My love/hate relationship with the Beretta 92 system

Just as a little background, my history of carrying a sidearm while on duty starts with the issue of a Ruger Speed-Six, 4", fixed sight .357 chambered, although we were issued +P 158 grain Federal LSWCHP.  Note: Uncle Pat had nothing bad to say about this load and in duty and off-duty use by members of my 950+ deputy agency, it was a fight stopper.  However, after the Academy, my agency offered a 3-day, 1k round plus, auto pistol conversion course for personally-purchased 9mm automatics.  Ruger P-95s, Glock 17 & 19s, Sigs 228s and 226s, and Beretta 92s were authorized.  I attended with my Gen2 G19 and aced the course.  I later converted to a fat-framed G21, when .45 ACP pistols were authorized.  That resulted in my failure for the agency SWAT team and firearms instructor tests because I shot the original frame G21 like shit.

Four years in, and my buddy laterals to a suburban, rich, small, police agency.  They  issue body armor, individual radios, a B92 automatic and have cars that the doors don't fall of when you're transporting a prisoner.  That shit actually happened,  Oh, they pay more, too.  And, the people wave with all five fingers.  I was used to being number one.  Did I mention that the people of the City and County of San Francisco hated me for doing my job well?

The only negative was, the agency issued Beretta 92Fs.  It was too big for my hands and the sights sucked.  And the double/single trigger sucked.  And, yet, the fucking thing always went bang,  I mean always.  I NEVER had a malfunction.  Like never.  I sucked with it, but it always went bang.  I bought holsters and extra mags, but they were Beretta factory mags.  I was never confident with it and longed for my G19 or a G17.

We transitioned to HK USP45s and I sucked with it.  I needed 15k rounds and the LEM to compete with custom 1911s.  But, I did. 

Now, we issue GEN4 G17s and G19s, and we have list of authorized pistols, to include 1911s.

And then I bought a Wilson Combat Vertec 92G.  And, I shoot it better than a G17.  It's beautiful.  I love it.  I am buying a duty holster for it and will carry it on duty.  God help me.

Original Post

I tended to enjoy using my issued Beretta.   It would make you pay if you had sloppy fundamentals or poor weapons-handling technique, but as you say, it ran and ran and ran.  And yeah, I had a bad habit of putting it on safe during immediate action drills. I corrected  that by adding “SWEEP” to the tap-rack-bang ditty.

Whenever I read someone bagging on the 92F as a bad platform, I wonder if they were ever issued one and fired more than an annual training allowance of 50 rounds.  It has the potential for mechanical accuracy that is far greater than what a shooter can produce.

 

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.

 

                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence

 

 

POSREP: UAE

I carried a DA/SA SIG for a couple of decades.  I understand and agree with the thinking that a DA/SA system complicates training, but the things obviously work. If you were ordering the 92G for the entire agency in 2019, I'd argue with your decision.  If you were some rookie who had no good reason to adopt a 92G other than the cool factor of the Beretta mystique, I'd argue as well.

That said, this is a personal decision by a copper who has packed a Beretta back in the day.  If you're comfortable with the weapon and your manual of arms, Godspeed brother.  It sounds like a pretty cool blaster.

I used the 92F on AD and Reserve times. I have my own, a gift from a former GF when I attended the academy. It’s STILL a great shooter and even though a bit large in the grip, I’ve been very happy with the accuracy, even if I don’t shoot it for years. Muscle memory kicks in and it’s just smooth.

I’d swap it out for my Duty Glock if I could.

Know thy enemies, but be aware of thy friends...

 

The average age of the world's great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence:
from bondage to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage;
from courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance;
from abundance to selfishness;
from selfishness to complacency;
from complacency to apathy;
from apathy to dependency;
from dependency back again to bondage."

I still prefer Glocks having been shooting them since the 90s. But i carried an M9 for a bit and owned a 92. The M9A3 or 92G would get the job done for me. I don't really care for DA/SA,  having started out on 1911s and wheelguns i like a single trigger pull. But i still shoot them well. 

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So low speed, i'm in Park.

"I could stand to hear a little more.." Jayne

Training is brief. Death is forever. PAY ATTENTION.

Joined: 6/14/03 1:02 PM

I've always had a soft spot for the Beretta 92 series.  I liken it to a fine Italian sports car - a little extra TLC, lube, and a capable foot on the gas peddle means she will run circles around every 4x4 on the road.  If she's neglected in those arenas, or you try and drive her off road through the mud, things do not play out well.

--Dave

 

"Do not touch anything unnecessarily. Beware of pretty girls in dance halls and parks who may be spies, as well as bicycles, revolvers, uniforms, arms, dead horses, and men lying on roads -- they are not there accidentally."

Been carrying issued Glock since early 90s. Still hate it. 

Know thy enemies, but be aware of thy friends...

 

The average age of the world's great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence:
from bondage to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage;
from courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance;
from abundance to selfishness;
from selfishness to complacency;
from complacency to apathy;
from apathy to dependency;
from dependency back again to bondage."

I despise the 92/M9.  We have a lone 92F in our armory and occasionally I will dry fire it to remind myself of how much I don't like it.  

Despite how ever many times they "fixed" the locking block, saw them break, even on low mile guns that weren't in need of a recoil spring change.  Its the achilles heel of the system.  

