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It seems I can’t throw a rock these days without hitting someone who swears up and down that the Beretta 93R is the best gun ever created…because they’ve used it in a video game. Despite the limited use of the firearm in the wild, its unique design and ubiquitous inclusion in first person shooter games have made it one of the more commonly used and discussed machine pistols ever designed. Hype aside, though, is it any good? I mean in real life. Ardent fanboy testimonials aside, I had to find out for myself . . .

Let’s get this out of the way up front: yes, the 93R in question really is nickel plated. I know, it’s positively pimp-tastic. Apparently this gun came into Kevin Brittingham’s posession after it was used as a prop in a movie, hence the blinged-out color scheme. But the internal parts are all original, and that’s what really matters.

93R, c Nick Leghorn

The 93R (R for “raffica” or “burst”) was Italy’s answer to the need for a concealable firearm that could put a whole lot of lead downrange very quickly. When the 93R came along, the MP5 was a still recent invention and apparently despite the H&K’s cool design, the Italians needed something less controllable and more concealable. So Beretta took their then-relatively new model 92 handgun, added a few bells and whistles and called it the 93R.

The safety for the gun is mounted on the same pin as the mode selector (and mounted to the frame instead of the slide, for once). but the two look and feel very different to keep possible confusion to a minimum. The safety is rounded and the mode selector is a flat switch. The gun is available in only a 3-round burst option, not the traditional full auto. The switch is slightly difficult to engage on a flat range, so I’m guessing that trying to switch from semi to burst under pressure would be downright impossible.

93R, c Nick Leghorn

First on the list of unique features is the skeletonized stock. In order to make the gun more controllable in full auto mode, Beretta added an optional stock that attached to the toe of the grip. The stock itself folds up into a package roughly as long as the barrel of the gun and not much thicker. It’s a nifty design and actually works pretty well. Then again, the shape and location of the stock make getting a cheek weld damn near impossible. It’s more of a brace than a stock, really.

Another change to the external design is the elongated triggerguard and angled foregrip. Long before Magpul made them cool, the 93R sported a folding angled foregrip that allowed the shooter to apply some downward pressure on the muzzle and keep it from rising too fast in burst mode. The triggerguard was also elongated to allow the shooter to hook his support-hand thumb in there, providing a little more stability.

93R, c Nick Leghorn

The 93R’s barrel was also extended to allow for the addition of a compensator to re-direct the gasses in an upward direction. The idea is to help reduce barrel climb. Unfortunately, despite all of those changes, none of them really help much. The gun is still the least controllable full-auto firearm I have ever fired.

The 93R near impossible to keep on target. Anything over 10 yards and all bets were off after the first round. In a close quarters environment, especially where stealth is required, I could see it being an effective firearm and a good choice. But if there is any other option available — and I mean ANY other option — I’d take it. Given how hard it is to control, I might actually prefer a Smith J-frame over this thing in full-auto.

The ergonomics of the gun itself are actually pretty good, especially the angled foregrip. It’s a very well thought out design and the fit and finish on the gun are excellent. It looks like the slide was milled with a little more meat left on the gun, probably in an effort to increase durability. Machine pistols have a nasty tendency for the slide to snap in half while firing and cause serious injury to the operator, so extra material there is much appreciated.

93R, c Nick Leghorn

Overall, the Beretta 93R is a good gun for what it is. It’s nicely designed, works well enough and is downright pretty to look at. But when you actually get a chance to get your hands on one, you find out pretty quickly that it’s more trouble than its worth. Which, strangely enough, describes Italian women pretty well, too.

Let me put it this way: I had the 93R on a range for a couple hours with a practically inexhaustible ammo supply and after two magazines, I didn’t feel the need to shoot it anymore. It’s a nifty design and a great looking gun, but when you’re actually shooting it the novelty wears off fast. It may be the king of the machine pistols, but it’s not something that I’d use in combat except as an extreme last resort.

Beretta 93R

Caliber: 9mm
Barrel: 125mm
Size: 240mm
Weight: 2.5 lbs. empty
Capacity: 20 round magazine
MSRP: $65,000

Ratings (Out of Five Stars):
All ratings are relative compared to the other weapons in the gun’s category.

