At first glance, the Girsan Regard Gen 4 looks like some type of elevated Beretta 92. As you look more closely, nothing changes that assessment. The Girsan Regard is a straight-up copy of the proven Beretta 92. Well… with a few improvements.
Would a shooter wishing to own a reliable, accurate, and useful pistol find the Girsan a wise choice? If the shooter is on a budget, and the price of a new Beretta is daunting, the Girsan makes a lot of sense. Plus, the Gen 4 isn’t exactly a standard Beretta. The one used for this review had the 92A1 light rail, as well as a few internal improvements.
The Girsan Regard features the same open-top slide design as the Beretta 92. The pistol isn’t a locked-breech type in the sense of the 1911, but the breech is locked until the pressure abates. Rather than using a locking wedge, angling camming surfaces, or barrel lugs, the Beretta 92 lockup uses an oscillating wedge. The wedge slides and tilts as the pistol operates.
The Beretta/Girsan Regard system uses a hammer-fired action. The trigger is a double-action first-shot. The trigger both cocks and drops the hammer. A transfer bar is contacted by the trigger, and the trigger presses the transfer bar into contact with the hammer. After the pistol fires, the slide cocks the hammer for subsequent single-action shots. The system is a good one for most uses.
The longer trigger action provides a degree of safety, as does the manual safety. The result is a pistol that you may reasonably feel safe keeping fully loaded at home ready. While I recommend a holster, many shooters simply drop the Beretta into the waistband when making a milk run.
The Girsan Backstory
Girsan has landed several military contracts. It is familiar with the NATO standard Beretta and, like many Turkish outfits, I am certain it has done work for Beretta and Benelli. It has perfected machine work and enjoys an excellent reputation. The pistol is, in many ways, a close, but not exact, Beretta copy.
The only real difference in the Beretta and the Girsan Regard was the locking wedge. This little wedge appeared to be angled differently — perhaps, a bit heavier as well. Beretta changed its locking wedge/locking block many years ago to a more robust design. Even so, these things didn’t begin breaking in less than 3,500 rounds and, in many cases, never broke in high round-count pistols. This was considering the original design. Later-model Beretta pistols were improved.
The newer design of the Girsan addressed the problem of locking wedge fracture that has existed since the system was designed for the Mauser 1896. The same system was also later used in the Walther P38. This improvement will not be obvious to the casual shooter. However, it made a lot of sense to improve on a trouble spot when Girsan re-engineered a proven design.
Girsan Regard Features
The Girsan features forward cocking serrations. The sights are dovetailed, so they may be swapped for night sights or other types if desired. The finish is a low-key matte black, not a standard Beretta finish, but acceptable for a service pistol.
The frontstrap featured slight finger grooves. Coupled with the serrated backstrap, the pistol felt good in the hand. The grip felt smaller than the Beretta, but it wasn’t.
The grips were thin but offered excellent hand purchase. This was where the primary difference in feel was most noticeable. The Girsan grips are G10 types.
The grip panels feature a window to allow examination of the magazine. Since the open-side magazine is easily visible, there is some utility in this. The magazine holds 18 rounds. The magazine is well made of good material.
The pistol features an enlarged magazine release and a well-designed safety. The takedown lever sets at a slight angle compared to the Beretta. It worked fine.
Takedown was simple enough. Unload the pistol and remove the magazine. Lock the slide to the rear. Ensure the chamber is empty. Rotate the takedown lever. Release the slide lock, and the slide runs forward on the frame. The magazine spring, spring guide, and barrel are easily removed. Maintenance was simple.
On the Range
During the range test, I loaded the pistol with a good mix of whatever was in the ammunition larder. Mostly, this was PMC FMJ, a few steel-cased rounds, and Federal American Eagle 9mm FMJ. The pistol takes Girsan/MecGar magazines. It also accepted Beretta 92 magazines. In dry fire — prior to firing on the range — several things were noticeable.
The trigger action seemed smoother than the Beretta 92. The double-action press was slightly smoother than the Beretta 92 I had on hand. The single-action press is tight but not quite as smooth as the Beretta.
The pistol was certainly capable of good performance with the trigger action. Firing offhand in a fast-paced personal defense cadence, I kept the hits in the 10-ring at 5 and 7 yards, and the 9-ring at 10 yards, firing double-action.
Once I transitioned to single-action fire, the pistol was easy to use well to knock out the X-ring at 15 yards. The Girsan magazine was reliable and easy to load. Speed loads were very fast. Recoil was modest — as it should be in a handgun this size and weight firing the 9mm Luger cartridge.
I fired the pistol for absolute accuracy at 25 yards. I added a couple of defense loads to the range ammunition I had already tested. I also fired the three practice loads I had used in combat firing. I fired three-shot groups and braced against the MTM K-Zone shooting rest. I took my time, firing single-action.
|Tula Steel Case||3.9 Inches|
|PMC FMJ||4.0 Inches|
|American Eagle 124-grain FMJ||3.0 Inches|
|Federal 124-grain HST||2.9 Inches|
|Speer 124-grain Gold Dot +P||3.1 Inches|
The Girsan is accurate enough to ride with! On a side note, I don’t feel the need to order a Centurion-type barrel from Girsan. I like Centurions. However, I liked my gun so much that I shortened and polished the barrel before re-crowning the muzzle. If you’d like the same, simply send this to a reputable gunsmith.
Girsan Regard Gen 4 Specifications
Caliber: 9mm Luger
Barrel Length: 4.9 Inches
Overall Length: 8.6 Inches
Weight: 2.15 Pounds
I carried the pistol in a DeSantis Speed Scabbard. I like the fit and finish of this holster. This isn’t a softly-molded pancake holster, but a holster molded to the handgun it’s designed to fit. (I ordered this holster for the Beretta 92A1 with rail.)
With three belt slots allowing good adjustment for rake and cant, the DeSantis Speed Scabbard is a fine choice for daily carry beneath a covering garment.