30 May 2007

This one's for you Dick

Here's an all too brief synopsis on picking a pistol. Dick, over at Big Dick's place has penned a gem of a list on his favorite guns. One of them is the Beretta 92. Personally, I think that there are several better choices out there.

Here's the why:

1. I like a pistol to have the same trigger pull every time I pull it. The Beretta has the horrid DA/SA pull, and the first trigger pull is just terrible. The subsequent "single action" pulls aren't much better either. Regardless, if you want to get good with a pistol (or rifle), you do so by practicing a bunch either at the range or dry firing at home. With the Beretta, you basically have to teach your finger two different trigger pulls and being the moron that I am I like to simplify. I don't really care if the trigger pull is a crisp 2.25# like on my 1911s or 2011 or if it's a semi-crisp 4.5# or so like on my SW MP40. What I want is for them to be the same, every time. KISS.

2. Mass. You can pretty much teach any monkey to make an accurate shot if you give them all day to do it. Teaching someone to accurately and rapidly fire shots takes more work. The Beretta ain't helping the shooter to rapidly fire multiple shots. The barrel sits high over your hand, and the center of gravity is such that in rapid fire there's a lot of muzzle flip, which makes rapid follow up shots difficult, and slow. Whether you're competing, or fighting for your life, you want to be able to get multiple rounds on target as fast as you can; the lower the barrel is to your hand, the faster you can control the pistol in recoil. Compare how high the Beretta's top end sits compared to a Glock, 1911, XD, or MP.

3. Ergonomics. The Beretta is grossly un-ergonomic. The controls are in the wrong place. You want the safeties and slide releases to be where they make sense, and where your fingers naturally fall. The Beretta's do not. Yes, you can get used to it and train yourself to do so. But again, compare the controls to the other pistols and you'll see what I'm talking about.

4. Reliability. I've seen just about every kind of gun out there puke or jam. But I've seen very few of them actually break. I've seen first hand 3 different Beretta 92s come apart at the seams when their locking blocks gave up the ghost. Had that happened after 100,000 rounds or so, I could understand it. But of the three I saw break - two had around 20,000 rounds through it and one had less than 5,000. All 3 happened at national level competitions, fully adhering to Mr. Murphy's law.... And when you consider that this year I'll shoot about 20,000 rounds through my pistols, that's not a real long time before you start needing to worry if your gun will go bang when you pull the trigger. You also want to know that your pistol will function with minimal care and will function properly in a variety of conditions. Compared to the other 3 choices I've mentioned, the Beretta loses out here as well.

5. Competition. I fully believe that the cream rises to the top in competition. No one wants to spend thousands of dollars a year in ammo, practice time, match fees, travel, etc, to go to a match and be handicapped by your weapon platform. When you look at the top shooters in the sport you see that there are very few pistols that are used. By far the most popular platform is the 1911/2011. The Glocks rule the plastic gun division, but you are seeing inroads made by the XD, MP, and CZ. I've owned and shot all of them, except the CZ. If I was going to buy a pistol, or recommend one to someone wanting a gun that worked, every time I'd recommend the Glock, XD, and MP to those folks who aren't all that familiar with pistols. I've heard alot of folks rave about the CZs, I just don't have any personal experience with them one way or the other to make a recommendation.

What I tell new shooters to do when they're considering buying a pistol is to go to a range where you can rent a Glock, XD and MP (or come to a match with us and borrow one of ours....) and see which one fits your hand best. For me, that's the MP. The Glock's too big, the XD's too small, and the MP is just right. I don't think you can go wrong with any of those pistols, you just need to find the one that fits you the best.

I'm sure the other guys will chime in here with something I've forgotten or left out, but in the meantime, if you've got any questions, lemme know!
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