago). When this came out with the Elite II elements, the M9A1 railed frame, and the Wilson improvements, it immediately went to my “wish list.” When the next run is available, I’m tempted to sell off my 1A and replace it with this! My only wish on this one is that they would have used the Vertec frame! The 1911 grip angle and the shorter length of pull make it that much better!

  2. New Sig 320, fresh outta the box, NO BREAK IN PERIOD. Shot 2″ Groups at 20 yards, Repeatedly. Sweet trigger, no need for a custom job.

    • Yes but the 320, much like the Glocks, lack any sort of style.

      I don’t have the chops to shoot a 2″ group at 20 yards with any gun, so I need to look really good doing it. Savvy?

  3. I have one and can shoot it almost as well as my favorite 1911, which is probably not saying much… I also recently picked up a Heirloom Precision Hi Power and can’t shoot it nearly as well as the 92G or my 1911. But I shoot all of these way better than my Glock 17 or Springfield XD.

    But I have big manly hands so maybe that is the difference? 😉

  4. Nice review. I couldn’t shoot mine for squat in the service either. Ive always wanted to buy one just to prove that Im not actually a terrible shot, but I cant hang with that nasty WARNING billboard on the frame.

    I see its on the no doubt beautiful (and expensive) Wilson version too. Bleh….

    • The CZ platform does seem to elevate the game of the double stack fighting 9, just wish they finished the drill on their trigger!

  5. Having been away from guns since I enrolled at UC Berkeley in 1962, with no place nearby to shoot, I was without guns for decades. Up to then I had owned and frequently shot several 22’s, shot 22 and 32 special revolvers, 12 double barrel and 16 ga pump shotguns, 32 Winchester Special Model 1894 carbine and a 270 Winchester Mauser action rifle. I am partly deaf to prove it.

    I recently went to a pawn shop to look at handguns. I fell in love with the Taurus PT 92 9mm, an improved copy of the Beretta 92 made in the old Beretta factory in Brazil. I love beautifully designed things, and that pistol was beautiful in looks and how it felt and shot. It’s frame mounted safety/ decocker is a big improvement over the Beretta slide mounted one. It is a joy to own, shoot and just look at.

    • I’ve owned at least three different Taurus PT92s and really liked them a lot… especially the frame mounted safety. However, now that Tyler brings it up, I don’t seem to shoot the current one as well as I shoot other guns in the case. I always fingered it was just me having a bad day. I’m glad to know I now have an excuse for my targets looking more like a shotgun patterning than pistol practice!

  6. I’m looking forward to targets. The 92s I’ve shot were capable of pretty decent accuracy, and we’re a pleaure to shoot. I’m currently looking at a Sig 226 Tac Ops as my next purchase, but the Wilson 92 looks damn sexy.

  7. Funny, my dad shoots a 92 very well. He is a very good shot in general, but the 92 was his go to handgun for a long time.

    Although, he claims to not shoot 1911’s very well. So maybe it’s an either/or situation. You can’t be good with both.

    • I used a 92F as my duty gun for years and years. I’ve got small’ish hand myself but after all the rounds down range at the academy, it just syc’d up.

      Some decades later I still shoot that old pistol better than any of my newer pistols. The exception being the M&P CORE 9 from a comfortable isosceles. That FA is one very accurate pistol. Can’t shoot it on a course as well as the old Italian, but static ‘target’ shooting it is a winner.

  8. This is a gun review. Did I miss the part where you put a sticker price on these guns or is it, if you have to ask you can’t afford it?

  9. Part of the problem with the 92 is the loose tolerances. This does help alot with dirt or neglection in keeping a firearm functioning which is important in combat. As far as the double action i prefer it for carry but as a recent article has pointed out the military doesn’t put much faith in our service members to operate firearms that may take forethought.