I got into a discussion with a Beretta rep in 1995 about it at a LE/MIL event at the Kohohead range.  He denied there was any problem with the locking block.  I called bullshit on it and related my own experiences with it, which he chose to ignore.

Grip and reach to the trigger are on the far end of optimal for those with avg size hands, and impossible for those with smaller hands.  This makes it a difficult weapon to use.  

Yes, I know what Ernie Langdon has to say about it.  My experience has been that Glocks are way, way, way better weapons for the avg user than DA/SA guns.  

I say the above having never achieved less than expert with it, having fired perfect scores on qual courses it back when the M9 was an issue weapon for me, and having owned a 92F, and having taught hundreds of people on different platforms, doing back to 1993.   

 

20 years of using the M9, shot expert every time I qualified to include the first time, along with running perfects more than a few times.  Let's just say that the Air Force instruction on the use of the pistol wasn't the reason after one hour of classroom fam.  Shot expert on the Army quals when we had to go play fuck-fuck games at Completely Stupid Training.  Hell, second time I shot it, I ran it left handed as one of our shooters had broke his dominant hand and "had"  to qualify before he PCS'd back to the states.  So we all shot off hand (lowest shooter buys beer), still shot expert.  Never saw a CATM rental car M9 break, never had one of mine break.

Biggest issues I saw were magazine springs and terminal stupidity.  Example: assclown Army officers constantly fiddling with decocker while it was in a SERPA holster (click-click, click-click, click-click then not having a pistol cause it no longer went click-click).  Yup, sights suck on the M9 and adding night-sights is a pain, no integral rail, shitty trigger, kids without paws say the grip is too big, "can't slingshot w/o throwing it on safe", gets dirty via exposed barrel. 

Shot where I pointed it, hit what I aimed at.  Pat once spit and said "Doogie you run that M9 like a house on fire."  I took it as a high compliment.  Only reason I haven't purchased one of the A3's or a Wilson is because I said I would never own one, then I would owe beer for breaking a positive statement.  Annnd I gave away all my M9 stuff to the youngin's when I retired.  

Please note: not an aspiring inner city "yout" trying to turn my life around...  one "g" two "oo's" like NPH's 80's era TV show.  

 

If you have to ask your buddy if you are on fire, you are four to five seconds behind the "stop, drop and roll" power curve.

I was issued one as a Medic, shot Expert the one time we actually got to qualify. Only issue I ever saw was shooters with smaller hands trying to manipulate the safety & slide release.

Later when I was out I picked up a Beretta Elite II. Sent it to Ernest Langdon for trigger work & sights. DA pull was much improved & reset was shorter. Still shot my Sig P225 & old Hi-power better. Traded the Beretta to a good friend for $1000 and my old Hi-power back. Having to shoot 1-handed now has translated into better control with slimmer gripped pistols.

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I've been falling so long it's like gravity's gone & I'm just floating...

I do LOVE my BHP!

Know thy enemies, but be aware of thy friends...

 

The average age of the world's great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence:
from bondage to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage;
from courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance;
from abundance to selfishness;
from selfishness to complacency;
from complacency to apathy;
from apathy to dependency;
from dependency back again to bondage."

I have almost always been issued an M9 when on active duty, as tankers had them pre-GWOT as their primary personal weapon.  

I HAVE had failures with 92s, personally or within my unit, some rather interesting.  Almost all of them occurred on typical Army flat ranges, and were due to magazines of unknown age and provenance, or the weapon being dry and dirty.  I've also had pistols I shot well give others problems, likely due to classic Glock 'limp-wristing'.  When our brigade's MTOE was adjusted for adviser positions in 2010, I received a new-in-the-box M9, with factory mags.  I put well over 6000 rounds through it during trainup, quals, and my weekly range trips when in A'stan, and it never had a malfunction.

However I had my next personally assigned pistol, of unknown age, give me repeated fits with FTE (in A'stan again, in 2013 - different unit and pistol).  The recoil was definitely "off", and while it didn't make sense to me (and still doesn't), the slide recoil seemed slow, to the point I was able to 'watch' it, which isn't normally the case, for me.  An armorer patiently listened to me (as 'patiently' as any E4 listens to an O4 in his food chain), and inspected my M9 for issues but found none.  He offered a new recoil spring, and I was fine with trying something.  This spring came out of the paper packaging, and when held next to my current spring, was noticeably longer by at least 1/2 inch.  I never had problems with that pistol again.

The last example points to most of the Army's problem with small arms in general and the M9 specifically.  There is no real maintenance plan applied to them.  That recoil spring looked fine to the naked eye.  Who knows how old it or the pistol actually were.  There is no real record-keeping and no schedule to replace items like that.  So between old mags, lack of proper user training, and lack of scheduled maintenance, it really is no wonder folks have a bad taste for the M9.

My personal issues with the pistol were the large size for my hand, and in particular the location of the safety.  I was able to get around that by painting the red dot black, and treating it like a revolver.  As JC mentioned, during immediate action drills, it is pretty easy to reengage the safety if slingshotting the slide.  I never fully overcame this issue, despite using dummy M9 rounds and working at it.  Combat reloads, I trained to hit the slide stop (I found the M9 surprisingly efficient and fast to reload, but I have the most reps with them too).

