Beretta 92FS CO2 pistol with wood grips: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

The 92FS with wood grips is a big, beautiful handgun. With its weight and size, you’ll be hard-pressed to imagine that it’s an air pistol.

Today is accuracy day, when we see how well this Beretta 92FS air pistol can shoot. Let’s get right to it.

The range was 30 feet, and I shot 8 rounds per target because of the clip capacity. I also did an interesting experiment that may impress you. All shots are holding with two hands and off a rest. The gun never touched anything but my hands.

The pistol shot high and right at 30 feet, so I had to move the rear sight slightly to the left to compensate. The job went quick because once the Allen screw is loose, the sight moves easily in its dovetail. There was no solution to the high shooting, of course. This is with a six-o’clock hold on the 10-meter pistol bull.

Beretta Target pellets
The first pellets I tried were Beretta Target pellets. They’re wadcutter pellets that Pyramyd Air doesn’t carry anymore. They shot reasonably well, but were not outstanding.

Eight Beretta Target pellets at 30 feet. A decent target, but not a screamer.

RWS Hobby pellets
The second pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby. It’s often quite accurate in various airguns, and showed some promise in this Beretta.

Eight RWS Hobbys went into a fairly tight group, save the one that pinwheeled the bull. Many inexperienced shooters will see that as the best shot, but of course it’s the worst.

Beeman H&N Match High-Speed
Next I tried Beeman H&N Match High-Speed. They also wanted to group well, save for a lone wanderer. This was not a called flier, so there is no reason it’s out there.

Beeman H&N Match High-Speed pellets were also promising, but, again, there was a stray.

Why all these stray shots?
I don’t know where these stray shots are coming from. I’m holding the pistol dead on the target, and I’m not calling any fliers. Up to this point, there seem to be one or more shots per clip that wander away from the main group. That seems to indicate a bad chamber in the clip…except for what happened next.

What happened next — the grand experiment
I know that the first few shots out of a CO2 cartridge or immediately following a bulk fill will be significantly more powerful than those that follow. That’s because some of the liquid CO2 is flowing into the firing valve and vaporizing there instead of inside the cartridge itself. The result is significantly greater power and recoil that you can feel. It’s a bad situation if you want consistency from the gun.

JSB Exact RS
Next, I loaded some JSB Exact RS domed pellets. I also changed the CO2 cartridge so the shots strings would all be at their maximum potential. In a lazy move, I didn’t exhaust the first three shots, so the gun was shooting with far greater power for those shots. The group I got shows the result.

This group of eight came from shooting JSB Exact RS pellets immediately after changing the CO2 cartridge.

The group I got was surprisingly large; and since the first three shots had been so dramatically different than the last five, I decided to run a second target with the JSB RS pellet.

And, this is the same JSB Exact RS pellet just eight shots later. The pistol has calmed down, and real accuracy is now possible. This was the best group of the test, and it measures 1.086 inches across the centers of the two widest pellets. So much for the bad clip theory!

The last pellet I tried was the RWS R10 target wadcutter. This was the heavier rifle-weight pellet weighing 8.2 grains.

Eight RWS R10 pellets made only a slightly larger group than the JSB RS. Definitely a pellet worth pursuing.

Bottom Line
The Beretta 92FS air pistol from Umarex holds few surprises. It’s highly realistic, as are most Umarex airguns, and it performs flawlessly. I was hoping it might also be a sleeper in the accuracy department, like the Desert Eagle and the S&W 586, but no surprises there. It’s right in line with the majority of the Umarex action pistols, shooting 1- to 1.25-inch 8-shot groups at 30 feet with the best pellets. It was a fun pistol to test, and I hope I addressed all your questions.

Beretta 92FS CO2 pistol with wood grips: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

The 92FS with wood grips is a big, beautiful handgun. With its weight and size, you’ll be hard-pressed to imagine that it’s an air pistol.

Today, we’ll test velocity on this Beretta 92FS wood grip air pistol, and I’ve incorporated one or two extra things into the test. But first things first.

