THE 92 MAX­I­MIZED

THE BIG DA BERETTA IS GOOD, BUT YOU CAN MAKE IT AWE­SOME WITH THIS DIY PROJECT

Concealed Carry Hand Guns - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Bob Camp­bell

The big DA Beretta is good, but owner up­grades and Wil­son Com­bat cus­tomiza­tions make it awe­some.

Iad­mit it. I can never seem to leave well enough alone. Take the is­sue of best bat­tle-proven hand­guns.

If there is one that stands head and shoul­ders above the rest in this cen­tury, it is the Beretta 92. How­ever, I set out to see if I could make this hand­gun even bet­ter.

First, I took a look at the out­stand­ing Beretta/Wil­son Com­bat 92G Bri­gadier Tac­ti­cal, a full-blown cus­tom­ized gun with all the bells and whis­tles. But I’m a hands-on guy, so I or­dered some Wil­son Com­bat af­ter­mar­ket parts and su­per-charged my own Beretta.

THE 92 AS-IS

Like all hand­guns, the Beretta has en­dured some con­tro­versy, but the bot­tom line is that it has served for well more than 30 years with no end in sight. What im­pressed me is that sol­diers re­turn­ing home from over­seas of­ten choose a Beretta for their per­sonal sidearm.

My daugh­ter-in-law did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and emailed home in the mid­dle of an Afghan tour, “I want my own Beretta!” She got it when she re­turned home. My son Cap­tain Matthew Camp­bell car­ried the Beretta in Kosovo, Korea and the Mid­dle East.

Sol­diers have gone through my train­ing classes with the Beretta and a military com­peti­tor went through an in­struc­tor’s class with the Beretta and showed many of us how to shoot ac­cu­rately. That was enough rec­om­men­da­tion for me. I have kept a Beretta 92 on hand for some time to demon­strate the Beretta for classes with military shoot­ers.

The only Beretta 9mm hand­gun I have seen mal­func­tion with good am­mu­ni­tion was a Beretta Ver­tac 9mm, ex-po­lice ser­vice, that short cy­cled. When field stripped, the orig­i­nal re­coil spring was found to have lost an inch of its free length. The fir­ing pin chan­nel also showed signs of cor­ro­sion. This hand­gun had been fired untold thou­sands of rounds (the owner had two cases of Winch­ester USA Ball through it af­ter pur­chas­ing the Beretta used) with lit­tle main­te­nance and no spring re­place­ment. The Beretta gets the nod for re­li­a­bil­ity.

A CLOSER LOOK

There is a prob­lem when learn­ing to shoot the Beretta … the long double-ac­tion trig­ger press. It is rel­a­tively smooth but stiff and re­quires some ef­fort to mas­ter. Some shoot­ers never quite get it. On the other hand, I have seen military shoot­ers work the long DA trig­ger and get cen­ter hits at 25 yards on the 8-inch gong and with real speed.

“LIKE ALL HAND­GUNS, THE BERETTA HAS EN­DURED SOME CON­TRO­VERSY, BUT THE BOT­TOM LINE IS THAT IT HAS SERVED FOR WELL MORE THAN 30 YEARS...”

The han­dling of the double-ac­tion pistol appeals to many shoot­ers. The trig­ger press is a safety fea­ture. The long double-ac­tion trig­ger is used for the first shot. The slide then cocks the ham­mer and sub­se­quent shots are fired with a crisp 4.5-pound sin­gle-ac­tion trig­ger press.

The Beretta is con­trol­lable in rapid fire. Muz­zle flip is limited. The man­ual safety/de­cock lever offers a de­gree of safety ab­sent from many hand­guns. The safety may present an ob­sta­cle to an ad­ver­sary that gains con­trol of your weapon. The safety may be quickly moved to the off-safe po­si­tion on the draw with a strong thumb mo­tion sim­i­lar to that learned when ma­nip­u­lat­ing the safety of the 1911 hand­gun. Those who pre­fer a hand­gun with no safety may ig­nore the Beretta’s man­ual safety and carry the hand­gun fully loaded and rely upon the double ac­tion first shot trig­ger as a safety fea­ture. The pistol also fea­tures a pos­i­tive fir­ing pin block or drop safety. The Beretta 92 han­dles well on a com­bat course. Re­coil is mod­est even with +P loads. The ta­pered double-col­umn magazine is an aid in rapidly re­plen­ish­ing the am­mu­ni­tion sup­ply.

As a tac­ti­cal pistol, the Beretta has much to rec­om­mend. As for ab­so­lute ac­cu­racy, the Beretta need take a back seat to very few pis­tols. The Beretta 92 9mm is more ac­cu­rate than the striker-fired hand­guns. The SIG P226 is of­ten pointed out as a very ac­cu­rate 9mm hand­gun. On av­er­age, the SIG may shade the Beretta in ab­so­lute ac­cu­racy, but the mar­gin is small. Few shoot­ers will be able to demon­strate the ad­van­tage on a tac­ti­cal course. With qual­ity am­mu­ni­tion, such as the Winch­ester 124-grain PDX +P, the Beretta will demon­strate a 2.5-inch, five-shot 25-yard group. With generic ball train­ing am­mu­ni­tion, 2.75 to 3.5 inches. Oc­ca­sion­ally a pistol will prove more ac­cu­rate than this stan­dard.