I plan to get a personal one, if only for nostalgia (and since I have a fair number of personally purchased Mec-Gar mags and Safariland holsters).  I always shot them fairly well, and appreciated the actual time/effort it took to get proficient in moving from double to single action fluidly.  

Tankersteve

In Yorktown, VA.          Joined August 2008

Gov't Civilian, after retiring from active duty in 2015. 

 

'One's own open sore never smells.'  - Haitian proverb

The Beretta is perfectly sized, for a .50 or .54 caliber.

  I believe the lanyard loop  was actually made to receive a sling swivel and the pistol was never meant to be carried in a holster.

I'm surprised that the others object to the 92's recoil.  I always thought it was much smoother than any of  the tip barrel systems, gun weight might play a part here too.

Hated the safety and the trigger reach but the guns I've shot were very accurate.   The DA and SA pull was quite nice with just a swapping to another mainspring.

The  92s seemed to be less forgiving than the Glock concerning lubrication but the problems only occurred with a few who believed that if it was just being carried in a holster there was no reason to bother with maintenance . 

I think the  92 needs to be trimmed down and other things tweeked  and improved to be a gun I would consider carrying. 

 

I owned a 92F & 96F at one point. The 92 was flawless in terms of reliability. Ate anything, even shitty gun show reloads.. I know , I know but I was po'!  As I like to joke, I had the original non powered HDs on it as I only had white dot front site. The negatives for me were grip size and heavy trigger pull plus it felt huge to my girlish midget hands! I still have about 3 or 4 different grips located in spates box in an attempt to make the gun  feel better for me. All in all, I like the 92F and still own it but it gets almost zero use. There are other platforms I own that I shoot much better, therefore its been safe queen for a long ass time!!  The 96F was, I feel, a mistake to own. I had the same issues mentioned before but add the .40 S&W zipping out of it and the 96F was on the chopping block in a year after buying it. Not comfortable to shoot at all but it sold quick. Regardless, If a 92A3 came along at the right time I snatch it right up, right quck, wont even look at 96F.

 

I started a thread that is about 3 pages long now that detailed my transition from a decades long hater to an admirer.  I agree with every gripe that has been stated.  That said, a set of ultrathin VZ grips from Langdon or Wilson Combat eliminated the too chunky grip and trigger reach issues.  Changing the mainspring to a D or even better, 13lb Wilson improves the trigger pull immensely.  Finally, the G conversion kit.  It's cheaper than the new grips and kind of a pain to install, but the improvement over the F/FS safety-decocker is worth it.  At this point, you are a bit less than $150 in upgrades and you've cut your trigger pull by nearly 1/2, improved the feel and reach to the trigger, and the safety is no longer a handicap.

Which leaves the sights.  There really is no good remedy there.  Everyone complains about the Glock plastic sights, but at least they are easily replaceable.  Making the front sight integral to the slide was a gross mistake by Beretta that should have been rectified across the board a long time ago.  They did it with the Vertec slide and the new M9A3, but that should have become the standard when they offered the gun for the M9 trials.  Anyway, there is no cheap fix for this one. 

I really like the Langdon LTT with a trigger job.  I like the work I've done on my 92FS enough that I'm about to send it off for some checkering over the frame serrations to improve the grip.  It is a good gun.  I'm not going to say it is better than a good Glock, or M&P, but it is a good gun.  It is now in the pool of guns that I will carry with confidence. 

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Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

I hate that fucking gun.

I was issued one when they first entered service. Later qualed with it, and got chewed out by the SGM because it wasnt my issued weapon.

I carried a 92 Centurion at my first civvie job, I'm issued an M9 now.

My personal 92 has close to $2K in it....Dave Sam's fit a Barsto barrel, and LPA adj rear sight. DA/SA trigger job, I assume he used the Wilson 13 or 14# hammer spring. LTT grips, elite 2 hammer, all metal parts



I still hate it.



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"Good landing, good fight, and good luck" James M. Gavin 09Jul43

 "they say if it works, it's a good tactic...I say anything can work once" 

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It is an invasive disease.  I started with a basic 92FS.  Did some parts upgrades.  Then, because certain nefarious characters steered me in that direction, I bought a Langdon LTT.  Which I do not regret even an iota.  The inability to change out the front sight on the 92FS irked me, and I ended up getting a Vertec slide.  Hurray!  And lucked into a set of Trijicons off of an M9A3 for $30.  A deal I could not pass up.  The checkering on the LTT/M9A1 frame is a big improvement over the 92FS and having sold a couple of guns that I didn't shoot and actually regretted getting, I had some money to spare.  So I sent it off to Wilson last week for front and back strap checkering and the magwell.  I'm sure I'll like it.  Unable to keep my nose out of that crack den called Gunbroker, I bought an LTT lower since I had an extra slide group.  Come on now, it was really mandatory that I make a complete gun out of the parts!  Is that OCD?  What the hell, I'll claim it.  It's not my fault!  So I started with one for the heck of it, now I have 3. 

"I hate that fucking gun!"

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Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

Dorsai,

Understood. I bought this from a friend with steel parts and D spring installed. I only bought it as an M9 was going to be my duty gun.

