Beretta 92FS: The Forgotten Service Pistol


A couple weeks ago, our friends over at the blog wrote about The Underrated Beretta 92, which prompted me to look back at my own experiences with the platform. Where I work, officers can choose to carry a personal sidearm as long as they can qualify with the pistol and that the handgun itself meets some basic parameters. However, the default issue pistol is still the Beretta Model 92FS, and most of our sworn personnel carry it since it is provided by the agency. So we on the range staff have quite a bit of experience with the pistol; as a result, I’ve formed a few opinions on its attributes and performance characteristics. Continue reading


It is a factory nickel K-frame born 1981 (hat tip Roy Jinks, who was in when I called).  S&W logo was moved to the left side of the frame to facilitate engraving.  Blued, in various barrel lengths, used by U.S. military, various state and local police, FBI, IRS-CID, Hong Kong Police, and many more.  Mostly .38 special, but a small run was chambered in .357 magnum.  This one sports a pinned barrel, eliminated in 1982.  Gas ring changed from yoke to cylinder in this dash.

I received the revolver as a present in 2010.  On the first dry fire trigger pull, the tip of one of the prongs on the mainspring claw broke off and the wheel gun became nonfunctional.  I replaced it with a factory rated Wolff, also a new strain screw, and installed a slightly reduced weight rebound spring.  Cleaned and polished it with nickel-safe products and lubed her up.  I put on official S&W store checkered rosewood boot grips, available here.  Likely good to go for another 30+ years.

A J-frame in the pocket may be more comfortable, but a K-frame is more comforting. Much easier to shoot, and has that “extra” round.   Model 10-7, 2 inch.  A .38 caliber M&P of the 20th century:

Shown with K5 thin Kydex pocket holster made by FIST, see hereRides perfectly in the top pocket of several well-known brands of tactical/cargo pants and shorts. Ammo of choice is current loading of Federal Premium 125 grain NYCLAD® HP (P38MA).

Review: Mike Pannone M16, AR15, and HK 416 Handbooks

I’ve been following Mike Pannone through his writings and videos on the Internet for quite some time now. I enjoy his no-nonsense, performance based approach to training. His drills are challenging and rooted in reality. I particularly like his 15 in 10 Drill, which pushes the limits of speed while keeping a tight accuracy standard. This past SHOT Show, I ran into Mike in one of the hallways and had a nice chat with him. While this was the first time we had met in person, I felt like we were chatting like two old shooting buddies. His real world experience is significant (look it up), but Mike also has a solid grasp of the industry, and therefore understands the pros and cons of each weapon system. Hilton recently attended Mike’s Covert Carry Class and keeps telling me how I have missed out by not yet taking the opportunity to get on the range with Mike. Continue reading

CQB Considerations and the 16″ Carbine

In my travels, I see that many LE agencies and individual LEO’s are moving toward Short Barreled Rifles (SBR’s) for patrol and SWAT.  Most typically, the rationale is for easier movement in and around cars, as well as CQB movement inside buildings.  While there is no arguing that a shorter barrel is easier to move around, I would offer that it is not a mandatory requirement for success. Continue reading

HK VP70: First in Polymer

The Glock 17 is commonly considered the first striker fired polymer service pistol, but the reality is that HK beat Glock to it by about a dozen years.  The HK VP70 represents an interesting milestone in service pistol history, and a bout of ’80′s nostalgia all but demanded that I hunt one down for the reference collection. Continue reading

Competition and the Tactical World..the end (Part IV)

Competition vs. the Tactical World:  Stage Planning and Wrap Up

So as we head into the final stretch of our exploration on why competition is good (no great) for the tactical world, we have one more area to cover.  I’d like to talk about stage planning and visualization.

There are several ways of stage planning so for most of this article I want to focus on USPSA style of stage planning.  “Well, what is stage planning?”  Good question.  In USPSA, at a match, the rules allow competitors up to five minutes to look over a stage, walk through it and air gun (not air guitar) as they walk through.  Let’s break down those parts. Continue reading

The 1+1 Reload Drill, Modified

15 yard 1+1 Drill, USPSA head box, from concealment.

One of my favorite drills is the 1+1 Reload Drill, which hits several core skills at once – draw to first shot, slide lock reload, and recovery to a followup shot.  I had previously detailed the par times for the “standard” version which is shot at 7 yards on a USPSA or IDPA target. The drill is a staple of my training regimen, and my performance on it gives me a metric for comparison of a given day’s session or how a new holster or gun is working for me. Continue reading

The Browning Hi Power: Yesterday’s 9mm Service Pistol

Known as the most evolved of John Moses Browning’s pistol designs, the Browning Hi Power is one of the most beloved semi-automatic pistols ever. And why shouldn’t it be? It was designed by the single most influential firearms designer in history, features a double-stack high-ish) capacity magazine, a grip suitable for small hands, and is chambered for the most popular service pistol cartridge in the world.

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FIRST LOOK: Taran Tactical Innovations Firepower Base Pads


Last week, I ordered several of the Firepower Base Pads for the Glock and M-16 magazines from Taran Tactical Innovations. For those who aren’t familiar with the competition world, Taran Butler is one of the biggest names in USPSA, holding such titles as USPSA National Tactical Champion, and more IDPA, Steel Challenge, and IPSC titles than I can count. Just before SHOT Show, Taran Tactical’s new Magpul Firepower Base Pad caught my attention. It adds less than an inch of length to the magazine but adds five rounds of capacity to the 30-round box. Since I was ordering stuff anyway, I also added a couple of the Glock Base Pads to my cart. A few days later, I had a box waiting for me in the mail.

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I previously noted in an MSW post the return of The Police Marksman.  You can read/download the latest issue, eBook style here.  In addition to the long running “Officer Down” column (the John Schoen incident), the current issue has articles on the XDM 5.25, shooting competition, use of extended magazines, and learning the mechanical offset of lasers.  Every issue contains good stuff for LEOs; the subscription price cannot be beat, so there is no $$$ excuse for not reading.


Embracing the Glock 22


Not long ago, this article could easily have been titled “Glock .40.  No.”  For most of the gun buying public, I would still say that buying any handgun in .40 is a wasted effort.  With the advances in 9mm JHP cartridges, the 9 gives up an inconsequential amount over the .40 in terms of performance.  For just plain shooting, you will be hard pressed to find .40 FMJ for as low a price as 9mm FMJ.  Add the additional recoil and wear on the gun, and the .40 is left as a rather distant second to the 9mm.  So why is my latest training gun a .40?  Well why not….. Continue reading


At the end of part one, I suggested a solo intervenor’s mission is driven by two goals: (1) Interrupting, containing, and deactivating the active killer, and; (2) communicating and identifying oneself as the “good guy” so victims, witnesses, and responding LEOs do not mistake an intervenor (you) for the active killer.  I didn’t suggest which of the two was more important.   That depends on the intervenor’s own analysis of the SHOULD and MUST.  I also purposely failed to mention something obvious: Time spent on the second goal delays implementation of the first, thereby diminishing the chance of an earlier, more lives saved intervention. Continue reading

Experience: Get Some

In this day and age of the internet, we have the world of information at our fingertips, and it is possible to learn about anything without even getting out from behind our keyboard.  Unfortunately, many consider this to be a substitute for experience and actually doing something rather than reading about it or watching it on Youtube. Continue reading