Shooting the Beretta 92FS
Of course, the pistol performed incredible feats along with it's handler, one of which was engaging a sniper armed with a rifle, while a unlit cigarette dangles from his lips. Hardcore macho stuff. In a sequel, the Beretta Riggs carried had a laser sight added. That made for great visuals on the silver screen, since the viewer could see exactly where the loose cannon detective was aiming.
Polymer was seen as a passing fad, and combined with the fact that the US military had just adopted the Italian pistol, the large capacity Beretta 92FS was the pistol to have among young gunnies. I bought one as soon as I left the military. Sadly, like many young gunnies, I paid a pretty penny for an image and a dream.
I found that the seductive black pistol did not bestow unerring accuracy upon me. Hollywood lied. Even though the heavy double action trigger was smooth, it was difficult to manage. The Beretta did have one thing going for it besides it's looks. In the right hands, it was sufficiently accurate, and it was always reliable. I've always held on to it, as the first significant item I purchased after I returned home, and Heaven help me, my first misguided concealed carry weapon.
I still use it as an instructional tool for new shooters. It is an illustration of my own folly. I later screwed on some Crimson Trace laser grips. I learned that even though a red dot on the chest may help a bad guy make an informed decision, I still had to control that darned trigger. With the laser, it becomes a valuable tool to demonstrate to new shooters how minor flaws in sight alignment can cause inaccuracies at greater distances. The laser also helps a shooter understand just how much the muzzle of the gun moves while the trigger is being pulled.
QJ had the Beretta at the range today, and he was impressed with the dampened recoil of a service sized 9mm pistol. I let him fire several magazines through the big black gun before I showed him how to turn on the laser.
His accuracy had suffered with the DA/SA Beretta. When he illuminated his target with the laser he instantly saw why. The red dot was dancing all over the target as though a cat were chasing it. "The laser doesn't help much," QJ told me.
"Right. You still have to keep the sights aligned while pulling the trigger. There is no magic panacea to marksmanship. The bullets do not follow the laser. The laser simply indicates where they will strike the target. You still have to do your part," I replied. "When you choose a handgun, your ability to operate the trigger is paramount." QJ turned off the laser and went back to the sights. Concentrating on the smoothness and the rate of his trigger pull, his shooting improved.
QJ liked the security of the decocker, he liked being able to hit the slide release with his thumb, and the capacity held a definite appeal to him. After we left the range, we talked a while about the choices that people make in a personal protection or concealed carry firearm. We discussed how many people take a journey of self discovery until they find the firearm that is most appropriate for their needs, how that choice is not always apparent at first and how different people make different choices, all correct for themselves.
I told QJ that with a little good fortune, if he wanted a Beretta, we could probably find one used for under $400 without much trouble. QJ decided to wait and try a few more handguns before making up his mind. Good choice Q.
More informtion on the evolution of the Beretta 92FS