    • Yep. It’s a vicious catch 22: The military doesn’t trust it’s servicemembers enough to use the weapons platform consistently, but doesn’t provide the necessary funding, time or place to practice with them. I used to be a training NCO with one of my units, getting range time for anything was a bear. And good luck rescheduling one, particularly if you had to cancel due to, I don’t know, maybe because it was the same week we were replacing ALL our M16a2s with brand new M4s?

  10. In single action I can shoot a stock 92 as well as my Hi Power. I can’t hit squat at 5 yards in double action. As a benchmark I the only time I have scored 100% on my range modified standard DoD/IC “I get to carry a gun qual” is with a Hi Power. The best I have done with a 1911 or XD/m is 46 out of 50. I don’t see what a twice the price Wilson Combat 92 is going to do for anybody except snob appeal.

    • Well, take an out of the box Beretta 92A1, should set you back about $650. Then add decent sights, a set of VZ grips (which are superior to the stock ones in every imaginable way), and have the safety converted to decocker only and you’re already spending over $1k for a couple sensible upgrades. The Wilson brig tac is not unreasonably priced by any stretch.

      • The FS 92 is out of the box a quality pistol. It doesn’t need fancy sites or special grips. The only reason I have been uncomfortable carrying one besides the double action trigger is the slide mounted safety. As a long time 1911 user the wrong way safety doesn’t work for me. It works for my wife and you don’t want to get into a gunfight with her.

        • “Doesn’t need fancy sights or special grips”

          “Need” depends on the person shooting it and if you’re perfectly happy with your Beretta more power to you. Maybe some people have different preferences, fancy that.

        • I agree. Some people want a $3K Wilson Combat over a $500-$700 RIA or Springfield 1911 even though the later is more reliable but as we gun owners say its the Bill of Rights not the Bill of Needs.

        • I’d generally agree, but the first thing I did to mine was replace the grips. I didn’t like the sharp checkering under my thumb so I got Beretta’s wood grips that aren’t checkered all the way up. They are a little thicker than the stock ones though, so forget about those if you have small hands (or average size hands for that matter).

          It would also be nice if the front sight on the FS was removable like on the A1. I doubt I’d change them out, but there are sights I like better. With the FS you’re pretty much stuck with what you’ve got.

  11. I am very confused. Im a bit dismayed that the author thinks that you cannot shoot a 92 well. Tell that to Ernest Langdon…

    • I’ve seen plenty of people shoot fantastically with the Beretta. I’m not competitive but I have been shooting the USMC qual course at 357 out of 400. I think anyone saying they can’t shoot a 92 well is making excuses.

      Seven yards? You can’t make a small hole at seven yards? You should be able to do that with a derringer. How are you reviewing guns if you can’t shoot at seven yards consistently?

      I have no idea why people complain about the decocker safety or the fact that it’s mounted on the slide. It’s a perfectly good design. There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

      • Eh issues with your argument.

        What’s better, fire controls that you have to shift your grip to operate or ones you don’t?

        Fire controls that follow historical precedent or buck historical precedent in their operation?

        Fire controls that can disable the guns operation using an “over the top” slide release or fire controls that stay out of the way in manipulation of the slide? This is an issue that is compounded by the minimalist slide used with the 92/M9 design.

        Finally, if it was a “good” design, other MFGs would be using it as well since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Other than the Ruger P series (now discontinued), I cannot off hand think of another slide mounted safety/decocker.

        Further, if the Beretta design was “good” then competitive shooters at the highest levels would embrace it. I can think of one who runs the Beretta and a bevy of shooters who run Glocks, CZ’s/clones, 1911/2011s.

        There’s no doubt that the 92 platform is capable in the right hands, but it’s the firearm equivalent of a really funny joke that nobody else is intelligent enough to get.

        • I can certainly see why the highest level of shooters would choose something besides a Beretta 92. It’s like saying that no one drives a Wrangler in Formula 1. It’s the wrong tool for that type of shooting. But as a self defense side arm, it’s very good, especially if you’re already carrying a rifle too.

