The Forgotten Beretta 92 Pistol

Beretta 92 Pistol
Beretta 92 Pistol
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Do you remember the first time that you saw a Beretta 92?

It may have been while watching an action film from the 1980s such as Lethal Weapon or Die Hard or a thriller from the 1990s like Leon: The Professional.

Perhaps movies aren't your thing and it was on active or reserve duty with the US Military over the past 30 years or on duty with a law enforcement agency.

Whenever it was, for three decades the Beretta 92 in all of its configurations was one of the most popular 9mm handguns on the market, selling between $500 and $1000 and bringing imitations from Brazil, Egypt, Turkey and Romania. Then things went south for the venerable model and today used and surplus Beretta 92s can be had for as little as $299.

Beretta 92 handgun
Beretta 92 Pistol

When the 92 series debuted, it was a revolution in the firearms world. The pistol was double action, held 15 rounds of 9mm in the magazine and the open top slide made it look vastly different than its predecessors such as the 1911, Browning Hi-Power, CZ, Smith & Wesson semi autos, etc. In the 1980s, it was the pistol to have. Glocks were new on the scene and had taken a bad rap for their polymer frames; Sig Sauer pistols were deemed to be too expensive.

Beretta made basic changes along the way to the base model. A version came out with a more vertical grip frame known as the Vertec. The Inox models in stainless steel became available, as did an enclosed barrel model dubbed the Centurion. Double-action only models were made for customers that refused to learn anything about shooting apart from how their double-action K-frame revolver felt. The late 1990s ushered in frames with rails so we could hang lights and lasers on them.

Yet, the market grew smaller.

Other companies were offering pistols with better triggers, lighter frames, increased magazine capacity and simplified maintenance. The misguided 1994 Federal Assault Weapon Ban made people shift to larger calibers that held closer to 10 rounds than 15. When concealed carry became a reality in many states, people did not want full-sized service pistols in their holsters; they wanted something lighter. As most police departments moved on to other firearms, so did much of the civilian firearm market.

With active duty military and veterans, there were ebbs of nostalgia; yet that group seemed split into two camps: one side that loved the Beretta M9 and the other that did not.

Perhaps the biggest hit that the Beretta 92 series took was when it was announced that it would be replaced after serving US forces as a sidearm since 1985. The armchair commandos came out in full force citing that it was time to move up to a 45 ACP handgun, screaming from the mountaintops how the bigger caliber had better results.

This of course is not entirely accurate. Most of the shootings with a handgun in 45 ACP were at the hands of a Special Forces, Navy SEAL, Marine Recon or Delta Operator. The 9mm was more typically wielded by cooks, truck drivers or mortar men in a line unit. The comparison is one of apples to oranges as the typical cook, mortar man or truck driver simply does not have the same level of training as a tier one war fighter. The real output of those shooting incidents is more of shot placement. A trained shooter will simply be more accurate and hence, more deadly with a pistol than a troop who is not as well trained.

Now retired Beretta 92s are hitting the police trade-in market in droves, with the average retail price between $300 and $400. The author picked one up for a sense of nostalgia. I had been in the camp that disliked the Beretta and had not shot an M9 since the early 1990s while serving as a US Marine. Over the years I had contemplated adding one to the collection, but found better firearms at the same price.

The sight of a Beretta 92 FS for $300 and change, made me grab one.

It was beat up and rough on the outside, but like new on the inside. We took her out to the desert to run a box of ammo through her and she was reliable and accurate. The Model 92 was made for shooting and three decades of service use mean there are a lot of spare parts and aftermarket accessories for this fine old warhorse.

It may not make the carry rotation, but would serve fine as a home defense pistol, “truck gun” or just an excellent shooter to make noise on a Saturday afternoon.

Beretta 92 semi-auto
Beretta 92 Pistol

About Mike Searson

Mike Searson
Mike Searson

Mike Searson's career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, Author and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.

Mike has written over 2000 articles for a number of magazines, websites and newsletters including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest, Examiner.com and the US Concealed Carry Association.

  • 18 thoughts on “The Forgotten Beretta 92 Pistol

    1. “Double-action only models were made for customers that refused to learn anything about shooting apart from how their double-action K-frame revolver felt.”
      Nope. The DAO was the correct answer to the question “why not make things simple and the same for every shot?” rather than an aswer to a question no one was asking, i.e. DA/SA. Well trained double action shooters have no problem with DAO-ask generations of NYPD officers.

