Review: Beretta 92 .22LR Practice Kit Conversion

Your gun, plus a new slide, barrel and magazine, makes a great .22LR pistol.

Your gun, plus a new slide, barrel, and magazine, makes a great .22LR pistol.

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.

In the box: Slide, barrel, magazine and magazine loading tool.

In the box: Slide, barrel, magazine and magazine loading tool.

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.

The adjustable rear sight is outstanding.

The adjustable rear sight is outstanding.

The front sight dot is crisp and a bit larger than the rear dots.

The front sight dot is crisp and a bit larger than the rear dots.

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.

  1. Remove the magazine and double check the chamber to make sure it’s completely empty.
  2. Push and rotate the takedown lever to remove the existing slide assembly.
  3. Slide the .22LR Practice kit onto the existing frame and rotate the takedown lever back into place.
  4. Insert the .22LR magazine.

That’s how easy it is. The entire operation takes just seconds.

Just add the new slide, barrel and magazine to your existing frame.

Just add the new slide, barrel and magazine to your existing frame.

The safety / decocking lever works just like the original.

The safety / decocking lever works just like the original.

Compatibility

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.

I tested for function and accuracy with a wide variety of ammunition.

I tested for function and accuracy with a wide variety of ammunition.

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.

The magazine tool holds the springs so you can just drop rounds with ease.

The magazine tool holds the spring so you can just drop rounds with ease.

The safety is ambidextrous. Note the external extractor.

The safety is ambidextrous. Note the external extractor.

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.

Accuracy

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.

Even inexpensive bulk ammo shot well, like this Winchester 555 pack.

Even inexpensive bulk ammo shot well, like this Winchester 555 pack.

Both CCI Mini Mag and CCI Stinger produced sub one-inch groups.

Both CCI Mini Mag and CCI Stinger produced sub one-inch groups.

Here’s what I found.

Beretta 92 conversion kit accuracy

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.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Arny Rodriguez May 2, 2017, 3:18 pm

    I have just purchased my Beretta New Conversion Practice Kit Magazine 15Rds .22LR. Paid $285.00 plus tax. Total $301.00 w/free shipping. I also purchased Browning Performance Rimfire (Target and Hunting) 22LR Black Oxide Bullet Coated 400 rounds for $24.99 ( $0.062 per round) at the local gun shop. No special deals just everyday prices. I don’t know where everyone is getting their prices, but I didn’t experience anything like the reviews I’ve read. I think it’s a great deal!

  • Ed Hale October 19, 2015, 7:43 pm

    yes, it is a lot of money. But it is labled, “Practice” conversion for a reason. I replaced the adjustable site with a standard site and us this gun to practice drawing, left handed shooting, tactical shooting. Also, it is an excellent way to introduce the gun to the women and children in your home…. shoot this one for a couple of hundred rounds first… work on range commands, manipulations, drawing and exhibiting, shooting positions, trigger control, double-tap assess, failure drills, etc…. give the young/ new shooter confidence… then step up to the 9mm… then up to the .40!!!

    if you just want a .22 LR pistol to plink with, then you are right… $425 is too expensive… but i wanted a .22 LR PRACTICE conversion…. at 10 cents a round savings…it pays for itself in 4,250 rounds… and I get to shoot it with my wife and daughters… so if they ever need to grab dad’s gun and put a bullet into the bad guys… they’ve practiced…. and enjoyed it! Put a price on THAT!!!!

  • Kole June 16, 2015, 10:56 pm

    These things are not worth the money. Mine showed up scratched to shit and Butretta didn’t give a shit. It is very finiky on ammo too. Now don’t get me to wrong I have read a bunch of good reviews, but mine is a piece of shit just like berettas customer service. this is not the only item that has showed up damaged too. This company should do better at packaging their products . My px 4 showed up scratched to, and the box on my 92fs inox was broken into 3 pieces . The Kimber 1911 22 kit seems to be better. The 92 kit comes with only one 50 dollar mag, and they are never in stock. You might be able to find one the net some where if your lucky and want to pay like 90 bucks for a crappy plastic mag. These guy’s have went to pumping products out fast instead of making them quality. I wouldn’t recommend this . Not for the money that you have to kick out anyway. Ok idea though.

