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.

View all articles by Bob Campbell

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Trackback from your site.

The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (33)

  • gwdead


    In the Navy; I carried one of the 500 1911’s made by Singer, under the Colt license. Mint value today, in excess of $48K.

    I learned the easiest way to move from condition three, from the leather GI holster, was to lift it slightly, rock it forward and shove it downward, hooking the rear sight on the top edge of the holster, which cycled the slide, loading a round and cocking the piece. A rapid and effective action.

    I prefer the Taurus 92 to the Beretta. It is a fine pistol. In my local market, I’ve noticed the Beretta’s price dropped several hundred dollars with their loss of the Army’s contracts.


  • PRO2AGuy


    The Beretta 92/M9 is my choice for either competition 9mm and or combat. The proprietary open barrel design seemingly makes the gun immune from jams–literally have fired K’s of rounds throughout the years and never had a FTE or the like. Italian perfection copied by the Brazilians quite well I might add. HAPPY New Year.


    • Juanito Ibanez


      “Italian perfection copied by the Brazilians quite well I might add.”

      Actually, the Taurus line is the original Beretta 92 — with a few modern changes.

      Beretta had won the contract to supply the Brazilian military with pistols, and when the contract was filled Forjas Taurus bought the plant: “lock, stock and barrel.”

      For years they produced the pistols in the original Beretta design: with the magazine catch on the bottom of the grip butt and the safety on the top of the frame. They subsequently moved the mag catch to the same location as the later Beretta 92s, while keeping the safety in the original Beretta on-the-frame location.

      Taurus later converted the safety lever to a safety/decocker design — which to me is vastly better than the on-the-slide configuration.

      Also, unlike the Beretta 92/M9, the PT92 (and later PT100) has the ability to be carried in the ”Condition 1”/”Cocked & Locked” carry configuration.

      More Trivia Time: John Moses Browning designed his famous pistol without a safety: he intended for the pistols to be carried in what’s known today as “Condition 0″: round chambered and the hammer cocked (no “locked”: remember, no safety lever?), utilizing the grip safety as the only “safety.”

      Of course, the Army wanted their pistols “idiot-proofed” and demanded that they be equipped with a safety lever; wherein Browning redesigned his “M1910″ to the “M1911″ configuration to make the Army happy.

      And after all that, the Army required its troops to carry the M1911 in “Condition 3″ – chamber empty, hammer down and charged magazine in the pistol — therefore requiring the shooter to “charge” the weapon before it could be fired. 😐


  • Dave P.


    I tried a Beretta M9A1 with the full Wilson Combat upgrade side by side with the normal M9. The trigger is so much better. The sights are good and the other changes make for a better experience. I would recommend the Wilson version if you can justify doubling the cost of the Beretta.


Leave a comment

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

%d bloggers like this: