Langdon Berretta with slide with an optic

The military may have thought the Beretta M9, known in civilian dress as the 92 model, was obsolete…but my friend and long-ago shooting squad teammate Ernest Langdon almost single-handedly led its renaissance in the last few years as a pistol of the cognoscenti. However, even  Beretta fans mourned the fact that its open slide design and the firing pin block that rises through the top of the slide when the trigger is pulled seemed to make it impossible to mount the currently popular red dot sights, a/k/a “Carry Optics.”

Langdon begs to differ. On the 22nd of this month, his company announced a new slide design of his which will mount a Trijicon RMR or SRO sight, or a Holosun carry optic.

Info is here.


He can sell you the whole gun in full size, Centurion, or Compact size. Alternatively, he can give the RDO (Red Dot Optic) treatment to your own Vertec-style Beretta slide.

I’ve had my advance copy for a couple of weeks now, and am very much impressed with the performance.  If you order the gun (or the modification for your own) I would strongly urge you to pay a bit extra for a Langdon custom trigger job.  It’s the standard of the bespoke Beretta world.

American ingenuity strikes again.  My compliments to the chef.  And if you think the Beretta’s double action first shot is a hindrance, don’t tell me about it until after you’ve seen Ernest’s classic YouTube video, “Fear Not the Double Action Shot,”

or catch video here.


or watch video part 2 here

and here:

Part 3 video here.

All three parts will take you less than 15 minutes, and Langdon’s solid advice applies to any gun of this type, not just the Beretta with which he won world and national championships.

 My compliments to the chef. Look for my article on this gun in an upcoming issue of American Handgunner magazine.


  1. Great tips about the 92. Appreciate you sharing as always. Thanks and stay safe avoiding all those cootie carriers.

  2. My obstacle to the 92 is grip size. I guess I have “low volume” hands that require a size L glove, but that pistol in standard grips is a serious handful. Classic series Sigs are just a little beaucoup as well… Hogue helped out there with the machine checkered standard grips, adding texture and keeping things thin. It’s been so long since I held a 92 I’m not sure that would help.

    • I would recommend trying to get a Langdon Tactical 92 in your hands then, because the new Elite LTT came with remarkably thin grips that really improved the feel of the 92. A vertec frame is the other alternative.

  3. Excellent! As one who LOVES double action wheelguns I can say these pointers are just as important to us old timers as for the newbies! Like visiting an old friend Ernest Langdon here has rekindled fond memories of how we used to shoot and train. Excellent!

  4. Am I the only one that wishes the 92 came with a shorter barrel?
    I know longer barrels (actually the longer distance between the front and rear sights) are supposed to increase accuracy. However I shoot short barrel guns more accurately.

  5. Splendid. I wondered about that little pop-up firing pin block. Mine got gummed up for a while and needed a little Kroil to start working again.

    I suspect that in a few years, when the military service weapons start coming onto the used market, the 92 will be the Toyota Corolla of the handgun world: inexpensive, lots of parts and accessories, and they just keep on running.

    Looking forward to the American Handgunner article!

  6. Yes, you know that Paul Harrell, with his really very impressive military training background that he modestly somewhat poo-poos, has chosen a 92 as his “if you could only have one” gun. I would imagine that in the one-gun case one might be especially inclined towards using +p+ ammo, possibly with expanding full metal jacket, and paying close attention to springs. You can also crank in finding cover and concealment while you present and acquire sight picture. Further, Mas, I imagine that you still keep your 92 loaded with a larger-than-7-round-magazine, eh?. This weapon, with a good red-dot, surely is a good choice for fairly long-range engagements with “active shooters,” when a rifle is not at hand.

  7. As a long time DA revolver shooter, the M9 is one of my favorite pistols. No problems with plus P plus ammo & no malfunctions with several variations. The improved triggers & sights only make them better.