I was not impressed with the supposed awesomeness of the D spring...nor the accuracy. Would it matter...probably not...but if I'm going to own it....

I found an Elite II barrel, but for the cost..I decided on a semi fit barsto...figuring it should drop in...and then a Langdon Trigger job in a bag and be done with it.

Of course it didnt drop in....so...off to Sams... now Dave addressed the entire barrel...fitting it, chamber, leade, etc...and since he had it...I might as well do... 

I should've either went with the Elite barrel or the full fit KKM that Sams recommended.

Over all it's not all bad...I shot this dot torture with it at 5 yards

20190224_152020

But I still hate it.

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"Good landing, good fight, and good luck" James M. Gavin 09Jul43

 "they say if it works, it's a good tactic...I say anything can work once" 

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You're pretty good with what you hate.

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Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

Last Saturday, DetWD and I were shooting a bunch of wheelguns at the range.  I brought my Langdon-tuned Vertec with the (new to me) Elite II barrel I dropped in.

Wayne blew the X-ring out of a B-8 repair center at about 8-9 yards with it.  That was with a 17-round mag and AE 147-grain FMJ.  I took a picture of him with the gun and the target.  

Brother Dobbs, if you have a moment, please post that pic in this thread.   

When I joined the Navy Reserve in 1986, my first issue pistol was an old WWII era 1911. I shot expert with it and fell in love with the 1911. Unfortunately, 1911's were not authorized for use by the PD I was with at the time, so my LE duty weapon was an early Italian manufactured 92F that I shot in the Academy. Although it was large, and the sights were not ideal, the finish was beautiful with no rust occurring in several years of patrol use, the action was very slick, and the mediocre trigger pull was improved by an LAPD gunsmith. The most impressive characteristic of this pistol was that it was EXTREMELY reliable--there were NO malfunctions in 25,000+ rounds of Winchester and Federal 147 gr JHP's over 5 years.

I had a different experience with Beretta's when I went TAD to a Marine unit which had M9's. These U.S. made Berettas were far different than the one which I had: the finish was horrible, the trigger pull was agonizing and L O N G, the pistols were not accurate, and they were prone to broken parts and rust--in short these U.S. made M9's were garbage.

In the early 90's the we were given the option of carrying other pistols, so I sold my 92F.

Around 2000, I needed a 9 mm Beretta for some testing and acquired a U.S. made Brigadier. I liked the feel of the heavier slide, the sights were a bit better than the 92F, and the pistol appeared to be better made than the M9's I experienced with the USMC. Several thousand rounds were fired through the Brigadier without any malfunctions and it was reasonably accurate, although very large for a 15 rd 9 mm. I had no use for the pistol and sold it when testing was done.


The biggest reason I would not consider a Beretta 92FS these days is the inability to easily mount an RDS...

Just for the sake of temptation.  Pay attention to the details.  You'll probably need to watch it a couple of times.

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Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

What the hell is a match takedown lever?

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.

 

                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence

 

 

POSREP: UAE

I dislike DA/SA pistols as a whole.  Safety is a bit of a pain for me to manipulate.  I will say, in 16 years I have never seen one fail because of the pistol.  I've seen one round lodged in a barrel and a mag forced in halfway...backwards.  All the internet experts tell me that they constantly crack.  Maybe someday I'll see that happen.  

"A pirate is not the sort of a man who generally cares to pay his bills...and after a time the work of endeavoring to collect debts from pirates was given up."

          -Frank R. Stockton

jcustisredux posted:

What the hell is a match takedown lever?

Not my thing, but I can speak some of the language.  One of the trends these days is frequently called a "gas pedal".  A ledge where your support side thumb can exert force on the frame assist in minimizing muzzle rise.  A lot of the guys who modify polymer frames create a ledge.  I've seen match guns with an extended metal ledge.  In this case, they've modified the take down lever to create a "gas pedal".

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Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

Before I went to MP school in 1992, I shot a friends italien made beretta a few times to get some exposure.   It was a dream of a shooter and a well made gun.   

The 92s we trained on were not the italien version and terrible for accuracy.   Lots of failures.  I am sure a bunch of those well novel pistol  shooters but the guns just didn’t group well even when they did work.   Never did find a 92 in all my years in the army that I liked.    I am sure they improved with later versions but I still haven’t shot one in or out of the service that won me over, even some fairly high dollar specialized guns.   I trained with some seals and bought a sig 226 immediately.  I shot that for a while and then went glock, smith and then back to GLock.    I still own a few but the DA / SA semi auto concept seems a bit outmoded by 35 years of striker fired gun designs.    I am sure they will continue in use with many agencies and to have their fans, just like the 1911, but I haven’t bought one in a long time and can’t see why I would, unless I was overcome by a fit of nostalgia.   

 

 

_______________________ Front Toward Enemy

More info.   The bottom two are SAO.  For those who shoot major, I have a gut feeling that they will also make a 96 version in .40s&w.  Is there any other reason for the Brigadier slide?

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Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

Is there any other reason for the Brigadier slide?

In relation to the race gun photos, yes. The Brigadiers were the first variants to come with factory dovetails for the front sight... an obvious advantage for customization. As well, they feature the beefed up hump on the slide that would withstand higher round count usage. Another obvious advantage for competition. 

