Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
POLITICS & GUNS MAKE STRANGE BEDFELLOWS
People say politics make strange bedfellows! Well, I’m here to tell you that the same is true of the gun industry. And that is not a bad thing! Bill Wilson has built an empire on the 1911 platform. Wilson Combat 1911s have been winning matches and saving lives for over 40 years. Over the years, industry giants like Ken Hackathorn and Larry Vickers, have served as ambassadors for the company, lending their reputation to the brand. I’m fortunate to call Bill a friend. I’ve even had a couple of opportunities to visit their Berryville Arkansas facility.
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On my first visit to the Wilson Ranch, Bill took several media folks on a tour of his personal vault. The diversity and quality of his collection were amazing, but not surprising. What was surprising was Bill’s extensive collection of Beretta Model 92s. Bill said that the Beretta has always been one of his favorite pistols. Coming from the 1911 king, I was stunned! He went on to explain his admiration for the design and for how well the 92s shot.
Table of contents
- POLITICS & GUNS MAKE STRANGE BEDFELLOWS
- THE WILSON CONNECTION & the 92G Centurion Tactical
- 92G Frame
- Improved Slide Frame
- SHOTS FIRED
- I Had To Fix Some Bad Habits
- Testing the 92G
- Final Thoughts On the Wilson Combat Beretta 92G
- READ MORE: Langdon Tactical Technology’s 92G Elite Compact: A Better Beretta for Everyday Carry
- The Beretta…
Bill’s success has allowed him to blend his passions with his business ventures. Out of this passion, the Wilson Combat Berettas were born. It has proved to be a very successful partnership between Wilson Combat and Beretta. Wilson Combat Beretta Packages
The Beretta Model 92 was first introduced in 1976 and, in 1985, replaced the 1911 Government Model as the handgun for the U.S. Military. The pistol was also adopted by a large number of American law enforcement agencies. The Berretta helped change the face of law enforcement and is still in service with some agencies. However, I must admit that I have never been a real fan of the 92 series. Maybe it was snobbery! During my law enforcement career, I went from revolvers to striker-fired semiauto without transitioning through the double action semiauto. I also didn’t have any shooting friends who owned a Beretta. The Wilson Combat changed my mind!
THE WILSON CONNECTION & the 92G Centurion Tactical
The Wilson/Beretta partnership has grown to an extensive line of packages. What many may not know is that Beretta builds the guns to Wilson’s specifications with selected Wilson Combat parts. They are then shipped to Wilson Combat for distribution. The only available option, or upgrade, is an action and trigger package that is performed at Wilson Combat. Last year, a good friend purchased a Wilson Beretta and, after shooting it, I was hooked. Recently, I reached out to Wilson and requested a 92G Centurion Tactical for evaluation.
For those not familiar with this model, the 92G Centurion Tactical features the Brigadier Tactical frame with the shorter slide of the Centurion. Think of it as the Commander version of the 92. The “G” in the model designation indicates that the pistol is equipped with a resetting de-cocker lever.
Opening the Beretta hard case, I was impressed with the overall appearance of the 92G. The flat black finish and combined gray stocks give the pistol a business-like appearance. The pistol comes standard with two 17-round magazines and one 20-round magazine.
The frame of the 92G is a modified M9A1 configuration that features a rounded trigger guard. I find this more attractive than the semi-squared shape that is found on some models. The front and backstrap are nicely checkered. The Wilson package adds a number of upgrades. The most notable are the gray and black G10 ULTRA THIN stocks with Wilson Combat logo medallions. Upgraded operating controls include an extended magazine release and an extended magazine guide. Wilson components also include an oversized steel magazine release, a skeletonized Elite II hammer, and an improved hammer spring. Our test pistol came with a trigger upgrade which included a tuned action and chrome silicon springs.
Improved Slide Frame
On the top end, Beretta has improved the slide to frame fit for enhanced accuracy and reliability. The slide has an ambidextrous decocker allowing an easy transition for left-handed shooters. The rear sight is a traditional Wilson Combat “U” notch Battlesight. The dovetailed front sight is an Ameriglo Hackathorn front sight that features a Tritium insert that is surrounded by an orange ring. The match-grade, stainless steel barrel is 4.3” in length and has a deeply recessed crown. The Wilson logo is etched on the right side of the slide and all Wilson Berettas have a custom serial number with a “WC” prefix.
