When I was in the Navy, I carried the M9 constantly. I qualified Expert with it several times, got really proficient with it, and after discharge I finally settled on version this pistol as a personal firearm. The one gripe I had with it was the lack of steel parts and over use (in my opinion) of plastic and MIM. The first chance I had, I purchased the steel parts kit from Beretta and got to swapping things out.
The steel parts kit is about $70 and includes the following:
- Magazine release
- Safety lever assembly
- Recoil guide rod
After ordering and installing the recoil guide rod, I see that the website says that the recoil guide rod doesn’t fit the 92a1. It seems fine on mine, but I will have to research and figure out why it “doesn’t fit.”
Now here is the kit. The packaging was a lot to be desired. The parts were just tossed into the box and the plastic bag that you would think should contain the parts was empty. The parts were just bouncing around.The actual parts themselves do feel much nicer than the MIM and plastic ones. This is especially evident with the trigger and magazine release. The factory originals just feel cheaply made and easily broken. Of course that is probably just conjecture and prejudice on my part, but the steel does feel much nicer. These The recoil guide rod from the factory is actually a piece of plastic that holds the compressed spring. The new one is actually like the M9 I carried in the military. It is nice, sturdy and steel. It is kind of tough to get the plastic one apart to get to the spring. There are little tabs that hold the end of the plastic together that need to be pried off with a regular screwdriver. Once that is done, the rod just slips into the spring and you insert it spring first into the slide. The rod slips into place as before. Below are the parts. You can see the way that the plastic rod has the end attached. Putting the trigger in is a bit odd. The old trigger has an actual spot for the spring to rest where the spring must be moved and rested on the rod that goes through the top of the trigger. Here are a couple pictures. This first one shows how there is an actual spot for the trigger spring on the old trigger. This is how the trigger assembly looks with the springs removed. Once you get the spring installed and it all put together, it should look like this. There are several companies that make after market trigger springs that make this a lot easier. I think I am going to do some research and pick on up eventually. If I do, I will post up the information here.
The next pain is the installation of the magazine release. There IS a trick to it. Check out this video to see how it works. Once you figure out to put in the correct side first, the rest is easy.
Next comes the REALLY tough part. I have to swap out the decocking mechanism. This is a bit on the rough to do side. As you can see, this is definitely MIM.To perform this upgrade I did a Youtube search and found a video about installing a Wilson low profile safety lever. It gave me the information I needed to be able to do this install. I did have to go find really small punches, however. Thankfully there is a Harbor Freight down the road.
Now I only have a few more modifications to make this the way I want it. I will be getting a skeletonized trigger, VZ G10 grips, and a couple Wilson Combat springs to finalize this build.
This last video is a complete (except for the safety lever) upgrade of the Beretta parts. I used this initially, but found that the guy doing the work was almost too good at putting the parts in. He made it look way too easy. It really was much more difficult than he made it seem.
I really love the feel and function of the Beretta 92/96 frame pistols. Many people tend to hate on them for whatever reason. Considering the abuse I put mine through while Active Duty and then still qualified Expert with it at the range on a consistent basis, I feel that these are great systems.