        • Skyler, I’m probably going to have to respectfully disagree with you. The problems with the design that compromise efficiency actually will have more detrimental effects upon the less-practiced shooter.
          And, when it comes to self-defense, any impediment to efficiency is a serious issue.

        • RenegadeDave,

          Re: “Beretta 92 not used in competition” – Just FYI, the Beretta 92 was used to win USPSA Production Nationals in 3 of the last 5 years. So it seems to work pretty well in competition.

  12. Meh. Last time I had to re-qualify for watch standing, I shot a 239 out of 240 on the flight deck of a Destroyer while drifting around the Gulf of Aden. It was beat up piece from our armory. I can shoot a Beretta M9 but I sure don’t like them. Ergonomics just aren’t for me. That damn safety is in the wrong place for my thumb to reach. I know some guys that love ’em though. Wilson will make plenty of capital.

  13. Sorry, when we got our first issue of M9’s our qual scores skyrocketed compared to 1911A1’s still rattling about from WWII and before. I had two whose sn’s tracked from before it was type standard, X-3911 and X-3959. Except for one dwarvish 19D buck sgt who stood about 5′ even (small hands, I get it). Couldn’t hit the broad side of any of the targets with it. I hinted to adjoining lane firers that it might be nice if they missed once or twice on his target. He was rather miffed when he found more holes on his target than he had bullets to fire. 😉 Thank the Cav God dude, you do want to make staff, right? Bolo and remain a buck, get my drift? He was a good egg.

    • I remember that trick. Several times, actually, last time was a die-know-mite blonde Lt. who had already failed the course twice, once more and she would lose the primo job for the Gen. she had earned(?) because qual was required. RO asks if I have my expert marksman badge, then tells me (and apparently others) that out of her last 6 shots she needs 13 hits to qualify. She passed.

  14. 92/96 Berettas, you just need to find the ammo it likes.I was ready to throw my 96 away. I was dead set on using 180 grain ammo in mine for a long time. One day I wound up with some 155 grain bullets for my reloading..what a change. Put that target at 60 feet and I`m still smacking the bullseye. It`s like a new gun was born. They are accurate guns, just find what they like.

  15. Am i the only one that notices small things that don’t affect the way a gun shoots?

    In this case we have pistols that Wilson Combat has lavished care and attention on but all I see are the grip panel screws that have not been properly countersunk to be both flush with the surface they are on and with their slots aligned.

    Preferably to either vertical or horizontal or to the angle of the grip or to be aligned with the slide (horizontal again in this case) i don’t much care which one the custom pistol smith chooses but a choice should be made and then adhered to by any top line custom shop.

    Yes even just making the screw slots line up at the same random angle on any given side of the gun i would give them a pass as it shows some effort was made.

    i don’t expect it on the cheap mass production firearms but at this level ignoring these touch of class items just bothers me.

    end inane rant on my part

  16. I have a Taurus 99 that is a knockoff of the Beretta, only the safety goes in the right direction. Have had it for 28 yrs. and i love it. Only thing, it is not as accurate as my Hi Power.

  17. good review, Tyler. you called it the way you saw it. I get tired of reading gushing reviews about how great such and such a gun is. nice to read what you actually thought and felt. no BS, just what this 1200 dollar beauty did or didn’t do for you.. my son’s police department went with the beretta 92 about 20 years ago, and most of the officers were very skeptical of them. he attended an FBI course, and fired about 1500 rounds without cleaning just to see what it would take. said after the two weeks of training they were making head shots at 100 yards. so, this gun works for some folks, and not so good for others.

  18. I recently picked up a 92FS Inox that I’ve been wanting for ages, and had finally saved up for. Smoothest pistol I’ve had the pleasure of using so far, and the only thing I’ve done to it was get the metal trigger and D-spring upgrade kit from Beretta (it was only $25). I’m also planning on making a set of wooden grips for it, although it fits my hands extremely nicely whereas I can’t even reach the slide stop on a 1911 without some finger gymnastics. I must say though that this pistol is extremely easy to work on.