The Brigadier slide was Beretta's answer to NSW (SEAL) demands for a fix to the early M9 slide separation issue with some Navy guns. Internet immediate argument drills aside, that problem was a reality after the pistols were initially adopted. Not frequent by any means, but it did in fact happen.  And not just to Navy guns.

I saw it on occasion (twice) with Army guns during the late 1990s. This with very high use guns in a particular Army SF battalion. Rare, but not unheard of.  What was not rare was the routine failure of locking blocks (epidemic in all of my units) and the more occasional (but still common) failure of trigger springs and trigger bar return springs. Eventually leading to later generation radiused locking blocks and various  aftermarket upgrades for those two springs. 

The fact that Beretta generated two mechanical design changes to mitigate the slide separation issue is a glaring indictment that the problem did exist. The beef-upped Brigadier slide was one fix. Designed to prevent the slide from cracking in half to begin with. The other was to incorporate a modified hammer pin (with an over sized flange on the left end) into all military M9s. Also the defining characteristic of the 92FS. That "S" in the nomenclature indicates the model features that particular M9 fix. That exposed flange (on the left side of the weapon's frame) was/is designed to stop the back half of a broken slide from rearward travel off of the rails in the event of slide failure. Instead, it binds that part of the slide to the frame, keeping it from launching and hitting the shooter in the teeth.

Beretta  didn't engineer those changes for a non-existent issue. 

I forget how many Brigadier slides were purchased by SOCOM, but in the end, the USN SEAL community adopted SIGs anyway. The majority of those already purchased military Brigadiers slides (gathering dust) got transferred over to Army SF, where they were used mainly by 5th SFG(A)  at least through the late 90s and early 00s. The only place I saw them in the flesh was at 5th Group. Other SF Groups may have received some, but I don't have any personal observations of that. IIRC, there were only a coupla thousand purchased for military use. It wasn't a huge number.

I know there's lots of folks out there who've put amazing round counts through Beretta 92 variants. I know Beretta has always claimed very big durability numbers. But the gun was only spec'ed (like the previous 1911A1) for a Cold War requirement of occasional annual firing (a coupla hundred rounds) and a total service life of 5000 rounds.  Which translates to about 15-20 years of mild use (mostly stored away in arms rooms). In units that went to high round count routine CQB training in the late 90s... it didn't pan out that way. We broke M9s  like beer steins at a Valhalla drinking party.  This in units where almost every man was issued an M9. We replaced a lot of worn out guns and parts on a routine basis. Including simply replacing ALL unit guns with brand new ones after just a few years (3-5) of hard use. Rinse and repeat. They just didn't hold up against to our live fire training demands. In a unit where we were ruthless about tracking round counts and proactively replacing things like locking blocks.

In my personal experience (as an 18B Weapons Sergeant, 18Z Team Sergeant, and 18Z Company SGM), the guns simply never lived up to Beretta factory advertised round counts. Maybe they did somewhere else, but not in my Army SF units. At one point, circa 1999, my Company SGM had a little collection of broken M9 locking blocks in a big bowl on his desk. He asked that all ODAs & B-Team guys bring them in as they happened... rather than toss them. After fewer than 10 months, he had 67 of them collected. And that wasn't all of them (some getting tossed anyway). From 83 assigned M9s in the company.  That was pretty typical across the board (including all sister companies and other battalions). While locking blocks are mechanically easy to replace, it's more difficult to replace guns with deformed rails caused by the tie-up event... and subsequent wooden malleting (in a shop vise) to get a locked-up gun disassembled.  That used to piss me off to no end.

But not nearly as much as having one of my guys with a deadlined weapon in Northern Bosnia... where a CCW M9 was our primary weapon. Further entailing a long drive down to Eagle Base, Tuzla to steal a functional gun from somebody at HQ, and turn the un-repairable one in to depot maintenance channels. And not see it again for months. My guys temporarily out of pocket because they couldn't conduct scheduled work among the Serbian populace without a pistol... and at least two of them gone for an additional entire day (road trip out of sector) to obtain a pistol replacement.  Same basic thing during the Kosovo Air Campaign (we were the ground element CSAR package). Same thing in Afghanistan. Same thing in Iraq. Same thing in Africa (except that there was no place to get a replacement pistol).  I dunno, dumb grunt that I was, but I seemed to notice a pattern.

I still own a personal 92FS today, 'cause I've got a lot of training & deployed time with the design, as well as a footlocker full of spendy Safariland holsters, mags, light mount adapters, pouches, etc. Sort of a military nostalgia piece for me. 

Like my formerly issued 1911A1s, it's an old friend, and comes to hand with deeply learned familiarity.  But I don't love it. Because it's the single most problematic handgun I ever used in terms of mechanical parts failure. It's an accurate gun. It's an easy gun to shoot effectively. It's a very safe gun for widespread troop issue. It's a reliably cycling gun as far as digesting a variety of ammo, almost never jamming, and operating well under all field conditions.

