Pistol design is always on the move. The Beretta 92FS was a noble design when first introduced. It had a 15 round magazine capacity, an open slide, and a safe firing system, it was accurate and reliable if kept clean. It eventually replaced the 1911 pistol as America’s sidearm.
The rise of the 92FS was not without problems. There were metallurgy issues with some of the early frames which caused breakage. Some weren’t happy at the prospect of replacing the .45 acp with the smaller 9mm round. Yet most of the dissenting voices were kept at bay and the 92FS has served with America’s military for a couple decades now.
Take away the hype and pistols are essentially bullet launchers, the 92FS firing the 9mm Parabellum round. The 9mm can be effective as a self defense cartridge if it is used with premium hollow point rounds. However, the FMJ (full metal jacket) round supplied to the US Military due to restrictions on expanding ammo leaves a little to be desired in terms of “stopping power”.
In civilian use and where legal 92FS owners can load up 15 hollow points in the standard mag or go past 30 with an extended mag. The slide operation on the 92FS is the smoothest I have ever felt on a pistol. This is partly due to it’s unique locking block system which does not cam the barrel downward but keeps it straight through the firing process. The one drawback of the locking block which is attached to the barrel is that it may need to be replaced after about 5,000 rounds.
The grip on the 92FS is definitely not for people with very small hands. It is the fattest gripped pistol next to a few double stack 1911s and the Desert Eagle .50 cal. My hands are on the large side but I still noticed the girth of the frame in my hand. It may take some getting used to but it may actually help accuracy by stabilizing the hand and wrist. Target pistols often have fat contoured grips and perhaps the 92FS wanted to apply a certain aspects of this.
The safety mechanism on the pistol is almost fool proof. It is double action on the first shot and single action thereafter. The ambidextrous safety sits on the slide and can be easily operated.
If you have purchased a Beretta 92FS recently you may have noticed some surprises. Namely that some of the parts are made of plastic instead of steel. This was probably done to cut costs in manufacturing. I had to go online to find a metal trigger to replace the plastic one that came on mine. I also replaced the plastic guide rod with a steel one from Wolf Springs.
Some say that the Berettas made in Italy are of better quality than the ones made in the US. I have never held an Italian model in my hand but the finish on the US manufacture was exceptional. I suppose even the same manufacturing plant can vary in the quality of it’s batches though. If you want to spend more money you can get the Beretta in an Inox finish.
My pistol worked flawlessly without one single malfunction. However, I have seen others encountering jams when their 92FS became defunct from sand or muddy conditions. This may be one drawback of the open slide in that debris can more easily enter the mechanism.
The pistol is fairly large and is meant to be a full size service weapon. The size and weight help reduce felt recoil. It is a good weapon for beginning shooters in the military or police forces. It serves in other militaries and police forces around the world.
One benefit of owning a 92FS is the ease of getting spare or after market parts for it. Virtually every gun store knows about this pistol. There is also a lot of military surplus parts floating around for it. In a time of war the 92FS would be in the top choices of a side arm to have. The 1911 .45 acp is a proven manstopper but it is not as easy to find 9mm ammo around the world. The .45 is largely popular in the US while Europe and Asian states favor the 9mm. The 92FS is popular around the world and there have even been copies of it such as the Taurus 92.
Taken together the Beretta 92FS is a great pistol to own. It is not perfect (no pistol is perfect) but it is a fine pistol in my humble opinion. Not only does it fire well under its specifications but it looks great too. Not that it matters but the pistol has been in almost every action movie made since the mid 80’s. It is fun to shoot and would serve its role in a self defense situation if proper ammo is used. If you haven’t already, go to the local range and try out a 92FS today, you won’t be disappointed.