Accuracy: *
Accurate at “bad breath” distance, but not much further.

Ergonomics: * * * *
The stock sucks, but the handgun is golden otherwise.

Ergonomics Firing: * *
Did I mention that the stock sucks?

Customization: N/A

Overall Rating: * *
It’s pretty…and that’s about all it has going for it. There’s a reason that the 93R never went into widespread usage, namely, it sucks. Except when used in video games, apparently.

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  1. I think part of it is that it is a cool looking piece of kit. I’m aware of the limitations, but even before the Robocop “Auto-9” was introduced, the 93R looked badass and artisitc all at once. Typical Beretta.

    What is it good for? It’s a supermodel. Nothing useful about it but it looks pretty.

    • Don Pendleton’s Mack Bolan (aka “The Executioner”) seemed to be able to deploy it quite effectively. I don’t know what Leghorn’s problem is…

      —read the above with a healthy does of sarcasm—

  2. I don’t think I’d use any machine pistol in combat, except as an extreme last resort.

    Let’s see a comparison to a Dillinger 1911 replica with the Thompson front grip and high cap .38 super mag.

  3. Come on nick you’re supposed to dolphin dive to a prone position every noob knows that’s what you gotta do to be accurate.

  4. Ditto for the Glock 18: perhaps useful as a room broom used behind a ballistic shield, but that’s about it. And even that is a stretch. It looks cool, though.

    • Couldnt agree more. I used to think the Glock 18 was the gun to have. Then I rented one at a range. Its true what they say, never meet your heroes.

      • Ditto on the Glock 18. Got to shoot one for a bit and after emptying one 33 round mag in short bursts, I was satisfied. Fine in standard semi-auto (it’s basically a 17 then) but damn near useless in full auto mode. Even when you’re expecting and anticipating it, it’s 10+ degrees of muzzle rise for each round. If you tried to dump the whole 33 round mag at once, you’d probably end up shooting the ground behind you after clearing the sky of birds and small planes on the way there.

  5. Did anyone try it without using the shoulder stock and instead assume a Weaver stance? or locked Isocelese? (Forgive my spelling). Seems like that might be a better way to control it, because that shoulder stock has both arms bent at lot at the elbows, offering little in support against recoil.

  6. I wanted to hate you Nick but after that honest review I just cannot do it. You get to play with some nice toys.

    • Yes and no… it’s not a true MSRP in that its not what the mfr would suggest you pay for it, but it’s roughly what you’d expect to pay for one if you found it, with wild variations. Thank the Hughes amendment for that.

  7. I’d rather drop money on a MAC of some sort. That I could at least theoretically ever afford.

  8. I once got to drive a Lamborghini Diablo. It felt like a claustrophobic poorly designed uncomfortable go cart. Plus, since it was the same age (roughly) as that 93R it had a bevy of electrical problems. BUT, it did look like sex on wheels, just like that 93R looks like sex with a trigger. All that being said, if I had 65k to spend, I would split it between a Tommy gun at roughly 28k and a nice 1968 Camaro SS at 37k and be a happy man.

    • I don’t have any firsthand experience, but what I understand is that, up until the Volkswagen Group buyout, Lamborghini’s engineers had a tendency to forget about silly things like the driver until the last minute. As far as the electrical problems you experienced, it’s a car, it was made in Italy, most of those “issues” were probably more factory standard.

  9. Quit ragging on video games. I understand it’s vaguely off-putting but there doesn’t seem to be any harm in getting started with guns from there.

    I was raised by people that were very anti gun and here I am. I learned everything I knew about guns from one screen or another. It’s been a bumpy ride but now I EDC a sig mk25 every day, no days off.

    As for the 93R, it’s almost got it all. Its rare (mystique), this one is gorgeous and it has a great background. It’s not very practical but we all know the “need” discussion is bull anyway.

    Maybe IMI can do for machine pistols what they did for bullpups.

  10. ” the Italians needed something less controllable and more concealable”


    I’ve loved this gun since Broken Arrow, back when it played on TV like 10 times per day. Cool to see somebody actually get one in their hands and try it out!!! Thanks, Nick 🙂

  11. Forget the Beretta, I want to know where Nick scored “a practically inexhaustible ammo supply” in 9mm.

  12. At one time Argentina? Brazil? had modified and issued a 1911 style .45 FA capable sidearm. As far as my foggy memory serves it was a complete disaster. I don’t think they even had shoulder stocks or forward grips.

