I know my Glock 23. I trust my Glock 23. I’ve put thousands and thousands of rounds through my Glock 23. I’m pretty dang accurate with my Glock 23. It really and truly is the optimum balance of Size, Weight, and Firepower in a package that makes it the ultimate Jack of All Trades.
I know I’ve been packing a Glock 23 for years… but lately I’ve been doing that less and less. Really it’s been relegated to Car Gun Status now, so I always have it close when I’m out and about. But what I carry on my person – that’s changed.
More and more my Go To pistol has been my Beretta 92FS, and I’ve been carrying my 1911 a LOT more. As I type this post, it’s the 1911 that’s sitting by my left hand. Don’t laugh at my desk… I know it’s cluttered, but then again, so is my mind. So it all works out. That’s my beloved GI… which had a light issue with cracking grip panels. That was the worst thing that could have happened, because dang it… now I’m thinking about changing other parts. Like a Beaver Tail and a Commander style hammer… and if I am doing that – I might as well change the sear and trigger… You guys know the drill. The grips were the lid to a bloody Pandora’s Box of tweaks. Why? Why the hell did I do that? I could have got some double diamond checkered wood grips and have been fine. But no… I asked my friends for some regular old black plastics… thought I’d cheap out… not thinking about how they fecking changed the whole dynamic of the pistol and it’s in my head that I could change other things.
And now I’m looking at the Beretta 92FS and thinking… “You know, Wilson Combat is now making Beretta parts.” They have a slick short reach trigger… No… NO!
No… I’m not going to mess with my Beretta. That’s become the Go To Gun. My Almost EDC. I’m not doing that.
But the 1911… Well… that’s different.
I’m thinking why not have some fun with it? I can detail strip it blindfolded, and that sentimental GI memento cherry has been popped with the black grips. Why not?
Deep polished blued levers and safety, but the slide and frame – Color Cased. That is just sexy to me. I don’t know.
What do you guys think?
I’ve not always been a fan of Beretta. I’ll admit that. When I was first told to turn in my 1911 to be issued an M9, I was not a happy camper, and that caused a burning hatred of the 92 series pistol that lasted for a good many years. Two decades later and I find myself to be a rabid 92 series fanatic. It took a long time to come around… but the gun garnered my favor the hard way. It earned it. Working at the gun counter for almost a 9 years, I had sold a great many Beretta products. And I do not remember a single one that ever came back with an issue. Say what you will about Beretta, I know they have their share of detractors out there… But I love Beretta. But I also know they are far from perfect. Let’s hit the high notes:
I hate to admit it, but this gun is a dinosaur. I love mine, and I think these are the best looking automatics ever built… But the design is dated and need revision. Oh, wait… You did revise it. And you called it the 92A1:
You added a rail.. which is a good… but better yet you gave it a dovetailed front sight post which was desperately needed, and you improved the internals… All of this is good, fine and well… Making this gun the best 92 you can buy. But then you changed the trigger guard to differentiate it from the M9A1. What I don’t understand though is why do you have these two very different pistols? Because a holster for an M9A1 wont work with a 92A1, not even close. I do not see the roles that these two different pistols fill. This pistol just leaves me scratching my head. So here’s what you need to do. Kill the 92A1.
Wait, what? I just said it improved everything an was the best 92 you can buy! Yes, I did. But it still needs to die. Namely because it doesn’t stand out in the 92 series line. Same with the 96A1. I would build the 96A1 within the same frame as the M9A1, same trigger guard. Giving the 96A1 the Civilian frame with the rounded trigger guards makes no sense. It’s a tactical gun and needs to be better compatible with the lights. I think this will fill that 96 nitch much better. Now, back to the 92A1… Yes, kill it. And fill the hole in the line up with with a reintroduction of the 90-TWO, renaming it simply as the 2092:
This gun looks amazing, feels amazing, and shoots as good as it looks. The reshaped safety levers are an improvement. This gun moves the Beretta family forward. It only failed because someone gave it a stupid name and your Marketing effort was completely lacking.
This was the stupidest name ever in the firearms industry. It was a failure from the start. But the pistol was awesome. It needs second chance. So rename the bloody thing and bring it back. Also, make a 2092 INOX. And just for fun, maybe INOX slides on the blackened frames and barrels… and vice versa… because two tone guns are sexy. There should also be a COMPACT version of the 2092 as well.
