Impatient with Beretta 92A1


February 20, 2012, 08:31 PM
I had a rough experience today, but part of it was my fault.

I bought a brand new Beretta 92A1 three days ago, a gun I had been wanting for some time. I took it to the range today, having brought several 50 round boxes of PMC FMJ 115 grain ammunition. While at the range, I also bought some of their white box Federal "range and practice" ammunition.

I shot the 50 rounds of Federal ammo first. No problems. The gun was working flawlessly, I was getting used to the sights and trigger (I've shot a lot of Glocks, Sigs, M&Ps, XDs, HKs and others...but never a Beretta 92).

Then I tried the PMC. I had so many failures it was ridiculous. 38 failures in 50 rounds! I had three 17 round mags, all new, and all were loaded up (except one of them which had only 16 rounds). So, I mentally eliminated the mags, as I figured they can't all three be bad mags, right? I mean, maybe that's not good thinking in the grand scheme of things, but it was a start.

The failures were mostly FTF, but some were FTE. A couple of times, the slide failed to lock open on the empty mag.

I tried the second box of PMC, had just as many failures (seriously, after the first 5 or 10 failures in the second box of 50, I stopped counting accurately, but I recall experiencing failures almost every other round after that).

Frustrated as hell because the pistol feels good and is accurate in the hand, I went and bought another box of the Range's Federal ammo. I figured it had to be the ammo, right?

Experienced 4 FTFs with the Federal ammo, shot it all, but I was done.

I traded the gun in to a shop on a different 9mm, an FNX 9mm. Just because I'm stubborn and a glutton for punishment, I bought 50 rounds of Sellier and Bellot 9mm and decided to also shoot the 45 remaining rounds of PMC. The FNX had just one failure with the PMC, making me think there WAS a problem with that particular ammo, but no other failures. The S&B ammo? Not a single problem.

I realize I was too impatient, but I was so angry at having that many failures out of two different kinds of ammo with multiple mags, from a gun that is supposed to be uber-reliable.

I'm sure I'll also get another one, because I have a Beretta CX4 9mm becoming available to me via a friend (for a good price), and wanted a pistol and carbine match (same mags). I probably should have just sent the gun to Beretta.

But I was toooooo pissed. What the heck went wrong?

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February 20, 2012, 08:36 PM
By the way, yes I did tell the shop that the Beretta wasn't functioning right. My first intention was to have them ship it to Beretta. However, The responses I got were:

1) Every Beretta we've had has run well with all kinds of ammo. You must have done something wrong. Did you check the magazines?

2) You might have been limp-wristing it. (Seriously? I wear a size 15 ring, my hands are both large and strong. So are my wrists, forearms, etc).

3) Are you sure you were shooting factory new ammo and not some under-powered reloads?

As far as I'm concerned, a place that is this willing to insult a person right to their face DESERVES to have a non-working gun. If they think it was all me, and not the gun, then they can have it. I can only hope that any customer who buys it gives them holy hell when it starts acting up.

February 20, 2012, 08:38 PM
How much oil did you have on it? From my experience the Beretta 92 likes a very generous amount of oil on the frame rails, feed ramps, and any metal on metal surface.

February 20, 2012, 09:19 PM
Give it a good cleaning, and run some other brand of ammo through it. If it still give you trouble, you have every right to send it back.

Adam the Gnome
February 20, 2012, 09:51 PM
Sorry to hear the bad experience.
I have a 92a1 and it loves the American Eagle by Federal, and the cheap Winchester when we do take out :)
The only FTEs i have had were with purposely lite handloads, have never ran PMC through her. Call me cray but i think its ammo, or maybe like GI Jared said oil and more oil. I keep my rails soaked.

February 20, 2012, 09:58 PM
I personally have yet to ever be even slightly impressed with the Beretta 92. Mainly because I've taken one apart and I don't like anything which has -that- many small parts which are -that- easy to lose.

That's probably unrelated to the current problem. Switch ammo. PMC is cheap for a reason: if the gun ran fine with Federal and lousy as hell with PMC then try some winchester white box. What you described: constant FTF and some FTE usually indicates that there's not enough umph in the cartridge to slam the slide open like it should.

Your particular gun simply may not like mass production ammo which sits on the lower end of the load scale. Try something a little hotter loaded: if it runs like a champ with some winchester whitebox then you'll have salved the mystery. The reason is: white box is very middle of the road in terms of loaded hot or cold. Makes a great yard stick.

