Beretta M92FS Competition - Western Arms
I like the Beretta range and especially the M92/M9 model.
In September 2003, Western Arms announced a special, limited edition Competition model. As well as a set of special, adjustable, target sights, the gun has a special barrel compensator (along with an extended, 6.03mm tightbore barrel).
John Reddington at Elite Airsoft sent me one of the Deluxe versions (It's got wooden grips, the basic version has normal Beretta logoed black plastic grips, but is otherwise identical) to review.
In the Box
The contents of the box are typical WA Beretta. With a hopper, tube and rod loader (the hopper fits over the magazine top, you fill the tube with BBs and then push them down the tube with the rod, which pushes them down into the magazine), manuals and a few BBs, as well as the gun. A nice touch is the Beretta decal, which I've only seen with this model.
The yellow sheet in the photo above describes how you adjust the power.
The M92FS Competition starts life as a standard WA M92FS Heavyweight and everything positive that can be said (and has been) about the WA Beretta stands. The gun is nicely made in heavyweight, black, material with metal slide lock, safeties/decockers, disassembly lever, sights, hammer and trigger.
Added to the front of the M92FS Competition's outer barrel is a 2.5 Inch (6.5 CM) metal compensator. Atop this compensator is an especially high foresight blade, the standard height sight (on top of the slide) is still present.
Inside the compensator is a longer than standard tightbore barrel, which is said to improve consistency (The issue being that BBs do not get a consistent amount of backspin from Hop-Up) and power (due to less gas escaping around the BB).
Looking closely, you realise that the 'wood' grips, whilst very attractive, are actually plastic. On the grips are smart 'brass' PB (Pietro Beretta) medallions.
The rear sight is adjustable for both elevation and windage (up and down, left and right, to the less technical amongst us), meaning you can set the gun up very accurately to hit consistently.
The black M92FS itself has a very nice finish to it, with few, but well defined markings. On the right front of the frame is the usual, verbose WA/Beretta licence wording, which (as noted elsewhere) is less intrusive on the larger framed guns, than on the M84 Cheetah. There are a couple of small proofing marks ahead of the trigger on the right, too, with "MOD 92FS - Cal 9 Parabellum - PATENTED" on the slide. Below that, in slightly smaller font is "MADE IN JAPAN BY WESTERN ARMS ASGK"
On the left of the slide is the legend "PIETRO BERETTA GARDONE V.T. ITALY" (followed by the PB in an oval logo), with the serial number "D071516Z" on the frame.
The compensator on the front is made of metal with a slight gloss finish, which is slightly at odds with the finish on the frame and slide, but it tips the balance of the gun more towards muzzle heavy, which helps with keeping the gun on target when it kicks. The inner barrel extends about 2 inches (5 CM) longer than the standard M92FS, as it doesn't extend to the very end of the compensator. Western Arms claim the inner barrel is 162mm in length.
Of real interest on this target pistol (and unique to it, I believe) is the mechanism on the bottom of the grip (behind the magazine) which permits adjustment of power. Some will point to the lack of Hop-Up (which could be adjusted to compensate for different BB weights or ambient temperatures), but it's an interesting alternative.
Basically, it works exactly the same as the mechanism on the Tanaka Revolvers, increasing or decreasing the tension in the hammer spring to release more gas when the hammer strikes the gas release valve. It's a useful way to provide a non-Hop-Up gun with adjustable power, but obviously not as gas efficient as Hop-Up.
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Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, the M92 Competition put it's 6 rounds in a 2 inch (5 CM) diameter, with all the shots high of the aim point, suggesting that either the sights or the power adjuster need adjustment for the .25g BB/Ultra Gas combination. Of course, at greater range (say 10m), this would probably reflect extremely good accuracy.
Overall, like the Para Ordnance Ultimate Comp, the Beretta M92FS Competition is a specialist gun for target shooting. I can't see anyone lugging this around a skirmish site in a SOCOM holster, but with the adjustable sights and tightbore barrel, the 92 Competition offers, those looking for a target gun not based upon the ubiquitous 1911, a great alternative.
The heavyweight black finish is, in my opinion, a big improvement over the Inox (good though that looks), giving the gun more heft, better kick and, to my eye, a more realistic look. The 'wood' grips are (like those on the SCW 1911) extremely convincing and lend this gun an air of superiority, although it must be said they add quite a bit to the cost of the standard Competition.
Certainly not for everyone, but well worth a look, if you are in the market for a target pistol.
Update - June 2004
I picked one of these up at a very good price from Tree at Airsoft Kit (if you are quick, he might have a couple left), mainly to fit a pair of lovely real wood Beretta grips to.
The version I got was the Standard Competition, so had the standard black plastic grips.
Having a chrono now, I decided to test it and shoot another set of target shots.
Carrying out a 5m, off hand test, the M92 Competition put 10 rounds in (or very near) the bull with a best 5 spread of just a 3/4 inch (1.7CM) diameter
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Over 10 shots, the 92FS Competition averaged 320fps (using Winter gas and .2g BBs) outdoors (around 16C).
I tried adjusting the adjuster at the base of the grip, but was unable to detect under significant difference in velocity.
I was able to carry out a trigger pull weight test on this gun and it produce a figure of 470g (16.6 ounces), amongst the very best I have seen.
Weight : 1100g
Realism : ****
Quality : ****
Power : ****
Accuracy : ****/*****(2nd test)
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