26 July 2009

Got a smokin' deal...

I've been muling over getting a Beretta 92FS (as I understand it, it's the civvie version of the M9 the military uses) for quite some time. The only thing that really had me hesitant was that I was originally trained on the 1911 platform and while I did have some time with the M9 in my military service, I never cared for the slide-mounted safety. By that time it was just counterintuitive to have to reach for the safety waaaaay up there.

I'd heard there were versions of the Beretta with frame-mount, but as I understood it they were early models, and weren't the recipients of better metallurgy in the locking block and slide. I was aware of the Taurus offering, and I am a fan of Taurus, having several of their pistols, but didn't want an M9-type of pistol to pay upwards of $500- if it came to that I was going to grab another 24/7, maybe the OSS version that Taurus makes-- I'm already equipped with holsters for them and am quite happy with the platform.

Stopped in at a pawnshop "just to look" after picking up my Sistema and an AR15 from them for a great price-- there was a Taurus PT92AF(d) with decent finish (though showing some holster wear) for $200. I pawed it for a while, asked i they would move on the price-- they said they couldn't till the boss got back. Figured I would come back the nect day and talk with him about it, jumped in my jeep and headed home. On the way, I got to thinking that $200 for a decocker-equipped Beretta 92 clone with frame-mounted safety and decocker was more than fair, so I went back and bought it. It came with one mag, that apparently gave trouble- it wouldn't reliably hold the slide back, and would not drop free. No worries-- mags are cheap.

Went to the range, sure enough, the mag fed fine but wouldn't reliably hold the slide open after the last round. Bought a Promag to address that- problem solved.

The next day I stopped in at the local surplus store and saw 10 Army-surplus M9 mags in their case. 1 old civilian Beretta mag from the first lot of pistols with the Euro mag release in the heel of the weapon, 2 Beretta M9 contract, and the balance being checkmate mags. Aware of the problems with the checkmates, I asked what he wanted for all of the mags. $70. Sold!

I got to experimenting and found if I changed the spring and follower in the heel-release and the Taurus mag, I ended up with two mags that both worked just fine. Odd, but it works for now- I can always swap in Wolf springs if there's issue. Of course the Beretta and M9 mags won't work in the Taurus without being held in place- the mag release catch is different- but that's easily addressed. A few minutes with my Dremel tool and they'll stay in place. However, the front of the Beretta and M9 mags is just a hair wider, causing it to catch on the Taurus release. A few passes with a stone to relieve the lower side of the catch solves that problem as well, and they work slicker than one would expect a "noncompatible" mag to work. While it's true that if one were to swap the mag release to a left-hander, I'd have to go about modifying the other side of each mag, and would probably have to replace the mag release-- I don't care. I'm 1) not left handed, and 2) not getting rid of the weapon.

So all told, I've got the ability to carry about 210 rounds of pistol ammo on me, should the need occur. I don't expect it ever should- and in fact pray it doesn't-But for the price, you can't beat it. Just a hair over $300 for a serviceable weapon that's proven in combat (the Taurus is carried by the military and police of Brazil as well as a few other nations, and has seen service in Iraq, though I have no way of knowing if this weapon has a history), and enough mags to carry over 4 boxes of ammo. Works!

Taurus haters- send it to /dev/null. The 92 series is a proven commodity, and in fact the Taurus surpasses the Beretta original in several areas- example: the locking block. Also, as I understand it they're built on the Beretta tooling in Brazil, much the same as my Sistema was built on Colt tooling in Argentina.

Look for a series of posts on the modifications that I had to make to the mags, complete with How-To pics, possibly this evening...


Anonymous said...

Wow good find. I am a Glock owner and get a bunch of flack about plastic guns.

JAFO said...

I respect Glocks. I just don't like 'em.

It's the ergonomics, and lack of a manual safety. I have no problem with the plastic-- am considering getting a polymer lower for an AR build in fact. I just don't care for the grip and grip angle. I much prefer the 1911 and similar pistols. I alternate between a government model and a Taurus 24/7 or Millenium Pro, usually going for the .45ACP flavor...

of course, I HAVE been thinking about a 10mm Glock. The 20SF, is it?