Shots: 15rds (20rd avail.)
Cost: $490, 15rd magazine $19, 20rd magazine $24
Notes: AP1, Semi-Auto
The Model 92F/FS is the civilian model of the military M9 pistol. The Beretta is distinct in having won three weapon trials to reach service – JSSAP in 1980, the XM9 trials in 1983 and the XM10 trials in 1988. The Air Force adopted the Beretta 92SB-1 in small numbers following JSSAP (Joint Service Small Arms Program) but the Army remanded a rematch and organized the XM9 trials. The updated 92F won this trial as well and became the issue weapon of the US military in 1985. In 1988 the slide on a SEAL Team M9 fractured and hit the sailor in the face causing facial lacerations. An investigation lead to the discovery of a few other such events, signs of stress fractures on the slides of other M9s and the procurement of the weapon was halted. At issue was the area of the slide under the ejection port, excessive stress – caused by hot loaded ammunition – caused metal fatigue that went unnoticed by Navy armorers. The Navy purchased the SIG-Sauer P226 for SEAL use and retrofitted an enclosed slide to the Fleet’s other M9s. These “Dolphin” slides were soon discarded due to increased feed problems caused by the design, and P226s in SEAL service also suffered slide failures caused by the hot loaded ammunition. In 1988, the XM10 trials were organized – and the Beretta (model 92FS) won yet again.
The 92FS differs from the earlier 92F in that a slide retention device was added. This internal modification features a hook that catches on an enlarged hammer axis pin in the case of a slide failure – preventing it from injuring the firer. Models without this feature (made before 1988), using P+ ammo, may separate on a critical failure, causing d4 damage to the firer’s face or chest. This should be a rare occurrence for well-maintained M9/92s.
The Berretta 92 series was the issue weapon of numerous law enforcement bodies, most notably the LAPD. Its popularity with LAPD officers declined following the North Hollywood Shootout – where the penetration of the 9mm round was insufficient to penetrate the bank robbers body armor.
The Model 96, chambered in .40 S&W, was introduced in 1990.
Cost: $460, 10rd magazine $15
Notes: AP1, Semi-Auto
The San Francisco Police Department began issuing the Model 96D in the mid-1990s.
Full-size Beretta 92/96s are available with numerous features. Inox versions feature stainless steel construction. 92D/96D models are double action only, may not double tap (replace the note “Semi-Auto” with “Double-Action”), cost $50 less, and lack the decocking lever and hammer spur.