The Billennium. But instead of it being blinged out… Just make it Black and Inox. Here’s why. It answers the #1 Complaint that people hate on the 92 for – the Slide Mounted Safety. The Billennium’s Frame Mounted Safety – Especially if you matched that up with the old Vertec Frame – would be a WINNER.
You guys actually had it… and like the 90-Two… you failed to market it correctly. In fact, I didn’t even know this thing existed. All steel though – so it was a heavy pig. Nice idea, bad execution. Make THAT but with an alloy frame and your current rear sight… Beretta… I’m telling ya… WIN. How come this hasn’t been done already?
The NEOS. I like the pistol. But it’s skinny grip and extreme angle is ridiculous. Have you looked at a Ruger MKIII or Browning Buckmark? Well look again. Because I don’t have hands like an adolescent E.T.
This is why I’ve never bought one. I can’t even hold on to the thing. However I’ve sold it to people with smaller paws than mine, and they have loved it. Never have I sold one to a guy with bigger hands though. Look at Ruger… They have the option of a .45 like grip frame. Do that, but with maybe your Storm. A Storm like grip frame. Seriously Beretta, as much as you guys may like this thing as it is – at American Gun Counters, it turns off far more people than it impresses.
The Storm Series:
I love the Storm Pistols. Two things though… the Sub Compact with the tilting barrel… Get rid of it. It does nothing the Compact can’t do and it’s using a different action so it’s not really a sub compact version. The SD as shown. Where are the 9mm and .40 cal versions and where is the Compact version? Remember when the Navy bought a lot of HK pistols recently? They bought the compact version of the HK45, and not the full sized. Huge handguns are good… but sometimes those Operators who operate operationally need something a bit smaller so they can conceal them. And US Citizens like do something called EDC with guns with many of these features. That Midsized handgun is the sweet spot, and you need to maximize that.
I could write a 2,000 word report on everything wrong with this thing alone… But I don’t have time. So I’m going to quickly outline what it needs to fix it. It needs a major work-over. The pyramid iron sights… Kill it. Run a full rail across the top end to end. Let customers use AR style irons of their choice. No one likes these sights that doesn’t work for Beretta and have to say they do. Extend the the body out till only an inch from the muzzle. Thread the barrel. Give it a thread cap. Threads should be a common type. Supply a flashhider/muzzle brake with it. I like the lack of rails on the side and bottom, but put mounting hardware in there so rails can be added where needed. The bottom of the pistol grip makes fast reloads a challenge. Shape it like a normal pistol grip. The Bolt Release needs to be a Safety. On both sides, make it ambi. Push the bolt handle out front and give it an HK style bolt catch and release. That stock. Get rid of it. Put on a SCAR style Folding/Adjustable stock. Done. Now just rename it. Your other rifles are the ARX series… call this one the ARX9 or ARX40 or ARX45 per caliber and you have a WINNER. You’ll sell more than you ever had before.
I’m only going to touch on 1 shotgun.
I want a pistol grip version and I want the feed tube to run out to the end of the barrel. Make these options. I also want mounting points at the front end so I can attach a short rail section to add a tactical light. That’s it. Simple.
I remain terribly jaded about new guns and I feel like I get more and more guarded the more new and more improved something claims to be. However there are two new rifles out that have raised my critical eyebrow.
#2. The Beretta ARX100.
This is the third choice to the SCAR or ACR question. This is the Dodge to the Ford vs Chevy debate. It brings to the table some new concepts, while keeping within the confines of the tradition auto-rifle layout that is familiar to most American Shooters. But it does so with a wicked truly modular approach reminiscent of H&K.
