One of the most controversial guns that I know of is the Beretta 92FS. This pistol has a record for being loved by some and hated by many. Some of the reasons for being hated can be valid, but I feel that it is due to ignorance or follow-along claims where they hate it because a friend of a friends' cousin hated it twenty years ago. I find that the tag-along hatred is the most popular reason that the M9/92FS gets so much hate. I feel that people don't realize how hard the military is on their guns, and especially their pistols. But that is another post for another time.
In my hands, the Beretta 92FS has served well and been completely reliable. I enjoy the way it shoots, the way it looks, and how it feels when manipulating the slide. The slide glides on the frame when you work the action, even dry. I could sit around and play with the action on this pistol for hours, and sometimes I do. It is almost therapeutic to work the action on pistols and dry fire them, for me at least.
My 92FS is at about 2000 rounds now and has made a little progress in the behavioral department, in a good way. In 2000 rounds, the trigger has smoothed out a bit on the double action trigger pull. It is still a heavyish pull, but it is much smoother. The single action has improved as well with the wall before the break not being as heavy. The break is much more clean and provides you with a better trigger to hit small targets at longer range.
The recoil on this pistol has also lightened up a little bit. I noticed that this pistol seemed unusually snappy when I first got it when compared to other pistols. Now with the same comparison, it is recoiling even less than the Sig P226. Even with NATO ammo, this pistol seems to have very mild recoil and reward you with very quick target acquisition afterwards. i imagine that it will continue to get better with more rounds through it.
The sights on this pistol are a bit small but actually seem to have almost the perfect profile and size. They are not too big and bulky to get in the way and the dots are big enough to get your attention when snapping to targets quickly. I find the ability to use the rear sight for one handed manipulations off of a belt or gear to be a good quality as well. It seems that the novak sight obsession has caused some people to forget the important of being able to reload and correct malfunctions if wounded, so this is a nice feature.
The wear on the pistol is mostly internal and is narrowed down to only a few parts. The barrel is showing some wear, but it isn't worn like I would like it to be. I found the M9 pistols we got in the military to be sexy with all their wear. I hope that in my lifetime, I can wear this pistol to that point, but without all the spring issues and parts breakages. That being said, all the springs are holding up well and I expect that they will last another few thousand rounds at the very very least. I feel that if there is one spring that would go first, it would be the trigger return spring. Mine has not broken yet, but the life of this pistol is still quite young.
The one thing that I have not been able to conquer totally is the grip size. i feel that shooting this pistol with gloves can be more challenging than it should be. I believe Beretta could have done a better job updating all their pistols as they did with the M9A3. But i also understand that this would be a huge undertaking for the company and not worth the investment. That is too bad, but there are always compromises.
As for the safety/decockers on the slide, I feel that the G model, or decock only model, would be the best option for anyone taking a serious look at this pistol but don't want to be plagued with the possibility of disabling the pistol when manipulating the slide. I feel that it is a shame that the only pistol capable of at least converting the safety to a decocker only system is the PX4. This is a sad situation, but Wilson combat does offer the services of being able to turn your Beretta 92 series pistol into a G model for a little bit of extra petty cash. For me doing all this stuff like shooting a lot of rounds out of a particular pistol or rifle, I have to use these funds elsewhere.
Overall, without writing a novel for you guys and gals, I feel that the M9/92 series is still quite relevant today for service, but as long as you understand what you are getting into. It is built like a tank and has had vast improvements in its metals and spring construction to cater to military and law enforcement agencies globally who do not do a terrific job of maintaining these pistols, such as ours. Many times, the springs have never been replaced and they allow these pistols to go without cleaning or lubrication for thousands of rounds and the only time proper maintenance is done on them is when something has a failure. But even then the maintenance is done half-assed and is isolated to the component that has broken. The biggest and most guilty party for doing this are the schools that teach how to employ this pistol. Yes they get cracks in the frames and have malfunctions, but remember the cause and remember that the ones with this issue have seen more rounds than you can afford in a lifetime.