  • Pro2Aguy June 16, 2015, 8:10 pm

    “MSRP is $425 direct from Beretta.”

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

    Enough said.

  • BRASS June 15, 2015, 1:33 pm

    Why? With .22LR ammo starting at $.08 or $.09 per round, why would I spend signifcant money to buy a conversion kit?
    I can load 9MM for about $.13 to $.16 per round. Even if I buy it for $.22 to $.30 per round. How long would it take me to recoup the cost of the conversion kit even at that price? For pennies per round, why would I train with .22LR in a big heavy pistol like the M92 when I can train with what I will fight with for at most double the cost?
    If I’m just using my Baretta for plinking and target shooting and I use a brick a month or more, I guess it makes sense if funds are tight, but there are better guns for the purpose.
    If were talking about high quality .22LR ammo there is no real price savings at all and the cost of the conversion kit is just extra. If one is handicapped or just can’t handle the recoil or more likely the noise and muzzle blast of 9MM and this is the only option for self defense, that’s one thing, but in general, I don’t see any real advantage worth the extra investment and effort for skils drills, practice or recreation.

  • Scotty Gunn June 15, 2015, 1:11 pm

    $425 for a conversion kit? I just bought a used stainless police trade in for less than 400. Considering how cheap I can load 9mm, and how hard it still is to get 22LR (everyone is scalping it still, as dealer cost did not rise very much), I’ll stay with it as they are (I own two 92’s). Would have been nice if Beretta threaded the bbl for suppressor owners. However, I’ve noticed Beretta is not in touch with their audience , and hasn’t been for years. If you want to get treated rudely, call their repair division sometime….

  • Tom June 15, 2015, 11:23 am

    How much is the adjustable rear site worth? I’d like to get one for my 92F. And while I’m mentioning the 92F, what’s the difference between 92F and 92FS? Is it just the thickness of the barrel/slide stop? That “tasting Italian steel” thing.?

  • John June 15, 2015, 10:05 am

    $400+ bucks for a replacement barrel and slide for a pistol that, in it’s entirety, costs $529 on GunBroker.com right now? That’s a massive rip off – period. Hey, I love my M9 too and would enjoy plinking .22 from its frame, but Beretta must have some serious bills to pay for its move out of Maryland to try this bilking option. Just buy a Chiappa M9-22 for less than $200. No, not a great gun that will go down in the history books, but still good enough to practice with and the whole pistol is half the price of the conversion kit. PS: even Ciener’s conversions were half the price before he went belly up.

  • Mark June 15, 2015, 9:45 am

    For $425 you can get a really nice .22 pistol from most fine arms makers, Beretta included. $200 would be a good deal, $400, not so much.

    • Tom McHale June 15, 2015, 12:17 pm

      I have to agree with your price point comments. If Beretta could figure out how to make and sell these for $250 or less, I think they would move a lot of them. It’s supremely fun, but pricey as you say.

  • Henry June 15, 2015, 8:27 am

    .22 LR guns and rifles are not selling right now since you can’t find .22 LR anywhere. When you do find it many are not buying it since the price is not cheap. The 9mm price is going down so much that I would just practice with the ammo you will be using. Also the $400+ conversion can buy you a lot of 9mm ammo.

  • Max June 13, 2015, 6:39 pm

    I wonder if this will work on my Taurus 92? I have traded slides with actual Beretta owners and they have functioned just fine. I have had my Taurus for a long time so it was made in the same factory as the Beretta in Brazil.

    • Lui June 15, 2015, 4:00 am

      I was thinking the same thing, I would sure appreciate the info as well as many others would, I bet.

    • Tom McHale June 15, 2015, 9:12 am

      I’m hoping someone out who has tried this will chime in. I’m guessing it should work fine – as far as I know the dimensions are the same, but I do not have a Taurus 92 handy to actually try this.

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