    2. Around 1976, my suburban Chicago police department was sent 2 Berettas for evaluation.
      Everyone that fired them thought they were “kinda cool”, but nobody wanted 2 carry one.
      Most just thought they were too big.
      Eric Wendt

    3. Forgotten? It’s still the most prolific pistol
      to be found in use by U.S. military personnel
      worldwide. The 92 in its many forms is a fantastic
      sidearm that can be counted on to work in the most
      extreme of conditions. The weapon should have its
      recoil spring replaced every 5000 rounds and it’s locking block inspected after every range session and
      be replaced every 10,000 rounds. If this is done
      the gun should last a very long time indeed and be a
      piece of equipment an individual can trust to function
      flawlessly. It’s a big gun but it’s size makes it a very
      soft shooter. The grip is large but comfortable. I still
      own my first inox 92 purchased in 1992 and it’s
      never malfunctioned. The Centurion is an open slide model with a slightly shorter slide and barrel likened
      to the colt commander.The enclosed slided model your thinking about is likely the Cougar and this gun was a completely different design that utilized a rotary locking system.

      Long live the Beretta 92/ M9!!!!

    4. “The Inox models in stainless steel became available, as did an enclosed barrel model dubbed the Centurion”

      I believe the Centurion is actually an open slide model as well, with a full size framed but shortened slide and barrel.

    5. I just picked a 92S Italian military police gun for $325 shipping and all. It is a solid piece and shoots great , I have a bunch of guns but this is just sweet for the price.

    6. I don’t think the author disrespects anyone and by your own words, you confirm what he says.”Training time is limited for the pistol” is much different than a Spec-Ops guy who shoots that same amount of ammo in a week as opposed to what you guys do in a year! I too, prefer enclosed slides on pistols like the Ruger, USP, and 1911 but this article makes me want to grab a Beretta 92S from SOG, now!

    7. Small gripe here

      My first platoon leading job was Heavy Mortars.
      The author disses 11C ( Indirect Fire Infantryman) as not being ” first tier warfighters”. 11 Charlie is expected to wield a rifle or machine gun as effectively as 11 Bravo. Mortar platoons provide their own security, patrols and maneuver base. They may be in the boonies several kicks from the rest of the battalion , plus they can fight as effectively as a maneuver platoon. 11 Charlie has to be good with all the tools of the infantry trade , plus one more – the 120mm bad guy killer, the battalion commanders personal supporting indirect fire , the mighty mortar. I have found 11C to be smarter and far more in tune with the big picture commanders intent too.
      As for pistol shooting, only the Gunner has a pistol, the rest of the squad carries a rifle. As for shooting it well. Training time is limited for the pistol, BN CDR prefers the available training time of the gun-bunnies be devoted to the guns.

      As for the M-9, well… Yukko.
      It is admitted fairly accurate but the downside wins- Fragile, awkward to handle and an ergonomic nightmare, it has remained in service because pistol carriers generally do not need them often and, hey, it’s better than an e- tool or a tire iron. A Much Better choice would have been the Ruger P-85 or in modern times make the SIG M11A1 General issue.

      1. Hmmm maybe I am wrong, but the tone sure seems disrespectful. Yeah Greg, that is kind of odd that he would have confined mortar men to the some other than first tier of warfighter. (I didn’t know that the Army classified into “tiers”. Is that something new? Because I remember Combat Arms, Combat Support and Combat Service support. Oh, well no matter. Maybe he never needed to call for support or he would see things differently.
        Why not cite the CEs, the JAGs, the AGs, the IG or the Medical Corps, none of those guys are very STRAC…but they are all damn good at what they do. And when you need them they are indispensable. Dis the CE…no sand bag city for you. Dis the JAG… spend your leave in the RCF. Dis the AG and when you decide to retire… no pension. The Big Green Machine has no less than first “tier” parts.

    8. I bought a 92FS Enduring Freedom 1 of 2500. Looks Great, never Shot it. Still in the Box, I bought it because it was a Commerative Edition.

    9. I bought a 92FS brand new in the box about 14 years ago. It felt right in my hand and was dead nuts accurate. I loved it. So did my son. He liked it so much that I gave it to him. He still shoots it.

      1. Though I was trained in the Navy (nearly 30 years ago as a member of the BAF, we ran around the ship with .45s and Mosbergs practicing to repel threats), I am relatively new to carry. My DW asked to buy guns and I (who wanted to but didn’t bother to bring it up to DW) okayed it (she is good enough to have not bought a gun had I vetoed it). Well, being a newcomer to guns as a civilian after almost 30 years, I just don’t know what ‘dead nuts’ means. I can assume dead-nuts means 100% accurate; so, less than dead, wounded-nuts must mean within the 8 or 9 inch center, but not a bulls-eye. So it follows that flesh-wounded-nuts is outside that zone; no-nuts is on the paper but not in the center, and just plain nuts means your crazy to have read this far (or to keep with the metaphor) you missed the target and the back board.

    10. Always liked the 92 series, buds had some for $299 and jumped on it.
      Most likely a security guard service weapon, holster wear only.

      Earlier model with mag release at the bottom, no big deal.
      Uses Genuine Beretta magazines available from Midway p/n C86021 under $20 each
      will fit the 92S and newer models. Notch for mag release in both places.

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