Beretta M92FS Tactical Elite - Western Arms
One of my earliest 'proper' GBBs was a Beretta Elite - A KSC one and it remains in my memory as a nicely built, highly stylish looking airsoft pistol.
Western Arms have made a number of Elites and I've owned or reviewed all of them (Elite 2, CQB, Vertec), except this one, the black slided, silver barreled, full backstrap Tactical Elite model, which replicates the same gun as my KSC had and has always been my favourite Beretta design.
I have had this one over a year, but have never quite got around to reviewing it until now, so I thought I should rectify that.
In the Box
The box is a typical Western Arms brown box with a Beretta logo and some text.
Inside offers nothing unusual either, for those familiar with older WA products, just the usual speedloader, manuals, allen keys and set of manuals.
The gun itself sits in the base of the box which is polystyrene.
The mainly black with a silver barrel gun still looks like a very attractive gun to me.
The slide is cut away, compared to the standard Beretta and the barrel is very slightly shorter, given the gun a purposeful look, which is rendered less than pugnacious by the silver finish to the barrel.
Like all of WA's Berettas, the Elite feels solid and heavy in the hand. Far superior to TM's version or even the all metal KJW variants.
The magazine features the usual Elite 'bumper', but it is solid, unlike the KSC's rubber bumpered magazine (which is a nightmare to fill with gas; not so the WA ones).
The slide, barrel and frame are all plastic, but the trigger, hammer, slide lock and takedown lever are all metal, as is the recoil rod.
For those familiar with the standard 92FS or the US Army's M9, there are some difference with the Elites.
Up at the front, the barrel (all silver in this case, to replicate the stainless steel one on the real gun) is shorter, almost flush with the end of the slide.
The front sight is adjustable and interchangable and is dovetailed into the top of the slide, unlike the usual 92FS foresight, which is cast as part of the slide.
The slide itself is cutaway considerably, compared with the usual Beretta 92 slide and features a 'swelling' about half way down to strengthen it. I have never heard that the Elite slide on WA Berettas is particularly prone to problems due to the design. There are cocking serrations front and rear, although, being a double action pistol, these are not that important (as say, on a 1911) as you can simply pull the trigger to cock and fire the gun.
All the controls, takedown lever, safeties/decockers (which, of course being a WA, operate correctly to decock the hammer), slide lock, trigger and hammer are metal, painted black, although these wear nicely to give a used look over time, as visible on this example.
Most of these parts are identical to any other Beretta 92, but the hammer is skeletonised.
Markings, as ever on a WA Beretta, are good and extensive.
The left side of the slide is marked with a "ELITE" logo, with "BERETTA U.S.A. CORP" and "ACK.,MD USA" (in a slightly smaller font) below. The left side of the frame bears a serial number near the front of the dustcover.
The ELITE logo is repeated on the right side of the slide, with "92 BRIGADIER -F- CAL. 9 Parabellum" below it. The Brigadier refers to the cutaway style of the slide, which differs from the standard 92 style slide. The right side of the dustcover features WA's usual, verbose, licensing text stating that Beretta logos are legally applied. There is an ASGK marking over the trigger guard and a proofing mark at the top of the front of the trigger guard.
The grips are marked with the correct Beretta logos (featuring 3 arrows) and fitted with standard screws (rather than the Hex-headed ones on the Elite 2).
In my opinion, the full backstrap Beretta grip is a much better grip to hold and, to my eyes looks much better, too. Vertecs always bring a flat chested Monica Belluci to mind - Not bad, but not as good as the curved version. Thankfully, the Tactical Elite is fully endowed with a curved backstrap. The grip features vertical ribs front and back to provide a secure grip, although this is not as effective as the chequering on the later Elite 2 variant.
The barrel is well finished, despite being plastic, to look like stainless steel and does not seem to wear noticeably from the action of the slide. It is marked "STAINLESS" (running front to back) along the top.
The magazine holds 26 rounds and features a metal buffer (the KSC gun's was rubber and a nightmare to regas) at the base. Previous experience shows that these magazines do not suffer from the problems of not being to empty all 26 rounds on single gas fill, especially with Green gas, as the flat bottomed 92 magazines do.
The rear sight, like the front, is dovetailed in and features white dots to provide quick acquisition of a target.
The frame and slide are heavyweight ABS and the whole gun has a very solid and well made look and feel to it, with substantial heft, lifting it above the TM 'toys' or even the all-metal KJWs. There does not, however, seem to be widespread ballasting of the gun, with metal weights, which means the gun feels well balanced in the hand as well, something which is not always true of heavy plastic guns.
The bulk of the Tactical Elite's weight appears to be in the internal frame which holds the workings, boding well for longevity.
Other WA Beretta Elites I have tested have exhibited impressively good performance, so I was expecting this one to follow suit.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, I was a bit surprised and disappointed to only obtain a best 5 of 6 grouping of 43mm.
I took a second 6, thinking maybe I was just shooting badly, but it produced an almost identical grouping.
Such groupings are far from dreadful, but compare disappointingly with some other WA Elites (although it was very close to the 45mm achieved by the Silver Vertec 1A) and I can think of no reason to explain it.
That said, the shots were impressively grouped around the aim point in the centre of the target.
Over 10 shots, the WA Beretta Tactical Elite averaged 226 fps (using duster gas and .2g BBs) indoors (at 20C). Experience suggests this would equate to around 285 fps on Green gas at the same temperature.
These figures are probably a bit low, as the first 4 shots were with a magazine which gives trouble. As you can see, shots 5 on were, generally around 15-20 fps higher and the generally similar Elite 1A and Elite 2 both delivered averages in line with 230ish fps with 134a.
Trigger pull was 800g (28 Oz), which is a fairly average weight pull for a GBB and very close to that achieved with other WA Beretta Elites.
Take down is standard Beretta 92.
Remove the magazine. Push down the disassembly lever, whilst pushing the pin through from the other side of the frame.
Slide the slide, barrel and recoil spring/rod forward off of the frame.
The recoil spring and rod can be removed as a unit and the barrel can then be slid forward and then down and back to remove it from the slide.
Overall, I very much liked this WA Beretta.
I openly admit to liking Berettas generally, so you might not like the Tactical Elite as much as I do, but there's little to dislike about the Tactical Elite.
The look, feel and weight of the gun are all excellent and the kick is impressive (as ever, with WA). The accuracy was a bit disappointing compared with the other WA Elites I have tested, but it's possible I was just having an off day or that the (used) gun is worn in some way and it really was only poor by the excellent standard set by other WA Elites.
All WA Berettas suffer a limited number of upgrade parts, especially slides and frames and there are, as far as I know, none at all available for the Elites, which will disappoint many. If you really want a metal slided Elite, you may be able to track down the "Elite 1A" marked metal slide and barrel for the KSC version.
Otherwise, though, for a great looking and feeling Beretta, you really cannot go far wrong with the WA Beretta Tactical Elite.
Weight : 1000g (340g magazine)
Realism : ****
Quality : *****
Power : ****
Accuracy : ***
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