    This is also the first gun that might actually have a mind of it’s own… Either that or it only likes me. First time at the range I put several mags through without issue, but the first round that my GF shot after me sent the brass right down her shirt. Needless to say she doesn’t like it anymore.

    As for shootability, I put all 15 rounds in a space smaller than my fist at 7 yards, pretty much as fast as I felt comfortable (maybe slightly faster than 1 per second). Since that’s only slightly worse than what I can do when I take my time and concentrate, I’d say that it works decently well for me.

  19. So it’s not just me, then? I tried a friend’s (bone stock) 92 at the range a couple years back and couldn’t have hit a barn from the inside.

    What a beautiful piece of prose; T.K, your small hands are those of poet.

  20. It is indeed refreshing to see a review, even a first-look one, that calls out the 92’s ergos.
    We have many 9s in our classes, and one class in particular, featuring a “Gun Buffet”, always includes the 92.
    Rarely do any of our students express an interest in buying one.
    Women with larger hands often like the relatively easy slide rack but still, no takers at the counter.
    I like handguns and so does my partner/significant other. We bought the 92 for business purposes and between the two of us, we’ve put 20 rounds through it. Yes, we can shoot it okay, but overcoming the challenges the trigger and ergonomics present just isn’t so much fun.
    Just to spite the Beretta mystique, I will dredge ours up and run it at next opportunity, to remind myself of what our students find out every month on the third Wednesday evening.
    And to spite the gun itself, I’ll bring along my ancient Taurus 92C, acquired for a princely $175, which features a vastly superior safety system and possesses a charm of cheapness unlike any other gun I own.
    Meanwhile, Governor Le Petomane, kindly refrain from shooting your revolvers, as they have considerable value and some of us would like to have them once you’ve served your term. Bullet damage will reduce their utility.
    Even in their pajamas.

    • Ha! I shoot Rugers. I might sell them after I’ve run a hundred thousand rounds through them. Should be good and broke in by then. Get back in touch in 2075.

      The 92 is kind of a love it or hate it weapon, which admittedly probably isn’t the best choice to thrust on everyone in the military. I have large hands and I like the safety up high. Carried mine daily for a year, but I decided I just like the revolvers better. It’s still my SHTF pistol though.

  21. The 92FS seems to be a love it or leave it pistol. Either it works for you or it doesn’t and partly that is the pistol’s grip size.

    After wanting a 92FS for ~15 years I had a chance to purchase one. I had remembered shooting my cousin’s and noted I was a much better shot with it than with my Walther P99 .40 cal (which I love). Then I got into my rifle phase and never got around to getting the 92FS. But I’d alway thought “some day . . . . ”

    Finally “some day” rolled around and I went shopping at my LGS. They had an 92FS Inox and an M9 I could fondle in the store. Sure enough, they felt gooooooood in hand. I had been worried about the horror stories of bad ergonomics and concerned the the 92FS wouldn’t fit me. I don’t have particularly large hands but the pistol felt comfortable in the store. It was a pleasure to operate a full metal framed pistol after a decade and a half with my P99 (which I also love).

    Then I went home and did more research as I knew there were many variations. Holy cow are there variations.

    Ultimately I opted for the Beretta M9. I’ve always liked the classic 92FS profile but the current generation of 92’s have a tapered dust cover under the slide. The taper was a design change to beef up the frame to handle the 96FS’s .40 cal diet, though that pistol is no longer on sale from Beretta. The 92/96 shared the same frame so the 92 got the taper, too, and still has it. It’s subtle but the taper gives the 92’s other wise sleek silhouette a double chin. Not cool and I’m picky about aesthetics.