This rifle is special. In my opinion it’s the best new developed combat purposed arm since the AK-47. It’s the promise of the Bullpup Rifle Concept, finally fulfilled. And it’s been the one rifle that I’ve been wanting for over a decade now. Now that it’s out and people have been trying it out – it’s not disappointed. It really is that good. It gets the #1 Position for a many of reasons. First, it’s a Bullpup. Which means you don’t have to SBR it to make it short and maneuverable for CQB or Vehicle purposes. You don’t have to get it as a pistol and put on an Arm Brace to skirt the $200 Tax Stamp and months and months of waiting for the Approval to come back. You can cross most state lines with it (Just stay away from New England) without having to ask permission or document notification or other red tape BS. It gives you rifle length ballistics instead of SBR ballistics. This is a huge advantage with 5.56mm. And unlike most Bullpups, you can fire it off the left or rifle shoulder, or convert it to left or rifle as you wish. Best yet… It’s not Vapor Ware. I can go to two local shops and find one available. And when I do eventually get one – I’m getting one, just a matter of timing – I’ll be able to trust it with confidence. The Israelis have engineered this rifle extremely well… because it had to be. While it’s still quite new in the history of small arms, it’s been proven constantly in conflicts since it’s come out. You can buy it in different flavors… one, like the IDF’s version (but semi-auto of course) and the others with all full length Picatinny rail on top for all your Optics mounting needs. Black or Tan, and with 16″ or 18″ barrels. I think I’d take a black, 16″, flat-top version.
The Beretta 90-Two. Beretta’s best and worst in one single package. Let me explain why.
On one hand, it’s absolutely the best. The best handgun Beretta has ever made. It has all the latest features and updated good looks that really take it into the next century. I love the swept lines and new contours in the frame on the safety levers.
On the other hand, it has the worst name they could have given the pistol. I had people come to me at the gun counter and say “I want a Beretta ninety two.” Yes, I have that right here. “No, a ninety two.” You get my point. It’s name was made of confusion. Had they called in a 2092 or something, it would have worked. Colt and STI did similar things for the “1911″ and it worked. Worked just fine, without being cute. In fact, it was more descriptive and accurate if a name. People knew what you were talking about.
The internal buffer and the dovetailed sights are both features of the 92A1… and that’s great. But the 92A1 doesn’t have the fresh new look.
I’ve been wanting one of these more and more this year. For no specific reason.
Here’s the other gun I’m wanting. The 92FS Compact. I have no real justification for it. It’s only a little bit smaller than the standard 92FS. A little shorter in barrel and slide, a little shorter in the grip frame. So it’s really not so “Compact”. It’s more of a 92 “Commander” in that it takes the gun that feels rather large and turns it into a gun that feels “Just right”. I can’t describe it any better than that. It just felt oh so very “right” when I drooled on one at the last gun show I went to in Utah. I passed it up, but the gun has been on my mind ever since and as of late as been doing laps like a motorcyclist in one of those round steel cages.
Both of these guns are very high in Want Factor for me. I want them bad. But I can resist buying them because of rational reasons. But rationality can only go so far.
Now, if Beretta made a 90-TWO Compact. I’d just have to throw my hands up and surrender to the Beretta Trident and do something very foolish to quickly raise the money to buy one immediately. Because that’s what I really want. I don’t think I could take living in a world that has that and me not having one.
I’m done. I’m not going to do it any more. I’m not going to carry a tiny mouse gun anymore. That’s over. As a main carry gun, of course. Maybe as a backup piece, or a hold out. But no more as my main carry gun. It’s time to go big.
Why do we carry at all? Think about this for a minute, or more. And think about the possible scenarios that might require you to actually have to use your concealed carry gun. In any of these scenarios, does it play out that you would be better off in those situations with a smaller gun? Or did you, like me, come to the conclusion that you would rather have as much gun as you can?
You have a CFP, or more commonly a CCW Permit. Most States do not require you to carry a specific gun. You have the option to change it up. If you have the option, why not go big when you can? Let me tell you, it doesn’t matter to the Anti-Gun Biggots what gun you carry. They have never said “Oh, its okay, he only has a .380.” In fact, they have tried specifically to ban small guns because they are more concealable. Remember they made a run against Saturday Night Specials? They don’t care. That being the case, f you are going to get wet, you might as well go swimming. Should you have to use your weapon, and you end up in a court of Law, they will make no distinctions regarding the size or type. Or if you are in a store and lift your arm up to reach a top shelf item and someone sees the grip of your pistol. They call the cops no matter what it is and when The Bronze approaches you they don’t make any distinction either. You are either legal to carry, or you are not. Size does not matter.