  8. Beretta Model 92 is an excellent handgun, dependable and accurate. In 1994 Security Forces Patrolman SRA Andrew P. Brown stopped an active shooter armed with a MAK-90 rifle at a distance of 70 yards with a shot to the shoulder and a second shot between the eyes from his Beretta M9 firing military FMJ. This incident occurred on the grounds of the base hospital at Fairchild AFB in Spokane Washington.

  9. I have a Beretta 92F and shoot it well but am not a fan of this design. I keep it mainly because it can operate with my old Gemtech can which does not have a booster. I’m not crazy about the 9X19mm caliber but practice with it, in the unlikely case where I may not have access to anything better and pick up a Beretta from the ground to use in a serious situation.

    Back in the 1990’s I took a four day officer survival class taught by Bill Rogers, famed former FBI firearms instructor and designer of several great Safariland holsters. He was carrying a SIG 226 at the time because he was scheduled to train some Navy SEALs after teaching the class I was in and wanted to get in a bit of practice. During a break, we talked about the Second Chance bowling pin matches in the 1980’s where I first met him and I asked what his favorite handgun was. To my surprise, Rogers said it was the Beretta 92. I had expected him to say it was the Browning 1911, or one of the Glocks or SIG pistols. According to Rogers, the Beretta was ultra reliable and the pistol he shot the best. I respected his opinion but still held the 1911 in .45 ACP in higher regard to this day.

    I don’t care for the feel of the Beretta 92’s large grip, but for some strange reason can shoot it very well. I do keep it well lubricated with the recommended olive oil.

  10. Glad someone likes the 92, I don’t. Can’t shoot it for crap. Don’t know why, I normally qualify
    300/300, even with my S&W m38 Airweight. My wife shoots it real well but I’ve tried and tried
    and it just won’t work for me. I’m not a Glock fan either but I shoot them as well as a 1911 or
    any of the SIG’s I own. I have practiced with the one I had over and over and never could get
    higher than a 225/300 or 75/100. Just can’t hit with it consistently. Luckily, my Dept. issue was a Glock or we could supply our own as long as it was not a magnum caliber and we could qualify with it. I was never forced to carry and depend on the Beretta.
    But that’s the great thing about being an American. We’re free to choose what works for us as an
    individual (unless your Dept. is less than weapon knowledgeable or you’re in the Military).

    • Dano,

      Yes, I like having choices. It makes life more complicated, and sometimes I make a bad choice, but I still consider it a luxury to have choices, and I prefer it to regimentation, sameness or scarcity. It can be a problem though, like when advertizers try to make you unhappy with what you have. Or, the car companies all come up with different ways to activate the same gadget. Speaking of variety, notice all the different car styles around since 1886, and then hot-rodders customize all those different stock cars, creating even more variety!

  11. After speaking with a former cop at my synagogue I decided in early 1994 to learn to shoot a handgun. The first thing I did was rent a VHS tape on the subject from the local store, which was by Jeff Cooper, who described the surprise trigger break. It was soon after that I read one of your books or articles in which you described the benefits of a smooth double-action trigger’s surprise trigger break in avoiding flinching during bowling pin shoots that mandated the use of very hard-kicking guns.

    For six years thereafter I carried a S&W 442, and wore it out dry-firing it to smooth the trigger and master the surprise break. Langdon demonstrates this technique in the first video in which he tells how to pull the trigger on the Beretta’s double-action first shot.

    I don’t know why; perhaps it was the prevalence of bumpy but not-too-hard triggers of striker-fired guns like the Glock, but somehow we seem to have many shooters unfamiliar with the principle — to the point that they no longer even appreciate a long, smooth, stack-free trigger pull of medium weight.

  12. Langdon’s first video, about getting the first joint of your finger on the trigger for good leverage, is correct with one caveat. Your hand must be big enough, especially finger length, to reach that far. Because mine isn’t, my options for the first shot with a DA/SA auto are to cock it with my thumb or twist my hand around far enough to reach the trigger. It’s also a problem with DA revolvers with the notable exception of the Ruger LCR. It feels like they custom designed it for me. My Colt Gold Cup, S&W M&P 9 with the thinnest backstrap, and Sig’s P365 are fine, too.

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