I use 1911 type pistols pretty much exclusively for competition; a big reason for that is due to the popularity of the platform, the ability to personally customize your 1911 so that it is perfectly set up for you the shooter is almost endless.
It’s also no secret that I’m a big fan of Beretta handguns – while I don’t have nearly the stockpile of Berettas that I used to (I only own three or four right now), I don’t use them for competition specifically because I don’t believe in having multiple platforms to compete across.
That being said, if Beretta would import their 96 Stock or their 96 Combat Combo to the United States (which they currently don’t) I would sell all my 1911s in a split heartbeat and buy two of the 96 Stock and run that in Limited-10. But, I am stuck in the sweet torment of lusting after a gun that I can’t have. It’s not imported to the States, and so I’m stuck wishing I could get that sweet, sweet piece of shooting iron.
However, if you’re a Berettaphile like me, you’re not without options if you want to compete with a Beretta. The discontinued but still available 92/96 Elite series guns would make excellent pistols for SSP in IDPA or Production in USPSA; you can still find them on Gunbroker in the $600-$800 range. Don’t pay more than $800, though – the Elite is a great gun, but it’s not worth 1,000 dollars unless you’re a huge Counterstrike fan and want to run around dual-wielding Beretta Elites.
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can also trick out a stock 92FS to make it a bit more “competition” ready. Weigand makes a cool bushing for your Beretta/Taurus 92 pattern pistol, however the addition of that part takes you out of the “Production/SSP” division in USPSA and IDPA. However, to squeeze a little more accuracy out of your Beretta, you can install a Bar-Sto match grade barrel and locking block; which should tighten your groups up just a hair. In terms of feeding reliability, the Beretta is an incredibly hard handgun to jam – make sure you’re using quality magazines and you should be fine. This is a function of the fact that the ejector in the 92 series is just sort of along for the ride to shuck the empties out of the wide open slide.
The biggest sin in terms of practical shooting that you’ll find on your Beretta pistol are the sights as they come from the factory. While not as bad as some, they’re less than ideal for fast, practical shooting. Luckily, Millett and Novak (as well as others) make after market sights for the Beretta which definitely improve your sight picture. I have not personally used the Millett sights, so I can’t recommend them, but the Novak sights are rugged and reliable.
You can make a lot of other modifications to your 92 series gun – a Cylinder and Slide match trigger kit, an oversized magazine ejection button, cupcake recoil springs, you name it. Sadly, for what all of this has cost you, you could have probably bought 2 Glock 34s and been competing with those.
I’ve never understood why the Beretta never really caught on with competition shooters in the States, although it enjoys a bit more popularity overseas. Still, if you’ve got your heart set on the Beretta custom blaster, you can follow the steps above and turn your stock 92 into a serious competitive gun.