    The M9, however, still uses the classic, thin and straight dust cover. Presumably due to it still being manufactured to military specifications. Regardless, that’s the way I went. Because aesthetic. The M9 also had “the snowman” sites. I’m not sure what else to call them. Instead of two white dots on the rear site, there is a half crescent moon under the center notch. When the front site dot is in place in looks like a snow man and said snow man felt more comfortable for me to line up on target than a tradition three dot site.

    Right off the bat I did notice the heavy trigger pull and ordered the “D” hammer spring before I went to the range. Took all of 10 minutes to swap that in and it was a big improvement. Cost: $6 from Brownells for a factory Beretta spring.

    First time at the range I had a smile on my face. The accuracy I remembered from 15 years ago was still there. Right out of the box I had very good (for me) shot groupings about 2/3 to 1/2 my normal spread and several bullseye or near bullseye shots (probably more luck than skill). Regardless, it was much better than with my P99. The pistol felt good to shoot and I could reach most of the controls comfortably enough. Though I’d prefer a paddle mag release like on my Walther to the button. I like having the decocker on the Beretta but do note it’s a little clunky in it’s location. Not sure I’d change it, though. Slide release is good and comfy.

    I can see where people complain about the 92FS but for me, I love it and I’m thrilled with it’s acquisition.

    • In addition to the tapered dust cover the FS and A1 (railed dust cover) have a little material removed at the top of the backstrap to shorten the reach to the trigger. Doubt it makes much difference but if you compare them side by side you can see the difference.

  22. I was in Germany during 91 through 93 stationed in Kitzingen, Germany. I was initially issued a 45 then got the Beretta shortly after. I purchased my first semi auto at the Rod and Gun club on base it was and still is my favorite, a CZ-85 the only thing I’ve ever had done to it was change the sights. A total price at the time $490.00 plus the multitude of ammo since. Great fit for me and more accurate than I am. I sold it a while back and regret it every time I go to the range.

  23. Strangely enough, my buddies 92FS in .380 is the only hand gun my GF feels comfortable shooting, other than my Walther P22. She’s 5’0″ (really 4’11.5″ but don’t tell her that).

  24. Well, since they are both my guns I guess I should chime in. First, Mr. Kee, good review, and thanks for shooting the guns for me.
    As a little background, the FS (red handles) already had several, probably closer to 5, thousand rounds through it before I sent it to WC. I’ve had the gun for a while. I wanted WC to make me a carry version of the gun, and that’s what they did. And they executed that perfectly. It’s what a carry/home/car defense 92FS should be. Note the single side safety, and what you can’t see is that the safety on the right side is shaved flush with the frame. Nothing catches. The gun is so, so much better than the stock gun in how it feels in the hand and how the sights line up on target during fast fire. I am much more accurate during fast fire with this gun than before I sent it to WC.
    The G model (green handles) is new. This is the combat gun as the Army should have ordered it. On most of the combat units I was in, we left the safety off, round chambered, hammer down, in a SERPA holster that completely covered the trigger guard. Because taking that safety off when you just had to draw and fire (such as under fire in weapon transition) was not working out for anyone. The de-cock only is how it should have been. Same for the checkering, the grips, the trigger reset, the rear sight, all of it is done better.
    I kinda feel like Mr. Kee above, but more like some Berretta designer finished the original version of the gun, then the DoD said, make it cheaper to produce and harder to negligently fire. Which is probably exactly what happened, to the detriment of the gun’s actual combat effectiveness.
    Wilson Combat fixes that stuff. They are much, much better versions than the original. And I really do probably have 100,000 rounds or more through 92FS pistols. And I have large man hands.
    These guns shoot better, and still go bang every time, without fail, no matter what I put through them. My duty guns shot well enough for government work even when they were dusty or grimy. I shot them often, even in Afghanistan, and it was a rare thing for me to need to do anything other than swab the bore and blow it out with some canned air. After WC’s work, all of that has remained the same.
    But….it’s still a Berretta 92. And that means that the trigger, even after the WC “action tune”, is still ok. But just ok. It means the accuracy of these guns is good, maybe even very good in the right hands, but not great, especially in the DA mode. SA, I can drill 3″ groups at 25 yards all day long, maybe better with good ammo. But that’s not really very impressive at all. And the DA is a very different story. To be fair, I generally shoot DA for crap, which is why I wanted someone with more DA only experience to shoot it. Again, thank you Mr. Kee.
    But I just can’t shoot this gun that well.
    Can I, and have I, shot perfect qualification scores with it? Both right and left handed on many occasions. And I hate to tell all of my mil friends out there, but that is a low bar for excellence. Very low.
    Is it good enough to be a fine combat gun? Hellz yeah it is. As with all 92s, it does help, a lot, if you have big hands, and it really helps if you don’t use that safety.
    Long story short, they are good enough guns made way better. But I, like the author, still shoot them ok. Maybe even pretty good, but just not great. I’m still working on that.

