Beretta 92A1 Review and Buyers Guide

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From what is undoubtedly a unique and impressive catalog, Beretta handguns are among the most popular worldwide. The Beretta 92A1 is the next generation of the 92FS, a very timely and upgraded piece that I truly appreciate. 

It’s a handgun that’s easy to shoot, fun to handle and pretty to look at. The US military can attest to the reliability that comes with the 92 series, seeing as the marines have used them since the mid-2000s.

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Background on the Definitive Beretta 92A1

Production of the 92 series Beretta handgun began in 1972, releasing a proven and impressive weapon.

There are four configurations of the 92s made by the gregarious Italian arms maker of old alongside various models. In this series, original handguns were modeled after reputed Beretta notables, with the 92A1 based on a newer 92FS model.

The Beretta 92A1 was released in 2010, much to the acclaim of civilian gun lovers. Since then, the semi-automatic pistol has solidified its position as a premier semi-automatic handgun of choice.

An Improved Version of the M9

For 296 ducats, which is around $46,000 in today’s currency, Bartolomeo Beretta was given his first contract by the Venice Arsenal in 1526. The order was for 185 muzzleloader or arquebus barrels, and the original bill of sale slide is still at the company’s archives nearly five centuries later.

Beretta is today the oldest and most prestigious firearm manufacturer in the world. It’s also been a supplier for the US military close to 35 years now with the M9 combat handgun. 

The Beretta 92A1 is built from the original M9A1, upgrades that are said to be the US marine’s responsibility. This came about after the corps found some shortcomings on the standard-issue semi-automatic pistol and had Beretta change what they didn’t like. 

The first thing that was added was a Picatinny rail, featuring a longitudinal channel as a standard. For more reliable reloading, the handguns magazines were also beveled. 

A better grip was provided for by checkered backstrap and front-strap. One-handed operations of the M9A1 Beretta were made more comfortable with the thinner trigger guard.

For left-handed shooters, Beretta added an ambidextrous safety lever, and the sights became three-dot. Reliability and seamless operations in desert environments saw magazines coasted with PVD or physical vapor deposits.

What Upgrades to Expect?

In an effort to enhance its military operations in urban terrain program, (MOUT), the US marines hammered the M9A1 into the weapon they wanted. These features have been adopted for the civilian 92A1, including dovetailed rear and front sights. 

Users can now attach target lights and laser designators to the Picatinny accessory rail as a substitute for tritium lamp sights.

Another stipulation that the military had for Beretta was to manufacture the firearm inside the US. As a replica of the armed forces piece, the 92A1 is made at Berettas Maryland facility in Accokeek.

The serrated squared trigger guard that featured on the M9A1 has been replaced with a smooth rounded one. This serrated design was meant to increase recoil control to what I consider an illusory amount by providing support for the index finger.

The M9A1s guard also proved useless when fitting accessories to the rail, and would snag on clothing when drawing the weapon. 

Specs of the Beretta 92a1

The Beretta 92A1 has specifications that include; 

  • Overall length of 8.5 inches
  • Height of 5.4 inches
  • Barrel length of 4.9 inches
  • Sight radius of 6.1 inches
  • Width of 1.45 inches
  • Unloaded weight of 33.9 ounces

The 92A1 offers the best of both worlds, indiscriminately letting shooters maintain the classic feel and overlook of the 92 series. You can attach modern tactical features and can get it in .40 Smith and Wesson as well as the 9mm luger. 

In-Depth Review of the Beretta 92A1

Rigorous reconfigurations were done on the firearm on which the Beretta 92A1 is based on. After several slides were defective, the military prompted the manufacturer to enlarge the hammer pin. 

This enlarged pin is aimed at halting the slide, which tended to dislodge from the frame. The 92A1s base was derived from effective and dependable Beretta classics like the M9.

As such, the handgun was destined to be a champion, seeing as all the original engineering from successful previous models was maintained. Beretta also went the extra mile, adding improved and new features to the 92A1.

92A1s Build and Aesthetics 

One of the first things that caught my eye on the Beretta 92A1 is an incorporated ambidextrous safety catch. There is also a reversible magazine release, and the compact Beretta 92A1s recoil captive spring assembly. 

A quick disassembly latch adds to the ease by which this semi-automatic handgun can be dis-assembled. This means that you can strip down your 92A1 in the field in seconds, and without the need for extra tools. 

Another noticeable improvement on this handgun is the trigger guard, which is round and smooth. The guard design leaves room for accessory mounts, but it also prevents the pistol from snagging.

