Beretta’s Improved Model 92A1
By David Tong
This is an outward impressions article about a civilian version of the Beretta M9A1 pistol, used by the Marines since the mid-2000s. My article on the parent M9 pistol can be found on the Handgun Information - Reviews index page. In many ways, this piece provides a more modern counterpoint to the 96G Vertec pistol I have also reviewed. (Also on the Handgun Information - Reviews index page.)
The same feature set that the U.S. Marines were looking to enhance their Military Operations in Urban Terrain, or MOUT for short, for are included. These include dovetailed front and rear sights to allow the substitution of tritium night sights and a Picatinny accessory rail for attaching lights and laser target designators.
This particular example also is the first Italian-made Model 92 I have seen in over 20 years. One of the stipulations of the 1984 military contract was to manufacture the pistol in the U.S. at Beretta’s Accokeek, Maryland facility. Curiously, Beretta’s website also lists a M9A1 pistol built here in the States, which IS an exact replica of the issue piece.
About the only other significant difference from the issue pistol is that the trigger guard is not squared and serrated, but rounded, much as the original Model 92SB that was the parent of the M9. All to the good, as breaking the solidity of one’s grip by extending the support hand’s index finger provides what I consider only an illusory increase in recoil control in rapid fire strings. In addition, the (ugly) squared guard is useless when accessories are fitted to the rail. Here are some specifications for the Beretta M-92A1:
In addition, the military has been using some Glock 17 pistols in our war in the Sandbox and Beretta has stepped up and now provides three 17-round magazines in their sand resistant PVD gloss blued finish with each of these pistols. This was done, obviously, to address the round count advantage the Glock has heretofore enjoyed. Given the lack of stopping power of the 124 grain NATO ball round, every bit helps. It must be added that the likelihood of our procurement of these new, factory made, higher capacity magazines actually being issued to our troops is slight, at least at the time of this writing, while the use of aftermarket magazines has proven to be a great detriment to the pistol’s reliability.
The manual of arms is no different from all the other M9s issued over the past 25 years, with the same safety/decocking levers at the rear of the slide. Some say that these levers sometimes stay “down” inadvertently and render the trigger inoperable during a “tap-rack-fire” malfunction clearance drill, but this appears to be more a training issue than any fault of the arm. The M9A1 remains the largest and most complex service pistol issued to any major military force and will undoubtedly serve the troops well, with added capabilities for night shooting and clearing buildings in urban combat scenarios.
Note: A full review of the Beretta 90-TWO can be found on the Product Reviews page.
Copyright 2011 by David Tong and/or chuckhawks.com. All rights reserved.