The last several months I’ve been packing bigger guns. Mostly full sized duty pistols. Government Model 1911′s, Railed Commander 1911′s, Beretta 92FS and full sized Storms, Glock 22′s. The smallest gun I’ve carried is a Glock 23. None of these are Mouse Guns or Pocket Pistols. Each on let’s you know you have a “fist full of Iron”. Or advanced polymer as the case may be. As I write this, on my hip right now is a Springfield 1911 .45 and there is a great deal of satisfaction in having it on me.
Bigger guns make fewer compromises. They hold more rounds, are more reliable, more accurate, maybe more powerful, and are certainly more intimidating. The more intimidating the gun is, the more likely you won’t have to actually pull the trigger. The only disadvantage to them is the greater challenge of carrying it concealed. To carry a full sized gun concealed, you are going to have to take a bit more care in your holster and wardrobe selection.
Thankfully the good folks at Crossbreed Holsters can help us out. The Supertuck is available for many handguns, including the big 92FS. This holster allows for the big gun to be carried comfortably, inside the waistband, all day long. For me, that’s the advantage I need. Because I’ll wear a gun from the time I get out of bed until I give up on the day and go back to bed.
Normally I wear Pancake style rigs, wide, outside of the waistband holsters that help contour the shape of the gun to hide it, and pack more comfortably while wearing normal sized pants. I find this to be an advantage when riding a motorcycle. The downside to a pancake rig, is that the length of the gun makes it easier for the muzzle end to peak out from under your jacket or shirt.
This isn’t so much of a problem during most of the year. But during the peak of the summer, wearing jackets and sport coats becomes less than ideal. During these times, as much as possible, I’ll wear a Mechanics style shirt or a Bowling shirt. If one is less fashionable, or a huge fan of Weird Al, you can wear a Hawaiian style shirt. Anything that can be worn untucked, loose, and can cover up the whole gun. But this is me and I am not required to wear Business Casual. But even then, there are still ways to carry a full sized gun.
Not long ago I was talking about packing large handguns with a local Police Officer. I mentioned that I was packing a Beretta 92FS and he didn’t believe me. I was in the process of selling him a Beretta but he was balking on the purchase, thinking it was too big to be carried undercover. I was wearing an Under Armor polo shirt. You should have seen his eyes when I pulled my Beretta 92FS out, cleared it, and laid it on the counter. I can’t repeat what he said, but he was clearly surprised that I had it on me as he normally could tell if someone was packing or not. After that, it became a discussion regarding holsters instead of the gun. To end this story, he bought the gun and has enjoyed it ever since.
I live in a very rural area of Utah. My front yard is a farmer’s field. We get all sorts of wildlife here at “Ogre Ranch”. Some big, some small. One night I came home on my motorcycle, late and in the dark. I shut off my bike and jumped off. As I stepped around the big KTM Enduro, I saw a dark shadow and eye shine. Something was there in the shadows beside my house. I don’t remember drawing, or even making the decision to draw, but suddenly my gun was in my hands and that gun was in a ready position as I was squinting to try to identify what was over there in the shadows. At that moment, a full sized duty sidearm was very comforting. The only problem was that I didn’t have a light mounted on my weapon and my normal companion of the Surefire Aviator flashlight was with me but tucked safely in my backpack. Inaccessible and useless to me as this didn’t feel like a time when I could shrug my pack off and dig through it to find my light. Instead I was there, gun in hand, waiting until I could ID this thing as a threat or not. I could hear it breathing. I could see it’s eye-shine, and that was it. It really was a freaky moment. The moment ended though when my wife pulled up and her headlights illuminated what I was in a standoff with. It was a large Mule Deer Buck. I can chuckle about it now, but in that moment of looking into the unknown, had I been armed with something small and mousy, I’d probably have been a lot more uncomfortable with the situation.