Now, without having the gun in hands I can't necessarily say for sure what's going on with it but you may -also- want to play around with different bullet weights and keep to FMJ until you find the problem. However: if the slide isn't flying backwards faster than a run for the restroom after a taco bell visit then it can easily throw off the timing.

-Another- possibility: rough chamber, how did the brass look after it was fired? A lot of marks means there was excess marring on the brass after obturation which causes the casing to be harder to extract. If that happens, it'll also throw off the timing and cause the same problems described. If however the chamber was rough - you'd of experienced the same problem with the federal ammo.

So once again: get some winchester whitebox FMJ and see what happens. If the casings show an undue amount of frosting then you'll found the culprit. If it runs perfect with white box and no excess markings - then you'll just have to run hotter ammo in it.

David E
February 21, 2012, 01:21 AM
The fix was incredibly easy! All you had to do was....oh, wait, you got rid of it the same day you shot it for the first time....disregard.

February 21, 2012, 03:21 AM
Some failures with one specific ammo in a brand new gun, and you just gave up? Let me ask this: Did you even clean it first?

It's your money, but it seems an incredibly rash and foolish decision to me.

I personally have yet to ever be even slightly impressed with the Beretta 92. Mainly because I've taken one apart and I don't like anything which has -that- many small parts which are -that- easy to lose.

Any gun, when detail stripped, has lots of small, easy-to-lose parts. Little springs and plungers, pins, etc. Beretta is not unique in this regard.

February 21, 2012, 03:49 AM
I have a Beretta 92FS that didn't like lower powered ammo at first. IIRC after about 150 rounds, it was fine with everything I put in it. (I can't rule out the possibility that lubrication was something to do with it since my early shooting was out of the box and later I tended to lubricate generously.)

February 21, 2012, 09:44 AM
Well in all honesty, I personally like the FNP/FNX pistols better than pretty much anything out there.

That said, I haven't heard of a Beretta 92-based gun being anything but reliable. There are always lemons, and there are always other factors that could be at play (a new gun without lube being one, lighter ammo another, PMC doesn't have the greatest reputation to begin with being a third).

February 21, 2012, 09:53 AM
My 92FS did not like cheap underpowered ammo to begin with, either. That includes PMC Bronze, which is only a step above Rem UMC IMO. The only jams I ever had were with these two types of ammo, and only when it was a brand new weapon, and you could just tell they lacked adequate power. It would run if it was soaking wet, but not what I would consider "reasonable" amount of lube. Over time the recoil spring and other things "loosened up" and it functions fine with any ammo, but I can still feel with the UMC & PMC that it is not cycling as forcefully as something like S&B which is my preferred choice for range use now. It just seems to have that little extra oomph, and is still pretty inexpensive.

February 21, 2012, 10:57 AM

D Rock
February 21, 2012, 12:12 PM
I guess I'm too late with this comment but like has been mentioned ammo can be a problem.

The velocity of the S&B is 1250 fps and the PMC a weaker 1150 fps.

That being said, it still sounds odd that the 92A1 would act like that. Only way to tell what's going on would have been to take it apart and look at it.


February 21, 2012, 04:38 PM

I cleaned it in mid-session, something that I thought was ridiculous to have to do. Why do I say that? Because it wasn't that dirty, and I've had Rugers, Glocks, Sigs, HKs, XDs, M&Ps, CZs, and damn near anything else run dirtier a lot longer than that.

And if you read just a tad closer, you'll see that I said it failed with TWO types of ammo, just that the most failures were with PMC. What made things worse was the Range had 92s there for rentals. And they had no issues firing PMC.

February 21, 2012, 04:41 PM
To all those who are saying that underpowered ammo is or may be an issue:

Your comments are making more and more sense, especially in light of the fact that the FNX DID have one failure out of 49 rounds with the PMC, and the S&B ammo was flawless.

I would have chalked it all up to the PMC being the issue if the 92 hadn't experienced a few failures with the Federal, which was a little hotter. However, I do wish I had tried S&B in the 92. It clearly was hotter than the other stuff.

February 21, 2012, 04:58 PM
With that question in mind, I did some ballistic research in the wee hours of the morning.

I saw that PMC 115 grain ammo was doing around somewhere around 1150 fps.

The Federal stuff was about 30 or so fps hotter, which might explain the far fewer (but still present) failures. I could not find the exact federal type I was using on their website. I did find it on another website. It was Federal "Range and Target" ammunition, and it registered at 1180 fps.

