Select Fire Beretta Pistols Part 1

Select-Fire Beretta Pistols Part 1

It’s hard to keep a great idea down,

even when the original is long discontinued

By Dennis Adler

The new Crosman Full Auto P1 comes in a larger package because it has a little something extra in the box, which we will get to later. If you have one of the original Umarex Beretta 92A1 models it also had a larger box and came with a spare magazine. The new smaller box, pictured, only has the gun and extra mags cost. The new M9A3 also comes solo but is a much better looking and slightly unique gun compared to the 92A1. The Crosman resurrects an older design used on a Gletcher model, but all three share one thing, a select-fire mechanism.

There are a handful of semiautomatic pistols that collector’s truly covet, and not just for their significant designs or contributions to military, law enforcement, and civilian arms history, but for creating a legacy that continues for years, decades, and sometimes even a century or more after they have been discontinued. An even smaller number of those semi-autos were equipped with a select-fire switch, that, with the movement of a lever, allowed the pistol to fire on full automatic or in short bursts. Today that pistol would be the Glock 18, only sold to the military and law enforcement and not for civilian ownership. It’s most famous appearance on the big screen was the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall, but the select-fire G18 has been in more than 20 other movies and television shows, so it is no stranger to modern day gun enthusiasts.

In the real world of select-fire pistols, the Glock 18 is the most commonly used by military and law enforcement. There is no civilian version. Except for the selector switch it looks like a Third Gen Glock 17 with an extended magazine. This would make one terrific CO2 model based off the Gen4 CO2 model’s platform!

It is, however, not the most famous contemporary handgun with a fully automatic firing mode; that title belongs to the Beretta Model 93R, which has appeared in more than 45 motion pictures and television shows, and is far more distinctive looking than a Glock. A Glock is a Glock, but the Beretta is a classic design.

The inspiration for the Beretta select-fire CO2 models all stem from one gun, the Beretta 93R, manufactured for law enforcement and military use by Beretta from 1979 to 1993. In the world of Class III handguns, this is one of the most coveted. Note the selector switch on the frame which is pushed down to the three dots for burst (3-round) fire.

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The other lesser known automatic pistol in current use is the CZ-75 Auto, which lives mostly under the radar in the hands of military and special operations units abroad. What all three have in common, though, is that aside from a few added features, the automatic pistols very closely resemble their semi-auto counterparts.

CZ also has an automatic pistol which uses the spare magazine, inserted into a slot under the frame, as a forward grip. Darn clever. Again, only for military and law enforcement use and the same lament for ASG to step up and give airgunners a top notch CZ75 CO2 version. My dream list continues to grow!

While I have been begging ASG to work with CZ on developing a CZ-75 Auto CO2 model, (don’t hold your breath either for a Umarex Glock 18), Umarex and Crosman currently have select-fire variants of the Model 92FS (Crosman) 92A1 and M9A3 (Umarex), that while not exactly following the 93R’s overall design, and lacking the extended magazine, forward folding finger grip, and correct left-side selector/safety switch, do provide the only BB-firing option for a Beretta. KWC makes an Airsoft version that looks pretty darn close to the 93R, which makes delving into Airsoft more appealing, but I am still resisting!

The best substitute for a Beretta 93R CO2 model is the 93R Airsoft from KWA. It is a very close copy (and the red tip can be dispensed with in a few minutes once you have it in your hands). Why do the Airsoft guys have all the fun guns? Much as I am disinterested in Airsoft, this one could push me to cross over to the softball team, just for a little bit. We’ll see.

Three with select fire

The current trio are not new in design with the platforms upon which they are based going back to the Umarex Beretta 92A1 from 2015, and the Gletcher BRT, which was closer in design operation to the original 93R with a large safety and fire selector on the side of the frame, versus the almost hidden select-fire lever on the right rear of the Umarex Beretta 92A1 and M9A3 models. The Gletcher BRT is long discontinued but the design platform has risen from the BRT’s ashes in the form of the Crosman full auto P1, a much closer blowback action style evolved from the 9mm Beretta.

For hardball, there are these three Beretta models, all of which have their advantages. Certainly the M9A3 for overall looks and the latest technology (a polymer frame that feels and looks like alloy), and the best grip design and sights. The 92A1, bottom, was the first Umarex Beretta select-fire model, and the Crosman is the latest take on the select-fire design and a little bit closer to the 93R’s selector. It’s kind of messed up with the bold white warning on the left side of the slide (have we learned nothing?) but the design is solid, with the promise of higher performance than its Umarex counterparts.

In comparison, the Crosman is based on the oldest design with the squared 92FS style triggerguard. And here’s something else, unlike the Umarex Beretta models, the Crosman comes complete with a rail-mounted laser. It also has the original design triggerguard. The 92A1 switched to a rounded triggerguard. The military proposed M9A3 (rejected by the Army before the MHS trials began) returned to the squared design developed for the Beretta 92 Series (M9), plus it has a flat, instead of arched, mainspring housing, and the multi-tone tan finish compared to the black finishes on the 92A1 and Crosman. But there’s more to it than that. While the M9A3 is arguably the best looking of the three, the Crosman is boasting a velocity of “up to 400 fps,” while the Umarex 92A1 and M9A3 hover around 310 to 330 fps, which begs the question, “Is the Crosman a better Beretta CO2 pistol?”

In Part 2, we will begin to find out. 

A word about safety

Blowback action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.

2 thoughts on “Select Fire Beretta Pistols Part 1”

  1. Part of the purpose of replica airguns , is to have a co2 version of a firearm which is excluded from ownership by the taxpaying peasants by those who know what is good for them, or a rare firearm which would too expensive to own. I am frustrated by the replicas that are only produced in the anemic power, airsoft toy versions. The replicas not available in steel bb outnumber those which are. I have seen several dead on copies of firearms in airsoft version , as well as much superior marked copies of Colt 1911 pistols. I cringed when I saw the latest Umarex Legend 1911. replica.Why no Beretta 93r if the airsoft version exists? Eventually , there may be no market for replica airguns, because customers with nothing of interest offered to them ,will leave the marketplace.

  2. Pyramid is listing what appears to be another Crosman pistol based on a Gletcher design. Pocket pistol size, blowback, with laser. Advertised velocity is 420 with bb. If this and the select fire Beretta Clone do reach these over 400 fps velocities, Crosman May be using a new more efficient valve. Will be interesting to see what results you get

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