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Beretta 92F Compact 9mm
Handgun Review

By Dan S. Defense

The Beretta 92F Compact, which we'll refer to as the 92FC, is a close cousin of the now famous, US Army version called the Beretta M9 and civilian Beretta 92F. We'll take a look at this 9mm self-defense carry handgun, examine it closely, add information about detailed range testing and concealed carry application, and finally offer a conclusion for its suitability for self-defense.

The Beretta 92FC is a smaller, lighter version of the military Beretta M9. As often seen with compact handguns, the magazine capacity is smaller than the full size version and in this case, the 92FC offers 13 rounds of 9mm ammo in the magazine and an optional round in the chamber for a total of fourteen, 9mm self-defense rounds, which for a compact is quite a bit of fire power.

The 92FC has fixed, white dot sights which shoot to point of aim and are easy to find during target acquisition. The grip is made from checkered wood, which offers good traction, even with wet or sweaty hands and gives this handgun a more classic look. There are several types of aftermarket grips that can be used on the Beretta 92FC but we found wood grips to be functional and handsome. The 92FC, as the M9 and 92F versions, can fire in double action or single action. It has a de-cocker lever, which means that you can safely lower the hammer on a live, chambered round with relative confidence.

I added relative not because of any mechanical flaw in this handgun, but rather because we always treat every handgun as if it was loaded, and we never trust any mechanical device, to override the four basic safety rules. Wen shooting double action, we find the 92FC trigger to be quite heavy, with significant over travel and creep, but more on that in the range session section. The magazine release is well situated and easily accessible without changing the grip on the handgun and overall quality is very good.

The Beretta 92FC handgun performed well at the range. Accuracy was above average and more than sufficient for self-defense applications. Despite being a compact model, it is easy to get a full, good grip on the 92FC. With soft shooting 9mm ammunition recoil is very mild and the fact that the 92FC is built from steel rather than Polymer, works to dampen what little recoil is generated.

The trigger on the 92FC gets mixed marks. In double action, the trigger is too long and has too much over-travel and creep. When you pull the trigger, it feels that it travels forever and a day before breaking. We have fired many handguns with double action triggers (e.g. SIG SAUER P220, P226 and P229) and even double action only revolvers (e.g. S&W J Frame), with better factory triggers, still it is manageable and a dedicated shooter ought to be able to master it with a few hours of dry fire. The single action function on the other hand works well and it is relatively smooth. The biggest single problem we had, and the reason we opted not to carry this handgun was the safety.

As with the other Beretta models of this line, the safety is situated on the slide, and not on the frame. We found it too easy, and indeed too often possible, to engage the safety by mistake and therefore fail to fire. It was both annoying and in our view dangerous design, that can hinder new or even experienced shooters who don't invest significant effort in learning how to work with this Beretta model. We know this last statement could be seen as controversial, and we'll simply say that we highly recommend you test shoot this handgun, before buying one.

The Beretta 92FC seemed to like any type of ammunition. Be it cheap import ammo or good US made range and self-defense rounds, the 92FC took them all and worked perfectly with them. It seemed to prefer Winchester Ranger Bonded 147gr ammo as far as accuracy but did well with Speer and Federal too. All in all, this handgun gets good marks on reliability and it ran properly when clean and also dirty, with about 300 rounds through it.

In summary, this is a reliable and accurate handgun. It offers good weight and size ratio to ammo capacity and accuracy. It is easy to conceal and easy to carry and had not been for the slide based safety, we would have warmly recommend this handgun to new shooters. As designed, it will take practice to enjoy the benefit this handgun offers, without the risk of accidental safety engagement. If you like the Beretta brand and if you are willing to learn how to use this handgun, we suggest you give it a good look, and a thorough range test run, to see if it may be right for you.

Until next time, stay safe by staying alert!
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