Beretta 92FS Compact


There is no doubt the most successful pistol design system in history has been the .45 ACP 1911 pistol. It’s now been 102 years since its acceptance as the United States military’s service pistol and it’s still going strong. When the 1911 was replaced by the 9mm Beretta 92 (known as the M9 in military service) in 1985, there were many naysayers about the efficacy of leaving such a successful system, but things must be kept in perspective. As much as many of us love the 1911, we have to accept its limitations.

There were some teething problems with the Beretta 92 when it was first introduced that were soon resolved and the clamor about switching to the 9mm pistol died down. I’ve talked to a lot of servicemen since that time and they’ve been happy with the Beretta and it’s performed well in combat and service pistol matches.

Of course, the double-/single-action operating system of the Beretta is hardly an unproven system and recent developments with striker-fired guns have made the double/single system guns seem even more archaic than the ancient 1911 system. Still, these are good guns, proven on battlefields, city streets, recreational ranges, and competitive events.

The Beretta 92FS Compact is a cut-down version of the standard 92 that’s designed to be a little more friendly for concealed carry and defense use. Other than the shorter 4.3-inch barrel and grip with a lower magazine capacity, it’s the same gun. With a capacity of 13 + 1, it’s still a higher-capacity pistol than guns like the 1911.

An oft-cited issue with double-/single-action guns is a perceived difficulty to get off two quick, accurate shots. I decided to test this on my own. I set up a 10-yard target and, firing from the low ready position, I fired a series of five two-shot drills, firing the first shot double-action and the second single-action. I was surprised when I realized my first shots were better centered and formed a tighter group than the second, single-action rounds. Based on my experience, I believe the double/single worry to be a non-issue and I certainly can see the security in carrying a double-action trigger over a lighter-triggered striker-fired gun.

I’m certainly not saying the Beretta is superior to the current generation of striker-fired guns, but it’s certainly far from obsolete and a great choice if you’re nervous about stuffing a light-triggered gun with no external safety in your pants. In this regard, I see it as vastly superior to the 1911.

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