On the first trip to the range, I ran an extreme range of ammunition through the 92G to test reliability. My test protocol included firing five rounds from the top of a fully loaded magazine and the last five rounds of the magazine. This checks both feeding and ensuring slide lock on the last round. I also chamber the different rounds, with a full magazine, from the slide lock. The 92G ate everything we fed it without any issues. This included the Super Vel 90 gr. JHP +P load that has a very short projectile. This load averaged a hot 1,507 fps from the Beretta. We also shot a variety of other loads with projectiles weighing from 90 grains to 147 grains. The 92G was absolutely 100% reliable.
Once I established reliability, I broke out three premium offerings from Wilson Combat. The WC XTP 124 gr. +P load features the Hornady XTP projectile and, loaded to +P specifications, averaged 1,114 fps. The WC 95 gr. +P TAC XP features a Barnes solid copper hollow point and averaged 1,147 fps. Wilson Combat recently purchased Lehigh Ammunition and has incorporated the brand into its line of ammunition. The Lehigh 90 gr. XD is a fluted brass projectile designed for penetration and terminal performance. The Lehigh round is a non-+P load that averaged 1,270 fps.
I Had To Fix Some Bad Habits
Shooting the 92G required that I improve on some of the basics of marksmanship, particularly my grip. Having shot mostly striker-fired pistols for the past 10 years, I had developed some bad habits. I started working on a proper grip by shooting a B8 repair center, at 10 yards, with each shot being fired double action. This exercise reinforced the importance of balanced tension in the hands and arms. The take-up on the double action was very minimal and the travel was very smooth with no grit or stacking. Using my Lyman electronic trigger pull gauge, the double action averaged 7 lbs. 9 oz. I found that to be very impressive.
I then shot a number of two-shot drills with the first shot being double action and the second shot being single action. This transition is essential to both accuracy and safety. The single action break on the 92G broke crisply at 4 lbs. 3 oz. That is not an extremely light trigger but transitioning requires some repetitions.
Testing the 92G
As I normally do, I shot a “Test” with the 92G. For those who are not familiar with this drill, it is a standard that has been adopted by many trainers including Ken Hackathorn. It is shot on a B8 repair center at ten yards. The par time is 10 seconds for 10 shots, starting from a low ready. As is proper, I shot the drill cold. The accompanying target reflects my performance with a score of 90/100 in 7.09 seconds. While 90 is a passing score, I pushed the majority of the shots high into the 9 ring. Later in the day, my scores improved as I became more accustomed to the Beretta.
Final Thoughts On the Wilson Combat Beretta 92G
Over the course of three or four range trips, I became a fan of the 92G. It is a solid pistol that shoots well and is totally reliable. The thin stocks and arched back strap give the 92G a great feeling grip and enables proper finger placement on the trigger, even for those with smaller hands. The operating controls are well placed and the extended magazine well definitely improves reloads. While the sights are smaller than on some pistols they are very functional, and the orange front sight shows up well against most backgrounds.
At first glance, the Beretta seems to be significantly larger than some of the popular striker-fired pistols. When comparing specifications, the 92G is slightly larger than a Glock 19. The biggest difference is in weight with the 92G coming in at approximately 7 oz. more than the G19. However, this also translates to better controllability. With the proper setup, the 92G could easily be a daily concealed carry option. It could also make an exceptional duty weapon for those in uniform who may want a DA/SA pistol.
Many people have the opinion that the DA/SA pistol is obsolete and has no place in 2023. I would beg to disagree. To quote retired police officer and trainer Darryl Bolke, “The Beretta has a thinking man’s trigger.” In other words, it is more forgiving in a dynamic situation and is less prone to unintentional shots! The first double-action shot is very deliberate. The more I shot the Wilson Beretta, the more I came to understand Darryl’s point. A double-action trigger makes a lot of sense for personal defense.
There is a joke among writers that “you can’t keep them all” referring to guns they receive for articles. This is one of those pistols that I am seriously considering purchasing. With a 20-round magazine and Surefire X300 light, it would make a great home defense pistol. I am also considering calling Josh Bulman, Bulman Combat Leather, and ordering an S.D.S. (Straight Drop Scabbard) and matching magazine pouch. The S.D.S. is Josh’s version of the Bruce Nelson #1 and is perfectly executed. Bulman Gunleather SDS Scabbard
Wilson Combat 92G Specifications
|Handgun Type||Beretta 92 Centurion|
|Standard Mag Capacity||17 rounds|
|Barrel Length||4.25 inch|
|Empty Weight||33.2 oz|
|Standard Mags Included||2x 17 round and 1x 20 round|
|Standard Frame Material||Aluminum|
|Standard Slide Material||Stainless Steel|
|Standard Front Sight||Tritium|