Beretta Elite II - Western Arms
One of my very favourite airsoft pistols was my KSC Beretta Elite.
It was a smart looking gun, with its stainless steel coloured barrel contrasting excellently with the black finish. I asked John at Elite Airsoft a few times about the Western Arms equivalent and one day, along with a number of other pistols, a Western Arms Elite II arrived and I was eager to see how good it was.
The Elite II (or 2, I presume) followed on from the Elite, but is very similar. The most notable difference being the fact that the slide, as well as the barrel, has a stainless steel look.
In the Box
As with most WA's, the box is plain tan with (in this case) a Beretta logo on the top.
Inside was the gun, a loading tool (the usual tube, hopper and rod affair), a few BBs and some documents.
The Elite Berettas are based on the Brigadier slide, which is cut away along the sides, but heavier and wider than the standard 92/M9 slide. It also has an adjustable/interchangeable foresight fitted to it.
As mentioned already, this gun is all stainless steel effect finish on the top 'half' (the frame is black, so it's not an Inox model) and it is a much shinier effect than the Inox Beretta I'd tested before. Not quite chrome, but polished, rather than brushed, stainless. It's a very effective and pleasing finishing as good, if not better, than anything similar I've seen on any airsoft pistol.
Colouring aside, the gun looks very like the KSC version, with the cutaway slide giving the gun a more pugnacious appearance than the traditional 92/M9 shape and the magazine being capped with a bumper, which descends below the bottom of the grip.
The gun feels fairly solid in the hand, and well balanced, and the correct Beretta logos on the grips are welcome. The hammer, trigger, magazine release, slide lock, trigger bar, disassembly lever and sights are made of metal.
The stainless finish of the slide and barrel are exceptionally good, being blemish free (VERY close examination suggests it's probably painted on which might mean that if it was damaged it may be prone to flaking, but normal use has shown no marking so far).
Markings on the gun are few, with the Beretta licensing agreement (common to all WA Berettas) being present on the front right of the frame and just the "Elite II" markings (painted, not engraved) either side of the slide, with "Brigadier Cal. 9 Parabellum" on the right and "Beretta USA Corp, ACKX, MD USA" on the left, underneath them and the serial number "BER022403" on the left side of the frame (plus the few small WA and ASGK markings) being present otherwise. The top of the barrel is stamped "STAINLESS", as is the front of the slide.
The decocker works, as on all WA (and KSC) Berettas and the hammer is a nice 'skeletonised' metal one, very similar to that on the KSC.
The grip is especially pleasing with a very chunky chequering on both the front and back of the grip, making the gun very secure in the hand (and, no doubt, remaining that way, even when wet). This was not present on my KSC Elite, but appears (from WA's website) to be unusual to the Elite II.
The magazine bumper is solid plastic and the gas valve extends all the way to the bottom of it, which doesn't feel as nice as the rubber one on the KSC, but isn't the pain to fill that that gun is.
One strange thing with this particular example was that the slide didn't seem to want to lock back when the magazine emptied. The slide lock works fine when you rack it back and, in every other way the gun works fine. Whether this was due to the cold, some fault with the magazine or gun or maybe a feature (although I do not believe so) of the Elite 2 specifically, I don't know.
Gassing the gun up with some Abbey Ultra gas in 10 degree Centigrade was easy and a few quick rounds proved pleasing as the Elite II has a notably snappier and stronger kick to it than the Inox 92F I had tested, much more like my Beretta Cougar which has so impressed me.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test proved the gun to be as remarkably impressive at shooting as it was in its recoil and kick.
All 6 shots fell in a 1.25" (3 CM) diameter, with 5 of them within a 1 inch (2.5 CM) diameter, roughly where they were aimed. Straight from the box without touching the hop-up, this is very impressive performance for something not designed as a purpose built target gun.
I was able to carry out a trigger pull weight test on this gun and it produce a figure of 880g (31 ounces), which is a medium weight trigger pull.
Remove the magazine and press the disassembly button on the right side of the frame in. At the same time rotate the disassembly lever (on the left of the frame, over the trigger) downwards. The barrel and recoil rod may pop forward at this point. The barrel, slide and recoil rod will all push off the frame at this point.
The recoil rod can be removed by pushing it gently forward and down and then back. The barrel should be slid forward and down, once clear of the nozzle. Note that the recoil rod slots into a metal shroud inside the slide, which isn't present on the KSC guns.
There is a wedge shaped metal part at the rear underside of the barrel which ensures correct alignment between barrel, slide and frame. This just slides into place.
When reassembling, give the barrel a little push backwards, into the frame, when turning the disassembly lever - This has caught me out a number of times on WA Berettas, as you don't need to do it on KSCs.
I had a feeling this Beretta might disappoint me. I had very fond memories of my KSC Elite and hadn't been terribly impressed by the shooting experience afforded by the Inox WA 92, but the feel, finish and performance (both accuracy and subjective power, in terms of kick and felt recoil) were deeply impressive.
Some will find the shiney slide a bit much and others will feel the lack of a rail to be a problem, but WA make Elite alternatives for them.
Whilst the M9/92 is the 'traditional' Beretta, the Elites are better to shoot, more accurate and, it would seem, have better gas consumption, being able to empty all 24 rounds, quickly, without running out of gas.
If you want a fairly traditional WA Beretta, get this one - It is a truly excellent airsoft pistol and would make an excellent alternative for someone looking for an accurate, hard-kicking alternative to a 1911 derivative.
Update - June 2004
I bought a damaged Elite 2 from the forums and, despite the problems, found it performed very well.
Again, the accuracy was good (2.5CM grouping on my 5m/6 round test), but the slide lock still refuses to work consistently.
I chrono'd the Elite 2 and got an average (over 8 shots) of 270fps on Winter Gas with .2g BBs at around 17C. I suspect this may actually be a little on the low side as the last 3 shots trailed off and the gun actually ran out of gas before I could fire all 10 rounds and I didn't have time to regas it (I had started with a partly full magazine). I shall retest the gun with a freshly filled magazine sometime.
Weight : 920g
Realism : ****
Quality : ****
Power : *****
Accuracy : *****
Back to the Homepage