Improving the Beretta 92

By Bob Campbell published on in Firearms

If there is a battle proven handgun that stands a head and shoulders above the rest—in this century—it is the Beretta 92. Soldiers returning home from overseas often choose a Beretta for their personal sidearm. My son, Captain Matthew Campbell carried the Beretta in Kosovo, Korea, and the Middle East. That is enough recommendation for me.

WIlson Combat 92 with VZ Grips profile right

If you desire a custom gun ready to go Wilson Combat has it.

The problem when learning to shoot the Beretta is the long double-action trigger press. It is relatively smooth, but stiff, and requires some effort to master. However, some shooters never quite get it. On the other hand, I have seen military shooters work the long DA trigger and get center hits at 25 yards on the 8-inch gong, and with real speed.

The Beretta 92 handles well on a combat course. Recoil is modest even with +P loads. The tapered, double-column magazine is an aid in rapidly replenishing the ammunition supply. As a tactical pistol, the Beretta has much to recommend. As for absolute accuracy, the Beretta takes a back seat to few pistols.

I have fired my pistol extensively with thousands of handloads. The Hornady 124-grain XTP at 1,050 to 1,100 fps and Titegroup powder is the most common diet. With quality ammunition, such as the Fiocchi Extrema 124-grain XTP load, the pistol may group five-shots into 2 to 2.5 inches at 25 yards. Some will prove more accurate than this standard.

For the best results, Army marksmanship units developed accurizing procedures for the Beretta. The procedure has been taken even further by Wilson Combat. Below are the specifications of the Beretta Elite from Wilson Combat.

Magazine being guided into a Beretta 92 magazine well

The Wilson Combat magazine guide is a first class addition.


  • M9A1 frame with 92A1 round trigger guard profile and improved checkering
  • Dehorned 92G Brigadier slide
  • Enhanced slide to frame fit
  • Trijicon tritium dovetail front sight
  • Stainless barrel with recessed crown, 4.7” Elite II length, black finish
  • Oversize steel magazine release
  • Steel de-cocking levers
  • Skeletonized Elite II hammer
  • D hammer spring
  • Lanyard loop pin
  • Lanyard loop, aluminum
  • Steel trigger
  • Wilson Combat rear u-notch battlesight
  • Wilson Combat fluted steel guide rod
  • G10 Dirty Olive grips with Wilson Combat logo medallion
  • Wilson Combat logo on slide
  • 3 15-round M9A1 Beretta sand resistant magazines
  • 9mm caliber only
  • G configuration ambidextrous decocker only
  • All steel components (decocker, trigger, magazine release, guide rod)
  • Checkered frontstrap and backstrap
  • Beveled magazine well
  • Rail for mounting light or laser
  • Special serial number range with WC prefix
  • IDPA Stock Service Pistol approved
  • USPSA Production Division approved
  • Not CA Compliant (Unless LEO purchase)
Wilson Combat 92 magazine release

The W/C magazine release works fast and well.

Only Two Custom Upgrades at This Time

  • Action tune
  • Mag guide

Beretta fans that already own a good 92FS pistol may add a D-type hammer spring to enhance the trigger action. Wilson Combat offers parts to upgrade an existing Beretta 92 or 92A1 handguns. AS for my personal Beretta 92, the safety lever I fitted isn’t ambidextrous and offers an excellent surface for rapid manipulation. It is low profile and snag free.

I recommend the short-reach steel trigger. This addition makes handling the Beretta 92 double-action trigger much easier. Leverage is simply excellent.

I ordered a Wilson Combat Spring Kit, which made for a smoother trigger action. I added the Wilson Combat hammer. The extended magazine well is an aid in rapid replenishment of the ammunition supply.

My personal pistol has had the barrel recrowned and cut at a 45-degree angle, which enhances accuracy potential and limits damage to the barrel crown. This combination of features makes for a great handling handgun. Lastly, I added a set of VZ grips. I favor VZ from long experience with 1911 handguns and revolvers, and this set also worked out well.

Bob Campbell holding the Beretta 92 pistol at a low ready

Handling is the long suit of the Wilson Combat modified Beretta.

I have fired the Beretta extensively since modified and find the pistol improved somewhat. Firing at man-sized targets at 5,7 and 10 yards, the Beretta comes on target quickly. I was able to center the hits in the X ring with the new smooth trigger action. The combination of the short trigger and spring kit made a difference in fast handling, yet reliability was not compromised as the firing pin cracked all the primers.

Control in single-action mode was excellent. The VZ grips provided good adhesion when firing. Most recently, I fired the pistol off the benchrest for accuracy. With Gorilla Ammunition’s 135-grain JHP, I printed a series of five-shot groups that averaged 1.9 inches at 25 yards. I cannot hold any better.

The Beretta 92 9mm is reliable as issued and accurate enough for most chores. With judicious improvement—coupled with practice at marksmanship—the Beretta may be a more capable and reliable handgun.

Did you carry a Beretta 92 while serving in the military or law enforcement? Do you own a Beretta 92? What upgrades would you make to a Beretta 92 and why? Share your answers in the comment section.


Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

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Comments (33)

  • Lcpl.F


    I was issued the 92, which we called the M9, when I was in the Marines in the 1990s. I recently bought an M9A3 and it was like finding a long lost friend. Even after all these years, I am more comfortable and more accurate with it than any other handgun. Yes, it is a full sized service pistol, but it is my every day carry anyway.


