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Beretta 92X: A Great Gun or Not? What a Firearms Expert Says

Beretta 92X
Beretta 92X. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Beretta 92X: What to Make of It – Besides my seemingly endless articles on Glock pistols, another topic I’ve repeatedly harped upon in my 19FortyFive articles is my love for the Beretta 92FS 9mm double-action semiautomatic pistol AKA the M9 in U.S. military parlance.

This was the very first pistol I ever fell in love with – in the strictly platonic sense of course (no Dr. Joyce Brothers references/jokes, please!) – back in 1989 at the tender age of 14, I own three of ‘em now – one standard edition, two collectors/commemorative editions – as it continues to be one of the sweetest-shooting pistols I’ve ever fired.

Well, much to the chagrin of the Beretta-haters out there (“Haters Gonna Hate,” as the saying goes), I’m dredging up the subject again, as one of my loyal readers, an old friend from my Belleville Shooting Range days back in the early 2000s – no, not & the same BSR friend who asked me to write about the SIG P226 TACOPS – has asked me to write about the Beretta 92X iteration. So, Marshall ol’ buddy, if you’re reading this, don’t say I never did anything for ya…

Beretta 92F/M9 Origins & Specifications 

Before we discuss the 92X specifically, let’s revisit its predecessor. The story of the original Beretta 92F/M9 is well-known to serious firearms enthusiasts, but we’ll provide a brief rundown for the benefit of our readers less familiar with the subject matter.

In 1984 , the U.S. Army conducted a grueling series of pistol trials –evaluation criteria included accuracy, reliability, durability, firepower, and ergonomics – to find a replacement for its time-honored and battle-proven but also badly worn and “beaten to hell” M1911 .45 caliber single-action autopistols. What’s more, the U.S. Armed Forces decided to go with the 9x19mm Parabellum round for the sake of commonality of caliber with our NATO allies.

Long story short, Beretta beat out SIG, Smith and Wesson, HK, Walther, Steyr, and FN to become the official sidearm of the U.S. military. From there, the pistol gained even more prestige after it was adopted by a myriad of domestic U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and LAPD (as immortalized by Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon film series), and quickly won the hearts of legions of private citizen shooting enthusiasts as well.

In 2017, the Beretta M9 was officially replaced by the SIG Sauer P320/M17 9mm as the U.S. Armed Forces standard-issue pistol, but the older gun remains ever-popular. Which isn’t surprising for a product made by the world’s oldest industrial firm of any kind.

Okay, So What’s Different About the 92X?

Undeterred by losing the U.S. military contract to SIG, and not content to rest on their laurels, the fine folks at Beretta released their 92X Performance version in 2019.

Contrary to potential arguments about reinventing the wheel or the Department of Redundancy Department, this new edition was significant for two reasons: (1)  Beretta 92 pistols with all-steel construction and frame-mounted safeties – as opposed to the alloy frames and slide-mounted hammer-dropping safety levers on the standard models — were rarities or extremely limited-release items; and (2) the upgraded guns were factory customized to go directly from the gun shop to a match like a USPSA or IPSC event, thus saving the customer a time-consuming trip to the gunsmith.

As Beretta’s official info page declares, “The 92X Performance was created to satisfy two requirements: Speed and accuracy. Beretta’s new competition pistol is uncompromising and aims for top performance, offering the world of competitive dynamic shooting one of the most reliable and world-renowned locking systems, together with a steel frame, a heavier Brigadier slide and the new Extreme-S trigger mechanism.”

In a September 2022 article published in the NRA’s ShootingIllustrated.Com, gun writer P.E. Fitch evaluated the 92X Performance model thusly: “As a hobbyist level competition shooter and all-around Beretta 92 enthusiast, I can say that a pistol like the 92X Performance with its excellent trigger, useful sights, great accuracy, strong reliability and match ready configuration is a welcome addition to the selection of available metal framed competition pistols.”

The 92X Performance retains the standard 15-round magazine capacity and 4.9-inch barrel of the original. Overall length is 8.7 inches, height is 5.8 inches, width is 1.8 inches, and empty weight is 47.61 ounces.

Want Your Own 92X?

MSRP of a Beretta 92X Performance model, according to the aforementioned manufacturer’s official info page, is $1,629.00 USD.

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Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.  In his spare time, he enjoys (besides shooting, obviously) dining out, cigars, Irish and British pubs, travel, USC Trojans college football, and Washington DC professional sports. 

Written By

Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon).