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What Happened to the Beretta 90-Two?

Remember when Beretta tried to modernize the 92FS? No? Well come learn more about the Beretta 90-Two and why this pistol never caught on.
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    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.

    Beretta 92FS and USMC Kit
    The Beretta 92FS is iconic and nearly unmistakable to anyone who is into firearms.

    Table of Contents


    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.

    Mel Gibson’s character Sgt. Martin Riggs with his signature Beretta 92FS in Lethal Weapon 2

    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.

    The 90-Two with notations on all the areas considered upgrades over the 92FS. (Photo: Berettaweb)

    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.

    Beretta CX4 Storm’s futuristic lines made it an easy choice for any sci-fi productions. (Photo: Dukessportshop)

    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.

    The grip structure was odd but did provide a level of modularity that the 92 series hadn’t seen before. (Photo: TSKnives)

    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.

    The 90-Two without its rail cover and a Streamlight TLR-1 HL weapon light attached. (Photo: TSKnives)

    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.

    Note the rounded trigger guard reduced beavertail of the 90-Two. (Photo: gunsdaily.tumblr)

    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.

    Many of the 90-Two’s features live on today, even in flagship models such as the Beretta 92X Perfomance above.

    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.

    Final Thoughts

    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.

    Innovative? Necessary? Too little too late? The world may never know.

    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!

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    4 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar

      Very illuminating discussion. My wife bought my .40 "Two" for my 60th birthday, not knowing anything of the 92 evolution. The Beretta Gallery folks knew it was on borrowed time as they made her apparently a great deal compared to the usual 92/96 models in the showcase. I was expecting a pistol for my birthday, but was thinking(hoping) for a nice 1911. After over 2000 rounds, no stoppages and great accuracy I'm glad I have this one in my collection it IS an improvement on the earlier firearms.

      June 11, 2023 4:07 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      This was my first gun. Bought the .40 S&W version back in 2006. It was my bedside gun for almost 15 years. A few years ago when I started getting more into shooting/2A, I discovered polymer, striker-fired 9mm pistols, and I shot them SO much better than my .40, so I traded it in for a Glock 17. I don’t regret it a ton. I learned to shoot with .40 so I naturally stuck with it on my first pistol purchase, but I shoot 9mm so much better. But that 90-Two was a sweet gun and I do miss it sometimes. I probably put 1000 rounds through it in its lifetime, and I only had 1 failure the first time I took it to the range. I’d like to get another Beretta one day.

      September 28, 2022 7:13 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      First gun I bought was a 92FS and definitely the rail in the bottom is a must have for a light for home protection. It is a sweet gun. The 90 Two seem a fine gun to me. Never shot one, didn’t even know it existed. I will keep my eyes open and hope to be able to find one at a local range and try it out. It seems very aesthetically nice, but I don’t see the point of it. Why didn’t they just enhance the 92 instead of making a totally new gun to replace. Some things just are irreplaceable, sometimes the public just not ready for a change no matter how good that change can be.

      September 24, 2022 6:52 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        I own and carry a 90-two, 9mm. Have to say I love this gun, shoots any round and never a hiccup. Originally purchased it for my wife but quickly realized there is too much going on with a semi auto for her, lucky me. Pack it in a shoulder holster when weather allows the use of a hoodie or jacket otherwise I use a concealment bag.

        December 22, 2022 5:40 pm
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