According to reports, gun sales have increased significantly in the past year. Applications and demand for guns started to spike up months immediately after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December 2012. “2013 was the best year for firearm sales in history,” exclaimed Richard Feldman, president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association in Rindge, N.H.
But looking past sales figures and commercial gains, many people see the need to arm themselves for one single purpose – self defense. And no other weapon is perfectly suited for self defense than the reliable handgun. They are compact and easy to operate compared to a rifle or a shotgun. Plus, it is quite easy for a novice shooter to acquaint himself with a handgun first before progressing to bigger firearms.
And in the world of handguns, among those that get a lot of attention are the Beretta 92FS and the Glock 17, considered to be two of the best 9MM handguns today. Both are good firearms, solid performers, and perfect for self-defense situations. But if both are pitted against each other, it is quite interesting to see which handgun has the total advantage over the other.
The Beretta 92FS is a favorite option for both uniformed personnel and civilians alike due to its durability, accuracy, and reliability. In fact, the 92FS is the standard sidearm pistol of the US Army since the 1980s. This double/single-action semiautomatic handgun utilizes an open-slide, short-recoil delayed locking-block system, allowing it to achieve faster cycle time without compromising accuracy and reliability. This system dramatically eliminates “stovepiping”, or jamming of the cartridge even after it has shot thousands of rounds.
If it is any indication, the US Army has renewed its contract with Beretta to supply its soldiers with the 92FS. This means that the top military organization in the world trusts the 92FS more than any other pistol.
The Glock 17 Gen4 is an improved rendition of the classic Glock 17 model, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. It is the most used handgun in the world. Among the gun’s enhancements include the standard rough surface texture for easy handling and maneuverability, better magazine release-catch mechanism, a dual recoil spring to boost spring life and minimize the effect of felt recoil. Shooting tests down the pistol range have shown that the Glock 17 Gen4 is a solid piece of equipment, exhibiting accurate fire without experiencing any types of malfunction.
Out of the box
The Beretta 92FS package comes with two magazines, a cup bearing the Beretta logo, and a manual that almost no one cares about. A Glock 17 Gen4 purchase includes an outer case, a lock, one magazine, and a few back straps which you can use to modify the size of the gun’s grip.
Winner: The 92FS gets the nod because of the two magazines that comes with the purchase.
The controls on the Beretta 92FS, basically the magazine release, the slide release and the ambidextrous, slide-mounted, thumb safety,are strategically placed across the surface of the gun. The positioning of the controls enables the shooter to achieve optimum functionality without experiencing operation issues.
On the other hand, the Glock 17 Gen4 controls are feel and operate adequately but there are rooms for improvement. The shooter can easily feel the magazine release with his thumb and does not impede its operation. However, the standard slide performs poorly in so many levels, which is why many shooters prefer to replace the slide with a either another aftermarket slide or a customized one. But perhaps the most disappointing element to the Glock 17 Gen4’s controls is the placement of the safety lever, which is ON the trigger.
Winner: The 92FS. It is quite baffling why Glock employs the safety mechanism of the 17 Gen4 on the trigger, which is deactivated when the shooter PULLS the trigger. The concept of the safety is to prevent the gun from firing by locking the trigger and keeping it from being pulled. Somehow, this principle has escaped the gunsmiths at Glock.
The 92FS has a large grip, which can be favorable or not depending on who’s using it. Shooters with small hands are not that keen on praising the 92FS’s wide handle, citing discomfort and trouble formulating permanent grip placement. However, shooters with bigger hands find the 92FS an easy pistol to hold.
Textured grips, ergonomic design, and checkering on the fingered groves make the 17 Gen4 an excellent handgun to hold. Period.
Winner: The Glock 17 Gen4. Its rough surface allows users to hold the gun with ease, even if their hands are wet.
Both guns have fixed sights but the 92FS features the traditional 3-dot system while the Glock 17 Gen4 utilizes a U-shape targeting system. The 3-dot system is a successful design that has been employed for many years now. But lining up the three dots with the 92FS can be time consuming and may lead to low hits unless the shooter is well acquainted with this system. On the other end, the Glock’s U-shaped sights is quite easy to use – just keep the dot in the center of the U and you are good to go.
Winner: The Glock 17 Gen4. It would have been the 92FS if Beretta allowed for an adjustable sight option.
It could take a while before someone gets used to the trigger mechanism of the Beretta 92FS. The feel of the trigger can vary depending on whether you are firing a single action or double action shot. It may get weird at first, but once you have enough practice, then pulling the trigger of the 92FS becomes a breeze. The trigger of the Glock 17 Gen4, on the other hand, is often described as “Mushy”, “Squishy”, and “Oddly soft”. Some even go as far as saying “Like sticking my finger in Jell-O”. But the soft feel on the Glock’s trigger can be easily resolved with consumer-replaceable trigger components that do not require gunsmithing expertise.
Winner: The Beretta 92FS. Both guns have trigger systems that require tons of practice. But replacing some trigger components in the Glock 17 Gen4 represent significant investment, which may be something most people do not consider when they buy a handgun for the first time.
Both guns are excellent and accurate shooters when used by experts. A few things that make shooting the 92FS a bit difficult especially for novices is its slightly higher muzzle jump that happens when you pull the trigger. This affects the accuracy of the projectile but can be compensated when the shooter invests in a robust forward support on the grip using the off hand. A few trips down the firing range and the Beretta can easily become an extension of one’s body. The Glock 17 Gen4 is highly accurate but for first time shooters, the jump in every shot can be quite strong. To remedy this, the shooter must involve his off hand to provide support on the grip. Do this right and one will see that the recoil is very manageable.
Winner: Even. Both guns require the off-hand to keep the gun from jumping too much. But practice will make both handguns competent shooters out of its users.
Other Relevant Specifications
Price: $675 to $682
Ammo Capacity: 15 rounds (Standard)
Glock 17 Gen4
Ammo Capacity: 17 rounds (Standard), 10/33 rounds (Optional)
So which is the better handgun, you ask yourself? Many factors come into play but still, it is a question that has no definite as well as objective answer. It is always a matter of preference, although the Beretta 92FS narrowly edges the Glock 17 Gen4 on more aspects. But that does not mean that the Glock 17 Gen4 is a loser as it is a solid handgun. And in the right hands, the Glock 17 Gen4 can do the things it is supposed to and more.