WIL­SON COM­BAT’S CUS­TOM BERETTA

Army marks­man­ship units have de­vel­oped ac­cur­iz­ing pro­ce­dures for the Beretta, but the pro­ce­dure has been taken even fur­ther by Wil­son Com­bat. Wil­son Com­bat has max­i­mized the pistol.

The Beretta/Wil­son Com­bat 92G Bri­gadier Tac­ti­cal pro­vides enough cus­tom fea­tures—listed in the ac­com­pa­ny­ing sidebar—to sat­isfy even the fussi­est hand­gun en­thu­si­ast. The hand­guns are ac­cu­rate, the bar­rels ex­cel­lent, and the trig­ger ac­tions prop­erly tuned.

If you don’t want to or­der a com­plete gun, an­other op­tion is to have Wil­son per­form cus­tom touches to a Beretta that you al­ready own, such as adding a D-type ham­mer spring to en­hance the trig­ger ac­tion of your stock pistol.

DIY PROJECT

Wil­son Com­bat also offers parts for the up­grade of an ex­ist­ing Beretta 92 or 92A1 hand­gun. Mine were or­dered from Brownells.com.

The safety lever of­fered by Wil­son Com­bat isn’t am­bidex­trous, but it offers an ex­cel­lent sur­face for rapid ma­nip­u­la­tion. It is low pro­file and snag free. I also rec­om­mend the short reach steel trig­ger. This ad­di­tion makes han­dling the Beretta 92 double-ac­tion trig­ger much eas­ier. Lever­age is sim­ply ex­cel­lent.

I also or­dered a Wil­son Com­bat Spring Kit, which made for a smoother trig­ger ac­tion. I also added the Wil­son Com­bat ham­mer. The ex­tended magazine well is an aid in rapid re­plen­ish­ment of the am­mu­ni­tion sup­ply. My per­sonal pistol has had the bar­rel re­crowned and cut at a 45-de­gree an­gle, which en­hances ac­cu­racy po­ten­tial and lim­its dam­age to the bar­rel crown. This com­bi­na­tion of fea­tures makes for a great-han­dling hand­gun.

Last, I added a set of VZ grips. I fa­vor VZ from long ex­pe­ri­ence with 1911 hand­guns and re­volvers and this set also worked out well. All of the parts were in stock at Brownells and ar­rived promptly.

GOOD RE­SULTS

The Beretta was proofed with the ad­di­tions de­scribed. The dif­fer­ence in per­for­mance was no­tice­able. I be­gan draw­ing from my Wright Leather Works hol­ster and fir­ing at man sized tar­gets at 5, 7 and 10 yards, and with mag­a­zines filled with Black Hills 115-grain FMJ ball am­mu­ni­tion.

The Beretta came on tar­get quickly, and I was able to cen­ter the hits in the X ring with the new, smooth trig­ger ac­tion. The com­bi­na­tion of the short trig­ger and spring kit made a

“WIL­SON COM­BAT HAS MAX­I­MIZED THE PISTOL.”

dif­fer­ence in fast han­dling, yet re­li­a­bil­ity was not com­pro­mised as the fir­ing pin cracked all the primers. Con­trol in the sin­gle-ac­tion mode was ex­cel­lent. I fired sev­eral mag­a­zines in the com­bat course and also fired at ex­tended ranges of 15 to 25 yards. The pistol never failed to func­tion and ac­cu­racy was good. The VZ grips pro­vide good ad­he­sion when fir­ing. Mov­ing to fir­ing from the bench rest, I se­lected a num­ber of cred­i­ble de­fense loads. Though 25 yards is a long dis­tance for com­bat work, the pistol should stay on a man-sized tar­get to 50 yards. As the ta­ble shows, the Beretta 92 gave an ex­cel­lent show­ing.

WOR­THY UP­GRADE

The Beretta is re­li­able as is­sued and ac­cu­rate enough for most chores. With ju­di­cious do-it-your­self im­prove­ments cou­pled with prac­tice at marks­man­ship, the Beretta may be a more ca­pa­ble and re­li­able hand­gun. If you want the ul­ti­mate Beretta, heck, just go all-out and or­der one from Wil­son Com­bat.

STORY BY BOB CAMP­BELL | PHO­TOS BY AU­THOR AND STEVE WOODS OF WIL­SON COM­BAT | LEAD PHOTO: WIL­SON COM­BAT

Above:The magazine guide proved ideal for tac­ti­cal use.

Mid­dle: The Wil­son Com­bat pistol fea­tures the Bri­gadier or re­in­forced slide. Wil­son Com­bat photo Bot­tom: Wil­son Com­bat’s safety lever is ro­bust and al­lows rapid ma­nip­u­la­tion.

Be­low: Wil­son Com­bat has added high pro­file/high vis­i­bil­ity sights to the Beretta 92. Wil­son Com­bat photo

Above: This is the Wil­son Com­bat Beretta 92 with a long list of cus­tom up­grades that makes a great pistol bet­ter. Wil­son Com­bat photo

Left: Note the ex­tended magazine re­lease.

Above: An ex­tended magazine re­lease and ag­gres­sive grip tex­ture are ad­van­tages of the Beretta 92 Wil­son Com­bat pistol. Wil­son Com­bat photo

Above: The Wil­son Com­bat Beretta 92 offers well thought out and prop­erly ex­e­cuted up­grades. Wil­son Com­bat photo Be­low: The Wil­son Com­bat safety is an over­sized part that makes rapid ma­nip­u­la­tion of the safety more er­gonomic.

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