At SHOT Show 2020, a trip to the Beretta booth would have gotten an early look at the new, built-for-competition 92X Performance pistol. The all-steel frame Beretta 92 variant was built for competition right out of the box with extended controls, fiber-optic front sight, checkering on the front and back straps and using the Brigadier slide. Beretta followed this up with the 92X Performance Defensive model in 2021. This optics-ready all-steel frame variant was also designed for competition and specifically to make weight in IDPA Carry Optics division.
There were some competitors, including Beretta team members such as J.J. Racaza, that were taking the optics-ready slide from the lightened Defensive model, popping a red dot on it and putting it on the heavier frame with railed dust cover on the original Performance model for their USPSA Carry Optics gun. That all changed this past September at the USPSPA Carry Optics Nationals, where Beretta released the new 92X Performance Carry Optics variant (MSRP: $1,799, beretta.com).
This isn’t just a Performance model with the Defensive model’s slide, either. The slide on the Defensive had internal weight reduction along with the lighter frame to make weight in IDPA. The slide on the new Carry Optics doesn’t have any slide lightening done to it. What does stay the same are adjustable rear sight and fiber front sight. Front and rear cocking serrations are the same, the aggressive style making it easy to work the slide even with an optic in place. The frame is the all-steel Vertec Frame with the full railed dustcover to optimize the weight of the almost 48-ounce firearm. With a higher beavertail and front and rear strap checkering, the heavy gun feels natural and easy to control in your hand. The magazine well is contoured and flared for easier reloads in combination with the oversized magazine release that is also reversible.
The Carry Optics model continues with the two-tone look with the durable Nistan finish on the frame and slide with the DLC coated trigger components. The barrel is black, which matches the slim grips that come on the gun, but there is a wrap-around grip included if you prefer more thickness with the grip. The trigger on the original was pretty good out of the box for a double-action/single-action hammer-fired gun. The Defensive model stepped it up a little and now the Carry Optics model has knocked it out of the park. Hands down, this is the best double-action/single-action out-of-the-box trigger I have messed with. That’s not just me saying that, either; I passed around the test model at the USPSA Back to Back Nationals to several shooters who agreed. During the Beretta side match at the USPSA Carry Optics Nationals, the number one question was, “Is this trigger stock?” Yes, for the Performance models, the Xtreme-S Trigger system is employed. The Xtreme-S Trigger is fully adjustable for take-up, break and overtravel if you feel the need to mess with it. However, the test sample I was sent for review was perfect out of the box. On the Wheeler digital gauge the average of 10 double-action pulls was four pounds, 14.8 ounces, while the single-action average was two pounds, 1.8 ounces. The reset is short with a positive feel.
The takedown lever and extended slide stop are the same on this model as the other variants. This one comes with the low-profile thumb safeties similar to the Defensive model. The original Beretta 92X Performance still ships with the extended “target-style” safeties that make the gun too wide to fit the box for USPSA Production division. (I have covered this in previous reviews.) Beretta builds the gun for the international market—IPSC Production division doesn’t have the box like USPSA does. Now if I can get Beretta to swap the safeties from the Performance to the Carry Optics model, all things would be good. After that, I will start on couples being able to decide where to eat.
Beretta partnered with Toni Systems to provide optics plates that ship with the gun. The Toni Systems Optic Plates are a step up from the mounting plates that were available with the Defensive model. These are thinner, bringing the optic down to a more natural sight alignment. The two plates that are shipped are compatible with the four most common red-dot optic footprints. The included guide lists 17 different optics that the two provided plates and accessories will cover, including Vortex, Leupold, SIG Sauer, Burris, Trijicon and C-More. The gun ships with two magazines, so simply add basepads, such as Henning Group extensions, and you have an out-of-the-box, ready-to-race Carry Optics gun.
The first chance I had to shoot it was at the Beretta side match at the 2022 USPSA Carry Optics Nationals. I picked up the gun equipped with a Vortex Razor, and from the low ready ran a 2.21-second time on the five plates that were set up. I didn’t win the side match, Mason Lane did with a 1.47-second time. A few more runs, and I am sure that I would have dropped it to around two seconds.
The review model arrived after the USPSA Carry Optics Nationals prior to set-up for the USPSA Back To Back Nationals. I made it over to the function fire bay during the Racegun match to sight the gun in and function test it. I was using Federal's 150-grain Syntech Action Pistol load, and shooting on the provided steel plates on Range 4 at the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park. I was running just the iron sights to test out the ammunition, guns and mags together to make sure everything ran. I ran about 100 rounds with no issues, so I elected to have Michael Brooks shoot the gun in the USPSA Production Nationals; I just needed to let him know.
I brought the gun back from function fire and let Michael check it out. He also liked the trigger, at which point I told him good, because he was going to be shooting it at the USPSA Nationals. He tried to say something, maybe, I wasn’t listening because I was too busy getting him registered and making sure we could get a belt, holster and mag pouches together. With a handful of different pouches, he was ready to go.
With Michael now all set up, he shot the match during the three days of competitions, putting another 450 or so rounds downrange with no issues. He was a little out practice but had a good time shooting the match and trying out the Beretta.
Beretta is bringing race-ready competition guns for the shooting sports if you are looking for a model that can serve both Production and Carry Optics, as well as for other disciplines such as 3-Gun, check out the new 92X Performance Carry Optics from Beretta. Visit beretta.com.
Article from the November/December 2022 issue of USPSA’s magazine.