Mounting is easy with a Picatinny rail on the 92A1, and a dovetail sight system improves shooting practicality

A reliable and safe weapon has been the culmination of Beretta’s R & D on their 92 series. This handgun befits all manner of home defense and personal protection scenarios.

If there’s one area where the design of the Beretta 92A1 seems lackluster, it’s the factory grips. I found it to be an annoying flaw with most of the gun maker’s offerings.

Dozens of options, however, do exist to fix the 92A1s shortcoming, including wrap-around Hogue rubber grips. I particularly like the Beretta 92/96 rubber grips that have finger grooves.

For shooters with smaller hands that don’t favor the enlarging rubber grips, there are thinner alternatives. Also available are aluminum grips and a variety of other third party brands. 

Handling of the Beretta 92A1

When analyzing weapon efficiency and performance, you must look at its handling and accuracy. I found the Beretta 92A1 an outstandingly accurate and fun handgun to shoot. 

There is an internal recoil buffer incorporated into this pistol by Beretta. This innovation protects the 92A1s frame and ensures smooth shots by reducing stress on internal and external components.

For pro shooters and beginners alike, the recoil buffer mechanism makes the 92A1 a pleasure to shoot. 

By reducing the beating that components take, the high quality construction of the Beretta 92A1 signifies longevity of service. 

The handgun handles perfectly, fitting comfortably in my hand and is light to aim. 

92A1 Magazines and Accessories

This single and double action Beretta 92A1 pistol features three magazines out of the box. The magazines are solidly built and coated with corrosion-resistant paint for added durability.

Along the length of this Beretta’s magazine is a dirt rail, an innovative groove that keeps the cartridges clear of the magazine’s wall. This rail also helps to keep dirt and gunk from causing mag stoppages. 

Above all, the most pleasing feature of the 92A1 is that it can accept all magazines from every model 92 series Beretta handgun. 

The 92A1 is chambered in 9mm Luger. You can either get the 10 round standard magazine or the high capacity 17 plus ones. 

A new variant of the Beretta 92A1, the 96A1 is designed to chamber in .40 S&W. That handgun is perfect for Beretta fan shooters who are not comfortable with 9mm ammunition. 

Forward of its trigger guard, the Beretta 92A1 features an integrated, short Picatinny rail. I have attached a wide variety of accessories to the handy rail, including tactical sights and laser lights. 

If you prefer additional component integration, the Beretta 92A1 provides a lot of replacement opportunities. Components such as the dovetailed sights are exchangeable, designed to be removed in seconds. 

In general, it’s not hard to be blown away by the Beretta 92A1s user-friendliness and accessory compatibility.

Taking the Beretta 92A1 through the Paces

Most people know the Beretta 92A1 as a variant of the 92FS. This definitive handgun is also the civilian version of the military’s Beretta M9A1. 

I recently took the pistol for test runs, and the following is my take on the handgun.

  • My 92A1 came with 17 plus one round magazine and an integral Mil-Spec Picatinny rail. I immediately liked the old fashioned rounded trigger guard, a far cry from the 92FSs serrated and squared one.
  • The Beretta 92A1s captive recoil spring assembly is impressive, alongside the internal recoil buffer. 
  • I was able to switch and replace the sights relatively easy, seeing as the front sight is removable. 
  • The differences I noted between the 92A1 and its armed forces counterpart included the grip panel. While both handguns feature standard grip frames for the 92 series, the M9A1s grip is checkered aggressively. 
  • My 92A1 had a serrated grip frame but more intricate bevel in its magazine well. The buffer assembly that features on this pistol was designed for handguns chambered in .40 S&W. 
  • This assembly is missing on the M9A1, and for a 9mm, it’s probably overkill but ensures increasing durability. 
  • Another difference that I found was in the magazines. The M9A1 features a 15 round PVD coated variety that sits well with its desert environment military operational fields. 
  • My Beretta 92A1 featured 17-round stainless steel magazines, not coated with nitride paint of the M9. I prefer the increased capacity offered by the 92A1 over coatings designed to withstand the talcum powder conditions of the Middle Eastern arena. 
  • The dirt rail indentation on both handguns is a neat trick, acting as a trough where dirt collects on the outside.  On the inside of the magazine, this indentation peak keeps the cartridges from pushing against the magazine’s walls.

