Select Fire Beretta Pistols Part 4

Select Fire Beretta Pistols Part 4

Full Auto Test

By Dennis Adler

There are some interesting choices here because for overall authenticity, the Umarex Beretta branded 92A1 and M9A3 as semi-autos, totally eclipse the Crosman model for fine details and overall build quality. But, the Crosman has a more authentic semi-auto, full auto thumb selector (based on the actual Beretta 93R select fire pistol,) so it has that going for it. Also, the centerfire counterparts to the 92A1 and M9A3 are not select fire pistols, so authenticity flows both ways.

The first select fire Beretta 92FS-style CO2 model was the Gletcher BRT, later TAR92, and now the Crosman Full Auto P1 (also sold as the Crosman PFAM9B, without laser), it is worth noting that all these various versions of this same air pistol have been made in Taiwan by KWC, and thus are essentially the same gun re-branded. Why I expected the Crosman version to perform any differently than its predecessors was the claim of up to 400 fps. I found this frustrating and went and got another magazine (same mag as the Swiss Arms), loaded it with a fresh CO2 and Dust Devils. Average velocity increased to 351 fps, some 20 fps better than the first test with Dust Devils and the highest average velocity between the 92A1, M9A3, and P1, but using the lighter weight frangible BBs to do so. The Crosman does function smoothly with the Dust Devils. And in case you’re wondering, I ran Dust Devils through the M9A3 and velocity was 366 fps. But all of that is going out the window when you flip the selector to Full Auto.

The Gletcher select fire model (no longer available) the Swiss Arms version of the Beretta 92FS and the first select-fire Beretta-style model from Crosman are all based on the same parts manufactured by KWC. Only the Gletcher (left) had the KWC emblem on its grips. Swiss Arms and Crosman use their own logos. If you recall the test of the Crosman PFAM9B, it came in a blister pack. The revised P1 comes in a box like the Umarex models and includes the red laser in the price, which is competitive to the Umarex models alone.

We are looking for accuracy at 21 feet firing short bursts. For a target I wanted something a little larger so I am using an IPSC cardboard silhouette, which has an A-Zone target area of 5-7/8th by 11.0 inches. At 21 feet I should be able to keep 18 total shots inside the A-Zone. By feathering the trigger, I will be trying to shoot five to six round bursts.

All of the older designs were identical inside and used the same parts, except for the select fire setting and adjustable block for the disconnector, not used on the Swiss Arms model.

The Crosman’s results

Back to shooting Umarex steel BBs, the Crosman Full Auto P1 holds 19 rounds (which is what it says on the box), but to keep it even with the two Umarex models, I am only loading 18. Total spread for the Crosman measured 5.24 inches, all in the A-Zone, with the closest five to six rounds inside 1.25 to 1.5 inches.

The Crosman was a little easier to shoot (though harder to sight) than the Umarex Beretta models, because it has the large thumb safety selector. You can easily do this while shooting semi-auto, just push it all the way down and you’re on full auto. It is not as easy to switch from semi-auto to full auto with the Umarex models, since the selector is a small, separate lever at the back of the frame. The camera caught the P1 with the slide cycling on full auto.

On full auto, the Crosman had the widest spread of the three test guns at 21 feet, but even so it put all 18 shots into the IPSC silhouette target’s A-Zone.

The 92A1

Another out of the box gun that has not been shot on full auto, the POA was again the red dot just below the letter A in the A-Zone of the IPSC silhouette. The Umarex Beretta 92A1 delivered its 18 rounds into a spread of 3.185 inches, again, all in the A-Zone with the closest five to six shot group inside 0.94 inches. The gun tends to shot a little high, I corrected by aiming 2-inches below the red bullseye but the gun ended up hitting right about POA, which was held under. As a side note, it shoots harder (more recoil) than the Crosman on full auto, so you have to contend with that, which is both good and bad, depending upon what you want to get out of the gun.

The Umarex Beretta 92A1 hit low, almost at POA as I held under since in semi-auto it tends to hit a little high. I did put two in the red dot just below the A in the A-Zone and the 92A1 had the best 18-round spread of the test.

The M9A3

Up to now, the M9A3 has been outperforming both the Umarex Beretta 92A1 and Crosman P1 with tighter groups, higher velocity and slightly more robust recoil than the 92A1. And the latter two may work against it on full auto despite the fact that from 21 feet the sights on the M9A3 are easier to hold on target (because they are a little larger and brighter). The recoil is going to bring you a little closer to what happens with an actual centerfire gun on full auto. As you continue to shoot the gun is going to have a tendency to rise. The downside is that trying to compensate as you shoot tends to cause shots to go a little low. It is all happening very quickly and you are also trying to feather the trigger and limit consecutive shots to five or six. The longer you shoot on full auto, the more the CO2 is cooling down and velocity dropping off proportionately.

The M9A3 on semi-auto almost hits POA so I held just slightly under. I put one in the bullseye two high and two right. Corrected and put the next two volleys low. The M9A3 came in behind the 92A1 for tightest 18-shot spread.

I was a little surprised that the gun hit low since I was limiting myself to very short 5-shot bursts. Since the 92A1 already shot a little high on semi-auto, I started by holding under and it turned out that the gun wasn’t hitting as high on auto as anticipated. The majority of shots went low.

With the M9A3, POA was very close to POI firing semi-auto from 21 feet. Holding under didn’t work for me that well again and shots hit a little low. My 18 rounds feathered from the latest Beretta model collected inside of 4.75 inches, with the majority of rounds hitting in the lower portion of the A-Zone with the best five to six shot group measuring 1.24 inches. The higher velocity and recoil cost me this time around and the M9A3 comes up second to the 92A1 on full auto. Both are better than the Crosman, but all three can put a full magazine into the A-Zone on an IPSC silhouette.

I decided to see if a Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C target would make it easier to put tighter groups together since you can see hits right away, and found the gun to be delivering just about the same spread. I had the same situation after the first groups hit the bullseye and then started going high. I corrected and the rest went low and a few to the right.

To wrap things up I shot one more set with each gun using a Shoot-N-C target and hoping I might do better when I could see the hits as I was shooting. I still ended up with 18 rounds over 4.75 inches and no better overall than with the IPSC silhouette. If you were to overlay the Shoot-N-C on the IPSC all 18 shots would still be in the A-Zone. I ran one last test with the 92A1 and the Shoot-N-C for an 18-round spread of 5.125 inches, so I got nowhere with that. Bottom line is that on full auto all three of these pistols will hit the center of a silhouette target and that’s about all the centerfire guns will do. When lead or steel is flying at up to 850 rounds per minute (in CO2, 1,200 rounds per minute with a gun like the Glock 18), bullseye accuracy is not what you’re going to get. With any of the select fire CO2 pistols, including the M712 Mauser and Uzi sub gun, the only reason for shooting them on full auto is for the shooting experience, one that few of us will ever have using a centerfire weapon. CO2 makes it possible for just about everyone to have that airgun experience. The Crosman, however, adds one more possibility; especially if you like the idea of a large thumb lever selector, like the actual Beretta 93R, compared to the small lever on the Umarex models.

I tried it with the 92A1 and after blowing a few high, started to hold under and the gun also began to shoot lower but threw a really tight 6-shot group low and center. Of the three, the 92A1 was most accurate on full auto, the M9A3 second and the P1 third.

To conclude this series, in Part 5 we will examine the Crosman Full Auto P1 as a semi-auto equipped with the included red laser.

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.

 

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