The pistol I shoot the best is a Beretta 92 series. It was the first pistol I ever hated.
When I was first issued the gun, I was horrible with it. I resigned myself to it and didn’t practice with the weapon I would deploy with and depend on.
Under the wise instruction of an SF NCO, I got smart and spent countless hours turning your taxpayer dollars into noise and brass. After a couple deployments and a few years, I got a little better and realized that any shortcoming in performance was certainly due to the shooter. The gun was fantastic.
I put thousands and thousands of rounds through the 92 in one of the most hostile environments on Earth. It ran flawlessly.
When I got home, I logged 30,000 rounds through a single 92FS. I don’t think I changed the recoil spring for the first 10,000 at least. It was the first gun I ever ran the Bill Wilson 5×5 drill with in under 20 seconds.
There’s no pistol I’d rather go back to war with than a Beretta 92 series. And there’s no more proven combat and duty pistol than the 92.
Like many shooters, there are some changes I had made to my personal 92 series guns. Different grips, different sights, barrels re-crowned, barrels threaded, G-model conversions, Wilson Combat trigger jobs, Ernest Langdon’s “trigger job in a bag”, etc., etc., etc.
I wasn’t the only one who loved the gun, but wanted changes.
Beretta, it seems, was paying attention.
Available beginning today, Beretta has released a full suite of new 92X guns. Each of one of them maintains the key features loved by thousands of shooters, but updates them all with options we’ve been looking for on a stock gun for decades.
At the invite of Beretta, I spent a day at Elite Shooting Sports putting a few hundred rounds through each of the new 92X series of pistols. There are more than a couple changes to the guns, and all for the better.
Starting at the front, each of the 92X Full Size, Centurion, and Compact pistols now include a dovetailed M9A3 compatible front sight. That means not only easy adjustment, but tons of options are available. Getting a Tritium front sight installed on a 92FS was possible, but not simple. With the 92X series it’s just out with the old and in with the new. The pistols ship with a bright orange front sight right out of the box.
I had a recessed target crown put on my 92FS from Wilson Combat a few years ago. The 92X series features a chrome-lined barrel with the recessed target crown standard. Suppressor-ready barrels can be ordered directly from Beretta.
Every version of new 92X series comes with a three-slot Picatinny rail. However, the 92X Compact comes in a version with the Pic rail as well as another one with the traditional featureless dust cover. For those of us who carry IWB, the smooth dust cover is often preferred.
The rear dovetailed sight includes a serrated back surface and a short ledge on the front. The rear is slightly angled and provides an ideal window to view whatever front sight you choose to put on the pistol. The flat surface of the front also meant that I had no issues racking the slide on my belt, pocket, or heel.
One of the biggest complaints with the Beretta 92 series has always been its slide-mounted safety. I share a deep and abiding hatred of it as well and consider it entirely unsafe on a duty or carry weapon. I’ve seen people rack the slide and accidentally turn the safety on many times, and I’ve certainly done it myself. In a self defense or combat situation, that error can be a deadly one.
That’s why just about everyone wants not a safety, but a “de-cock only” G model lever. With each of the slide-mounted action lever models of the 92X series, the user can swap between the F/S and G models easily, all on their own.
The big change on all of the aluminum-framed models is the grip. The straight drop thin Vertec/M9A3 grip is instantly recognizable by any 92 enthusiast. For all of you pequeno-palmed pistoleros, the Vertec grip is likely to be a much better fit than the traditional large grip style.
But that same old grip that’s been a gripe for so many small palms worked great for those of us who prefer a healthy handful. For us, Beretta has included a wraparound grip that more closely resembles the traditional arched mainspring housing.
I shoot both the Beretta 92s and my 1911 noticeably faster and with less fatigue when using the arched grip vs. the straight version, and the well thought out inclusion of the wraparound style is much appreciated.
The front strap comes textured from the factory. The grip panel texture itself, on both the naked grip and the wraparound, is absolutely ideal. It’s hard to describe. It’s not sharp, but it’s rough. It’s not squishy, but it has some give. Imagine getting licked by a dehydrated house cat. Kinda like that, but in a good way.
Each member of the Beretta 92X family also includes a beveled magazine well and a reduced power hammer spring straight from Beretta.
Magazine capacity is outstanding in every size. For the Full Size and Centurion 92X, Beretta ships three 17-round magazines with each gun. Fifteen and 10-rounders are also available. The Compact model ships standard with three 13-round magazines, and 10’s can be had as well. The 17-round magazines (or larger) will fit in any of the guns. I ran each model with a full magazine +1 without issue.
Most of the parts, including the trigger, on the 92X series are backwards-compatible with the 92FS and later models. So are the magazines.
The 92X Performance model is a different animal altogether. The 92X Performance is a steel framed burning-fast beast of an IPSC gun, with a frame-mounted safety, weighing in at just under 48 oz. unloaded. I’d say it was a shoulder workout as well as a pistol, but the rounds pour out of the pistol so fast you don’t have to hold it up for long.
The 92X Compact, with the classic round dust cover (my favorite of the group), has a MSRP of $800. All of the aluminum-framed railed models have an MSRP of $899. The race-ready 92X Performance ups not just the weight, but also the price, at $1,399.
The oldest firearms company in the world tends to improve their products in a slow, iterative process. In releasing the 92X series, it’s clear that Beretta has looked at the market and listened to their customers. They’re providing not just lots of options, but giving their customers factory features the rest of us have been paying gunsmiths to do for years.
As a hardcore 92 fan, I’m stoked.