Review text and images by "Hacksaw".

When I first started Airsofting, my first gun was a KSC Glock 17. A very nice and reliable piece and I was a very happy man plinking in my back garden with it. Then I started skirmishing, and was offered the chance to shoot Dom's WA Wilson.

That's it, I just had to get a Western Arms gun.

After much deliberation I settled on one of the more tricky Beretta's, namely the ''Beretta 92FS Centurion Bodyguard'' to give it it's full tongue twisting name.

First impressions out of the box were very good; it has a good weight to it (1.050Kgs by my kitchen scales), which is due mostly to the metal muzzle block and rail. The markings are nice and distinct. In fact, the only markings that are a little feint are the ones that say it's made by Western Arms (except for the WA markings on the rail as this is not an official Beretta design). The white sight post markings and red fire marks also sit within their allotted recess and are quite distinct.

The Bodyguard has a couple of features that makes it stand out from the crowd - firstly that muzzle block with it's ''meat tenderizer'' end plate and secondly the shaved hammer.

The purpose of the muzzle block is simple and especially useful for extreme CQB. Take a pistol, load it with gas and push it into a pillow. Now try to fire. It wont because the slide has moved back, misaligning the sear and so preventing the hammer from being released. Now try it with the Bodyguard. That's one dead pillow. Just under this is the rail, which allows the fitting of flashlights or lasers. The shaved hammer makes the gun less likely to snag on the holster or clothing allowing more reliable draws. Other features of the gun that are found on other WA Beretta models are the functioning safety de-cocker and the R-Type magazines with magna blowback. The magazines will take 25 BB's.

Setting the hop is a more laborious task than most, as the muzzle block must be removed before the slide can be stripped, then the hop can be adjusted in the usual WA way before everything has to be re-assembled to test the setting. The muzzle block must be fitted as it supports the end of the barrel. Accuracy is quite good once set and I can reliably hit a certain bush in my back garden from 45ft (I never said I was a marksman!).

Shooting the gun is a pleasure. It has a crisp blowback, but the weight of the muzzle block helps keep the gun from rising too much. The trigger pull is smooth, and in single action there is only a 2mm pull needed to shoot. This allows for some quick snap shots. Oddly, it does seem to have trouble locking the slide back when the clip is empty - there just doesn't seem to be enough gas power for the last push - it is very economical to fill so maybe I'll try a couple less BB's and see how that goes. Recently chrono'd it put out 295fps on a cool summer morning (no thermometer) using American Eagle winter grade and .2g BB's.

How pleased am I with the Beretta? Very, as at a recent game my G3 jammed due to some dodgy ammo leaving me with just the pistol. Luckily the rest of the team had already dispatched most of the opposition and were about to enter the firebase. With a stealthy entry I managed to take the last man. My first 'kill' of the day with my new gun, couldn't get any better.

UPDATE:

Well, I’ve used the Beretta for a few months now, and despite being a nice piece to own and shoot, I have had doubts about its failure to empty a mag. This has been reflected in other owner’s reports of the same with other 92FS models.

Some have suggested removing the NLS (Non-Leak System) from the mag to allow more gas capacity, some putting things into the mag spring to stop so many BB’s being loaded. My own favourite has been to only load 20 BB’s in a mag – a bit of a pain as the speedloader is designed for 25. The upside is that at the real steel counterpart only holds 15…

Through research on the ‘net it seems that WA have designed the magazines to only work with HFC134a gas. Valves and springs have been tuned to deliver the correct volume of this gas – using any other will provide a different effect. So whilst HFC22 may provide a harder shot, it will also reduce the number of shots per fill. Another problem is that as gas pressure increases / decreases with temperature, what is good at Asian temperatures is not necessarily any good for us Brits.

Bit of a bummer, but there may be a way out. WA has released the Beretta Elite 1A, and with it come some different magazines. These have been reported as providing 42(!) shots per fill at UK temperatures, although there was no info on what gas was used, 42 shots is a big improvement. These magazines also come with extended bumpers, this may make them easier to change in a firefight.

All in all, it’s getting better for the WA Beretta range.



"Hacksaw".

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