    Maybe something for Nick to look into since he’s on a retro roll now.

  13. I see the gun from time to time in Battlefield 3. Only when playing in Gun Master mode which, for the uninitiated, requires you to get multiple enemies down with progressively better weapons, starting with a pea-shooter.

    Can’t stand the thing in the game. It’s hard to handle and inaccurate. Outside of Gun Master, the only folks I see using it seem to be getting help with their aim.

    In which case, I’m sure it’s great.

  14. What video games is this in? I play a lot and have never seen this in a game or heard of it being in one. I have seen a Glock 18 though.

  15. PROTIP: go to and search for a gun and you can see all movies and videogames that weapon/family is in.

  16. “Despite the limited use of the firearm in the wild, its unique design and ubiquitous inclusion in first person shooter games have made it one of the more commonly used and discussed machine pistols ever designed”

    I went to and there are more games than I would have thought that have this, however, only about 7 of those games are anything that anybody really played. I’ve played many of those and couldn’t have told you it was in them so the term “ubiquitious” I think is a stretch.

  17. Would adding a suppressor be a feature that could tame the hard to control 93R?

    I’m guessing, that the barrel with machined exhaust slots would need to be changed.
    Slap a solid barrel and an Osprey suppressor on this and you might have something.
    Pfft-pfft-pfft, pfft-pfft-pfft. That might be a lovely sound to hear, plus greater control.
    What if? Anybody?

  18. Call me a skeptic, but I doubt you’ve had a chance to ‘make the effort’ with enough Italian women to justify your brief appraisal of them.

  19. I think I’d go with a full auto Broomhandle Mauser for its elegant steampunk look or a Czech Skorpion if I wanted to hit something. Funny that Mac Bolan AKA “the Executioner” never had a bit of trouble with his 93R. Bolan also put lots of rounds through his Automag with nary a jam and no problem finding ammunition for it.

  20. Wonder how it’d compare to the broomhandle Mauser and it’s stock/holster? Decent attachable stock and a suppressor (that you could hang on to) and ya might have something. Pic rails all around, laser sight, oh heck, get a bipod and extended mags.

  21. I am happy to see Gun Reviews on this website again. It feels like forever. I was starting to expect the name to change to “The Truth About Anti-Gun Agitprop.” I realize that it’s important to keep abreast of the political side of things, but it was starting to drain the fun out of guns.

  22. 1) I don’t care bout badly it shoots, I want one.

    2) Guns like this, and the Glock 18/Mauser Broomhandle/HK VP70 were designed to fill a marginal role for tank crews, helicopter pilots, snipers, etc. who would/could not be carrying a select fire rifle into combat as their primary weapon. The machinepistol was made obsolete almost immediately once the 5.56 was adopted and heavily cut down (10.5-12 inch barrel) versions of select fire rifles were developed.

  23. I could see having this in 9mm as a survival weapon, say for a sailboat or Aviator mostly used as single shot. In 10mm, it could be a effective deer gun, also in single shot. With a .22 upper as well as a 9mm and 10mm, it is the ultimate micro-hunter

    Full auto in any caliber, I can see from videos both climbs and jumps around.

    Ah, well.

  24. I’ve never seen this weapon in a movie OR a video game. I was beginning to think that I was the only person who was interested, or even knew what this was. And the 93r, the one I fired anyway, was accurate at range, easily on par with most other handguns. Obviously no marksman pistol, but accurate enough to reliably hit what I want. The kickback is harsh, I’ll admit, but it’s a machine pistol. What did you expect? Easily my favorite handgun in the world. I don’t get the hate or criticism. I would also like to know what video games/movies have this weapon in them because I first discovered it on website, not in common media.

  25. Very, very few in the registry. There are only two known fully auto Lugers. If anyone knows the number of 93R, let me know.

  26. Thanks for taking the time to review the 93r. It’s tough to take a review seriously however when you’ve got a guy with tattooed fingers. It’s like you went to the barrio to find a shooter.

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