The S&B, as one poster already said, is clearly hotter, doing over 1200 fps easily. I'm going to have to stick with that, but here is my final gripe:

1) What happens when that stuff isn't available? I now find myself looking for the FPS stat on all 9mm ammo so I'll know what I can buy that might work in a 92, and what might not. That sucks, because then it limits what I can buy, and what I can't, and if what I want isn't on the shelves....I'm screwed.

I guess I better buy stock in winchester white box, assuming it works when I try it, because it registers at 1190 fps. And to think I stayed away from that stuff because it was cheap and was sometimes problematic with primers in other guns/calibers.

2) I picked this gun to be a fighting handgun. Not that I'm looking forward to any war-like or apocalyptic situations, nor am I going overseas to fight in the sandbox (although if called upon via the DRAFT ever in my life I WILL go). But I don't want to be picking up ammo and wondering "hmmm...will this have enough energy to keep the slide moving on my gun?" Need to be able to feed it and go. Maybe that sounds silly, but that's how I feel. Again, I've had no such issues with the cheaper and clunkier/uglier (to me, anyway, no offense to those who love them) Ruger semi-automatics.

February 21, 2012, 06:35 PM
You could have installed a slightly weaker recoil spring. It just sounds like the ammo was weak

February 21, 2012, 07:32 PM
*If* the problem was mainly that it was a bran new gun without having been broken in yet: there's a multitude of possible fixes.

-Lighter recoil spring. If the factory spring is super stiff and causing the weapon to malfunction with lower grade ammo - you can replace the spring with a lighter one and that would fix it.

-Break in. Anyone who's shot the same pistol past 3k rounds knows - you should replace the recoil spring every so often. I've personally handled guns with frames that cracked because the recoil springs weren't changed appropriately and the frames buckled from the abuse. Springs lighten with time - simply allowing the gun to wear in would have worked.

-Tune up. Polish here, gently break that edge there: a good action job would have made the action slick enough that the slide would have functioned fine in spite of the heavy recoil spring and allowed the gun to function fine.

-Ammo change. just because this or that load is hotter or weaker: there's more than one way to increase the recoil forces produced. Instead of firing a 115 grain spidwad really fast: you could just switch to a heavier ammunition. The heavier rounds, say 147 grainers, would have produced more recoil force and allowed the slide to function normally. A 115 at 1250 or a 147 at slightly over 1k would have both made the gun function just fine. So yes, there's plenty of cheap ammo that would have worked - you just weren't using the right kind.

This list of options isn't all inclusive: but it certainly presents some available options. Trying a gun out for one range session and storming off doesn't really provide usable data to determine the gun's worth. I still don't like the beretta 92 so I'm still going to say you made the right decision but that's not an impartial judgment on my part.

February 21, 2012, 07:41 PM
just use a good synthetic grease on the rails

February 21, 2012, 11:34 PM
Sure wish I had been there to take that sorry arsed 92fs off your hands.

February 22, 2012, 12:03 AM
Weird, I've got right about 1,200 rounds on my 92FS with 500 rounds of that being Brown Bear and probably another 2 - 300 being cheap reloads that the local bulk ammo store sells in 500 round boxes. The pistol hasn't had it's first failure to do anything yet. Then again I practically white glove clean it and oil it after everytime I shoot it. I often oil it before I shoot it too, especially if it's been over 2 months since it visited the range.

I've seen a M9 have all sorts of FTFs due to a complete lack of oil. Then again a lot of those M9s have 10s of thousands or even 100s of thousands of rounds on them, not to mention lots of general abuse.

In contrast I pamper my Beretta.

Did you lose any money on the trade for a FNX? If not then no big deal, you can always get another Beretta.

February 22, 2012, 03:04 AM
that blows man, I've never had any failures of any kind with a Beretta 92FS/M9 from any ammo. But I've never run one dry either. And the military range sessions we have a few soldiers on the side-lines with large bottles of CLP to drown our weapons in oil.

February 23, 2012, 02:14 AM
Updated -

Got another Beretta, this time an Italian made (older) 92F. Got it from a friend of mine who had a bit of work done to it, pretty nice/smooth trigger, better than factory but not at all too worked over.

On top of that, I picked up a Beretta CX4 Storm Carbine in 9mm, that takes the 92 series mags. I fired the CX4 and was very favorably impressed. The gun is accurate, light, smooth, no recoil, lots of fun. Now to test out the 92F later today. I'm hoping this goes well, and it should. The guy I got it from is a buddy of mine who works in the same profession I do (Law Enforcement) and has had it for a while. He says he has has no issues with the steel cased TuLAmmo (I'm not so hot on that stuff) and even the PMC Bronze. We shall see....

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