Beretta 92 XI SAO 9mm Pistol

Conversion to SAO has resulted in a handgun with greater accuracy potential.

Variations on a proven handgun may be very interesting. In this case Beretta has managed to introduce a pistol maintaining the good accuracy and reliability of the original Beretta 92 while incorporating several important improvements. The degree of improvement depends on your point of view. Some will prefer the original double action first shot Beretta others will find the new pistol’s single action trigger and reshaped grip frame an improvement. The Beretta 92 is among the most combat proven pistols in the world. The Beretta Model 92 was introduced more than forty five years ago. The pistol owes mot of its design excellence to the pace setting Walther P 38. Modifications to the locking block recoil system and magazine resulted in what was at the time of its development in the 1970s a very modern pistol.

The Model 92XI SAO pistol is a single action only trigger version of the 92X. This pistol features a modern flat faced trigger.  The frame mounted  ambidextrous safety is a speed type. This safety firmly locks up with a positive ident. The pistol features an anodized black aluminum frame and natural finish stainless steel slide. The slide features well designed forward cocking serrations. The pistol features a light rail in the aluminum frame. I ordered an Inforce combat light from for evaluation purposes. The light fit well and provided a solid lockup.

The Beretta Vertac frame is part of the redesign of the 92X to single action. This is a straight backstrap grip similar to the 1911 pistol.  While wide enough to accommodate the Beretta’s double column 9mm magazine the Vertac grip frame is more similar to the 1911 than the original model 92 in feel when firing.  Both front and rear grip strap are nicely serrated. The grip panels are checkered black plastic. The barrel is 4.7 inches long. In common with other Beretta 92 variants this longer than most barrel offers good velocity. A full powder burn is desirable as this makes for lessened muzzle signature.  The rear sight is serrated on the rear face while a red fiber optic front sight offers rapid sight acquisition.  The pistol is supplied with two 18 round magazines. During testing I drew the Beretta from the DeSantis Speed Scabbard. This is an excellent all around holster offering real utility and a good balance of speed and retention.

I had some adjustment to make in quickly actuating the safety compared to a 1911. It isn’t quite as ergonomic but may be learned. I usually moved the safety to fire as the pistol cleared leather just in front of the holster with the muzzle clear of my body. With the 1911 you may wait until you are on target. This safety isn’t quite as easily to manipulate as a modern High Power variant or a SIG P210.

Combat shooting results are excellent. The pistol responds well to a trained shooter with the typical Beretta modest muzzle flip and fast recovery. Most of the 400 cartridges I have fired over the past few months have been expended in rapid fire at 7, 10, and 15 yards- slowing down the further the target. The pistol has been proofed with a good mix of expanding bullet loads. I find the Beretta 92XSAO a good choice for those who appreciate the reliability of the Beretta platform but would prefer the Vertac grip and a single action trigger.

Accuracy results- fired from the MTM Caseguard K Zone shooting rest from a benchrest firing position at 75 feet. Accuracy is expressed in the form of a five shot group measured from the inside of the most widely spaced bullet holes one to the other.

Winchester 115 grain Silvertip1201 fps3.0 inch
Winchester 124 grain +P1198 fps1.8 inch
Remington 115 grain JHP1166 fps2.5 inch
Remington 147 grain Golden Sabre990 fps2.0 inch
Federal 124 grain American Eagle FMJ1150 fps1.95 inch
Federal 124 grain Hydra Shock1170 fps2.45 inch
Hornady 124 grain XTP1160 fps1.75 inch
Hornady American Gunner 124 grain +P1221 fps2.4 inch

Beretta 92XI SAO Specs

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Action: Single
  • Barrel Length: 4.7 inches
  • Firing Mechanism: Semi-automatic
  • Grip Width: 1.5 inches
  • Historical: N
  • Magazine: 18, 15, or 10
  • Overall Height: 5.4 inches
  • Width: 1.5 inches
  • Overall Length: 8.5 inches
  • Rail: Yes
  • Safety: Frame Mounted Safety
  • Sight Radius: 6.1 inches
  • Sights: Fiber Optic Front Sight + Full Serrated Black Rear Sight
  • Slide Finish: Stainless/ Cerakote Weight Unloaded: 33.3 ounces