Monday, October 24, 2011

So Why a Beretta 96D?

Up until late spring of this year I had a very narrow focus on handgun platforms. Everything I had spent any reasonable amount of time on was a Glock with the exception of a S&W Model 637 that I had for about a year and a half before trading it off for another Glock. I had shot most other major platforms to include a few 1911's, XD's, M&P's, Sigs, Beretta's and various revolvers, but never more than a few magazines full at a time, and rarely over 100 rounds all together. So, I decided it was time to expand my shooting horizons outside of the Glock platform and give every major brand a try so that I could formulate a more complete opinion of each.

It started with a 1988 manufacture Sig P226. Awesome handgun, rock solid. I was able to get a fairly decent handle on the DA/SA trigger which I thought might be a hang up, and had basically no issues with it. In fact I nearly turned in a 50/50 Dot Torture at 7 yards with it!! I carried it as an EDC gun after getting comfortable with it in a Bianchi Pro 100 IWB holster for about three months. I contemplated keeping it since three months is hardly enough to time to really get to know a gun, but when the opportunity came up to trade it for a Beretta, another gun on my list, I jumped at it.

Hence, the Beretta. Now I haven't always had the best perception of Beretta. In fact, I probably never had. I have always viewed them as kind of fragile, and my limited experience with a Beretta 92fs early in my shooting career didn't help either. I am not at all a fan of slide mounted safeties, and since these guns also have to serve as my EDC gun during this process a model without a safety was a must. The DA/SA trigger that I remember from those early days of shooting was not near as smooth or precise as what I had adapted to so quickly on my Sig P226. Who knows if it was or wasn't, I just remember not being impressed. In my infancy as a "serious" shooter, all I cared about was Glock anyway. My bread would not be buttered with anything else in those days.

So when a 96D fell into my lap, I begrudgingly traded off my proven and liked Sig in furtherance of the cause. Too my surprise I like the Beretta better than the Sig P226!!! Now, admittedly the 96D is not exactly representative of the handgun Beretta is most known for, the M9 (or 92fs), but it is close enough for my purposes and still a Beretta. I do have concerns over durability, so this gun will be run for longer, and likely harder than the Sig just to see if I can break it. Maybe not completely fair, but how many mega high round count Berettas do you hear about compared to Sigs? Not many, in fact I never have so I had no reservations about the durability of my well worn P226 as compared to a Beretta.

All that aside, the 96D specimen in my possession has been a good shooter thus far. It also seems to conceal slightly better than my P226. They have both concealed better than comparable full-size Glocks. It is a police trade in gun, but doesn't seem to have seen much trigger time, or really holster time for that matter. There are a few wear marks here and there, but they are very minor. I would suspect this gun was shot for qualifications only, maybe a little extra here and there, and that was it. My guestimated round count through the gun by previous owners would be under 1K. The service life of the gun should extend well beyond 10K if I keep up with the maintenance and everything (and can afford to feed it that much .40 S&W ammo).

I have not changed any of the springs yet, but I am embarking on an experiment. I have ordered two Wolff recoil springs to try in the gun, a 15lb spring and a 20lb spring. .40 S&W has a pretty good punch, and best I can tell Beretta uses the same weight recoil spring in both 9mm and .40 S&W 90 series handguns (13lb). So, I should be able to at least run a 15lb spring with no trouble and maybe absorb a little extra recoil in the process. Might even be able to run a 20lb spring since I do not reload for .40 S&W and shoot straight up factory ammo. The down side this is certainly going to change slide velocity, etc. and could impact reliable functionality of the handgun. I will try to get some video to show results or lack there of and post the results and my opinion on the pros vs. cons of a spring weight change after I have run each spring for a while.


  1. Having owned a 92D Centurion and a 96D Brigadier (Border Patrol contract gun) and fired them extensively, I've come to admire their trigger as beind one of the best revolver triggers available. I've used them in classes and when asked why, was enthusiastic in my appreciation of the gun and trigger. So much so that both of those guns were sold for more then their market value to shooters who tried them and agreed with me.

  2. The quality of the DAO trigger is probably the thing I appreciate the most about the 96D. I have a thing for DAO triggers, and the Beretta rendention is definitely nice.