Beretta and its 92 series of handguns have been around for a very long time. While the company predates the pistol by a few centuries (official records regarding Vatican purchase of barrels go as far back as the 1500s!), the 92 design isn’t exactly brand new.
Which isn’t to say it’s not an excellent design; by many metrics the gun is top notch. But there are some aspects of the original that could use a little work.
Thankfully, the engineers at Beretta agree, and in response have released a whole new family of semi-automatic pistols: the 92X series.
Ostensibly, the 92X is the Beretta 92FS – and indeed, it is heavily based on the same design with many parts being interchangeable between them. But the X is more than just small refinements to the original design.
Basically, the 92X pistols are the result of deliberate, highly researched iterative refining process. The purpose of which, is to both modernize and standardize the design family. Think of it like the M16/AR-15 – everything compatible with everything to simplify production and ensure aftermarket support.
Beretta 92X Brings Changes
The biggest of these changes is the use of Vertec frames only. For shooters not familiar, the Vertec frame is a variant of the normal 92 frame that is slimmer and features a different grip angle. What’s especially interesting about this change, is that is represents the first time the Compact 92 pistol has incorporated a Vertec frame. The addition of which makes the gun noticeably smaller, and thus more appropriate for concealed carry.
Many shooters prefer the Vertec frame, but for those who don’t, there’s good news – the new guns include a proprietary extra set of grips that change the grip angle to better match the original. So those with thousands of rounds through original 92s or M9’s won’t have to relearn their shooting grip.
In testing, these new guns felt smaller in the firing hand without sacrificing too much gripping surface. Meaning, the gun was still just as controllable and soft-shooting as ever.
Though this could be a result of the new grip panels which are nearly aggressive enough to be used as meat tenderizers! While this might seem like a bad thing, the abrasive texture greatly improves weapon control and retention. Plus, they’re polymer; after enough handling either the shooter’s hands will toughen, or the grips will begin to smooth out.
But the X series is more than just a new frame and grips. The latest iteration of the Beretta wonder nine includes dozens of desirable features that read like a wish list for best upgrades to the platform.
For instance, the front sight is no longer fixed to the frame, but rather dovetailed in. This is incredibly important, since shooters who didn’t like their 92’s sights were previously out of luck. At least unless they owned an M9A3 or other specialty models with a removable front sight.
Now, a modular sight system comes standard on all handguns. So shooters won’t have to compromise when selecting their ideal Beretta pistol. But if a shooter doesn’t want to change their sights, they aren’t missing out at all.
Indeed, the new 92X handguns have changed their default iron sights from fixed steel with a white dot up front, to a more modern configuration.
In place of the old sights, the new Berettas utilize a high visibility fluorescent orange front sight, contrasted against a matt black serrated rear sight. This setup naturally draws the shooter’s eye to the front sight (where it belongs) making rapid sight and target acquisition much easier. Shooters who prefer something else, can replace the pistol’s sights with any designed for the M9A3.
This change comes courtesy of the 92X’s standardized use of a new M9A3-inspired slide. So all new handguns can use one and other’s sights, internal components and are all convertible from F to G configuration (safety/decock to decocker only).
Inside the slide, the Beretta hides an even more impressive addition: a chrome-lined, target crowned barrel. While I was only able to fire a few hundred rounds through a handful of examples of the 92X, they all proved incredibly accurate. With every pistol tested capable of keeping all shots within the, “X” ring at 10 yards when fired unsupported.
While hardly scientific, shooting a 2-3in group at 30 feet definitely lends credence to the design’s capabilities.
Other changes to the gun include the removal of the squared off trigger guard in favor of a traditional rounded one, and every version of the pistol – full-sized, Centurion and compact – are available both with and without a railed dust cover. So shooters won’t have to worry about ripping their shirt when drawing the compact model.
Lastly, threaded barrels will be offered for every version of the 92X. So shooters like myself who prefer their guns quiet, can equip any 9mm (or larger) suppressor threaded to 1/2×28.
All versions of the 92X are available now, and retail for the same price: $800 for models without an accessory rail, and $899 for those with one.
For more information, visit beretta.com.