But I had enough of them break (small parts failures) in my hand, in the hands of my team mates, and in the hands of most shooters in my units... that I'll never fully trust the M92/M9. Like a partner that's cheated on you, you never fully regain trust. ..even if you stick by them. I never went on a long training deployment, shooting course, or downrange push where somebody's M9 didn't go down hard for maintenance. Usually when we were someplace where repair or timely weapon replacement was extremely problematic. Aggravating, but we learned to live with it. We learned to procure through military channels (or personally purchase) a stockpile of spare parts. And to have a bump plan for shifting working guns to folks that absolutely had to have one. Usually leaving some unfortunate Fobbit without one. Spare pistols carried with us were only very rarely a possibility.

Love/Hate? Yeah... that describes it for me. Although I'm still very tempted to get one of the improved railed models. After my comments above, Go Figure... 

Just my $.02 & YMMV.

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

Bear in mind that my above observations/bitches were about the military M9 version of the 92 Series. I suspect that a lot of the commercial versions were/are somehow manufactured to a higher standard... and also benefit from improvements (later generation locking blocks for instance) that the military didn't adopt in a timely manner. It's still a popular gun with lots of shooters and it's certainly a good looking gun. 

But I'd not deliberately equip an organization with them if I expected to do a lot of year-in, year-out high volume shooting. For the average civilian owner or police agency... fine. For an SF CIF Company... not so much.

My current 92FS has never given me the slightest problem. Has always run like a champ. Then again, I dutifully replaced the locking block after the first 5K rounds, out of a sense of caution. And these days, I really don't shoot it that much or that often. A spare small parts kit travels with it when I do. 

Nice guns depicted in the photos up-thread. I'm jealous. Sort of.

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

I was going to refute a couple of your points and decided to make sure my information was correct.  Kind of correct, kind of wrong, not sure of the complete answer.  So far as I have been able to determine, there are no reported instances of the 92S, 92SB or 92F suffering from slide separations.  The re-design and fix were paid for by the Army and not by Beretta.  They found that approximately 20,000 slides had an incorrect level of Tellurium, which made them more brittle than intended and designed.  I have been unable to nail down the issue of the ammo used by the SEALs when the problem was initially reported.  I've read conflicting accounts that it was higher pressure than spec, but since the design at least was tested with proof loads, which are much higher pressure than spec ammo, that seems odd. 

Locking blocks crack.  Specifically, the lock up is done by two blocks that rise up and lock into the slide.  If their engagement is not even, one will have more stress than the other and eventually there is a failure.  All I have is anecdotal evidence, but the accounts are first hand and appear reliable.  For the most part, they seem to last in excess of 20,000 rounds.  Some have gone higher, but there are also accounts of cracking at under 10,000.  Rather than repeating it, check out this thread  https://pistol-forum.com/showt...heel-of-the-Beretta-(Broken-locking-block)/page4.  It has pictures of the crack development and the round count.

This may be just spin, but I read a statement that Beretta knew that the locking block would eventually need replacement, the same way springs don't last forever, and that replacing a locking block was much simpler and cheaper than a barrel if you cracked a locking lug or camming lug.  Maybe.  When I was shooting a Hi-Power in competition, I had the camming lug fracture (still have it), requiring me to get a new barrel.  I'm not a huge, high round count guy, but that is the only time I've had it happen.  No 1911 broken links either.  Nor have I heard of other barrels suffering camming lug failure.  Since Beretta locking block failures are well known, I have to conclude the "reason" is just bullshit and spin.

Trigger springs are supposed to last about 5,000 repetitions.  Not shots.  Dry practice counts.  It is also recommended that recoil springs be replaced every 5,000 rounds.  I haven't heard of trigger bar spring failures.  Again, not scientific testing, just the overwhelming reports of others is that military M9s have a crappy reputation whereas civilian Ber 92's have a good rep for accuracy, reliability and durability. 

I'm having a lot of fun with them now.  Replacing a locking block occasionally is cheap and easily done since I'm not constrained by the Army system.   But I have to say that if I was picking a handgun for military or zombie apocalypse use, I'd sooner carry a Glock or M&P. 

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

I've written on a few forums of my several units' experience with the M9/92Fs and won't write tons more since I'm on my phone.  Berettas break whether Army or commercial. I worked with one of the SEALs who caught a Beretta slide to the face.

 I have three teams at Benning today and they just drew new SIG M17s. We'll see how they run this week.  I've shot a commercial 320 a bunch but most of these guys have shot and broke a few M9s.

I'm familiar with the metallurgy reasons for early batches of the gun failing. Also the SEAL ammo question (it was NATO rated 9mm). On the point of Beretta knowing that locking blocks break, I'll simply note that such breakage wasn't part of any military discussion or PM guidance until long after the problem manifested itself during operational service.

Back then, Beretta handled M9 failings just like any good Special Forces Trooper (or Congress Critter) would: Admit Nothing,  Deny Everything, & Make Counter Accusations. Then get around to fixing the problem.

My Beretta M9 experience goes back to my 18B days, when I extensively fired the actual '83 JSSAP test weapons (the same year). In a manner of speaking, the M9 is what caused me to discover internet firearms forums, back when Windows 95 was still new. I was so aggravated by unit M9 failings, that when a fellow NCO suggested that I query other's experiences on firearms forums, it was the first useful thing I ever researched on the web.  Lo and behold, it was just like today. Lots of individual folks claiming amazing round counts, but a few military or police folks (usually instructors or range NCOs) noting similar issues to mine. In situations where they routinely supervised a lot of guns and a lot of ammo. 

