Beretta is the world’s oldest continually functioning arms maker. They boast a ton of successful designs to their name.
But when you have that many hits, you’re bound to have a blunder or two. Today we are looking at a Beretta flop that didn’t really have anything wrong with it other than a silly name.
That gun is the Beretta 90-Two, which was an attempt to create a sequel to the famed and widely adopted, beloved, and praised Beretta 92FS.
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Big Shoes To Fill
Beretta wanted to make a sequel like Terminator 2 — bigger, better, and more widely praised. Sadly, they got more of a Return of the Jedi…
It was good but unappreciated compared to its predecessor.
The original Beretta 92 pistols have a well-earned soft spot in the hearts of shooters.
Some of us saw the gun in movies like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon and loved it. Others may have been issued it as police officers or members of the United States military. Some just appreciate fine Italian firearms.
Beretta’s flagship handgun became the 92FS and is arguably still their flagship pistol. It’s a beloved pistol, but it’s not perfect.
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Common complaints involve the thick grip, lack of a rail, and fixed front sights.
In the mid-1980s, no one cared, but by 2006 the gun was showing its age. Thus Beretta produced the 90-Two to address those problems and modernize the platform.
Beretta originally intended to do this with the Vertec series, but that gun proved less successful, so Beretta went to the drawing board.
A Sidequest — To The Future
Let’s take a moment to talk about Beretta in the early 2000s. It was the new millennium, and the idea of the future overtook the world. It became a whole aesthetic.
Beretta embraced that, producing guns like the Beretta 9000, which had a starring role in the futuristic flick Minority Report.
We can’t forget about the CX4, which came out in 2003 and made its way into the TV series Battlestar Galactica.
We also got the Neos .22 LR pistol which was pretty cool and could even be converted into a rifle.
It’s important we establish this because it explains the unique look the Beretta 90-Two features…
Back to the 90-Two
The futuristic appeal of the 90-Two is what grabs most people’s eyes. It’s still clearly a member of the Beretta 92 family, but the 90-Two stands out.
As momma always said, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Peel back the layers of the 90-Two, and it was a very modern pistol.
First, the handgun used wrap-around grip modules that Beretta calls Technopolymer. Shooters got two modules, a regular and small size. With the regular grip module, shooters got a gun that replicated the grip size and feel of the Beretta 92.
The smaller grip module more or less mimicked the Vertec’s grip. This was a very early example of user-changeable grip sizes in a handgun.
Beretta got rid of the fixed front sight and dovetailed a front sight into the gun. Swapping to night sights or suppressor height sights is an easy task.
Light and laser mounting was becoming the norm for pistols, so an accessory rail was a must-have. You’ll see a lot of photos of the gun where the rail isn’t visible, and that’s because Beretta included a cover for it.
Beretta melted the slide and trimmed corners to make a more rounded design that was less snaggy and pokey when carried. It also lends to the gun’s more modern appearance.
On top of that, they tossed a recoil buffer in the gun. This thing didn’t reduce recoil but helped preserve the lifespan of the pistol, especially the .40 S&W variant.
They wisely used the same magazines and kept the controls essentially the same. It was still a Beretta 92FS, just a much more modern version.
The 90-Two On the Streets
The 90-Two was met with good reviews and plenty of love from the firearm media community. Yet, it wasn’t popular.
This gun failed to receive any major contracts, and it doesn’t seem like Beretta fans turned out.
While it was an improvement on the 92FS, it seemed to be a little late.
Police agencies were moving away from the DA/SA steel frame designs and embracing polymer, striker-fired pistols. The military forces who used the Beretta weren’t hopping off the 92FS/M9 bandwagon anytime soon, either.
In 201, Beretta released the M9A1/92A1 designs. These guns blended the classic 92FS with a few features from the 90-Two.
The A1 variants added a rail and dovetailed front sight, but the rest was all Beretta 92FS.
By 2012 Beretta officially discontinued the 90-Two, but it’s hard to say that it’s an entirely dead platform.
Many features of the 90-Two eventually found their way into the much more popular M9A3 family of pistols.
I have an unashamed love for the 2000s Berettas. The 9000, the 90-Two, Neos, and CX4 are all great in my eyes. Even though the futuristic look isn’t always popular, it appeals to me.
With that said, excuse me while I track down a 90-Two.
What are your thoughts on the Beretta 90-Two? Let us know in the comments below. Interested in more things Beretta? Check out our article on the entire History of Beretta!