Buying my first pistol, please advise!
I am looking to purchase my first hand gun. I recently started a new job in a new city and my wife to be will be moving in with me in August. The purpose of purchasing is mainly for self defense as well as range shooting a couple times a year. I plan to get a concealed weapon license in order to carry it on my person when it is appropriate.
I have gone to the range and shot a few different models of 9mm pistols. I am interested in Beretta models 92fs INOX, 92A1, 96A1, M9, PX4 and 90-two F. I also shot Glocks, S&W, Sig Sauer, but the Beretta design/feel is what I liked the best. The problem I am having is determining the best option because there are so many. The only advice I've received has been to "get the one that feels the best". True advice, yet vague, they all feel good.
So, my questions are:
Could I really go wrong with any of the Beretta 9mm line up?
What are the main differences between the 92FS/92A1/96A1/M9 (they all look the same)?
Based on my use (self defense/personal protection/occasional range shooting) which would you recommend and why?
Thanks for the advice,
No, you can't go wrong with any of Beretta's lineup you've mentioned. Some have assessory rails, option to change front sight, buffers etc..... You have good taste and won't be disappointed. Beretta's web site can give you information on the differences of the 92 models mentioned, but you can't go wrong with any of them. I have a 92G, PX4 subcompact and PX4 Compact. I love them all, the 92G is a living classic and a very attractive pistol, accurate and fun to shoot, 18 years old and shoots like I bought it yesterday. I carried it anyway feasible, but eventually carried in a fanny pack due to it's size and even jogged with it no problem. The PX4 subcompact is a great concealed pistol, I carry it IWB, it shoots extremely accurate, and surprisingly very pleasant to shoot. The Px4 Compact fits my hand a little better, a slimmer grip than the subcompact and is a nail driver and is very easily concealed. I'd give the PX4 Compact and Subcompact a real hard look if CC is a criteria, but the 92 series is a must have. I can see your dilemma. I solved that problem by buying all three
As someone who carries wherever I go, I'm curious as to what you mean by "appropriate". You can't go wrong with a 92. The most important thing in buying a handgun is that it works for you.
Use this forum's "search" function to find the humongous amount of information that has already been discussed on this subject.
It will be worth your time.
Beretta 92FS vs M9 -
YouTube - ‪Beretta M9 Vs. 92FS‬‏
Beretta 92A1/96A1 -
YouTube - ‪BerettaCommunity's Channel‬‏
92FS – 9mm
Sights – 3-dot; fixed front sight
92A1 – 9mm
Sights – 3-dot; dovetail front sight
Internal recoil buffer
96A1 - .40S&W
Sights – 3-dot; dovetail front sight
Internal recoil buffer
M9 – 9mm
Sights – dot & post (2 dot); fixed front sight
In general, the regular 92FS balances the nicest in a 1 handed grip, in my opinion. It's my fav of the eight 92s I own. The 92A1 is my 2nd favorite of the Beretta 92 variants in current production...
Here is a summary of the three current production railed models I previous posted for someone else...
M9A1 - Railed frame with a 92FS slide (3 dot sights). The front of the frame (where the rail is at) looks like the Vertec model. But it has the standard 92FS grip. The magwell also has a slight bevel, and the rear and front backstraps have a light checkering on them. Available in 9mm only, and this gun is only made in the USA.
This gun comes with two specially PVD coated 15 round magazines (which are expensive when bought separately).
I think the M9A1 is the coolest LOOKING railed model. But, the checkering is not deep on the frame, like it is on a 1911. I personally prefer the regular serrations, as I find that they give a better grip purchase.
90-Two - Commonly known as the "90-Dash-Two" or "The Dash." This is a redesigned version of the 92FS that came out in 2006. The slide and frame were redesigned. The guiderod is captured, and there is a recoil buffer built into the frame. It also has a front, dovetailed sight. Several of the small parts are totally different from the standard 92 design (hammer, mag release, trigger bar, slide safety switches).
The biggest difference is the grip. While the gun is not polymer, it does come with a polymer, slip on grip. This gun will be in limited production for 2011 (so get one now if you want one). There is hardly any aftermarket support, and the lack of aftermarket grips is really hurting sales. These are ONLY made in Italy. Available in 9mm and 40 cal. The gun comes with factory 17 round mags (in 9mm)
(I personally do not like the polymer grip - too slippery. I tried several solutions to this issue, but found none worthwhile)
92A1 - Newest release of the 92 - Released in the summer of 2010. This design takes some of the best aspects of the 90-Two... The rail, internal recoil buffer and dovetailed front sight (all great changes), and puts it into a more "normal" 92 frame. The 92A1 (and 96A1) will use standard Beretta 92 grips. The trigger guard is curved; however, like that of the 90-Two. The guiderod is also captured (which is a pro or con, depending on who you ask).
In addition - the slide is a little bit beefier than a standard 92 slide.
The gun is available in 9mm and 40 cal (the 96A1), and the 9mm version comes with THREE 17 round factory mags (the same mags that come with the 90-Two). These guns are only made in Italy.
This is a such better choice to the 90-TWO, IMHO. Also, the 92A1 balances the best in a 1 handed grip out of any of the railed models. I also personally find the 92A1 is my second fav Beretta 92 variant - right behind the standard 92FS (which balances the best 1 handed, IMHO).
There is also finally aftermarket night sights for the 92A1 from Trijicon now. And, while others may disagree - I personally like the regular front and rear strap serrations over the checkering on the M9A1. The checkering is rather shallow - so its not nearly as grippy as checkering on a 1911. I think the standard serrations on the front and back strap give a better grip.
Have you tried FN and HK? Those would feel a lot like the Berettas, in my opinion. Did you check out the XD subcompact or XDm compact 9mm? I've owned a lot of guns and am down to only two autos that I use frequently: XD .45 compact and XDm 9mm with 4.5" barrel (regular XDm). However, I love the feel of HKs. They just seem to have weird, cheap-looking burs on the polymer frame that are troubling IMO. Oh well, there are few BAD guns. I would just buy any of the ones you listed that feel good. Try a holster on at the store to make sure. One other comment, the PX4 subcompact doesn't have the rotating barrel, which is a really nifty technology.
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