  • Dan


    I was issued a 1911 and the Beretta 92 as my service pistol when I was in the Army. I was always more accurate with the slimmer grip of the 1911. The Beretta is durable and easy to take down and maintain and I never experienced any jams or misfires; however, I am still more accurate with a 1911 despite extensive target practice with my Beretta.


  • TheFixer


    In your list of attributes, you mention that the Beretta 92 isn’t California Compliant. However, as of this very moment, Saturday night at 10:29 pm on December 23rd, 2017, the Cal DOJ website lists over ten different 92 models that are currently approved for sale. You can’t get the full 15 round mags, but the guns themselves are very compliant.


  • Larry


    Thanks for the article, i changed the spring in my Beretta some time ago because of the hard trigger pull but have never had the chance to try it out yet.


  • KN


    The Beretta 92 (and 96) are among my favorite guns by far. The only criticism I have is that they need to return to using steel for all the plastic bits they’ve switched to in the last 20-30 years.
    The 90-series pistols will NEVER be made into lightweight versions, so why degrade the perfect gun with a plastic guiderod and levers?!?
    Upgrades I’ve added to all three of my 90-series’ pistols are Hogue grips, skeletonized hammers, and stainless guiderods. I highly recommend these cheap upgrades to anyone with these great guns!


  • Jim


    Hi, I am a bit of a rookie with 1911’s but have actually acquired 3 over the past few years. My first is a 9MM Desert Baby Eagle, a Kimber Target Eclipse II in 45 & a Glock 21 also a 45. I looked at an FS92 Inox at a gun show. Beautiful weapon! I have seen photos of the new two tone Inox. Not a huge fan but would like to see one in person. I am considering the Robar NP3 coating on the Glock along with night sights, if I could ever decide on which set. Perhaps there is an article in the Chronicle? Might also lighten the trigger pull. Any advice on modifications would be appreciated. Thanks and Merry Christmas to all!!!


  • JK


    The 4th paragraph references “…my personal pistol” and then goes on to describe somewhat poor accuracy but it hasn’t yet been established that the “personal” pistol NOT the WC92G while the WC92G is pictured extensively. That’s misleading.

    Would have made more sense to have the personal 92 pictured since its the actual subject or the WC 92G reviewed.


  • Tony Z


    I’ve had my 92F since 1986. It has been a reliable shooter with full power defensive loads, but stovepipes badly with cheap plinking ammo. Two dealers told me that’s because being made in Italy, it was built with a main spring designed for Italian military ammo. Maybe that’s true. It never fails with defensive loads. My only mod was the addition of Hogue grips. They add bulk, but handling is much improved in wet conditions.


  • D. Brian Casady


    I was in the Army as the Beretta was coming in. I hated it then and still hate it. It feels terrible in the hand to me, and is the only firearm ever which I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from the inside while using. I could regularly put 37 to 40 out of 42 rounds in the 10 ring during timed rapid fire with the 1911 no matter which one out of the armory was handed to me. With the M9 I might as well have thrown that POS at the target. I would rather use something from Hi Point than an M9. At least then I might put some rounds on the target rather than somewhere out in East BFE. M16A2 I qualified Expert. 1911 I qualified Expert. M249 I qualified Sharpshooter. M60 I qualified Expert and never once missed a single pop up target at the range, not even the half torso at 1100 meters. M9 I barely qualified Marksman due to its worse than anything other than a brick feel and its total lack of ergonomics in my hand. You might like it, but you couldn’t pay me enough to own one. It is the single example in that category for any handgun which I have ever fired.


    • Juanito Ibanez


      It sounds to me that you have smallish hands.

      If that’s true, your grip would tend to interfere with your natural “pointing ability.”

      IOW, whereas the thin(ner) grip of the 1911 tends to bring the weapon into a straight-with-the-arm orientation, the fatter grip of the Beretta tends to cause the weapon to “point right” (for “righties: left for “lefties”), thereeby interferring with your natural pointing.

      It’s extremely difficult to teach trainees with smallish hands to establish a good “shooting grip” with double-stack mag-equipped pistols … and it’s worse with “DA/SA” pistols such as the 92/M9.

      I, OTOH, have somewhat larger hands and routinely shot 100 (50 out of 50) with my Taurus PT92 I carried as a law enforcement officer (later replaced with the Beretta 92SF after I joined the Air Guard Security Police and was issued the M9 as a duty weapon; you know: continuity of training).

      Few people even realize that one of the changes from the M1911 to the M1911A1 was replacing the “straight” hammer spring housing with the “arched” housing in an effort to make the “pointability” more natural (the straight housing tended to make the POA v. POI lower than did the arched housing).

      Trivia time: even fewer people are aware that the stock M1911/M1911A1 is a “no tools required” arm. IOW, you can completely strip the weapon down to the bare frame and slide using only components of the weapon itself. The only parts you cannot readily remove without tools are the four grip escutcheons. It’s best to use a specialized tool to remove these without damaging them.


  • Eman


    I own the 92G-P ” police special”
    This is the decocker only model, no safety.
    Probably the finest pistol I’ve ever used.
    I’ve ran every type of ammo from top end, to the cheapest bulk
    reloads from gun shows, I cannot recall a single malfunction
    after 10’s of thousands of rounds.


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