A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Shooting the Beretta 92FS

Let's face it. Young gunnies are influenced by guns in the movies. Back when I was a young gunnie, 9mm double stack pistols were the happening thing, and the sexiest one of all was the pistol that Mel Gibson carried as L.A.P.D. Detective Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon.

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. Click to enlargeI'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. Click to enlargeWhen 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.Click to enlarge 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

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Blogger Keith Walker said...

Has QJ tried the Springfield XD yet?

10:41 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I sold my XD Keith, so I don't have one to offer.

10:44 PM  
Blogger MauserMedic said...

I bought one for National Guard competition when we transitioned of the 1911A1s. On the up side, it wasn't shot out (battered slided, rear sight moving laterally every shot- nothing like having a first time competitor come up to you and go "is it supposed to do this?") and dead reliable, but I never have gotten the groups out one that I could with the issue .45s in good condition.

Still have mine too. I use it for the Practical Pistol competitions at my club, when I'm there.

12:17 AM  
Anonymous OrangeNeckInNY said...

How about a 1911 in .45 ACP or 10mm??

12:25 AM  
Blogger mike's spot said...

if capacity is his game and he seems to be drawn to heavier, non polymer guns 3rd Gen S&W's might be a good one to try out. 5906s and the like can be had for a very affordable sum from CDNN. I wouldn't turn a well priced one down.

1:43 AM  
Blogger lordjim said...

If Q is leaning towards the 92 budsgunshop.com has Police trade in 92Ds for $250 in their used section. A Browning Hi Power or some tactical tupperware might be a good thing for Q to try next.

1:49 AM  
Blogger TheBronze said...

Beretta 92's suck. I used them in the mil.

I owned a Beretta 96 and ended up having to send it back to the factory to get it fixed for FTF(eeds).

Stay away from the Beretta 92/96.
There are FAR better pistols out there. Just my humble opinion...

1:43 AM  
Blogger Mikael said...

The beretta 92FS was the very first (non-air) pistol I shot. I quite liked it, shot 75/100 on a large target at 10m(33ft), and most of them were 9s, the trigger was nice and smooth, the sights good, the weight felt nice in my hands.

After that I tried a Glock 21, which had a much worse trigger to deal with, and worse sights, shot 55/100.

Do note that while that was my first time shooting a pistol, I've shot quite a few rifles, joining my first gunclub at 14yo(pelletguns), so I got some trigger technique already, though I was a bit rusty.

2:42 AM  
Blogger Hyunchback said...

Having owned a 92 FS I'm glad that I swapped it for a 96 D.

The DAO trigger is consistent and after a professional gunsmith worked it over, added a trigger stop and I got used to it I was putting overlapping holes of .40 S&W on targets at 21 feet every time.

You sacrifice capacity for power.

2:44 AM  
Blogger Weer'd Beard said...

Yeah how soon before he fondles the 1911s?

The 1911 was the first gun to get me to say "Wow".

6:33 AM  
Blogger Mr. Completely said...

A good gunsmith can probably convert it to Single action so it works like a 1911. The Beretta and Taurus are essentially the same, and I converted my Taurus PT92 without much trouble. That also lightened the trigger pull considerably.

.... Mr. C.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous George said...

I second the support for the 96D. I picked up a very gently used police tradein (owned by a Colonel - almost no wear at all). It has the heavier Brigadier slide.

Like Hyunchback said, I get superb accuracy out of it even with Wolf ammo. I had to bring in the target after 3 rounds recently because I thought I was missing the paper entirely (21 feet as well). Turns out that all 3 went into the same hole with just a smidge overlap.

One of my favorite pitols to shoot.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous beth said...

QJ kind of has that Shaft thing going doesn't he?

4:41 PM  
Blogger Mattexian said...

Good to see I'm not the only one with the Taurus clone. I like my PT92 well enough, especially for that high-capacity feature, but the grip feels "clunky." (Bound to be the double-stack of ammo.)

7:44 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

A 92FS was my first handgun. I kept it for quite a few years, and then sold it to buy something else. I've always regretted that decision.

Wasn't Lethal Weapon that made me want it, though.

It was Die Hard. ;-)

3:01 PM  
Blogger david said...

you are obviously an unskilled marksman. the beretta 92fs or m9 has been forced through the most rigorous of military trials and has proven to be the most reliable sidearm in history. Also the m-9 has set new standards for accuracy at the Army Marksmanship Unit. It has even surrpassed the accuracy of the 1911... My advice--do some research before you spout off bunk!

7:27 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

You are obviously a commentor who is unable to comprehend what you have just scanned your eyes over. Your comment is so ignorant and rude that I would not respond to it at all, except to show that even rude and ignorant people have a voice here. I would like to know just who the Hell you think you are. But that doesn't matter...... You are insignificant.

Read before you speak sir. READ. THINK. Then wait a bit before you rabidly drool and pound your dribble into a keyboard.

1. I am relating my experience here. If you don't like it, go elsewhere.
2. I not once said that the 92FS was inaccurate. I said, and I quote: "I found that the seductive black pistol did not bestow unerring accuracy upon me." I also said it is a misguided choice for a CCW gun.

You, sir, are obviously a neophyte who has become enamored of the Beretta 92 and cannot look at it objectively. Relax boy. It's just a gun. It's not your manhood. Take your medications and then go defend your chosen pistol's reputation elsewhere. I would call you an idiot, but I figure sooner or later you will learn. No sense in verbally bashing those who are simply ignorant.

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoy my berreta 96. It's accurate, smooth to fire, And in my opinion very fun to shoot. I've never had a misfire or had need for any repair. It's reliable so long as you take decent care of it. (as with any fire arm) I recommend it to anyone looking for a practise weapon, first weapon, or just want to class up your collection. There is a reason the us military and police units nationwide have adopted it.

9:37 PM  

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