Review text and images by "Hacksaw".

Beretta 93R automatic (or machine) pistol has been in development during the second half of the 1970s, and first appeared circa 1977. The index 93 stands for "9mm, 3rd model", and the suffix "R" means "Raffica" - burst [-firing] in Italian language. This special purpose sidearm was intended for police and military forces who may require improved firepower in compact weapon during the close-quarter combat, such as room-to-room search or VIP protection. Because the compact size and relatively powerful 9mm Parabellum ammunition necessary resulted in high cyclic rate of fire, Beretta designers decided to limit the practical rate of fire by introducing a burst limiter, which allowed only for three shot bursts, in addition to the standard semi-automatic fire. To further improve the control during the burst fire, the pistol was fitted with folding forward grip, and the detachable folding shoulder stock. Early production pistols also featured a ported barrel to decrease barrel climb, but later this feature was dropped. The Beretta 93R is no longer listed in Beretta military & law enforcement catalogs, but it is used by some Italian police and anti-terrorist forces, such as Carabineri's GIS and NOCS, and by some other paramilitary forces. The burst fire mode is of dubious value for anybody but the most professional shooters, who need the improved effectiveness at very short to short ranges; the folding shoulder stock probably can help for long range single shot accuracy.

The basic design of the Beretta 93R machine pistol is based on the famous Beretta 92 pistol; the 93R uses the same short recoil operated, locked breech system with vertically cammed lock. The slide retains typical Beretta-style open-top design. The trigger mechanism, however, is somewhat different from Beretta 92, as it is a single action only, with non-ambidextrous frame mounted safety and additional fire mode selector (both mounted on the same axis, with the selector lever pointing forward and safety lever pointing backward). The mechanism, which controls the length of the bursts, is located behind the right grip panel. Beretta 93R pistol is supplied with proprietary 20-rounds magazines but also can use standard Beretta 92 type magazines.

Some notable cinema appearances of the 93R include "Broken Arrow", where John Travolta's character "Maj. Vic Deakins" uses one on the train. A brief all too easily missed appearance in "Ronin", where one of the bodyguards pulls one during the first ambush, and a 93R with some heavy cosmetic modifications was the basis for Robocop's pistol, in "Robocop" (unsurprisingly). My own favourite appearance was from the videogame "Resident Evil". Popping zombies heads was an absolute pleasure with this…

KSC Beretta 93R 2nd series (1st version)

I've always wanted a 93R, but through one turn of event or another I never got around to it. So, with a parting from my previous load outs of low capacity pistols I decided to do something to treat myself.

The KSC 93R 2nd series (1st version) is an absolute beauty. First impressions are always what count in Airsoft, and from the first time I opened the box I was in love. Prising it free from the polystyrene inner, the first thing to strike you is how big it is. The standard 92F series is regarded as a full size pistol, so the 93R can probably be considered to be an oversized one. They have been likened to 92F's on steroids, and it is easy to see why. This is also quite a weighty piece, tipping the scales at around 1.1kgs. This poses a problem for me with regard to holsters, as the standard thigh holsters that are available for 93R's always find their way to my ankle when I use them (fortunately not followed by my trousers…). More of that later.

The second thing is the lovely wood effect grips. Those grips are significantly larger than those found on the 92F's, as the burst regulating mechanism is located behind the RHS grip panel (looking down range). Certainly a handful, and not really for those with small child-like hands.

As with many new models the detailing is near perfect, markings on the slide are accurate. In this case we have slide markings making it out to be from the Italian Police "POLIZIA DI STATO" as it says on the slide followed by "Nucleo Operativo Centrale Di Sicurezza", which implies it is used by Italy's Nuclear emergency team. Nice touch but I'd be curious to know if the real steel has these markings. Of course, order enough pistols and Beretta would probably stamp whatever you wanted on the side… At the rear of the frame are the safety and selector switches. Unlike the 92F series the safety is located on the frame rather than the slide. The safety does not de-cock the hammer as with the 92F's. The safety lever and mode selector share the same pivot axis, with the safety at the rear, and the larger selector at the front. The selector also overlaps the slide when selecting semi or full auto, with the more useful (in Airsoft) burst mode at the lowermost position.

Full auto is not marked on the slide or frame, but is located between semi and burst. From what I can gather the original 93R does not have full auto capability, so this looks to be a purely Airsoft related feature. Certainly the thought of full auto in something so (relatively) small, is quite scary. As mentioned earlier, the 3 round burst mode is probably the most useful in Airsoft, due to the inherent inaccuracies of Airsoft replicas, if one shot missed the other 2 might not… Other features of the 93R include the ported barrel and collapsible front handle - another useful addition when using burst mode.

So, speaking of accuracy, how does it fare?

Firstly it spits BB's out at 300fps using Green Gas (or equiv). Not bad for a sidearm.

Accuracy is also pretty good in semi mode, achieving 2in centres @ 10M.

On burst the rapid recoil affects the accuracy, providing 4-5in centres @ 10M.

Still good for a sidearm that will primarily (if not only) be used in CQB. The recoil is quite aggressive, giving a real kick after each shot, and the noise is also very impressive. Capable of inciting surrender from the enemy without an actual ''kill''.

The magazines hold 38 BB's and make up a good proportion of the assembled weight. Bundled with the gun is possibly the most useful speedloader in the world. Unlike some magazines there is no way to compress the feed spring externally, so having the tube and plunger makes reloading quite painless.

So what about carrying it?

As already mentioned I don't like thigh rigs. Somehow they never stay where I want them when playing, and the 93R is quite a large weight to carry. The solution for me lay with Blackhawk industries. In particular, another item I've had my eye on for some time: their ''Universal Spec-ops shoulder harness / holster''. This multi position holster can be worn a number of ways, but for me it is the simple across the chest position that works best. This way my arms are kept clear and the pistol is kept within easy drawing range. Luckily the holster accommodates the 93R like a glove, and holds it very securely. The other benefit of the holster is that I can dump my tac-vest anytime I want if I just take the pistol into games, it's a completely stand-alone item.

There are a few add-ons available for the 93R, ranging from sensible tighter barrels to extended barrels shrouded by a silencer and even scope mounts for the seriously deranged. There is also a different barrel and compensator set. Not accurate to the real steel but would look nice. Might be tempted for the future. I have succumbed to one extra, a shoulder stock bought at quite a reasonable price from the Airsoft forums. This is the better one of the 2 that are available, in that it fits around the magazine, allowing the stock to be folded when not needed right away. I believe this particular stock was made by MGC, who are responsible for the first fully functional gas M93R, under the ministrations of Mr. Tanio Kobayashi.

The other stock is made from a solid bar and must be carried extended. Although I haven't taken the stock into the field yet, it should help with stabilising the burst function if aiming at a distant target.

Mmm, maybe a scope and silencer would top the lot off!


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