Beretta 96 Series .40 Caliber Pistol

I'd certainly take one in a gunfight if that was what I had... but given a choice, the 96 wouldn't be at the top of my list of .40s.

Has anyone else besides me wondered just how fast holster manufacturers can tool up for a new pistol model? I've never been inside the industry, so for all I know, the pistol manufacturers give the holster manufacturers plenty of notice about new models or design changes.

To the best of my knowledge and in my limited experience, the Vertec never has really caught on. Beretta realized that the limited round counts--compared to other major manufacturers who were using polymer frames--was keeping them out of the competition. Along came the PX series in 9mm and .40, and it seems like Beretta is still struggling to keep up with the pack.

As I type this, there are a number of reports publicly available about several different military units who are either already carrying something other than the Beretta M9, or who are actively looking to replace it. I don't think the .40 caliber weapons are being seen as viable for the military, as the .40S&W is largely an American cartridge. The .45ACP has seen a following around the world, and most military organizations who have drifted away from the 9mm have gone back to the .45ACP.

As to performance: I've not been impressed with the Beretta 96F. That's not to say that it's performed poorly, but it just hasn't jumped out and screamed, "I am the gun for you!" I know one officer whose 96D malfunctioned on the street while he was trying to fire at a car that was driving toward him. He managed to dive out of the way, and to this day no one at Beretta has been able to explain why the gun didn't fire. The ammo that was ejected when the officer did a malfunction drill was later recovered and appeared to be in fine condition. The weapon was properly maintained. At the range I've seen few malfunctions, but shooters who are competent with the 9mm Model 92F seem to have issues with the .40 caliber Model 96F. After enough time on the range and proper coaching, they can get their scores back to what they were with the 9mm. But by and large, the officers I know who are carrying a .40 caliber Beretta 96 variant would prefer to have either the 9mm back or a different pistol in .40. The Beretta 96 pistol is the one pistol I know of that is of quality manufacture from a major player in the industry, that simply isn't liked by a great many shooters.

I'd certainly take one in a gunfight if that was what I had... but given a choice, the 96 wouldn't be at the top of my list of .40s. Just off hand I can tell you that it would be at least fifth...


  • Enhance your experience.

    Thank you for your regular readership of and visits to To continue viewing content on this site, please take a few moments to fill out the form below and register on this website.

    Registration is required to help ensure your access to featured content, and to maintain control of access to content that may be sensitive in nature to law enforcement.