I was serving as a E-7 CQB & Combat Pistol instructor during my battalion's transition from 1911A1 to Beretta M9. Over the next decade, the frequency of failures with the new guns was exponentially greater than we ever had with M1911A1s. Or anything else (non-standard or allied weaponry like BHPs, Walthers, HKs, S&W 3rd Gen).  This while conducting similar levels of training. All guns break on occasion. But those other handguns rarely did. Our M9s did with alarming regularity. More than any other military weapon I ever fired or instructed with... to include clapped out M60 machine guns. Which is quite a feat as M60's were nearly self-demolishing under heavy usage. 

I've got similar high definition close-up photos of Beretta locking block failures. I took them myself. A couple came from my own issued weapons. Over the years, I've posted a few of those photos on other internet firearms sites. The thing I often noticed about locking block doubters was that they usually claimed to routinely spot their own cracks during normal disassembly maintenance and acted like it was no problem at all if a locking block let go during firing. According to them, they'd just quickly replace it on the firing line. That told me they had little 1st person experience with the problem... on two counts: 1) Early microscopic fractures can be detected by Magnaflux, not with the MK I eyeball, which will only pick up very obvious and already well developed damage while inspecting a locking block.  2) Very frequently, when a locking block lets go while firing, the gun is locked up like a chastity belt. The slide isn't coming off of the frame (or even moving from its mid-cycle jammed state) without impact tools & a vise. The gun's rails or frame are often damaged by such a failure. BTDT.

I once hosted the Commanding General of US Army Special Forces Command on my ODA's range. He & his CSM visited my range specifically to observe our M9 training and ask questions about problems with the pistol. At the time, he was entertaining very near term replacement of our M9s with an HK USP variant (as recommended unanimously by SMEs from multiple SF units). In the middle of my detailing the salient issues, my Junior Medic's M9 predictably broke a block, seized up, and provided a timely visual. One that served to emphasize my talking points. He got the message.  He was hearing the same message at every visited Special Forces battalion in the Regiment. IIRC, that was 1999 or 2000.

9/11 came along and we never did get those HKs, that program getting kicked down the road until about 2004. At which point Big Army volunteered to share costs/effort on our purely SOF selection program... and then slow-rolled things to the point that the entire effort was shelved stillborn. Other wartime priorities took precedence for SOCOM funding. Mother Army the same. It took Big Green another twelve years to finally trial and adopt a new handgun... after ruling out product improved Berettas (e.g., the M9A3). 

In any event, concerning the M9, who am I gonna believe? The internet, or my lyin' eyes? It's generally a hell of a gun. In my experience, it just wasn't a very durable one for fleet hard usage. (Fleet meaning the total numbers acquired & issued, not anything to do with the US Navy.) 

I figured I'd annoy various Beretta owners with my posts, but I call 'em like I see 'em. This forum is a place for big boy discussions. Warts and all.

I'm wiping down my beautiful 92FS as I've been typing this.  Still a very cool gun and feels good in my hand. I think I'll keep it.

 

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

The current locking blocks are improved over the military ones.  The same crappy ones are still supplied to the military.  I have been told this is due to requirements of the TDP on the guns.  It is likely why there is a huge difference in reliability between the domestic LE issue guns and the military guns.  

Additionally, while certain SF units may be doing solid maintenance, that is not the case across the board.  Personally, while working a contract with the Army I was generally disgusted with some of the incredible stupid I saw in small arms maintenance and some really extra stupid with the M9’s.  One example is running them with no magazines during training exercises conducted in an area that is wholly sugar sand.  Tons of sand being allowed into the internals through the gapping Mag well and no cleaning cannot be a good thing.  

"If I had a Grandpa, he would look like Delbert Belton"

Let those who love the LORD hate evil. The one who guards the lives of his godly ones will rescue them from the power of wicked people. Psalms 97:10 Trooper Troy Duncan-EOW 5-19-84 Deputy Erik Jon Telen-EOW 8-21-2001

Dagga Boy posted:

....Personally, while working a contract with the Army I was generally disgusted with some of the incredible stupid I saw in small arms maintenance and some really extra stupid with the M9’s.  One example is running them with no magazines during training exercises conducted in an area that is wholly sugar sand.  Tons of sand being allowed into the internals through the gapping Mag well and no cleaning cannot be a good thing...

You just summarized Army Small Arms Maintenance.  The Army has plenty of good stuff that it simply doesn't care enough to professionally train to optimally utilize and properly maintain.  That is, until you get into bigger, more expensive systems.  Some of this is the lack of emphasis on technical proficiency in the infantry (beyond disassemble/reassemble/functions check), but this seems to be slowly changing for the better.  We can out-PT them, though (until we put on body armor and unreasonable loads).

Tankersteve

In Yorktown, VA.          Joined August 2008

Gov't Civilian, after retiring from active duty in 2015. 

 

'One's own open sore never smells.'  - Haitian proverb

I'd be curious to hear maintenance/service life perspectives from folks that served in large Beretta 92 equipped police agencies. Like Atlanta PD , big metro counties, or countless other departments across the country.