Installing the CO2 cartridge
I said in the last report that I’d show you how the CO2 cartridges load into the gun. Today’s the day for that. To open the grip for a CO2 cartridge, just press in on what looks like the magazine release on the left side of the gun. That pops off the right grip panel, and you have access to load the cartridge.

Once the grip panel is off, you have access to load a CO2 cartridge. Here, you can see the mechanism to adjust the tension on the cartridge before the floorplate is pushed up to pierce it. Do not adjust the screw as tight as it can go, or you’ll wear the face seal that seals the cartridge.

Once the floorplate is pushed up, the CO2 cartridge should be sealed. The adjusting screw doesn’t have to be absolutely as tight as you can make it before you push the lever up. Leave a small amount of play (maybe 1/8 turn of the brass wheel), so the cartridge doesn’t smash the face seal. Don’t forget to use a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of each new cartridge. That’s how to keep your gun sealed for years to come.

Starting the test
The 92FS pistols function in both double-action and single-action modes. Double-action means just pulling the trigger for every shot, and the gun does the rest. For single-action, you first cock the hammer, then a pull of the trigger at your convenience fires the gun. Double-action requires a much harder trigger-pull, because the trigger has to both cock the hammer and advance the clip before the shot’s fired. Single-action offers the better trigger-pull, but it’s slower to perform.

The point is that the gun will perform differently depending on which firing mode is used. So, I chronographed it both ways for comparison.

You’re also interested in how many reliable shots you get from a CO2 cartridge. Umarex rates the pistol at 425 f.p.s., which is pretty fast for a CO2 pistol, so we can estimate that there will be about 50 good shots to a cartridge. Testing will confirm or refine this number. I should point out that because this gun has an 8-round clip, that was how many shots were fired in each string.

RWS Hobby pellets
The first pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby. It weighs exactly 7 grains and is a pure lead pellet, so it’s among the very lightest of all the lead .177 caliber pellets. That means we’ll see the highest velocity the pistol is capable of with lead pellets.

Double-action mode
In double-action, the Hobby pellet averaged 404 f.p.s.The range of velocities went from 388 f.p.s., to 434 f.p.s., so the advertised velocity is well within reason. At the average velocity, this pellet produces 2.54 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Single-action mode
In single-action, I often see greater power than double-action, but that seems to vary from one model to the next. In the test pistol, RWS Hobbys averaged 393 f.p.s. in single-action. The range of velocities went from 385 to 401 f.p.s. So, the gun is a little more consistent in single-action, though it gets a little less velocity. At the average velocity, the pistol generates 2.40 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Deep seating
I noticed that Hobbys fit the clip very snug and stopped before their entire skirt entered the chamber. Could that have lowered velocity, because of the energy needed to push the pellet into the chamber? I wondered, so I conducted a separate test.

RWS Hobby pellets fit the chambers of the clip very snugly. In this experiment I pushed them into each cylinder with a seating tool. The pellet at the top is seated with finger pressure alone, and you’ll note it doesn’t quite go all the way into the chamber.

The deep-seated Hobby pellets were all fired in the single-action mode. The average velocity was 395 f.p.s. and the spread went from a low of 385 to a high of 413 f.p.s. That’s so close to the results of the regular seated Hobby pellets fired single-action that I felt it wasn’t worth pursuing.

Beretta Target pellets
Next, I tried some Beretta Target pellets. They are an 8-grain pure-lead wadcutter pellet that Pyramyd Air no longer stocks.

Beretta Target pellets were smaller than Hobbys and did not have the same resistance to entering the clip chambers. In the double-action mode, these pellets averaged 373 f.p.s., with a spread from 355 up to 387 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generate 2.47 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

In the single-action mode, Beretta Target pellets averaged 348 f.p.s. The spread went from 340 to 365 f.p.s. The average velocity produced a muzzle energy of 2.15 foot-pounds.

Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets
Next, I tried Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets. They’re hard lead, of course, but they fit the clip chambers very well.