    As an aside, I carried one of these two guns OWB but concealed for my first vacation in a whole lot of years for a couple of weeks about a month ago. I’m 6’1 and 190lbs, and they are still an absolute MF to conceal, even with the custom WC high rise concealment holster and a light jacket.

  25. @Chuck in IL I definitely should have put a sarcasm disclaimer in there. That was a spin off of a meme that was on oafnation.com a year or two ago. In that instance, the celebrity was Chris Costa. Chris Costa? Never heard of her… That was the meme.

  26. I, too, have small hands. I gave up on my 92FS a while ago. I have, however, fixed the grip issue. I purchased a set of Trausch Grips for the 92. These were made in France, I believe, and the maker/designer died right around the time of my order so there was a several week/months delay in getting delivery. I assume they are still being made. These grips have made all the difference in the world. They are extremely thin and have made the pistol a natural pointer for me.
    The action and trigger still stink, however, and I am much happier with my other 9mm options.

  27. Wonderful pistols, nice review.

    I don’t know what you can’t shoot them I find the 92 and 96 to be very easy and user friendly to shoot. Just the other day I was popping bottles at 60 yards with my 96, and the weekend before my friend handed me his old 92 and I had no problem nailing a few cans 30-40 yards away.

    But IMHO I don’t find any 1911’s to be that accurate, I much more prefer JMB’s last pistol the Hi Power. The Hi Power is still my favorite 9mm pistol.

  28. Good, honest review. Thanks Tyler. personally, I’ve never been a fan of the 92 either, although with my normal-to-large hands it wasnt hard to shoot on the semi-annual Army pistol qualification course. as others have noted, the safety/decocker is in the wrong place. the DA trigger pull is not very good, although SA seemed OK. it is also a little large and heavy for what marginal military utility you get: an “ok” pistol with ineffective 9mm NATO ball.

  29. I really want fiber optic/light tube sights on my Taurus PT-917. It is basically the PT-99 with a shorter barrel. Removable front and rear sights. My research has not given me an answer but has led me to this review. Can anybody point me in the right direction? Are the sights on these pistols compatible with other 92s (Taurus)?

  30. I really don’t care for the sarcastic writing style on TTAG.com. It seems so “gen Y”. It just comes across as “Im a gun writer on the internet” with snark.

    I can assure this author that all he needs is some trigger time and training. Almost every advanced shooter I know considers the Beretta 92 the class of the DA/SA segment and as good or better than any of the polymer guns. I will repeat what a well known world class instructor once told me. He said “glocks are great for most shooters but hardly any of the worlds top shooters choose a glock”. At the time I was all glock all the time. I said “why is that” and he replied “I don’t know….they just don’t…they seem to all gravitate to the 1911 even though it is the least reliable”. The instructor had a robar tuned para compact in his holster. Come to think of it the only people that I know that bad mouth beretta are former military with little to no experience shooting the M9 and novice shooters. Go figure. I assure the author that the 92 will out shoot the polymer gun with an equally skilled shooter and in my experience the 92 is stone cold reliable. Modern glock and m&p are not.

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