Beretta 92 Pistol ~ The Forgotten Handgun

 Editors Note: With the resurgence of police Beretta 92 surplus pistols this review is an update of one of Mikes’s articles that ran on AmmoLand News in 2015 and just a great read.

Beretta 92 Pistol
Beretta 92 Pistol

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 & Surplus Beretta 92s Pistols can be had for as little as $529.

Beretta 92 Pistol

Beretta 92 Pistol Barrel
Beretta 92 Pistol Barrel

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 Beretta 92 handgun. 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 8000 (Cougar, previously misidentified here as the Centurion), although not very many were made (around 30,000). 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 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 CAG guy or Navy SEAL. 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 sub $600.00 and change, made me grab one.

It was beaten 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 Pistol
Beretta 92 Handgun Trigger

About 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.

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tatersalad

I read a artical some where that before the military bought the 92 they run i think 40,000 rds through a Beretta 92 with out any mechanical breakdowns or jams. Mostly because of how much ejection clearance the spent case has to clear the port. I have a PT100 after the Beretta sold them the equipment to make the Beretta knock off and i love gun for half the price of a 92

Wild Bill

There were a lot of cracked frames. The supply section had to keep close records.

Miserable Wretch

I’d rather have a 93r, namely the “Auto-9” variant used in Robocop.

Wild Bill

Most humorous!

Doug G.

I used to compete with a Beretta 92 FS Compact in Inox for IDPA when I first started. Loved the looks of the gun, it was sexy. I tweeked a few things like a D hammer spring and recoil spring, SS guide rod, VZ Grip panels, tritium front sight that had to be drilled in and it was a good running gun. I just wasn’t very accurate with it. LOL. That’s when I found CZ’s. Hence, my little Beretta spends too much time in the safe with it’s older cousin the M50 which I got surplus for a great price.… Read more »

Doug G.

I like reading a light hearted story every now and then. We’re always faced with dire situations in the 2A community and things that require immediate response or action. Consequently, our literature reflects those conditions. That’s why the Bear attack stories and this review of an old gun are nice to see here at Ammoland. I’m not suggesting they be the way of the future or full time content but a few nice stories about everyday topics are fun to read.

Roland T. Gunner

.45 ACP is most certainly superior to 9mm Parabellum; and though the market has been flooded with acceptable inexpensive handguns in recent years, what netter handgun, cheaper, are you going to find? And Im really not a huge fan of .45 ACP or Beretta.

Wild Bill

What do you like?

BigJim

He likes to complain. Like my brother.

UncAl

On a side note, if you appreciated the Beretta 92 and can’t find one, maybe try a Taurus PT100 AF in .40S&W. It has the very same aesthetic appeal, at home comfort in the hand, and won’t disappoint on accuracy!

JayWPB

From reading this, one would think that the Beretta 92 hasn’t been manufactured for 20 years or longer, and that the only ones available are well used.

Dutch

I LOVE my 92F. It’s been nothing but reliable and accurate for me. As long as you take care of your guns, you shouldn’t have any issues with them. This is also my winter EDC as well which is perfect because I feel very confident carrying it and that it will work everytime without fail

willyd

I’ve had my 92 for over ten years and have never had any problems with it, a small problem is with C/C because of its size, carry exposed is okay, for C/C I moved to a PX4 Berett with a lazar sight, great for C/C, both works flawlessly. Lots of new guns out there but I’m sticking with these

musicman44mag

I see there are many here that are supporting the taurus. I always complain about my PT145 because of magazine problems. I guess maybe I just bought a bad model because the people that make the magazines make garbage. There is good and bad in all weapons, even my sig P938’s both had the same problems manufactured one year apart after the recall for problems was supposed to be fixed. They are all paperweights now.

Last edited 22 days ago by musicman44mag
Roland T. Gunner

I have a lot of experience with Taurus, and their metal framed handguns seem to benefit from manufacturing and quality control not given to their polymer framed handguns.

Chuck

My 92 is one of the most accurate guns in my modest collection. It feeds everything I’ve put through it without a hiccup. Everytime I go to the range, I get offers for it.
When winter comes and bulkier clothes and coats, it becomes my CC weapon.

Recently bought a 92A1 that was too good of a price to pass on. It’s become my Home gun withe addition of a flashlight.

GaryRamey

Still the best looking pistol ever produced.
Sure, there are always cheap knock-offs, but why waste time with a knockoff?

Wild Bill

I never thought of the 92 as anything good looking, just functional.

