Test: Beretta 92X Performance – The Defensive variant of the sporty 9mm semi-auto pistol

New Beretta 92X Performance Optic pistol – With "Optics Ready" slide
Family addition at the EOS 2022: the Beretta 92X Performance Optic.

At EOS 2022 (European Outdoor Show) in Verona, Italy, Beretta unveiled an addition to its 92X Performance series. The 92X Performance Optic comes with all sorts of up-to-date features: in addition to the namesake optics-ready slide, it has a straight backstrap, Extreme-S trigger system, skeletonized hammer, enlarged magazine release and enlarged beavertail, among other things. A very similar pistol is the 92X Performance Defensive variant, also from the series, which is geared towards the more American shooting disciplines. Its main feature is a weight reduction to comply with IDPA regulations. The 92X Performance Optic lacks in fact the Picatinny rail on the dust cover. We at all4shooters.com took a closer look at what it can offer.

The Defensive makes the difference: the Beretta 92X Performance in detail

Similarly to a P08 or a Desert Eagle, the Beretta 92 has a very distinctive silhouette, so even laymen can recognize it right away.

As mentioned, the Beretta 92X Performance Defensive was specifically tailored to the rules and regulations of the IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association). The IDPA was founded in 1996 to provide a counterpart to the dynamic IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) shooting sport. This alone is the best proof that IPSC shooting sport has nothing to do with "Combat Shooting". Here in Europe, there are very few countries that even allow this discipline to gun owners. To be compliant in the Stock Service Pistol (SSP), Enhanced Service Pistol (ESP) as well as Carry Optic (CO) divisions, the max weight limit of 1,220 grams (43 ounces) must not be exceeded. That's why the 92X Performance Defensive might just have received the steel frame without a Picatinny rail. Visually, we find this to be a bit more original and thus more classic, as with the SIG Sauer P226 or Glock 17, but there is no accounting for taste. Another important innovation is coming with the Optic Ready version. The Beretta 92A4 with alloy grip already had the option of mounting a mini reflex sight, a feature that has now been adopted on the new all-steel Beretta 92X Performance Defensive model. The adapter plates sit tightly and thus positively in the slide, absorbing the acceleration forces well. Perhaps that is why two M3 cylinder head screws are sufficient for a firm hold.

Double action deluxe: the trigger of the Beretta 92X Performance Defensive

The slide of the Beretta 92X Performance was correspondingly milled and provided with a slot, so that the forces can be transferred positively during acceleration and deceleration.

Deluxe: this is an excellent way to describe the trigger in just a few words. With pleasant rolling characteristics and only 3,400 grams of pull weight at 16 mm of travel – really well done! Such a trigger should take away the fear of heavy, hard double action triggers for some, especially if you have to use it, such as in the IPSC Production Division. It should only be a matter of time before Beretta's hottest iron will be on the IPSC Production and Production Optics lists. It's just a shame that the single action doesn't turn out so great. At around 2,000 grams with 800 grams of pre-travel, it could be a few hundred grams less. The reset of the single action was pleasantly short, at around one millimeter. Incidentally, trigger pre-travel and reset can be adjusted by means of hexagon socket screws. However, you should then lock your personal preferences with thread locking fluid. Cocking serrations are found on both the slide front and rear, but they could be a bit more grippy. Perhaps this is also due to the somewhat slick-feeling nickel coating, which Beretta calls Nistan. The barrel, whose bore is hard-chrome plated, comes with a rather wide groove diameter of 9.10 mm, but this does not have to detract from accuracy, as the SIG P 210 already knew how to prove. By the way, the well-established Italian manufacturer offers four different adapter plates for its latest gun. Sights such as Burris FastFire/Docter or Noblex, Leupold Delta Point, Trijicon RMR/SRO as well as C-More RTS and all those that share the footprint with the aforementioned can thus be mounted. The adapter plate has to be purchased additionally and goes for 50 euros over the counter.

With the Beretta 92X Performance Defensive on the shooting range

The exposed barrel and the recesses for the locking block on the Beretta 92X Performance Defensive can be easily seen from above.