In double action these pellets averaged 361 f.p.s. They ranged from a low of 345 f.p.s to a high of 368 f.p.s. At the average velocity they produced 2.29 foot-pounds.

For some reason, the Premiers were slightly faster in single-action than in double-action. That was contrary to the rest of the test; but because I tested them last, it may be an indication that the pistol is breaking in. They averaged 363 f.p.s, and ranged from 351 to 375 f.p.s. At the average speed, the muzzle energy is 2.31 foot-pounds.

Total shots per cartridge
Since I was shooting both single- and double-action, my shot count was not as high as it might have been if I’d shot only in the single-action mode. In the test gun, I got 56 good shots before the power started to drop rapidly. The final shot went 326 f.p.s double-action. That equates to seven full clips between CO2 cartridges. Had I shot only single-action, there might have been one more clip in the cartridge.

None of the velocity strings were shot near the end of a cartridge. I made sure I had a relatively fresh cartridge for every pellet velocity test.

The gun has a long, heavy double-action pull. I would estimate it runs 12 lbs. or more. In single-action, stage two is very creepy and the break point is 5 lbs., 6 ozs.

I’m still impressed by the width of the grip on this gun. It really feels like a chunk in my hand. We’ll see in the next report whether that affects accuracy at all.

Beretta 92FS CO2 pistol with wood grips: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

The 92FS with wood grips is a big, beautiful handgun. With its weight and size, you’ll be hard-pressed to imagine that it’s an air pistol.

Okay, time to look at an airgun you can actually buy, if you’re so inclined. We’ve certainly been reporting on a lot of vintage guns recently — and I love them, but there’s also the real world to consider.

The Beretta 92FS is the latest iteration of the Beretta 92F, which is the civilian equivalent of the U.S. military sidearm, the M9A1. It’s a 15-round 9x19mm semiautomatic pistol that replaced the M1911A1 beginning in 1988. I won’t go into the controversy of the choice of 9mm over .45 ACP caliber for a handgun, which has been argued at length for the past 50 years, but I’ll be comparing the 92FS with the 1911A1 in terms of ergonomics and performance. And, I’m doing that only because I come from a background of the 1911 model.

The letter S was added to denote a larger hammer pin that stops the slide from flying backwards off the frame if it cracks. That was a problem the Army fixed in the late 1980s, so if you buy a civilian firearm, make sure you get the FS version. The new M9A1 has a Picatinny rail, a beveled magazine well for faster reloading and a reversible magazine-release button.

The first thing that strikes anyone picking up a 92FS for the first time is that this is a very large handgun. It’s not Desert Eagle large, but the wide double-stack grip frame of the 92 makes the 1911 feel like a much smaller handgun. For shooters with average-sized hands, grabbing a 92FS is like holding a two-by-four.

Again, the 92FS is an impressive gun with its black-hole weight. The pistol I’m testing for you today weighs 2.75 lbs., compared to 2.40 lbs. for the Colt 1911. When it’s loaded with 15 rounds, it’s going to be even heavier than the Colt with its 7-round mag.

As a result of being both wide and heavy, as well as shooting the very mild 9x19mm handgun round, the 92FS is a sheer delight to shoot. Recoil is almost negligible, especially when compared to the larger, more powerful .45 ACP. No doubt, this was one of the factors that balanced out the size and weight of the gun in the military acceptance test.

The airgun is a realistic copy of the firearm
Everything I’ve said about the firearm applies to the Beretta 92FS airgun, as well. It’s large, heavy and a chunk to hold and shoot. Under the skin, it’s the same 8-shot revolver mechanism that Umarex uses in most of their lookalike pistols and rifles. The slide separates for access to the rotary 8-shot clip (it’s not a magazine, because it contains none of the ammo feeding mechanism).

By pushing down on what would be the disassembly latch on the firearm, the slide opens like this to accept a loaded 8-shot circular clip.

