The Everyday Marksman’s Pistol – Beretta 92A1

As part of my shooting goals for the year, I said I wanted to work on my pistol skills. I’ve been working through Pete Lessler’s pistol shooting book, as well as other books I have on the subject, and will be applying it at my next range trip. But I thought it would be a good time to introduce the pistol. There are no fancy names for this one, it’s just my Beretta.


I purchased this several years ago. I was in the market for a new pistol to use, as my 1911 was temperamental. I combed high and far for something that I would like (some of those are still on my list to buy someday, like a CZ SP-01 Tactical). I settled on a Beretta 92, since I had shot them before and liked them. There was also, of course, the fact that the Beretta 92 platform is the standard issue sidearm of the DOD, and I would be issued one whenever I was deployed. I figured it would be a great benefit to have a lot of practice on the platform and be very familiar with its manual of arms and quirks.

I settled on the 92A1 because it had a few extra features that I thought made it a better nightstand gun (a role which it has serve, quite admirably, for years). I liked the section of 1913 rail on the dust cover, which made mounting a weapon light possible (pictured above). It also has the 90-Two recoil buffer in the frame, which might help with long term life (unknown, honestly…I was more interested in the pic rail).

I have done relatively few mods. One of the first things I did was swap out the grips. It had a set of black Alumagrips for most of its life, and they were quite nice, but last year I DSC_0024installed the VZ grips that you see in the picture above. I find that the VZ grips are just a bit ‘stickier’ for my hands, and they do a decent job replicating the look of classic wood grips (which I always found to be extremely attractive on all-metal pistols).

At the recommendation of the guys on the Beretta Forum, I replaced the mainspring with a ‘D’ variant, which comes from Beretta’s double action only 92 series. This effectively lowered the double action pull weight from 12 lbs to about 8 lbs. I don’t have a trigger gauge to be sure, but it does feel a lot better than stock. I believe it brought down the single action pull as well, but I can’t say by how much.

Lastly, I removed the stock hammer and installed a skeletonized one, as found on the Elite II series. I’ll be honest, this was more for aesthetic reasons than anything else. I’m sure there is some benefit to lock time or cycle speed, but I’m not talented enough to notice.

As far as future mods, I don’t plan on doing any myself. At some point, I will send it off to Wilson Combat and have them tool around on it. But I don’t make enough being in the military to just do that kind of thing on a whim, it will require planning.

I do have a slight issue in that the front sight, which is dovetailed, has a minute amount of play in it. I know some guys have send their pistols back to Beretta to have it worked on, but it has not seemed to affect my accuracy at all at this point, so I’m not going to worry about it until it becomes a problem (that might be the time I send it off to Wilson and have fiber optic sights installed).

If the Beretta goes down, I have a few more pistols to use as backups. But, for all the same reasons I wanted to buy it in the first place, I want to focus on improvement on the Beretta 92.

6 thoughts on “The Everyday Marksman’s Pistol – Beretta 92A1”

  1. I’m rather fond of the Browning P-35 for a 9. The 92 just seems way too big for the cartridge and my little girly hands.
    Let me know what you think of the book when you’re done.

    1. There are certainly other 9mm pistols out there that I would consider ‘better’ than the Beretta. As you said, it is large, heavy, and has some awkward ergos. But, I still shoot the thing so damn well that I keep coming back to it.

    1. I actually don’t know. I suppose it would work, but I have never dug deep enough into pistols to find out. I also kinda sorta tell myself that if it becomes a problem, then its all the more reason to send it off to Wilson Combat for a refresh. My other 9mm would just as well for what I’m doing (FNS-9) in the mean time.

  2. I have mine set up exactly liike yours. Do you have any light bearing holster recommendations? Preferably leather. Nice pistol.


    1. Sadly, there aren’t many options. I’ve been using a duty holster, a Safariland 3280 (no longer in production) and a Tactical Tailor Mille holster. I plan on picking up a Safailand 7ts, but it is also large. I’ve never delved into leather holsters, but I am sure there are some custom guys out there that will do one for you’ve a one-off.

      Sorry I couldn’t help more, the 92A1 really is difficult to shop for.


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