[This post is part of our series, What I’m Carrying Now. If you’d like to submit a photo and description of the gun, holster and gear you’re carrying in the new world in which we live, send it to us at [email protected] with WICN in the subject field.]
Alton Chiu writes . . .
I went through many pistols (all DA/SA) before settling on the Beretta 92 platform during an Ernest Langdon class. Grip angle, trigger reach, release point, recoil impulse, and all manner of un-quantifiable qualities made me realize I have found “The One” in this matrix.
This particular pistol started life as a “base model” 92G Elite LTT that was too good a deal to pass on. Cummings Custom Refinishing applied CPII Plating on the hammer, a well as extended magazine release, trigger, and decock levers. Langdon Tactical offers NP3 plating as well, and their service includes slide release, takedown lever, and trigger bar.
Internally, the hammer spring is a 13 lb. unit with a lightened recoil spring. Langdon recommended the recoil spring after observing some muzzle dip when the slide returned to battery during one of his classes.
I have found this combination eliminates muzzle dip with my 147gr ammunition, and have yet to experience light strikes attributable to the hammer spring with CCI500 or Remington 1 1/2 primers. The practice gun had built up enough residue in the firing pin channel to cause light strikes, but a detail strip and clean rectified that easily enough.
On the frame, I purchased and installed the short reset trigger bar from LTT in black, not because I shoot to reset, but to reduce possibility of short-stroking on a defense gun. I kept the standard trigger bar in the practice gun to further train myself.
Lastly, the trigger return spring is exchanged for a Wolff Trigger Conversion Unit that features a linear spring. I have experienced broken trigger return springs in various pistols to make it a preventive maintenance item, and I hope to eliminate that need altogether with the Wolff product.
Since linear springs give resistance linearly proportional to compression distance (F=kx), it theoretically causes trigger to stack. However, this goes unnoticed when “stroking” DA as part of the pistol presentation as taught by Langdon.
The grips are LTT designed panels that give a slimmer feel than the standard M9 panels. The diamonds give excellent traction in the direction of recoil without being abrasive to the hands. Since my grip places my palm very high (one of the main reasons I left the CZ-75), I had the top portion of the grips checkered as well.
During an LTT class earlier this year, I handled Langdon’s prototype standard width grips with checkering all the way to the top. When those hit the market, I expect to add them to this pistol. Lastly, some edges on the beavertail were smoothed and refinished in Cerakote.
Training Companion: Beretta M9A1
To avoid adding round count to a carry gun, I use a surplus M9A1 to practice. It mostly mirrors my carry gun except for the sights. The Elite LTT features a Vertec slide (as does the M9A3) with dovetail front and rear sights. The M9A1 and M9 share a slide with fixed front and dovetail rear sights that are lower.
I outlined the M9A1 front sight tritium vial with pink nail polish to approximate the look of AmeriGlo Spartan sights on the Elite LTT. The M9A1 also received a steel guide rod and buffer from Wilson Combat, the latter to help extend a high-round-count life. Gemtech threaded barrel combines with Rugged Obsidian 9 suppressor to offer a more subtle experience at the range.
Despite best efforts, the pistols are not identical in every facet. M9A1 DA stacks a bit towards the end, but releases earlier, although SA is broadly similar. All dry fire exercises are conducted with the Elite LTT to ensure I am still training to the idiosyncrasies of the carry gun.
Light: Surefire Tactician
I daily carry a Surefire Tactician. The momentary-only tail switch (not clicky) eliminates the possibility of accidental constant on. Its MaxVision beam is flood-like in comparison to the EDCL2-T or Streamlight ProTac HL-X; it feels less claustrophobic and increases the possibility of spotting an off-axis attacker.
Since most citizen defense scenarios happen at bad-breath distances, I gladly trade some reach for vision. And since my locale and lifestyle lack significant artificial lights, the need to “punch through” ambient lighting is not a concern.
As an aside, tight beam patterns have their uses as I carry the HL-X with me on night photo trips to better perform light painting; more on this later.
As pictured, the Surefire X300 light extends slightly past the Elite LTT’s muzzle and would be flush with a standard Beretta barrel. The XVL2-IRC however, is shorter and fatter. I do not carry a weapon mounted light currently as I think it more likely I would use a handheld light to ID then shoot, with scant time to activate a WML.