Originally designed for the Italian army and police, the Model 92 pistols earned most of their fame (both good and bad) as the standard sidearm of the US military. It was developed between 1970 and 1975 as a possible replacement for ageing Beretta M951 pistol, and entered production in Italy in 1976.
First adopted by the Brazilian army in 1977, this pistol was later adopted in Italy in its Model 92S, “SB”, and finally “F” modifications. The US military adopted the Model 92SB-F (later renamed to model 92F) in 1985, as a result of the highly controversial XM9 trials. In the late 1980s and 1990s, these pistols were also adopted in France. It must be noted that, while being entirely adequate as a combat pistol, the Beretta 92 is somewhat bulky for its caliber and magazine capacity, thus less suitable for users with average or smaller hands. Other than the basic 9mm, Beretta also makes these pistols in other calibers, such as .40 S&W (model 96) and 9x21 IMI (Model 98, available for civilian users in certain European countries, including Italy). Beretta also makes a wide variety of models based on the same design; these include not only variations in finishes and sights, but also different trigger types (DA/SA, DA/SA with decock only, DAO, DAO with manual safety).
Beretta 92 pistols are short-recoil operated, locked-breech weapons with an aluminium frame. The locking system is of the Walther type, with a vertically-tilting locking piece located below the breech area of the barrel. The trigger is double-action, with an exposed hammer. Original Model 92 pistols had a frame-mounted safety which was applied only when hammer was cocked; all subsequent pistols (except for some limited production civilian-only sporting models) either had a slide-mounted safety lever or no safety lever at all. On some pistols, such as the Model 92G adopted in France, the levers do not lock themselves in the lowered position but return to the “fire” position once released - their function is limited only to safe decocking of the hammer. Some other models, such as the Model 92D, are double-action-only pistols with no manual safety or decocker. All pistols of current production are fitted with an automatic firing pin block safety. Magazines are double stack, with the magazine release button located in the base of the trigger-guard on all 92-series pistols made since 1981. Sights on service models are of fixed type, with a dovetailed rear blade, usually with high-contrast inserts.
With the introduction of the Model 92FS in the late 1980s, another unusual safety feature was fitted in the form of an enlarged head to the hammer pin. The purpose of this safety is to prevent the rear of the slide from flying back into the firer’s face in the case of the slide failure. This happened several times during the earlier years of Model 92F service in US military, apparently because of metallurgical problems, combined with the “built-in” weak points in the slide where the locking block cuts are made. Recognizing these weak points, the US INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) requested Beretta to make their model 96 (.40 S&W caliber version of Model 92) with reinforced slides. This resulted in appearance of the Model 96 Brigadier pistols, and, later on, the same modification was applied to 9mm pistols, available as Model 92 Brigadier. Beretta also produced a number of compact versions of their basic, full-size Model 92 variations. These compact versions had shortened grips, slides and barrels; Compact Type M versions also featured single-stack magazines with appropriately thinned grips. At the present time, Beretta no longer makes Compact versions of the Model 92; in the firm's product line these were replaced by the entirely different Model 8000 Cougar pistols.
Country of Origin Italy (Beretta Model 92F)
Date Of Introduction 1990
Caliber 0.35 in (9 mm)
Cartridge 9x19mm NATO
System of Operation Short recoil, semi-automatic
Weight With Empty Magazine 2.1 lb (0.95 kg)
Weight With Full Magazine 2.6 lb (1.18 kg)
Length 8.54 in (217 mm)
Barrel Length 4.92 in (125 mm)
Barrel Rifling R.H., six grooves, pitch 1 in 9.8 inches (250 mm)
Safety Features Decocking/safety lever, firing pin block, half-cock position
Trigger Pull Single-Action: 5.50 lb (2.5 kg)
Double-Action: 12.33 lb (5.6 kg)
Magazine Capacity 15 rounds
Basic Load 45 rounds
This article uses material from the Modern Firearms & Ammunition site article "Beretta 92 96 and 90two pistol (Italy)".