For the shooting performance test, we selected ten loads ranging from 95 to 147 grain bullets. We didn't hold out much hope for tight groupings because, as with all other 92 models, the barrel is not guided in the muzzle area. Thus, it can be pushed out of its original position by a few tenths of a millimeter. Be that as it may, the best result at 62 mm was achieved by the Hornady American Gunner with the 115-grain XTP defensive bullet. Barely worse, but much cheaper, went the Fiocchi 115-grain FMJ with 64 mm. Third place at 66 mm was shared by the GECO 124-grain Hexagon and the Magtech 147-grain JHP. With the Burris FastFire IV, however, we also wanted to test again what is possible with three loads from the sandbag rest. While the GECO 124-grain Hexagon achieved 57 mm with 5 shots, we managed 37 mm with the FMJ from the same company, and even a 33 mm group with the Fiocchi 115-grain FMJ. In any case, for the actually intended purpose as an IDPA pistol it is sufficiently accurate, because here the circular hit zone measures around 20 cm. Otherwise, there were no complaints even during the dynamic drills. The shooting behavior remains nice and pleasant despite the gun being 180 g lighter. Especially the nice double-action trigger remained in our memory from our visit to the shooting range.

Top shooters like Simon "J.J." Racaza impressively demonstrate the potential of the Beretta 92 at dynamic competitions.

Digression: the Burris FastFire IV red dot sight

The Burris FastFire IV was used for our practical test.

We also had a red dot sight fitted on the test gun: the Burris FastFire IV. This has been on the market for about a year now and follows the trend in the sporting field with a larger lens. The window now measures 30 millimeters in width and 20 millimeters in height. The 3-MOA dot appeared very round to us and had only minor lateral parallax deviations at 25 meters. Good conditions, therefore, for precision shooting. If the 3-MOA dot is not enough for you, you can choose three more reticles.

The brightness of the reticle is automatically adjusted to the ambient light conditions, but can also be set manually. The change of the point of impact is done by a fine click adjustment. The battery can be changed from the top, without removing the actual device. According to the manufacturer, its shelf life should be 5 years.

The scope of delivery also includes a mount for Weaver rails. The price for the Burris FastFire IV is quite attractive at 399 euros.

Beretta 92X Performance specs and price

Beretta 92X Performance Defensive
9mm Luger
Magazine Capacity: 
15 rounds
Steel, Nistan coated
Steel, Nistan coated
Barrel Length, Barrel Profile: 
127 mm, 6 grooves RH twist
Land/Groove Diameter: 
8.84-9.10 mm
Rear Sight: 
3.0 mm/LPA micrometer rear sight
Front Sight: 
2.9 mm, with red fiber optic insert
Sight Radius: 
184 mm
Double-sided lever on frame, trigger-operated firing pin safety
Trigger System, Trigger Pull Weight*: 
DA: mean 3,364 g, span 97 g; SA: mean 1,986 g, span 72 g
Lock Time*: 
8 ms (SA)
Weight (incl. Magazine): 
1,197 grams
Dimensions (LxWxH): 
222 x 48 x147 mm
Spare magazine, cable lock, interchangeable grips, hard case
1,760 euro (RRP in Germany incl. VAT)
* Mean of 10 measurements with the Trigger Scan System.
The Beretta 92X Performance Defensive broken down into its main components.

Beretta 92X Performance Defensive: wrap-up

With the Defensive version of the Beretta 92X Performance, red dot shooters can now also use the former US Army service pistol. The weight reduction required by the IDPA regulations would not necessarily have been needed for other disciplines, but it is compulsorily part of the offer. This is where the aforementioned new 92X Performance Optic would come into play. Nevertheless, the Defensive version does not seem too light and it is just as universally usable thanks to the red dot option. At a price of €1,760, the Beretta 92X Performance Defensive looks attractively priced, putting it at about the same level as the CZ Shadow 2 OR.

 What we liked:

 What we liked less:

- Top DA trigger

- Good equipment

- Universally usable thanks to being optics ready

- Attractive price 

- Construction does not provide top accuracy, but for the intended purpose is more than sufficient

For more information on the 92X Performance Defensive and Optic models, please visit the Beretta website.

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