There was a short period where the 92 was the shooting culture/duty use "It Girl".  Starting about 1985, when the military began fielding the design and every big '80s action movie featured the Beretta prominently. For a few years, the 92 was the apple of everyone's eye. The gun to have. The gun to equip a force with. Not withstanding S&W's offerings, the first wildly successful hi-cap duty/service pistol since the advent of the BHP some 50 years before. The 92 (& M9) sold like hotcakes.

But even as entire agencies rushed to adopt that (then) new gun, often displacing long used S&W SA/DA pistols & legacy service revolvers, the future heavyweight champ had already arrived on American shores. I bought my first G17 the very same year the Army began fielding the M9... in 1985. It was considered an oddity by most in 1985. By 1991, half the cops I knew were already carrying them on duty or off duty. Within a decade of introduction (by 1995), Glock had cleaned both S&W's & Beretta's clocks in terms of displacing those DA/SA guns and filling LEO duty holsters with various Glock variants (in every common duty caliber).

So, I'm reasonably "guessing" that American law enforcement (local, state, some federal) employed Berettas for a lot shorter duty history than did DoD. 10-15 years? Certainly not wearing them out to the bitter end of their alloy framed service lives.  I think that only the military and a few long-toting federal agencies managed to accomplish that.

Do any big departments or agencies still issue the 92 in significant numbers?

Anyone?

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

Dorsai posted:
jcustisredux posted:

What the hell is a match takedown lever?

Not my thing, but I can speak some of the language.  One of the trends these days is frequently called a "gas pedal".  A ledge where your support side thumb can exert force on the frame assist in minimizing muzzle rise.  A lot of the guys who modify polymer frames create a ledge.  I've seen match guns with an extended metal ledge.  In this case, they've modified the take down lever to create a "gas pedal".

That's the common thought process, in practice, that gas pedal is supposed to function more as an index point for your support hand thumb rather than a means of controlling recoil. 

But for your purposes Jcustis, it's a gamer part thrown onto a USPSA/IPSC production gun and named something else so it doesn't attract rule nazis.

 

"The problem, Lieutenant, is that you're thinking. Thinking hurts the team."

 

Joined: 4/3/08 Location: CA

 

I like the Beretta 92 series, but I have big hands and long fingers. People with average sized hands or smaller just can't shoot the Beretta very well because the reach from the backstrap to the face of the trigger is so long and the circumference of the grip doesn't fit their hand well. 

Much of the criticism of the Beretta M9 is  based on somebody's brief experience with some beater military gun using Checkmate magazines rather than OEM mags. GIs usually don't know ANYTHING about guns and are quite happy to remain ignorant, but they are also happy to repeat any negative or ignorant rumor that some whiny clown in the unit is repeating as gospel. Like the police do, only lots worse. It's awful.

 But I think the M9 is just be too big in grip dimensions to be a good general issue gun. Females with small hands just couldn't shoot those guns at all.

 I bought my first 92F in April of 1986 . I did shoot that gun to frame failure. Took 11 years and about 35,000 rounds. Beretta replaced it with a new gun with night sights for free! (also broke a locking block after about 18,000 rounds, but that was a user-replaceable part). I do partially blame myself for the broken locking block and the frame failure -- I should have been much more consistent and aggressive in replacing the recoil spring. 

I bought a Beretta .22 "practice kit" when they first came out in 2000. (the "practice kit" is a .22 conversion unit). I've shot it quite a bit and it is not ammo sensitive. I do find I have to screw the adjustable rear sight all the way down on elevation and the gun still prints a little high for me at 50 feet, but I can live with that. 

Nowadays the Beretta pistol is like the other guns I carried in my military career (S&W 15 revolver and M1911A1 pistol) -- a gun I'll never get rid of for sentimental reasons, and something I occasionally take out of the safe and shoot for an afternoon, just because. 

**********************

arm yourself, because no one else here will save you . . .

 

he found faith in danger, a lifestyle he lived by

 

Assemble the Kingsmen

Jeff22 posted:

Much of the criticism of the Beretta M9 is  based on somebody's brief experience with some beater military gun using Checkmate magazines rather than OEM mags. GIs usually don't know ANYTHING about guns and are quite happy to remain ignorant, but they are also happy to repeat any negative or ignorant rumor that some whiny clown in the unit is repeating as gospel. Like the police do, only lots worse. It's awful.

 But I think the M9 is just be too big in grip dimensions to be a good general issue gun. Females with small hands just couldn't shoot those guns at all.

 

Mu experiences mirror Jeff's when it comes to soldiers and firearms. 

I also agree with his comment about grip circumference.  When I put a pair of LTT grips on my personally owned 92 it was night and day and I actually enjoyed shooting the pistol.  IIRC it used to be common to put "Burner" grips on 92s for completion shooting.  They were little more than skateboard tape on a backer. 

___________________________________________________________________

I'm either dead right, or horribly wrong. Either way the results should be entertaining.

 

"Shoot the MOTHERF$%^ER until he changes shape or catches fire"  the PAT ROGERS

I may try some really thin grips. I have pretty big hands so the grip size of the M9 platform has never bothered me much but maybe thinner might be better. 

**********************

arm yourself, because no one else here will save you . . .

 

he found faith in danger, a lifestyle he lived by

 

Assemble the Kingsmen

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