Deplorable Bill

If you REALLY want a platform like this, get a Taurus. It has a better safety that is frame mounted like a 1911. Then it can be carried cocked and locked. This gives you the same, single action, trigger pull between the first and all of the subsequent rounds vs a loooooong double action pull and then the single action pull between the first and subsequent rounds. This does make a difference in accuracy and time between rounds. If you doubt this, go out, grab a timer, a fresh target and see for yourself. This also makes the use of… Read more »

DDS

My wife wanted a pistol of her own. I did not tell her which one she “wanted” to have. I let her shoot mine at an indoor range that also rented pistols. She said my 1911 in .45 kicked too hard. My P08 was too choosy on what it was fed (it is). A rental Glock felt top heavy. She loved a rental Beretta 92. Next gun show we hit was right after the 92FS had come out supposedly to cure a slide cracking problem on M9’s that the special ops people insisted on running with +P+ in wholesale bunches.… Read more »

Last edited 23 days ago by DDS
Roland T. Gunner

I carried some compact variant in .40 S&W in Iraq; really had no opinion on the pistol one way or another. In the last year ot so, I realized I did not have a single 9mm pistol in my gun room, so picked up several, including a 92FS, a 92X Vertec, and a 92X Performance. I have come to appreciate the craftsmanship and how slick they are, even if th 9mm cartridge is only a choice for cost and availability.

Last edited 7 months ago by Roland T. Gunner
JIAZ

“I have come to appreciate the craftsmanship and how slick they are,”

^Ditto

Alan in NH

The Taurus 92 is made under license in Brazil, and I like it better because the safety works in the same direction as a 1911.Up for safe, down to fire and also Taurus has a decocker to safely lower the hammer to D/A first shot.

Vinnie

My first gun was a PT99AFD and I still have it. I recently bought an older PT92AF that was built before they added the decocker. Both are tack drivers, will eat any ammo, and always go bang. I have NEVER had a single malfunction on either.

2gats

It was good enough for pedo joe to give 160,000 to the taliban

nobodyuknow

Dear Mr. Searson: Thank you for your article on the Beretta 92/M9 I much prefer the Taurus 92, The reason is that the Taurus 92 allows the shooter/user to carry the handgun safely cocked and locked. This a condition not afforded by the Beretta model. You made a comment that stated “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.” Frankly, Mr. Searson, that is just a pile of horse-hockey! The traditional double action semi-automatic pistol, because of it two different trigger pulls, IS slower… Read more »

Roland T. Gunner

You can chuck that DAO overboard any time now.

Core

Chow Yun-Fat’s “The Replacement Killers” is a good M9 movie. He also has some Chinese movies where he uses other models, but he really rocked the M9 in cinema. Trained hard on M9’s in the Navy, had a few mags blow out due to double charges and it really hurts when they hit your leg: slap a new mag in rack it and keep on going, and a few barrel’s rupture in a seven day where they saw tens of thousands of rounds in short order. Every mechanical device fails eventually under hard use. The ONLY two guns I did… Read more »

Ej harbet

Ill pick up the m9 from the table if the last 2 next to it are a highpoint and a 1911. During their heyday i was a smith kframe wheelguner

nobodyuknow

Ej . . . I gotta’ S&W Model 19 Combat Magnum you would dearly love. Shot the gun in competition for years. D.A Trigger pull is a slick 4.5 lbs. You have to shoot Federal ammo or Federal primed reloads in it but it puts them right where you point it.

Roland T. Gunner

I found a NIB 66-2 for a pretty good price several years ago; kind of nostalgic as my brother and I both carried the same 66 as rookies that our father carried before us. I’d like to shoot this one, but I’m trying to make myself keep it NIB. That family revolver was lost in a burglary about 10 years ago.

Wild Bill

This article purports to have a 6 April 2020 date. Yet, some of the comments are 2,3 and 4 years old. Cryptic.

F Riehl, Editor in Chief

WB, you are not going crazy… “Editors Note: With the resurgence of police surplus pistols this review is an update of one of Mikes’s articles that ran on AmmoLand News in 2015, and just a great read.”

Tionico

I liked all those action flicks but in those days a handgun was a handgun, though I certainly did know the differenbe between a pistol and a revolver. I thought revolvers were way more cool.. in those days CHP officers wore a S&W sixgun, I believe in .357 Mag. Those funny looking things like James Bond ‘carried” did not attract me. More recently when I DID decide it was time to arm up, I applied for my Mother May I Card, and got it a week later. Did not know what I would carry, but the smallest thing out there… Read more »

Knute

One little piece of advice I’d offer on these LE trade-ins. Pay the extra 20 bucks or so for the ‘select’ (or whatever word. Hand-picked or what have you). As armorer maintained weapons, they all shoot, but some officers, just like some mechanics or HVAC guys or whatever, take better care of their tools than others. In my experience, the selected ones are well worth the few extra dollars they cost.