Performance Impressions

The Beretta 92A1 is a fantastically ergonomic handgun with a grip that naturally falls into place on each shot string. I could aim and shoot pretty well, except that my rubber over-wrap for the grip made the pistol feel slightly bulky.

I can’t call this chunky home defender a first-class target pistol, but it can keep its own with MOI or minute of intruder groupings. At 34.4 ounces when unloaded, the Beretta 92A1 can feel a tad bulky as a conceal-and-carry weapon.

Due to the inbuilt buffers increased heft, recoil is next to nothing with the Beretta 92A1. If accustomed to polymer framed handguns, you’ll love the three-dot sight integration. These sights compete with tritium lamped varieties and are easy to pick up and see even in bright sunshine.

One of the advantages that the 92A1 offers over its M9A1 cousin is the ability to replace sights.  I have had problems with slide mounted safeties on other handguns, but my grievances have been addressed with the 92A1. There is no need to use a manual safety with a single/double action handgun if you can safely decock. 

On SIG pistols, in particular, the slide release and decocker are in close proximity and have a similar shape. This means you cannot accidentally depress one while you intended to operate the other. The Beretta 92A1 has a decocking mechanism placed high on the frame, eliminating accidental releases.

Double/Single-Action Trigger System

A gripe I had when testing the Beretta 92A1, apart from the textured grips, is the trigger. I can contend that the handgun points incredibly well, and the standard sight is a plus for a combat offering.

The 92A1 has a double and single-action trigger with a 12- pounds rated pull. When I fired a double-action shot, the pull felt more like 20 pounds.

Maybe it’s my familiarity with smith and Wesson or Sig Sauer handguns, which feature a 10 to 11 pounds double-action pull. The single-action on the 92A1 is slightly better.

One the 0.5-inch range, I experienced a fair amount of slight tack. Towards the end of my shot string, there was some take-up, but minimal stacking.

After all, this is a combat handgun, and its firing pin block doesn’t make groupings suffer too much.

Range Abilities

On a day of testing, I had picked up some 115 grain Winchester White Box FMJ, 124 grain Federal FMJ and some 115 grain Remington FMJ.

I put nearly 400 rounds through the Beretta 92A1 with excellent accuracy. Since I didn’t experience any jams throughout the day, it made judging the open-top slight for jam clearance a bit difficult.

I grouped a tight fist-size at 11 yards with the 124grain federal with flawless performance. After shooting, I broke down the 92A1 very easily, and I was able to strip down the gun in less than a minute. 

A button to the frames right side pushes in to allow the rotating down of the breakdown lever. This lets the slide move forward and come loose. After cleaning, you only need to rack back the slide on the frame.

Once racked, the breakdown lever locks to its previous location without the need for further adjustment.

My Take on the Beretta 92A1

One of the issues to knock out of the 92A1s ergonomics is the magazine release. This is located below the stock panel next to the grip at the end of the gun’s frame.

Such stationing makes it challenging to change magazines quickly when the need arises. On the other hand, any inadvertent magazine releases when in use are eliminated.

While many shooters have an issue with the location of the safety decocking mechanism on the 92 series, I liked it on the Beretta 92A1.  The design puts the safety out of the way and removes control from the gun’s frame.  

When using the safety decocker, it rotates the pin plunger out of access. This means that the 92A1 cannot discharge in case the decocking and safety process fails. 

Shooters with small hands can also find the 92A1 cumbersome, even though I have not experienced length of reach issues.  With the slide-mounted decocker, thicker backstrap and recessed stock mag release, your shooting might not be as smooth as mine was.

When mounting lights, the Picatinny rail proved a bit of a pain due to its slight width over other mounts. However, you can mount a light that extends past the 92A1s muzzle, reducing the fouling of lenses by muzzle flash residue.

Most Popular Handgun Accessories for Your Beretta 92A1

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Final Thoughts 

There’s no question about it; the Beretta 92A1 is a reliable pistol that I won’t mind keeping nearby. I may have any concerns regarding the double-action trigger pull, but I am ready to overlook that.

A dependable handgun, the Beretta 92A1, is on the heavy side and has an overall length of 8.4 inches. It’s a firearm that feels infinitely durable, rated at a lifespan of 30,000 rounds. 

Super easy magazine maintenance has enhanced the feed reliability of the Beretta 92A1. Magazines are aggressively beveled to make changing super-fast while keeping your eyes on the target.

With the base design of the 92 series and the military M9, this Beretta built for durability and reliability. Even with hot +P ammo, the internal frame buffer incorporated into this gun significantly reduces component stress.

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