I chose the nicest version of the gun for this test. Over the years, I’ve tested many other Umarex pellet pistols and one rifle for you:

Walther Lever Action rifle
Colt M1911A1 Tactical — Part 2
Colt M1911A1 Tactical — Part 1
Walther CP 88 Tactical — Part 3
Walther CP 88 Tactical — Part 2
Walther CP 88 Tactical — Part 1
Walther PPK/S
Walther CP99 Compact
Magnum Research Desert Eagle — Part 3
Magnum Research Desert Eagle — Part 2
Magnum Research Desert Eagle — Part 1
Beretta PX4 Storm
S&W 586/686 revolver

Now, I’ll test one of the last models of Umarex guns, the Beretta 92FS. The wood grip model I’ve selected to test comes to you in a hard case with the wood grips installed and the standard plastic grip panels in a plastic bag, in case you want to install them at any time. With them on the gun, you have the standard blue model.

General description
The 92FS is a double-action pistol that also operates in the single-action mode. When the firearm version fires, the slide comes back to the rear, ejecting the spent 9mm case and stripping a fresh cartridge from the top of the 15-round double-stack mag (double-stack means the cartridges are almost side-by-side in the magazine, to fit more rounds into a given height). The slide also cocks the hammer when it comes back, making the pistol ready to fire in the single-action mode on the next shot. So, you carry the gun with a round in the chamber and the hammer down. Then, you pull the trigger double-action for the first shot, but after that all subsequent shots are single-action, which gives a much nicer trigger-pull.

The airgun, on the other hand, does not feature blowback. So, while it’s also both double-action and single-action, the hammer must be manually thumbed back to make the single-action work.

The airgun’s sights can be adjusted for windage but not for elevation. To adjust for windage, you first loosen the setscrew in the center of the rear blade, then push the blade in the direction you want to move the next shot.

Loosen the setscrew and the rear sight notch can be slid in either direction to adjust the impact of the group.

The ambidextrous safety does not uncock the hammer. When you put it on, it rotates the end of the valve stem away from the hammer line; when the hammer falls, it doesn’t impact the valve but is stopped by a metal block. So, the hammer still falls when the trigger is pulled with the safety on, but the gun doesn’t fire.

The safety is on, and the valve stem end (that silver half-circular thing in front of the hammer) has rotated up and out of the way. When the hammer falls, it’s blocked by a steel part that houses the end of the valve stem.

Here, the safety is off, and the end of the valve stem has swung down to line up with the hammer. It’s almost out of sight in this shot.

The disassembly pin that’s always so cool in action movies when the hero grabs the gun away from the bad guy and disassembles it in a fraction of a second is the part that opens the slide on the airgun so the 8-shot clip can be accessed. That’s why the airgun Beretta 92FS doesn’t come apart like the firearm.

What would be the slide release on the firearm is just solidly cast into the frame of the airgun. Although very realistic looking, it doesn’t move and has no function. The button that would be the mag release on the firearm is pushed in on the left side of the airgun to release the right grip panel, which gives access to load the CO2 cartridge. I’ll show that in Part 2.

I must say that I’m impressed by the sheer bulk and weight of this handgun. I’m now fascinated by the Beretta 92FS and will probably acquire a firearm later this year (gotta buy this air pistol, too). I know Edith and I will love it for its low recoil. Although the M9 pistol has the reputation for not being that accurate, Army armorers have discovered the ways to tighten the groups to the point that I have heard that one-inch groups are possible at 50 yards. Like anything else, I accept that claim with a grain of salt, but if this gun can hold a two-inch group of 5 at that range, it would be spectacular! And, with the same amount of gunsmithing that has gone into the 1911 over the decades, I’m sure the 92FS is going to continue to get even better.

The gun has a very enviable reputation for reliability in combat. The single operational drawback today being that the Army is procuring cheap, substandard Check Mate magazines that soldiers in-country are replacing with their own genuine Beretta mags as soon as they can. The Army has also changed magazine specifications to try to correct this problem.

As I test the air pistol, I’ll see how reliable it is. Though, with all my experience testing Umarex air pistols, I think it’s safe to say this is a proven system.