This goes back to what the great Clint Smith has said. Guns are not supposed to be comfortable, they are supposed to be comforting. He is exactly right. I don’t recall ever being in a situation where I was comforted by packing a tiny little gun. I remember one time I needed something small and concealable where low profile was critical. A .25 Caliber Baby Browning the answer. I could stand there with my hands in my pockets and still be ready to draw that little pistol. I thought it was a perfect solution. Until I needed it. I reached into my pocket and grabbed the little gun, but didn’t draw it. Let me tell you, that pistol offered no comfort. In fact, I let it go and instead opted for the ASP Baton tucked inside the waistband. At least that felt solid. It felt like a weapon. The .25 felt like a squirt gun. In this situation, neither was required to be used, thankfully. But it impressed upon me that the small gun was useless. Harsh Language proved more potent. That was the last time I bothered with the .25. I think I remember that I traded it for a few boxes of ammo.
I’m not saying that only huge hand cannons are the way to go. I’m just saying you don’t have to limit yourself to tiny guns.
I’ve talked about the best choices for Concealed Carry, but what about for the guys who have to carry openly? Law Enforcement, PMC, Security Contractor, or general Open Carry use, these are going to require a different type of handgun. Basically as much gun on your hip as you can get. Full sized, full capacity, none of the compromises required for Concealment.
SIG 226/220. This full sized SIG is a classic and the choice of a great many gunslinging professionals. A big capacity and rugged construction combined with reliability and accuracy. It’s everything you could want in a Side Arm. Unless you want a larger caliber. The 220 everything you like about the 226, but in .45 Auto. This big bore auto is known as “The Thinking Man’s .45″ and that does indeed make sense when you’ve spent time with the gun. Same capacity as a 1911, but offers a decocking DA/SA fire control profile. This is probably the safest autoloading handgun I know of. (226 included) They are also very accurate.
Glock 17/22. Depending on your choice of 9mm or .40 cal, these guns are probably the first choice of more police departments than anything else. Very low bore axis, and a simple striker fired trigger mechanism makes these guns very easy to shoot well with once you get used to the triggers. 17 rounds of 9mm was an improvement over the typical 15 rounds others guns had, and 15 rounds of .40 cal is nothing to sneeze at these days.
Glock 20/21. 10mm or .45, these full sized beasts give you everything you need to pull duty on a dark and storm night. A lot of Law Enforcement Officers are running the 21 and I know a few that are running the 10mm. 15 rounds of 10mm is a lot of firepower. With good accuracy and legendary reliability – A Glock is never a wrong choice.
Beretta 90 Series. The 92FS, 92F, M9, M9A1, 92A1, 90-TWO, 96, 96A1. Shooting the big Beretta is like driving a Cadillac. Big, comfortable, comforting, reliable and accurate all with Hollywood good looks. Beretta has a lot of visual style, but what I like best is the almost straight line feeding. Mine can feed empty casing. Super smooth action as well, thanks to it’s unique locking block. The Beretta won the US Army contract for a good reason. Like it or not – and I know I’m going to open a can of worms here – it kicked SIG’s ass in the Trials. It kicked everyone’s asses in the Trials. So much so that the Army actually had to “dumb down” the test just so the SIG could stay in the race and the Beretta wouldn’t be a lone competitor. The 90 Series is battle proven around the world.
Beretta Px4 STORM. This is Beretta’s newest service auto. It uses a unique rotating barrel action with a traditionally Beretta like DA/SA trigger mechanism. This action makes the Storm a soft shooting pistol as it takes more energy out of the recoil. Like the 90 Series, the sights and the barrel maintain their relationship, they are very accurate shot to shot. With good triggers and comfortable recoil – it’s easy to be a good shot with the Px4 STORM. Even the Mid sized version… But the full sized is seriously just a pussycat. You can get it in 9, .40, and .45 auto. It’s one of my favorite new autos.
S&W M&P. S&W decided to get serious with the Poly Striker platform and forced Glock to rush the Gen 4 to market. Smith took a lot of LEO sales away from Glock. The Swampy as some call it, is a good pistol and a huge step up from Smith’s prior Glock Attack, the SIGMA. *shudder*. I bought one for my eldest Son, who upon getting the pistol, loading it, and having never fired it before – drilled the X in the target as perfectly as an Olympic Marksman from 20 yards. They are accurate guns. Like my Glocks, his Swampy has never failed.
