Seriously? You’re reviewing a .22LR conversion kit? Are you guys nuts? Don’t you know .22LR ammo hasn’t been seen since 1967?
Yeah, I know, .22LR ammo is harder to find than a Jenny Craig meal at Governor Chris Christie’s house. If you do find some, it costs something like $112.93 per round. Well, not really, but to hear people whine, you might think it did. What used to cost a couple cents per round now commonly runs a minimum of nine cents per.
News Flash! For those of you refusing to buy .22LR ammo until prices get back to normal, you’ll be waiting a long time. Welcome to the new normal. Just like you can no longer buy a new Ford for $350, you probably aren’t going to be able to buy .22LR ammo for 2 cents a round anymore. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s just supply and demand. More people than ever are shooting. .22LR ammo production requires a pretty hefty capital investment. Margins aren’t all that great. New companies make more money investing in centerfire ammo. Ergo ipso-facto e Pluribus Unum… .22LR ammo costs more now than it used to.
With all that said, 9 cents a round is still a lot cheaper than $.19 per round, which is about the cheapest price I see for 9mm ammo. So if you want to practice and plink for less money, you still save a dime per shot, which goes a long way towards paying for a .22LR conversion kit for your pistol.
Side note: .22LR ammo is available at the prices quoted here any day you want to buy it. Check gunbot.net to get up to the minute availability from a whole slew of online retailers for ammo and reloading supplies. Their magic computers constantly scour the internet to see who has what so you can buy it immediately. It’s a really, really handy resource. Don’t get cranky at them about prices – they don’t set them. Gunbot just does all the online looking for you.
While we’re on the cost and math topic, each hundred rounds you shoot of .22LR versus 9mm saves you $10. If you shoot .40 S&W or .45 ACP, the savings are even more as those centerfire cartridges cost about $.24 and $.30 respectively. Carrying some ones, each thousand rounds keeps a hundred bucks in your wallet. After a few thousand rounds, you’ve paid for your conversion kit.
Since the Beretta 92FS is one of my all-time favorite guns, I’ve been itching to try out Beretta’s own conversion kit. So I did. Here’s the rundown.
Like many other conversion kits, this one includes a new slide, barrel and magazine that (temporarily) replaces the ones you already have on your 92 series pistol. There are a couple of other items in the plastic hard case: a .22LR cleaning brush, magazine loading tool, and sight adjustment tools.
That’s right, the .22LR Practice Kit has adjustable rear sights. The entire rear sight assembly slides into a dovetail in the slide like the real thing. Unlike the (standard) real thing, the rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation. Crisp white markings give you a visual indicator as to the current settings. The adjustment screws are also clearly marked to show which way to turn the screws to move bullet impact right or left and up and down. It’s a quality sight, not a flimsy one like you see on many .22 pistols. The front sight is machined into the slide and features a crisp white dot that is noticeably larger than the two in the rear sight.
The slide itself is made from aluminum, so the whole assembly is lighter than a standard 92 or M9 pistol. The barrel is steel and has a clear .22LR etched into the top surface for easy identification.
Beretta includes one ten-round magazine along with a sleeve tool that helps load cartridges without tearing up your thumbs. Just press down on the sleeve to relieve magazine spring pressure while you drop in cartridges.
Installation is a snap, in part owing to the ridiculously simple take-down design of the 92 series pistols.
- Remove the magazine and double check the chamber to make sure it’s completely empty.
- Push and rotate the takedown lever to remove the existing slide assembly.
- Slide the .22LR Practice kit onto the existing frame and rotate the takedown lever back into place.
- Insert the .22LR magazine.
That’s how easy it is. The entire operation takes just seconds.
Since we’re talking about installation, it’s a good time to mention compatibility issues with various 92 series variant pistols. Rather than risk screwing up the details, I’ll just share Beretta’s information.
The Kit can be mounted on all Series 92 pistols with standard frame – models 92SB, 92F, 92FS, 98F, 98FS and 96 as well as models 92G, 96G, 92D, 98F cal. 7.65 MM PARA and on the Target, Brigadier, Centurion and Elite versions.
However, the practice kit cannot be used on models:
– Compact L and Compact L “Type M”, due to their shorter frame and slide,
– Combat, Stock, and Billennium versions due to their different safety systems (frame-mounted safety),
– 90-Two (9mm/.40S&W), 92A1 and 96A1 due the different frame dimensions.
Shooting and handling
Shooting the Beretta 92 .22LR Practice Kit is a dream. Already a soft shooting pistol, I think the 92FS has negative recoil when shooting .22LR. The safety / decocking lever on the .22LR slide works exactly like the centerfire version, as does the rest of the pistol with the conversion kit installed. Want to work on your double-action trigger press? No problem. Double-action to single-action conversions? No problem. You shoot the conversion kit just like the real thing, only you save about a dime per shot. Better yet, there’s no recoil or muzzle blast, so you can really focus on your trigger skills without any risk of distracting flinch. It’s also a great way to introduce newer shooters to a “real” gun without all the intimidation.
The sight picture is sharp and well-defined. As mentioned earlier, the rear sight is top notch quality. Due to the design, it actually gives you a little more than a half inch more sight radius than a standard centerfire 92 model. The sight radius on my Beretta 92FS is right at 6.25 inches. The sight radius of the .22LR Practice Kit is 6.8 inches. As a side note, you’ll also notice than the barrel is ever so slightly shorter, so there’s not room to add barrel threading outside of the slide, as there is on a standard 92 series.
I’ve always found that my 9mm Beretta 92FS eats any type of ammo I feed it without hesitation. The open-top slide and straight feed design make it an incredibly reliable pistol. I’ve found the .22LR Practice Kit shares the same reputation. During my testing, I had no malfunctions of any kind using a wide range of ammo from standard to hyper-velocity.
So it handles beautifully and aims easily, but will it shoot accurately? To find out, I tested eight different types of .22LR ammo ranging from slow and leisurely target ammo to zippy high-velocity stuff. I set up targets 20 yards down range and shot groups As I was using iron sights and didn’t want to tarnish shooting results with errors in sight picture, I shot eight rounds at each target and determined the group size from the best five. 20 yards is far enough to prevent a perfect and repeatable sight picture given limitations of the human eye. When I used a scoped pistol at the exact same distance, I can always get noticeably smaller groups with virtually any gun and ammo combination.
Here’s what I found.
Sub one-inch groups, with my old eyes, with a number of ammo types ain’t bad at all for a conversion kit. Who says a Beretta 92 can’t shoot?
This kit has plenty of economic benefit and training value, and that sounds great on paper. But the best part? It’s just fun.
MSRP is $425 direct from Beretta, but keep an eye out on GunsAmerica as they show up periodically at lower prices.