beretta-92-series-part-3

Finishing up our mini-series on the Beretta 92, today I’m taking a look at a pistol that has become one of my favorite carry guns ever: the Wilson Combat 92G Compact Carry. If you didn’t catch parts one and two of this series, be sure to check out our visual guide to the Beretta 92 and my video on optimizing the Beretta 92 for self-defense.

As you’ll find out below in today’s video, Wilson Combat is unfortunately no longer offering the 92G Compact Carry. I hate to tease you guys with a review of a gun you can’t actually go out and buy today, but every once in a while, we’ll start working on a gun review and for one reason or another, that gun will get pulled from the company’s product catalog before we can let you know what we think of it. I don’t think it was Wilson Combat’s intention to discontinue this model so soon after releasing it, but unlike their 1911s and rifles, Wilson is not actually producing these guns in their own factory. They’re dependent on Beretta’s production schedule, and Beretta is pretty busy right now moving their decades-old factory from Maryland to the more gun-friendly state of Tennessee.

But if you like this gun, it’s possible to have Wilson set up a normal off-the-shelf 92 Compact with very similar features. If you want to go that route, I’d recommend you start with a decocker-only “G conversion”, some Wilson Combat slim grip panels, and the Wilson action tune. Of course, if you’re lucky, you might still be able to snag one of the few remaining 92G Compact Carry pistols that are still in the hands of Wilson Combat dealers.

Scroll past the video transcript below for a few additional details from my testing with the Wilson Combat Beretta 92G Compact Carry.

Video Review: Wilson Combat Beretta 92G Compact Carry


In 2014, Wilson Combat and Beretta teamed up to bring us the 92G Brigadier Tactical – a gun that combines some of the best features found on previous Beretta 92 models. The Brigadier Tactical has been an enormous success, and that’s paved the way for more collaborations between these two companies.

So at the beginning of this year, Wilson unveiled the 92G Compact Carry. Like all compact 92s, it’s got a 4 and a quarter-inch barrel and a shortened grip that holds a 13-round magazine. Thanks to Wilson’s input, this gun is offered with a decock-only lever, which, historically, is a feature that’s rarely been incorporated into the compact model 92s.

To be completely honest, when Wilson offered to loan us this gun to review, I wasn’t real excited about it. The 92 compacts have always been large and heavy compared to just about any other compact semi-auto on the market. If I wanted to carry a boat anchor, I would just carry a full size 92. But then I actually started carrying and shooting this thing and I changed my mind pretty quickly.

At 39 ounces loaded, it is heavy, but the JM Custom Kydex appendix carry holster helps to make that weight manageable, and the short grip disappears under a t-shirt. And at the range, almost immediately, I was shooting this pistol better than I have shot any other compact handgun.

Now, that’s splitting hairs to some degree. It’s not as if I can’t hit the broadside of a barn with my PX4 Compact, but then I’m somehow winning trophies with this pistol. The performance benefit is noticeable, but practically speaking, not all that significant. And I did just say in my last video that you don’t really need a whole lot of bells and whistles on a capable self-defense pistol. And I stand by that.

You probably don’t need aggressive grip texture on the front and backstrap or G10 grip panels on your Beretta. You don’t need a Wilson Combat u-notch rear sight. Or a target crown barrel that lets you shoot 1.5-inch groups at 25 yards with factory ammo. You will almost certainly never have to reload your gun in a fight, so you don’t need an extended magazine release, a beveled magazine well, or a Wilson Combat mag guide. And you most definitely don’t need Wilson Combat’s amazing action job on your trigger.

There is almost no chance that those features are going to have any bearing on whether you survive an encounter where you have to actually use your firearm for self-defense. But you don’t buy a gun from Wilson Combat because you want to merely survive a gunfight. You go to a company like Wilson because you have already dedicated the time and effort into learning the skills necessary so that if you ever have to use deadly force, you will dominate that encounter and you want to make sure your hardware is equally as refined. And that’s the kind of thought that has gone into some of these details when they put together the 92G Compact Carry.

Having said that, there are a couple of little things I would change. Like all Berettas, I wish the finish was a little more durable. And there’s no way to change this front sight, except to have Wilson Combat drill it out for a fiber optic rod. But other than that… as somebody who has been shooting Beretta 92s a lot, this is pretty close to perfect for a gun I can actually carry that shoots and feels just like my training gun.

The catch is that Wilson kind of abruptly stopped selling the compact model last month, which apparently, had nothing to do with a lack of demand. It is probably related to Beretta’s production delays because of their factory move from Maryland to here in Tennessee. So it looks like the 92G Compact Carry is going to be tough to come by, at least for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately, Wilson Combat still has the Brigadier Tactical and they are still offering all of their Beretta custom services and parts. So if you have a standard 92 compact, there is a lot of cool stuff they can do for you. And I really, in generally, think Wilson Combat has breathed new life into the 92 series and I think we are just seeing the beginning of what they are going to do with these pistols.


Reliability and Accuracy

As I mentioned in the video, this pistol is capable of some pretty outstanding accuracy. For this review, I used the same seven loads for accuracy testing that I did with the PX4 Compact Carry. I fired two 5-round groups from a bench rest at 25 yards on an NRA B-8 target. The average group sizes are as follows:

The best individual groups were 1.3″ and 1.6″ from the 124 grain Federal HST and the 115 gr Speer Lawman respectively. Also notice that there is only a one-inch spread between the best and worst loads in this bunch. Not only that, but the point of impact was very consistent between each load, with none of the groups straying very far from the black center of the target.

The group on the left was fired using Federal HST 124 grain JHP ammo from a bench rest at 25 yards. The 5-shot group on the right was with 115 grain Speer Lawman FMJ.
The group on the left was fired using Federal HST 124 grain JHP ammo from a bench rest at 25 yards. The 5-shot group on the right was with 115 grain Speer Lawman FMJ.

 

As far as reliability, there’s not much to say. The gun has been boring and dependable. I fired just over 2000 rounds over the course of evaluating this pistol, using at least a dozen different loads of JHP and FMJ ammunition. There hasn’t been a single stoppage or malfunction to speak of.

Grip Issues

Even though it fits me really well, I should probably mention a common issue regarding the grip size of the 92 Compact. It’s quite short. When you compare it side by side with other compact semi-autos like the Glock 19, Sig P229, or CZ P01, the overall length is similar. However, because of the position of the trigger guard, the fingers of the firing hand end up being placed lower on the grip, and for many shooters, that means all or part of their little finger hangs over the end. With the floor plate of the magazine to fill out the grip a bit, this isn’t usually a problem when shooting, but a lot of folks tend to have trouble with the magazines pinching their finger when reloading. Fortunately for me, my long-but-skinny fingers have no trouble reaching the controls of this pistol while also keeping my pinky out of the way of the magazine. But that’s frequently not the case for people with slightly larger hands than mine, so I would suggest you get your hands on a 92 Compact to try it out before committing to buy one.

Top: Wilson Combat Beretta 92G Compact Carry. Bottom: Wilson Combat Beretta 92G Brigadier Tactical
Top: Wilson Combat Beretta 92G Compact Carry. Bottom: Wilson Combat Beretta 92G Brigadier Tactical

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