The Beretta 92 series is a short recoil, single/double action semiautomatic pistol that is chambered for 9mm. It comes in a military specification version, formally called the “Pistol, Semiautomatic, 9mm, M9,” which is commonly referred to as the “M9.” The M9 is the main pistol used by the US military, since it replaced the 1911 in 1990.
The Beretta 92 supports factory magazine capacities between 10 and 20 rounds, while the M9 is equipped with a 15 round magazine. The Beretta 92 uses a classic exposed hammer design, as opposed to the internal striker design used by many modern pistols such as the Springfield XD or Glock.
A nearly identical pistol is the Taurus PT92, which is based upon the original Beretta 92 design (whose patent rights have expired).
As mentioned above, the Beretta 92 is chambered for 9mm (9×19). Other similar Beretta pistols include the 96 series, which is chambered for .40 S&W, and the 98 series which are chambered for 9x21mm or 7.65 Luger.
I’ve found that people – especially those in the military – who prefer .45 ACP to 9mm tend to dislike the M9. This seems to be a combination of dislike of the less effective 9mm round, and in some people, a longing to have their 1911 back :). As someone whose defensive pistol caliber of choice is .40S&W, I personally prefer the Beretta 96 to the 92.
The first thing that I notice when handling a Beretta 92 (or M9) is the bulkiness of the pistol. In particular, the grip is rather large, and while I don’t find it uncomfortable to hold, I do know of people with smaller hands who prefer a pistol with a smaller grip. I like the trigger, which is (as expected) crisper than that of a Glock, especially when firing in single action mode. The controls are well placed and easy to operate.
Build Quality & Reliability
Perhaps the best aspect of the Beretta M9 is its build quality and reliability. This time-tested design has been used by soldiers and civilians for decades, and passed multiple military acceptance trials. These trials included exposure to salt water, temperature extremes, being submerged in snow/mud/sand, drops onto hard surfaces, and tens of thousands of fired rounds. While I have confidence in the reliability of most modern pistols, the M9’s proven reliability seems to stand out.
I can’t say that I find the Beretta 92 to be any more or less accurate than most other comparable pistols. I imagine that this is because most high quality pistols are accurate enough that the skill of an ordinary shooter such as myself is the limiting factor. I do find myself to be more accurate with the M9 when firing in single action mode, which is to be expected given the lighter trigger pull.