Beretta M92FS - Western Arms
Of the many Beretta 92s Western Arms make, this is the definitive one, so it's strange that it has taken me so long to review it.
This example was bought from a forum, without a magazine, for just £25, but goes to show what bargains you can pick up and, to a degree, the prejudice many hold against WA Berettas (It's hard to imagine even a much used TM Beretta selling for so little).
So what's the Western Arms Beretta M92FS like and is there any reason to spend more on a Tokyo Marui Beretta?
In the Box
My gun didn't come boxed, but, as the photo of the silver Western Arms 92FS below shows, the gun woud usually come in the very familiar beige box with a tube, hopper and rodloading tool, two Allen keys (one for Hop Up, one for some other purpose not explained in the manual.), and a small bag of 6mm BBs.
The box is plain with just black text and a Beretta log on the outside, but strong, and the gun sits in a supportive polystyrene bed within the box.
Western Arms proudly make much of the fact that their Berettas are licensed replicas of the real thing. Indeed, Beretta used to have a page on their site dedicated to the Western Arms Beretta range and this suggests that Beretta feel good enough about the Western Arms replicas to associate themselves and their quality values with those of Western Arms, which (to me) speaks volumes.
As with any modern Western Arms Beretta, the 92FS feels solid and realistically balanced and heavy in the hand. A real 92FS would, of course be heavier, but even heavier replicas, such as the HFC M9 190 do not feel as realistic, thanks to WA's attention to detail and the balance of the gun.
The look is great, with a slightly matt finish (the gun is made of the Heavyweight ABS/metal mix familiar from most other WA guns and some other makes, notably KSC, Marushin and Tanaka) and the very famous Beretta styling is, as you would expect, faithfully reproduced.
Markings are good, generally, although the licensing text on the frame always look a little intrusive to me.
External metal parts abound, including the trigger, hammer, rear sight, slide lock, decocker/safeties and recoil rod.
Unlike many of the other WA Berettas reviewed on this site, this is the traditional 92 shape, with the slide cut straight along the barrel line and the outer barrel standing out beyond the slide end.
This is what you expect a Beretta to look like, it's the 92FS design and (essentially) the M9 military design, so it fits well with many 'loadouts' and styles.
The gun is mainly ABS, but it's the heavyweight type, with metal dust mixed in, so it feels cool to the touch and quite heavy in the hand (at around a kilo with a magazine).
The markings, of course, are generally very accurate.
The 92FS is marked "PIETRO BERETTA GARDONE V.T." on the left side of the slide along with the PB in a circle logo. Below that, on the frame, is a serial number.
On the right hand side of the slide is "MOD. 92FS - Cal 9mm Parabellum - PATENTED" and "MADE IN JAPAN BY WESTERN ARMS. ASGK" (this in smaller sized font), but below that, on the frame, is WA's common (and overly verbose) licensing information, which is a little disappointing, although in these litigous days, there's text there on a real Beretta telling you that shooting yourself with this could be dangerous (or similar words to try and protect the terminally stupid from themselves).
The sights are marked with small white(ish) dots on this 92FS, but they work well enough to aid with target acquisition even if they're not as immediate as those on the Elite models.
The rear sights are metal and the is dovetailed into the slide. The front blade (correctly) cast into the slide top and is, obviously, ABS, like the rest of the slide.
The frame features vertical grooves to the front and back of the grip, to provide a degree of grip. The grips themselves are chequered black and, having owned a couple of sets of real steel Beretta grips, practically indistinguishable from those fitted to the real steel weapons. At the base of the grip is a metal lanyard ring, both realistic and useful for skirmishers.
The trigger bar, trigger, slide lock, working decocker/safeties and disassembly lever are all metal and feel well made and solid. I have seen cases of the trigger bars breaking where they interact with the hammer mechanism, although only second hand, so whether that's a weak point or the result of misuse it's hard to say for certain.
The magazine takes a healty 26 BBs and looks pretty realistic, with Beretta markings on the base. Unlike some TM magazines, for example, it doesn't appear to be weighted artificially, so it doesn't unbalance the gun.
The magazine release is reversible like the real thing, allowing left handers to swap it over to release with the thumb of the left hand, which is a nice feature (the photos show it set for the right thumb).
The hammer is a solid piece, with a small round hole in the spur and grooves on the curved edge, as with the real thing. It doesn't sit in the slide as well as you would expect of the real thing, but that's the only realy quibble.
Common wisdom is that WA Berettas look good, but don't shoot that well.
My experience with most of the other 92s I've tested has confounded this and the 92FS was a good (if not quite remarkable) performer.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, the WA M92FS put 5 of 6 rounds into a 30mm diameter twice (In the target above, I shifted the aimpoint to the Asterisk for the second 6 shots, shown as squares), which is decent performance for a quite old design and quite usable for skirmishing.
It's good to note how the shots all clustered well around the aimpoints and all 6 in both sets are in a diameter easily within the centre of the target I use which is just 75mm (3 inches) across.
Over 10 shots, the 92FS averaged 305 fps (using Propane gas) indoors (at 24C). Experience suggests this would equate to around 284 fps at 20C.
Trigger pull was 925g ( Oz), which is a medium weight pull for a GBB. The trigger pulls fairly smoothly, although the external trigger bar can wear over time wear it interfaces with the trigger and hammer which can lead to a longer pull, not noticable on this particular example, which is some years old.
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.
Refitting, requires you to press back on the barrel before rotating the disassembly lever back up into position, as with all WA Beretta M92s, although I've never confirmed if this replicates the real thing or is simply a WA quirk. Certainly no other airsoft Beretta I've encountered does it, but then no other airsoft Beretta is as realistic as a WA.
Overall, this is the best replica of a Beretta M92FS you can get in airsoft form.
The experiences of some suggest that WA Berettas are not happy on Green Gas long term, but power is good on 134a, so sensible use of appropriate gasses to the temperature should not be a problem - There is no such thing as a 'Green Gas' safe gun, it's all about pressure.
Only KSC's guns share the working decocker with the WA and, nice though they are in pre-System 7 form (As I write this I've not tested one with this gas system), they aren't a match for the accuracy of replication that the WA guns have.
If you want the most realistic airsoft Beretta (with the classic styling) this is the one to get - I suspect you won't be disappointed with the way it shoots either.
Weight : 1000g (300g magazine)
Realism : 95%
Quality : 95%
Power : 85%
Accuracy : 85%
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