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Beretta Locking Block Generations

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by JohnKSa, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    I had this posted on another forum, but thought it might be useful here.

    Notes:
    • The block letter markings can vary within generations.
    • The radius cuts were introduced in Generation 2 to cut down on failures.
    • There are different versions of the radius cuts within Generation 2.
    • Changes to the plunger pin channel make it a good idea to change the pin and block together to insure compatibility. The old round profile plunger pins won't work with the Gen 3 locking blocks which have the small plunger pin channels.
    • A Beretta representative Gabriele de Plano at one time indicated that the blocks should stand up to around 20K rounds. To be fair, there are non-Beretta sources which suggest that in some conditions, replacement at around 5K is advisable. However, I have seen reliable reports of some blocks going around 100K rounds.
    • I don't know that I would recommend automatically upgrading locking blocks merely because they are an older version unless they have a significant number of rounds on them.
    Generation 1 Locking Blocks
    Gen1.jpg

    Generation 2 Locking Blocks
    Gen2a_blue_Cmark.jpg
    Gen2a_INOX_Cmark.jpg
    Gen2b_blue_unmark.jpg


    Generation 3 Locking Blocks
    Gen3inoxUnmark.jpg
     
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  2. LUCKYDAWG13

    LUCKYDAWG13 Member

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    Thanks for the info
     
  3. tercel89

    tercel89 Member

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    Great information , Thanks !!!!
     
  4. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I served in a SOF unit during the time the M9 pistol was our standard issue sidearm, and we went through all versions. In addition, standard slides were replaced by brigadier slides in a kit in the hopes that the problems would be corrected. While the frequency of failures was reduced, they still continued. I had to keep a supply of locking blocks (and other parts) in my range box to fix these things on a regular basis. All locking blocks were replaced prior to OCONUS deployments out of an abundance of caution. This of course did nothing to boost users' confidence in their sidearms. In fact, the service life on these pistols on a team was typically 18-24 months.
    I met Mr. De Plano; myself and other members of my unit participated in a live fire test of the storm pistol under his supervision.
    What is "a significant number"? I see a significant disparity between the number cited by Mr De Plano (20k rounds) and the "non-Beretta source" source (5k rounds). 5k rounds seems more accurate (and realistic) to me. This, of course, would require at minimum 1 replacement annually per operator-issued M9 pistol in a SOF unit, with another on the way, based on my experience; this of course depending on a team's training/deployment cycle for that particular year. In extreme cases such as an advanced course we attend or a specialized train-up that normally occurs annually, 2 locking block replacements would need to happen for either of those events alone (not counting other routine use of the pistol) if using the 5k number.
    I have difficulty relying on such a report that the pistol would still be deemed serviceable; let alone that the original locking block would still be intact after 100k rounds.
     
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  5. LUCKYDAWG13

    LUCKYDAWG13 Member

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    Will the new locking lugs work with the older 92fs barrel will it be a plug and play
     
  6. pblanc

    pblanc Member

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    I believe that any generation of Beretta 92FS locking block should fit any barrel for the same.

    Unfortunately, the service lifetime of locking blocks seems to be rather indefinite. I have heard of multiple failures of the Gen 1 block at less than 10,000 rounds. And I have heard of other Beretta 92FS owners who claim over 100,000 rounds shot with the original Gen 1 block. The average service lifetime for the Gen 3 blocks does seem to be better. I know at one time Ernest Langdon recommended changing the block at 20,000 rounds. I don't know if he has modified that advice. Some Beretta gurus have recommended more frequent routine replacement at 15,000 rounds, 10,000 rounds, or even more frequently.

    I think it makes sense for a Beretta 92 owner to have a replacement block on hand. Beretta USA sells the block in a kit along with a replacement recoil spring, and the kit is not terribly expensive. I inspect the block pretty closely every time I clean the pistol, and I would replace it at the first sign of significant deformation and buy a new block. Those who depend on a Beretta 92FS for self-defense might choose to change the block on a routine schedule, but those who do so on a frequent basis might be spending money to replace a part that had significant remaining life.
     
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  7. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    The new locking blocks should work in any 92FS pistols although the newest generation will require the new style plunger pin. If you buy a $35 kit from Beretta, it comes with the block, matching plunger pin, retaining pin and a new recoil spring.
    I have also noted this disparity. In my opinion, the disparity is most likely due to two factors.