Cam

Depends why is doing the grading, I paid for select from classic firearms. They just took the $20 extra and obviously didn’t choose a good one. My hand select had 20% finish on slide and deep pitting. I called and emailed classic and never heard back. I then took pictures and left a review on their web page. They deleted the pictures and review in about a day.

3l120

Classic is known for that.

Roland T. Gunner

I dont usually buy from them becsuse their prices are not usually competitive, but what you are describing is scumbag behavior.

Chuck

Classic has screwed me over twice. Never again. To he’ll with them.

Mike Crognale

My first brand new pistol purchase was the 92FS. It was accurate right out of the box. I liked it a lot. My son shot it and immediately asked if he could have it. He and his wife still have it and shoot it regularly. Great piece.

Indiana

idk how this can be “forgotten” when it’s literally used in every tv show ever made that features a gun.

glendalehawk

I’ve always liked the Berretta but they were pretty expensive. I picked up a brand new 92FS for $479.99 a couple of weeks ago and this has become my favorite for all around shooting. I use the M&P Shield for concealed carry but really love the Berretta 92FS. It’s a good addition to my collection of 9’s.

Joefriday

I carried a 92F for many years on duty with L.A. County starting in 1987. It was one of the best firearms I have carried and shot. Accurate and dependable! This was the first semi-auto the department authorized after transitioning from revolvers.

Doszap

Palmetto State Armory has them for sale right now,but due to the barrel lock block breakage on the S models and FS models I have steered clear of them.Love the weapon,they shoot great,but are no longer suitable for carry.Like the man said car/truck/home defense sure.

JIAZ

I like mine and it’s still in my EDC rotation.

JIAZ

My 92FS is still my favorite OWB cold weather concealed carry piece. In addition to it’s flawless functioning, I personally find it easy to shoot extremely well.

Eddie

“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.

Finnky

– Are you seriously suggesting that NYPD can shoot? Other than “limited” immunity for legal protection, they are literally outgunned by pretty much any half way decent shooter. Would consider firearms advice from bozo the clown just as legitimate .

Superman

Then why don’t YOU become a NYPD officer and show us all how it SHOULD be done? Put up or shut up.

Ej harbet

Rip jim cirillo nuff said!

3l120

Same for LAPD. All our service revolvers were castrated to DAO. Same with personal firearms carried on duty. I have several Smith J-frames and a Detective Special that way. Once you get used to it, the only way to go. Last shooting I was in, I used a Smith 5904, and I am sure I could have been more accurate with my wheel gun. Only marked him for evidence in the shoulder instead of center of target. And to those who think cops are all spray and pray, how many shootings you been in? In the Nam there were a… Read more »

Daniel Hammel

If this 92fs still for sale plz email me at [email protected]

Stan

The pistol isn’t for sale, moron.

Eric R. Wendt

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

Mike

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… Read more »

Dave C

“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.

Jeff

Is your 92DAO still available?
[email protected]

ANDREW BILLUPS

What are you asking for this weapon?

Re Moses

I have a 92D DAO brand new never used in the case, anyone interested email me at [email protected],
I want to sell it legally.

Kirk

Do you still have It? What state are you In?

Roland T. Gunner

Legally, the buyer hands you cash, and you hand him the pistol.

G.SMITH

LOOKING FOR STOLEN BERETTA 9mm
BER 431 360 stainless

aircargoguy

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.

Joe Fertig

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!

Greg Tag former 11C

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… Read more »

Wild Bill

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… Read more »

3l120

Think what he was complaining about is that everyone but the grunts were lumped together. Big difference between being a 1302 and whatever the supply MOS is. Learned that in the Nam…Semper fi.

Roland T. Gunner

The “Tier” reference has become a household word, but its real meaning is midunderstood and misused. Tiers actually refer to how much funding is committed to a particular program.

James

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.

Mike Crognale

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.

Dr. Ramon de Torres

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;… Read more »

Tionico

YU sir are the causative agent for the best belly laugh I’ve had in a long time. Your “continuum” from dead nuts to just plain nuts is hilarious. I suppose DW means “darling wife” or “dear wife” now in process of being tranformed into Dangerous Wife, perhaps Deadl Wife. Stay armed and carry on. Don’t forget, that when you D encounter that bad guy trying to do bad things, and subdue him to await hus just rewards, make sure you exlain to HIM the different stages of “nuts”. He will realise he was somewhere between just plain nuts and no… Read more »

3l120

Think you missed some. Walnuts are when your aim is really off, peanuts are when you castrate the bad guy, hazelnuts are when you drop a bandida, cashews are when you sneeze while firing, usually leading to a walnut, and Brazil nuts are when you use a Taurus.

james

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.