Beretta 92FS Elite 1A Silver - Western Arms
I have tested the Beretta Elite 1A in black before and found it an excellent and accurate replica of the Vertec gripped Elite.
Now, Western Arms have issued a silver (INOX) version of the same gun and it arrived in a large consignment of guns to review from Elite Airsoft.
In the Box
The Beretta range (with the exception of the newly announced, and not yet tested, Beretta Cougar) are still Magna R gas system guns, so the Beretta came in the familiar uncoloured cardboard box, with Beretta and WA logos.
Inside, as ever, was the gun, some BBs, a collection of manuals and other paperwork, a tube, hopper and rod loading tool, an allen key (for the Hop Up), and a small bag of BBs.
The silver Elite 1A certainly looks good. The frame, barrel and slide are all a very consistent non-shiny silver and the markings are painted in a a solid black. The grips, too, are black.
All the controls are silver, too, but there are none of the issues with the paint finish on the metal parts that I have seen with some other recent WA guns (including the 92FS HW.
The gun looks quite different to a standard 92, with it's squared off frame, with built in rail and the backstrap of the grip lacking the trademark curve of the 92 grip. The gun also feels very solid and heavy in the hand.
As with all WA's Berettas metal content is quite high with trigger, trigger bar, safeties/decockers, hammer, magazine release, slide lock and sights all being made of metal.
Picking the Elite 1A up, it feels a good solid gun.
After handling a lot of 1911 derivatives, it was actually very good to have a modern pistol to handle. With double action, a decocker and ambidextrous safeties, the Beretta is a so much more user friendly gun than the Wilsons, Infinities and Para-Ordnances. Some will claim that the Beretta is, in some way, less 'special', but sometimes something you can just pick up and shoot is just what the doctor ordered.
Other than the different shaped frame and grip, everything here is familiar M92FS/M9 Beretta. The Brigadier style slide is just like that on the other Elites and only the silver finish differentiates this gun from the Elite CQB that I had tested previously.
That silver finish, however, is of remarkably good quality. I have had cause to point out flaws in the paint finish on metal parts on some WA guns over the last year or so, but the finish, at least on this example, is flawless on both plastic and metal parts, with no pooling, pitting or bubbling visible anywhere.
Markings on the gun are nothing extraordinary. The verbose WA/Beretta licensing agreement is on the front right of the frame (above the rail), whilst the front left bears the serial number "BER051502". The left side of the slide is marked with a stylised "ELITE 1A" and "BERETTA USA CORP"/"ACKR.MO. USA" and the right "92 BRIGADIER - F- CAL. 9 Parabellum". There is an ASGK mark above the trigger on the right side of the frame and the grips both bear the Beretta logo.
The decocker/safety (ambidextrous), disassembly lever, trigger, slide lock, trigger bar, serrated (skeletonised) hammer, magazine release (reversible as on all Beretta 92s and Cougars), recoil rod and front and rear sights are all metal.
The grips feature the trademark Elite 1A finish, described by Beretta as "Dual-textured thin polymer grips. Designed by a team of experienced pistol shooters, the innovative new grip panels on the Beretta Vertec have two different style gripping surfaces. Checkered at maximum friction points and pebbled exactly in those places where you need some freedom of movement, this revolutionary design improves both controllability and comfort. "
Whether they are identical on the WA is impossible for me to say. They feel like simple plastic, but the appearance certainly looks accurate to photographs of the real thing. Personally, I still found the Vertec grips too small to be truly comfortable. When I grip the gun, with distinctly average sized hands, there is a gap between the palm of my hand the back of the grip. I guess my hands are just made for the normally shaped Beretta grip.
The rear sight is a fixed unit, with two white dots. This is matched to the removable dovetail front sight, which features another white dot for quick acquisition. This all works well enough for a tactical, rather than target, pistol.
This gun, unlike the CQB, but like other Elites, comes with the bumpered Elite style magazine. In testing this design of magazine has been able to overcome the issue of not always firing all the BBs with a single gas fill, that the flat bottomed magazine displays.
Finally, the recoil rod is worth a look. Rather than being a simple rod, as with the M92FS with a single spring, it has two springs. The main one, which extends forward to the slide and a shorter one behind a buffer, about an inch long, at the rear of the rod. This feature is shared with the Elite 2, CQB and, presumably, the other Elites.
The accuracy I achieved with this gun turned out to be a little disappointing, compared with the other Elites I have tested, but I suspect that had more to do with me having an off day, than any inherent fault with the gun.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, I obtained a dreadful first grouping of 6 shots. However, I put that down to me shooting badly as I had trouble getting decent groupings first time with two other guns during the same test.
The circles on the target show the second sequence and I was able to obtain a best 5 grouping 1.75" (4.5 CM) across. This was not as good as I achieved with other WA Beretta Elites, but is still a pretty reasonable grouping.
Over 10 shots, the silver 1A averaged 255 fps (using Abbey Ultra gas and Excel .2g BBs) indoors (at 12C).
Experience suggests this would deliver about 292 fps at 20C, which is just about on a par with the similar Elite 2.
The trigger pull is a medium weight 33oz (940g).
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, the silver Elite 1A has all the virtues of the other Elites. Beautifully made, accurate, solid and heavy.
The Vertec style grip is not to my liking, but many will find it perfectly acceptable, or even preferable to the standard grip and lots of people both like rail frames and find them useful.
The silver finish on this INOX Beretta is excellent and it succeeds in looking stylish, classy and purposeful all at the same time, which cannot be said of all silver airsoft guns.
Weight : 960g
Realism : *****
Quality : *****
Power : ****
Accuracy : ***
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