My disagreement with Grant Cunningham and Rob Pincus regarding the Beretta 92FS.
I checked out a podcast that Rob Pincus was guesting on not too long ago. The question was asked “What gun do you hate when they show up at your courses” or something along those lines… I forget, it’s been awhile since I heard the podcast. Rob’s answer was “The Beretta 92”. Now, I respect Rob a great deal, and while we differ in opinion on something, I always respect his opinions and positions because he always has a well reasoned explanation for them.
Rob tends to not like the Beretta because it’s large and heavy for it’s caliber… it is. It has an old fasioned DA/SA Trigger mechanism… it does. And it has an upside down, slide mounted safety lever. Yup. It has that too. This is a trifecta of good reasons not to like the Beretta. Rob is a believer in consistency, and a good consistent and simple trigger mechanism as in a modern striker fired pistol gives the shooter some advantage… Yes, that’s true too.
But I still disagree with him regarding the Beretta 92. More on my rationalizations later.
This morning I read an article by Grant Cunningham on why the Beretta 92 is an inefficient handgun for defense. And now I’m like “Oh come on.” I like Grant, and respect his opinions as well. However, I disagree with him on the Beretta 92.
“When you need to use your handgun, it should ideally come out of the holster in a ready-to-fire condition without you needing to do anything extra before pulling the trigger.”
I agree, Grant. And here is what I do… When I holster the Beretta, I then flick the weapon Off Safe. The Beretta is certainly safe to be carried in such a manner. Because in order to fire, the trigger must be pulled all the way to the rear to move the rather large and over-sized firing-pin block up and out of the way of the firing pin. Also, the trigger being pulled to the rear moves the hammer back against spring tension, into the firing position before it can be released to fly forward to hit the firing pin. These things are not going to happen on their own if the weapon is riding in any holster of half decent quality. Anything that could impact your holstered weapon hard enough to cause a discharge… Well, you’ve either been hit by an RPG or rapidly moving Osh-Kosh built M-ATV armored truck. Either way, you’ve got bigger problems to worry about than the risk of a 9mm wound in the leg.
As far as DA/SA trigger pulls go. This is a training issue. I’ve seen many shooters running DA/SA guns, do so with great skill and with great results. SIG’s, HK’s, CZ’s, S&W’s, and most self loading guns that are not 1911’s or Striker Fired Polyguns are in fact DA/SA guns. A shooter can and will get used to the trigger mechanism if they will actually get out to the range and fire their weapons once in awhile and practice with them.
Here’s the thing that the DA/SA guns have over most of these Striker Guns… That SA pull. I’ve fired some DA/SA guns with triggers so good it makes you want to go slap Gaston. Even with my tricked out Glock trigger, which is really dang good… It’s not as good as the SA pull on my Beretta 92. It just isn’t. Because mechanically all that trigger has to do is release the hammer. In the Glock and M&P, the trigger still has to pull that striker back just a little more before it can release. This gives it just a bit more take up… a little longer… just not quite there where a good SIG or Beretta or CZ trigger can be. I won’t say HK, because they have triggers like toggle switches, but that’s because the Germans believe in Corporal Mortification or something… I don’t know.
But back to the Off Safe Carry, the process is simple. After firing, you decock and safe the weapon, holster safely, and then flick the weapon off safe. Done. The most dangerous moment in handling the weapon is when holstering. And holstering a decocked Beretta 92FS is probably the safest gun you could ease into any holster. It doesn’t get safer. The trigger is disconnected and the firing pin transfer is rotated 90 degrees away from the firing pin. There is no way a round could go off in this condition. No matter how sloppy your reholstering is. Once safely nestled in it’s holster and everything is good… *Flick* Your weapon is now read for a rapid draw and fire without worrying about an external safety.
This method is not new or unique by any means. I know many Military Personnel who carry in this manner and are trained to carry in this manner. It’s safe and efficient and requires very little training to get used to doing. 1 day at the range. That’s it. Drill the motions for awhile, and then reinforce throughout a day of shooting… pretty much done. This is not solving a Rubik’s Cube. Give the Students more credit. Many who detract the Beretta’s mechanics make allowances for the 1911′s. Yet the Beretta has a couple distinct advantages. One, the Beretta’s safety when carried Off Safe is only manipulated after the fact. When everything is cooling back down and the gunshots are still ringing in your ears and your getting your breathing back into control… your checking yourself and following your training and thinking again. The 1911′s safety is manipulated in the heat of the “Oh Shit” moment when you “Skin Leather” and all your thinking about is that Treat Target that’s closing that 21 Foot Rule distance like a Saber Toothed Cheetah. It’s in that moment with a 1911 that you have to remember to sweep the lever Off Safe. Easier putting it on when reholstering than taking it off when drawing. See my point? Two, the other big advantage with Beretta is that I can load and unload the weapon, press check, and do whatever in need to with the Safety On. With the 1911, any slide movement has to be done with the safety off. And since you are gripping the weapon when doing it, you most likely also have the secondary grip safety disengaged as well. How many 1911 Operators out there have a 5 Gallon Bucket of Sand they use for Clearing and Loading in their home? Not many? Who’s safer? Advantage Beretta. I’m not saying a 1911 is unsafe here. But if we are boiling down Shooters as thick headed cavemen, I think I’d much rather see the students with a Beretta than a 1911. Personally I do cringe when students bring 1911′s shorter than 4 inches… but that’s because those guns are going to be jamming like a jazz band before the end of the day. And I’m saying this as a guy that loves 1911′s. But it’s an Aficionado’s gun. An Expert’s gun.
The gun is large and doesn’t fit everyone. True. But if I am buying the gun for myself and it fits me, then why the hell do I care if it might not fit someone else? This is my gun. Don’t “What If” unlikely scenarios that support your throwing your weapon to a small handed partner to support your argument. Leave such moves for the next Die Hard movie. Sure the 92 is a large pistol. My hands are not all that large, and it fits me. I can shoot the Beretta quite well. And I enjoy doing so… Because evidently shooting the same gun that has served both Military and Law Enforcement roles around the world for the last 30 years is something again to grinding your own flour and baking your own bread these days. Quaint and rustic. Like rolling down a car’s window with a crank.
Here’s the deal… The 92FS/M9 pistol is a fantastic handgun. It’s battle proven around the globe. It’s both accurate and reliable, and has proven to be more accurate and reliable than most. It’s passed all the tests and it’s leaped all the tall buildings and it’s still serving strong. It’s one of the very best handguns in the world.