Old Reliable: The Beretta 92

By Caleb published on in Firearms

The Beretta 92 series has gone through a lot of changes in its service life with the U.S. military.  First introduced in the ’80s, it met with tremendous resistance from die hard aficionados of the 1911 it was replacing. The Beretta M9 was the pistol I qualified with, and it was also my very first carry gun when I got my Indiana LTC.

Black Beretta 92FS, barrel pointed to the left, on a white background

The Beretta 92FS

The gun pictured is the most recent update to the Beretta 92 family, the Beretta 92A1.  The 92A1 is the civilian version of the M9A1, which was developed to meet the needs of the military by adding a rail to the dust cover of the Beretta and an interchangeable front sight. With these additions, the Beretta comes full circle as a serious defensive pistol, able to accept any of the accessories you hang on a Glock or M&P, while still maintaining the durability and reliability the 92 series is known for.

There do seem to be two kinds of people out there in regards to the Beretta pistol. Those that like them and think they’re a fine firearm, and those that hate them.

Obviously, I fall in the former camp—I think that if you’re considering a 1911 as your defensive firearm, you should also consider a Beretta 92. It’s about the same size, can be concealed, and offers a significant upgrade in firepower when using 15-round magazines. If you have small hands, you will have trouble reaching the trigger in double-action mode, which is a fault of the Beretta you cannot escape.

However, for those of you with the right hand size, the Beretta has a pretty good DA trigger out of the box and the SA trigger is usually quite positive with a short reset. Ben Stoeger, a USPSA GrandMaster and regular contender to win the Production Nationals, uses a Beretta exclusively in competition, and can definitely run the gun quickly.

The area where the Beretta is best suited is as a home defense or service weapon. As a nightstand gun, the large size is irrelevant and the 5-inch barrel let you squeeze the best possible terminal performance out of the 9mm round. With the addition of night sights and a light on the 92A1’s rail, the gun comes into its own as a home defense firearm, giving you a soft shooting, and easy-to-maintain firearm. Plus, for states where this is legal, the Beretta 92A1 is easily fitted with a suppressor which, in my opinion, is a must-have accessory for any home defense firearm.

The Beretta is coming up on 30+ years of service with the U.S. military and, while many attempts have been made to replace it, continues to out perform many firearms in the military’s demanding handgun trials.

Love it or hate it, the 92 series has proven its durability and reliability time and time again in law enforcement and military applications. For home defense, concealed carry or as a service weapon, you could do worse than selecting the sidearm used by our military.

Is the Beretta 92 part of your collection? Do you plan to make it part of your collection? Share in the comments section.

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Comments (16)

  • Travis Halvorson


    Can’t beat the Beretta. I own many and the only real problem with the 92 is the locking block is weaker than it should be. Even Ben Cook of Beretta has stated that is the reason the 96 has a different one. Overall, the 92 will still pump out around 20000 rounds before that needs to be replaced, and that is under stress testing(civilian model). Oh… if you look at Hornady 9mm these days that isn’t rated +p, the 9mm is push over 400ft/lbs. That’s plenty of stopping power and with better terminal performance than 45acp. For my taste, I carry 357 mag as my heavy hitter. I only invest into 9mm and 357mag these days, with ammo being scarce and all. Plus 45acp isn’t great against black bear and cougar. Oh… if the 92 worries you the px4 imo is even better and has a better price point.


  • DB Cooper


    The last 1911 the Army bought was made in June of 1944 so the comment of shot out peice of crap was accurate The ones the marines and army had were 50 years old and went through 3 wars. And the 96 is a piece of crap. If you dont believe me google up Maryland State police and the 96.

    As far as the SEALs carrying 9mm I would say 2 things first pistols are a last ditch defensive weapon, Second the decision to carry a 9mm probably has more to do with the logistics of ammo availability from the Army and from captured or KIA enemy soldiers. Most of the world uses 9mm.


  • barry


    Why do I so frequently read about the same m92 failures DECADE AFTER DECADE; if there was nothing basically wrong with it, there should only be the usual, occasional 1911 fanatics’ tirade, but this is not the case; contrariwise, I rarely read of Glocks’ shortcomings


  • DB Cooper


    I carried a 92 my last few years in the army and hated the thing. I shot well with it but never liked te grip feel. The .45 was the best but as the last Military procured 1911 was made in June of 1944 they were just worn out and the army didnt do jack to fix them. The first one I was issued had a barrel that was shot out. No lands at all. Most of the guys I know in the military all hate the 92s. A very good friend of mine put 6 confirmed solid center mass shots into a talibans chest as he was running at him with an ax. My buds still alive only because the guy beside him got off a quick burst from his A4 and 2 rounds hit the guy in the head. Give me something big enough I don’t have to use up a whole mag to stop him.

    Barretta also makes a .40 cal based on the 92 design. What a piece of garbage that pistol is. The Maryland State Police have had nothing but trouble with it.


  • vinny


    for all you experts, navy seals carry 9mm pistols, if you know how to shoot 9mm is more than enough….


  • Tiernan


    I like mine. I know it, its easy to use and has a damn good safety. And its not fair to compare it to the 1911, they’re completely different platforms.


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