Walther PPQ. This gun surprised me. The prior P99 was a gun that surprised me too. 500 rounds of mixed ammunition, it never failed. But it had a couple characteristics that made it an oddity. Such as the push down mag release and the top of the slide decocker button. The PPQ does away with the decocker on top and gives the gun a normal and familiar mag release. Honestly I didn’t mind the P99′s mag release and I found that I would use my trigger finger to drop the mags, just like I did with my HK. The PPQ is now available in either 4 or 5 inch barrel lengths and in 9mm or .40 caliber. The PPQ feels good in the hand and is probably one of the best and most under-rated service autos on the market. Let me put it this way – I really want a PPQ and will be buying one this year. Or Trading for it. A few years ago I had said that Walther was struggling to maintain it’s validity. The PPQ anchors it.
Springfield Armory XDM. Good trigger, good sights, and huge capacities make the XDM a solid choice. If you can get passed it’s “only a mother could love it” looks. While I’m not the biggest fan, I have to respect it. They are super accurate and easy to shoot well with. I know owners who have dumped a lot of rounds with astounding accuracy through their M’s.
HK P30 and HK45. The Germans really do engineer some fine hardware. But the P30 and the HK45 are both over priced and in my opinion over rated. With a standard trigger package, I find their triggers to be lacking in the quality of trigger pull that I would expect from such expensive guns. And I don’t like glow in the dark toy like sights that come on them stock. Again, for such an expensive gun, I want Tritiums on it right out of the box. Don’t get me started on the price of spare mags. For what you pay for an HK, it should come with Tritiums and 4 spares. All that aside – these guns deserve consideration. They are sharp looking, and they feel good in the hand. You can not go wrong with an HK, you really can’t. They are very well made. And after you dump enough rounds through it… Cost wise, would be enough to put a kid through a 12 credit semester of college, the trigger does feel pretty decent. They do look good… Like new BMW or Mercedes good looking. Pistol-Training.com’s Todd Green did a long term test on the P30 and it ran some 93,000 rounds before forced retirement. You could buy a new car for that much… Or you could afford to get sick or even have a (small) accident under Obamacare for that much money. I believe that none of his other tests have run that distance… Which ultimately makes the HK’s probably the best choice out of the lot.
If you were looking for new sub compact .380 pistol, Beretta has a new option for you.
As small as .380 Mouse Guns go, it looks good. Looks like it’s for little lady hands… I think I’d have to use chopsticks to hold it. But it’s cool looking, and it looks like it has good sights too.
…With this Beretta 92 in my hand. And I’m looking at it… It’s just gorgeous.
It’s worn. Well worn. But still tight and smooth and accurate… just a great shooter. My wife and I ran an errand real quick. She had a Red Box video she needed to return. Well, we get to the Red Box location, which isn’t the best spot in town for hanging out at a vending machine at night. She’s about to bounce out… and turns and says, “Okay, you got my back.” And then she says “How are you going to back me up?” She hadn’t noticed I had a weapon on. Plus 1 for the G-Code OSH Standard on a simple Paddle. I was able to jump up, slip on the OSH+Paddle, and away we went. No bothering with threading a holster through the belt loops or such. Speed to Action… I like that. I’ve become quite the fan of the paddle.
I said, “9mm, Baby.” To which she nodded and then exited the OPC. (Ogre Personnel Carrier) There was a couple very suspicious and thuggish looking types milling around at the corner, from which the Red Box isn’t very far away from. I felt quite confident with the big Beretta. Stoked up with a 17 round mag of Hornady Critical Duty. The thug with his hands in his coat pockets and a hood up over his head would not have been able to have reached my wife before being completely ventilated.
I wasn’t even worried about that though. The thug was more concerned about the bitter cold than my wife with her DVD of Much Ado About Nothing, as Directed by Joss. It was a bone chilling 46 Degrees F out there. Brrrr… I actually turned on the heated seats. But that’s another story.
Sitting at home now, with the Beretta… I have to say, there is something about the 92. It’s large, solid construction, it’s heft, I have to say… I really like it. A lot. It’s just about the only DA/SA gun that I actually like anymore. At least, like enough to want to buy one, or to bother taking out and shooting. The way the action feels like it’s on roller bearings… so smooth… so… creamy. And thanks to Slipstream and a D-Spring from Beretta, the trigger feels just as smooth as well. This old battered Beretta… It’s just gorgeous to me.