WHAT IS THE 92X?
Unveiled this year by the historic Italian gunmaker, the 92X series is an American-born descendant of the now-classic combat pistol that first debuted in the 1970s and is produced at their Gallatin, Tennessee plant. Announced in July in Full-Sized, a slightly shorter Centurion and handy Compactvariants– the latter both with and without an accessory rail– the new handgun line is packed with features and upgrades not found in the more basic 92FS/M9 pistols while coming in at a price that is more affordable than the M9A3 and the semi-custom LTT/Wilson Combat 92G series guns.
Built on the Vertec profile frame with a straight backstrap and updated grip options, the guns all feature a round trigger guard, beveled magazine well, chrome-lined barrel with a recessed target crown, front and back cross checkering on the grip frame, and combat sights with dovetailed fronts. The guns use a steel trigger and mag release.
Expanding on the original line, the 92X series is backward compatible with all 92-series magazines and railed accessories while the front sights and grip panels are compatible with M9A3 models. Internal components are square with legacy 90 series parts of similar size while the double-action/single-action types (F/S, G) can be swapped. While some scoff at external safety levers, those searching for guns that sport them are in the money.
Since late September, we have been shooting and evaluating a new Beretta 92X, specifically the Compact variant with the smooth dust cover.
While the standard/full-sized 92X uses a 4.7-inch barrel to produce an 8.5-inch long handgun that tips the scales at 33.4-ounces while unloaded, the smaller Centurion is a more Commander-style offering with a shorter 4.25-inch barrel which boils down to a 7.75-inch overall length.
Going even shorter, the 92X Compact has the Centurion-length slide and barrel on a shorter frame (5.25-inches high, versus the standard 5.4-inch) to produce a handgun more suited for concealed carry.
Due to the chopped down frame, the Compact has a smaller mag capacity — 13 rounds– but also comes in a little lighter, hitting the scales at 27-ounces, unloaded. This puts the Compact in roughly the same class, size-wise, as guns such as the Glock G19, Sig Sauer P229, and S&W M&P M2.0 Compact.
When it comes to carrying, the size makes it a bit tough for some to use the Beretta 92X Compact in an IWB appendix carry holster unless you go awkwardly high-waisted, but if carrying strong-side in the 3′ or 4′ o-clock position with a good belt then you are good to go. We carried the test gun for nearly 400 hours in such a manner without issue during both winter and summer weather as well as in urban and field conditions. Likewise, pocket, ankle, and small of the back carry can be ruled out unless you want to shuffle in a comic book-worthy gait or print like a 1900s daily newspaper.
We used an older Kramer IWB leather holster for a 92FS as we had one on hand and had no issues with the gun. Carrying a spare mag gave us 27 rounds of 9mm on hand.
Be warned that, should you use a holster without a barrier between the grip and the user, the texturing on Beretta’s factory grips is aggressive and will chew at your side. This can be fixed with aftermarket grips or by sanding down the factory panels. Also, the open-barrel construction and pinky extension magazine pad are collection points for dust, grime, and clothes lint, so be sure to inspect your 92X regularly if carrying one. Likewise, as we used an open-bottom holster, the face of the muzzle, which has a recessed target crown, showed some wear after a month or so.
In the course of six range visits, we sent 2,000 rounds of factory 9×19 Luger through the Beretta 92X Compact. This included a selection of loads from Winchester, Federal, CCI (Blazer), Wolf, and PMC in weights between 115- and 147-grain with a mix of various training and self-defense ammo in standard commercial, military, and +P velocities.