The Underrated Beretta 92

From Gun Nuts Media:

March 20, 2014

Yesterday afternoon Wilson Combat, purveyor of some of the most desirable custom 1911′s on the market, announced that they had paired up with Ernie Langdon to begin offering parts and custom work on the Beretta 92. Mr. Langdon worked for Beretta a while ago and from what I understand was largely responsible for some of the most interesting and desirable variants of the Beretta 92 that the company ever produced. He took guns like the 1st and 2nd generation 92 Elite pistols to multiple championships in IDPA and USPSA. After leaving Beretta Mr. Langdon put his expertise on the Beretta 92 to work (all too) briefly offering gunsmith services on Berettas. My first handgun was a somewhat beat-up looking 92FS that needed some competent attention, so I sent her off to Mr. Langdon to have the full armorer treatment including fitting and installing a new locking block and a trigger job. I was quite pleased with the result…so pleased that I had the gun refinished. I’m almost certain that I have the only hard-chromed, Langdon customized Beretta 92 on the planet. Take that, Tam.

The Beretta 92 has always been one of my favorite handguns. My formative impressions of the Beretta were probably set by watching Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson waste machinegun toting baddies by the truckload using the 92. Yes, I have a Miami Classic holster for my Beretta 92 as a direct result of the airport scene in Die Hard 2. No, I’m not the least bit ashamed of that fact. Of course, the Beretta 92 was featured prominently in the Die Hard and Lethal Weapon movies precisely because at the time it was the standard issue sidearm of the most famous local police agency in the world: The LAPD. There’s no doubt that Hollywood blockbusters sold a lot of Berettas, but the pistol was doing fairly well in its own right prior to the gratuitous gun porn of 80′s and 90′s action movies.

The Beretta’s adoption by the US Military happened to coincide with the rise of drug-related gang warfare in cities like Los Angeles. Police departments looking to give officers on the street an edge often turned to the Beretta 92, and often with good results. When properly maintained the pistol proves to be a pretty reliable and durable sidearm. It was a rather large pistol even by the standards of the day, and smaller shooters often found reaching the trigger in double action mode to be somewhat difficult. The most universally disliked feature of the Beretta 92 has to be the slide mounted safety. Despite the “extra wide ejection port, no feed jams” the Beretta did occasionally have a malfunction and it’s very easy to accidentally engage the safety while manipulating the slide to clear a malfunction. At the request of some counterterrorism professionals who were using the pistols, Beretta came up with a “G” model 92 where the safety was replaced by a lever that only functioned as a decocker, but for reasons that mystify me (and some others I might add) they have been reluctant to sell “G” model 92′s to the general public. From what Mr. Langdon told me in a class some time ago, even getting the Elite models to be sold in the “G” configuration took quite a bit of effort behind the scenes. Perhaps Wilson Combat will join a couple of smaller shops out there in offering a “G” conversion for the FS pistols.

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