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.
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.