Beretta’s 92XI Squalo For Practical Competition

Whether you’re a competitive shooter looking for an edge or a discerning enthusiast seeking a top-tier firearm, the Beretta 92XI Squalo is a compelling choice.

by
at USPSA posted on April 12, 2024
Beretta92xi USPSA 1
The controls on the Beretta 92XI Squalo are all extended; most noticeable is the extended takedown lever, similar to what can be found on the company’s Performance series.
Photo by Jake Martens

The Beretta 92XI Squalo is a new addition to the exclusive 92X series. It combines the renowned reliability of Beretta with a host of performance-enhancing features that make it a standout choice for competitions. Let’s take a look at what sets this pistol apart from the other 92X series guns from Beretta.

Beretta 92XI Squalo
Beretta’s 92XI Squalo pistol and Eley’s 147-grain 9 mm Competition ammunition.

 

Beretta has been on a roll with new versions of the 92X, starting with the 92X Performance released in 2020 (reviewed here). The all-steel frame 92 was built for competition. The 92X Performance Defensive was released the following year, designed to meet the requirements for the IDPA Carry Optics division, but was also found at many USPSA matches (read my review here). The 92X Carry Optics hit the market in 2022, this was an optics-ready 92X Performance, the one that JJ Racaza used to win the 2022 IPSC World Shoot (read my review here).

Earlier this year Beretta introduce a new 92, the 92XI SAO. This was a 92 on the Vertec aluminum frame, optics-ready and featured the Xtreme-S single-action trigger and frame-mounted ambidextrous safety. They have now followed that up with the Squalo. The “Shark” (which is what Squalo means in Italian), references the sleek and formidable nature of the shark, designed to stand out in a sea of competition. When I picked up the new Beretta at Parabellum Firearms and opened the box, the dark grey and contrasting black barrel, small parts and trigger made for a handsome handgun. The grip panels added to the distinguished appearance of this Italian gentleman.

This is not the heavyweight like the 92X Performance is with its steel frame, the 92XI Squalo uses the aluminum Vertec frame, with the addition of the already installed Toni System flared magwell, the gun feels more balanced and less nose-heavy than the Performance models.

92XI Squalo 9mm pistol
Beretta’s new single-action-only 92XI Squalo is a high-performance tactical competition pistol that sports a flat-faced trigger and a skeletonized hammer.

 

One of the standout features of the 92XI Squalo is its X-treme S single-action-only trigger. The flat trigger profile ensures more consistent engagement, resulting in a smoother action. There is a noticeable takeup into a solid wall, with just slight travel before a clean break. Five pulls on the Wheeler Digital gauge average two pounds, 13.9 ounces. The reset is nice and short, with a positive click. The wide flat face of the trigger has subtle serrations on the surface and is combined with a lightweight skeletonized hammer. All of the trigger components have a performance DLC coating for a more consistent engagement and smoother action.

The frame of the 92XI Squalo has both the front and rear checkered, which performs admirably with the Hogue grip texture. The upswept beavertail, undercut trigger guard and the Toni System magwell all combined with the grips and checkering for a solid grip and better control. The front rail allows for mounting options and, overall, it feels more balanced in my hand than the Performance models.

The slide of the 92Xi Squalo matches the grey of the frame with front and rear cocking serrations. The pistol comes equipped with a fiber-optic front sight that pairs with a wide notch rear sight. It is optics-ready for the MRDS (Mini Red-Dot Sight) mounting, with many Toni System plates available to match up the red dot of your choice.

The controls on the 92XI Squalo are all extended. Most noticeable is the extended takedown lever, similar to what is on the Performance series. The extension adds a nice ledge to place your weakside thumb to aid in recoil control. Additionally, the extended adjustable magazine release allows shooters to tailor the orientation to their preferences, ensuring a personalized shooting experience that suits individual needs.

92XI Squalo and Vortex red dot
The author mounted his Vortex Defender CCW six-MOA red-dot optic to the Beretta 92XI Squalo pistol.

 

To facilitate lightning-fast reloads, the 92XI Squalo comes equipped with a Toni System flared magwell. Not only does this help speed up magazine changes, but it makes for a better grip on the gun. The magwell is not obtrusive and sits nicely with your grip. Beretta includes three Mec-Gar 18-round magazines with already-installed plus-four Toni System extensions. These fit the gauge for USPSA Limited Optics, where the 92XI Squalo will be right at home—straight from the box.

I had mounted a Vortex Defender CCW six-MOA red-dot optic with the Beretta optics plate before leaving for the range. I had been using the Vortex Defender for most of last year, it is a lot of value in a red dot that has been an excellent performer over thousands of rounds on various handguns.

At the range I loaded up the factory-supplied Mec-Gar 18-round magazines with the Toni System plus-four basepads with Eley 147-grain 9 mm Competition rounds, as well as some Federal Syntech 150-grain ammunition. I also had some of Precision Delta’s 147-grain remanufactured 9 mm loaded up. Approximately 300 rounds of the various ammunition was run through the three mags in the 92XI Squalo with no issues. I really liked the way the gun felt when shooting with the combination of the Hogue grips and the Toni System magwell—my hands were locked in, and the gun feels more balanced than the 92X Performance to me, even though it is almost a pound lighter.

With a starting price of $1,329, the Beretta 92XI Squalo offers exceptional value for its class. Beretta's reputation for quality and innovation is clearly reflected in this exclusive series, making it a reliable and formidable companion on the range and ready to go in USPSA Limited Optics straight from the box. Check out the Beretta website for more information on the 92XI Squalo 9 mm pistol and all of the firearms from the oldest manufacturer.

Article from the January/February 2024 issue of USPSA’s magazine. All photos by Jake Martens.

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