Dating back to 1814, and as such predating modern Italy, the Carabinieri are that country’s famous national gendarmerie force.
Long equipped with Beretta-made sub guns, LMGs, rifles, and handguns, the force has always been well-armed. Back in WWII, they used the M934 Beretta in 9mm Corto (.380ACP), replacing it in the 1950s with Beretta’s popular M1951 Brigadier series in 9mm Para. That gun, a single-stack 8-shot locked breech, short-recoil semi-auto, was modified and given a double-stack magazine, making the Beretta 92 that we know today.
Adopted by the Carabinieri in the 1970s, the early 92S is much the same as today’s 92FS, with the exception of some minor internal differences and the same M1951-style magazine release button located towards the bottom of the left-side grip.
Note the near-heel release
Replaced by more modern versions, these retired gendarmerie guns were imported in big numbers to the U.S. in the past couple of years.
Like, crate loads
Sure, they are 30~ years old, but the average LE handgun is only fired 2-4 times a year (if it is issued) for qualification and familiarization, with the round count likely at the 200-ish mark per annum. That translates to about 6,000 rounds downrange over a three-decade service life (if it was issued for all 30 of those years.) Even if you double that, you are only looking at 12K rounds. As the average durability of Beretta M9 slides is over 35,000 rounds, frames are over 30,000 rounds, and locking blocks are 22,000 rounds, they are only about a third of the way through their likely lifespan.
I picked up a few from SOG last fall (before they went out of business!) for sub-$300 and spent the better part of the day on Sunday giving one of these beaters a workout.
il mio amore…(also, note the cutouts for the mag release)
In all, I put some 250 rounds of Winchester White Box 124 grain FMJ (if it makes it with WWB, it will make it with anything, lol!) through it with (zero) malfunctions.
Seems to still hold the point of aim…