    1. The block takes a lot of stress early in the firing cycle when the slide velocity is maximum. Ammunition that increases slide velocity is going to put a lot more stress on the locking block. So, for example, hot 124gr loadings would stress it a lot more than mild 115gr loadings. The design is definitely sensitive to slide velocity--it was officially cited by Beretta as the reason why, unlike most other manufacturers of .40S&W pistols who offered .357SIG versions, Beretta never did.

    2. It seems that the first locking block often lasts a lot longer than subsequent replacements. I believe that this is due to the fact that the first block, going into a new gun with no wear shares the stress equally between the two "ears" on the blocks. A replacement new block going into a gun with wear on it is likely to place uneven stress on the two ears, with one taking more stress and therefore being much more prone to break. I suspect that carefully fitting a replacement block to the slide to insure even stresses on the two "ears" will significantly improve locking block life.

    I would say that "a significant number" is not a fixed number which is why I didn't initially quote one. The numbers that follow are simply my WAGs, I don't have citations or official numbers for any of this so what follows is just my opinion. As such, I'm not going to defend it nor respond to demands for source information to confirm it.

    If the gun is using a first gen block that has never been replaced and the gun is being shot with primarily practice ammo (light bullet, mild velocities), I think that replacement around 10K is probably smart. Change that to much hotter ammunition and the interval probably comes down to 5K.

    If it's a first gen block that's a replacement and it's being shot with mild ammo, then replacement around 5K is probably smart unless the block was properly fitted on installation, then the 10K number is probably still ok. A first gen block that's a replacement block and is being used with hot ammo should probably just be replaced with a newer generation block.

    A 2nd or 3rd gen block that's original to the gun should go 20K with mild ammo. In my own gun, I would probably drop that to 10K if I were shooting a lot of hot ammo. I think a properly fitted replacement block is probably as good as a new one, but I would probably drop both of those numbers by half for a replacement block that isn't fitted.
    It's obviously not typical, but the person saved ammunition boxes from shooting sessions which made it quite easy to verify the number of rounds fired. To make it even more interesting, the gun was not a 92, it was a 96. Although I regard the report as an anomaly--I would never tell someone they should expect to get 100K on a locking block, this is part of why I think that fitting & ammunition have such significant effects. Clearly the blocks CAN last a long time under certain circumstances and fitting/ammo seem to be the best explanations for why that is be true.
    That was also the advice from Todd Green who was associated with Beretta for awhile and shot enough ammo through Berettas to have an educated opinion. He also provided, as I recall, a procedure for fitting an new block which he believed was important.
     
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  8. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Let’s not forget that Taurus also made the same pistol off of Beretta tools. My understanding is that Taurus locking blocks stayed at Gen 1 status. I recently traded into a different Taurus PT99 and need to check mine.

    Another thing I have always questioned but have never gotten a decent answer on is regarding other versions of the design, be they Beretta or other manufacture, do the 96 pistols suffer from the same malady?
     
  9. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    The M9 is also on Gen 1 locking blocks.

    Generally, anything bad that can happen to an M9/92 will probably happen to a 96 in half the time.

    The only .40 S&W 90 series gun still in the Beretta line-up is the 96A1, and that has an integral buffer.
     
  10. Doc Samson

    Doc Samson Member

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    Given that I legitimately have no clue how many rounds I've put through mine (if pressed I'd guess more than 5K but less than 10...), and will need to replace my OE block at some point in the near future, how would the new block be "fitted" so as to keep asymmetrical stress to a minimum?
     
  11. LUCKYDAWG13

    LUCKYDAWG13 Member

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    I came across this looks pretty straightforward
     
  12. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    They are pretty much the same guns. The locking blocks are certainly the same.
    To my knowledge, Beretta has never advocated fitting the blocks nor officially suggested that it is required or recommended. So, of course, there is no official procedure. The only "unofficial procedure" I am aware of suggests fitting the block by filing the slide which I think is a really bad idea. So I'm not comfortable citing that one nor with making up one myself. Sorry.

    You can probably find the procedure that recommends filing on the slide if you do an internet search.
     
  13. Doc Samson

    Doc Samson Member

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    Okay, thanks! I'm thinking I'll load up a few hundred "light" rounds that might help it bed in nice and gentle-like. Similar to taking it easy on a new motor until all the parts get familiar with each other....
     
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