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Which Is Better Between the Beretta 92 vs Glock 17?

When looking at a full-size, high-capacity double-stack 9mm, often enough the choice narrows to two dominant handgun designs of the past 40 years: Beretta 92 vs Glock 17. Which is better?

That depends. Better how?

Both of these guns have track records that speak for themselves. Both are iconic. Both aren't even that expensive! However, both of these guns have unique features that for the right person makes them absolutely right...or dead wrong.

The Beretta 92

The Beretta 92 is an old-school gun, widely considered the best of the old-school Wonder Nines along with the Browning Hi Power, CZ-75, Smith and Wesson Model 59, Sig Sauer P220 and P226, and so on. Introduced in 1975, the Beretta 92 has been a perennial favorite of police officers and militaries worldwide ever since, serving with distinction in both roles.

A Beretta 92 firing

Design elements of the Walther P38 were used in creating the 92, such as the open-top slide, locking block barrel design and the control layout, including the flip-down slide-mounted safety/decocker. Other elements were taken from Beretta's own designs or elsewhere, such as the 15-round double-stack box magazine based on that of the BHP.

The result is a double/single action pistol, holding 15+1 rounds of 9x19mm. However, this comes at a cost. First is weight, as the all-metal 92 tips the scales at just over 33 ounces. Second is width; the 92 is as notorious as Sig Sauer's service guns for it's fat 1.5-inch width. The 8.5-inch length is also quite long, making the 92 difficult to conceal easily.

Not exactly an easy EDC gun for most civilian carriers. But what does one get for that? A pistol that has proven itself on the battlefield and in the streets in police service across the globe, accuracy and reliability second to none and at a moderate price too; MSRP is just under $700, so they can be found in most gun stores for around $600 or less in many cases.

The Glock 17

The Glock 17 wasn't the first polymer-framed nor even striker-fired pistol; Hechler and Koch beat Glock to those punches more than a decade before Glock invented the 17. However, Glock arguably makes the best, and it was the Glock 17 that started the poly striker craze.

cutaway view of the Glock 17's insides

The 17 was revolutionary when unveiled in 1984. 17+1 rounds of 9mm, weighing in at just under 26 ounces unloaded and without the complicated manual of arms endemic to double- and single-action pistols. Cock, point and shoot; repeat. Just keep the trigger safe and nothing bad will happen, though a number of people out there apparently never read the 4 Rules of Gun Safety.

Though the 17 is certainly the same size as a service pistol in terms of length and height, the 1.18-inch width and lighter weight made it easier to carry and also conceal, as it is one of the most popular full-size guns for daily CCW.

The Glock 17 has also proved itself to be one of the best all-around pistols ever devised. The accuracy and reliability and ease of use for almost all users has made the Glock 17 one of the most popular service guns in existence, as militaries and police forces the world over - as well as civilian carriers and enthusiasts - trust their lives with the 17.

It also happens to be found for around the $600 range.

Choosing between the Beretta 92 and the Glock 17

Is there something that will make a person prefer one over the other? 

The standard Beretta 92FS/M9 has some minor bugaboos, some peccadilloes, that the Glock 17 doesn't…the standard 92FS, that is. 

Over the years, some users have found the fat grips (1.5 inches at the widest) to be a hindrance, along with the long trigger reach (roughly 2.9 inches from the grip to the trigger face) and the DA trigger pull. Some people find the safety can be accidentally engaged when racking the slide with a hand-over grip. 

Glock 17 pistols are a little friendlier to people with smaller hands and shorter fingers, and a 5 to 6 lb trigger pull is easier to manage. There are no controls on the slide and the manual of arms is much simpler. The 17 is also lighter by about 9 ounces. It's also cheaper to buy. 

While the Glock 17 nominally has a higher carrying capacity (17+1 vs 15+1) everyone and their brother knows by now that MecGar makes 18+1 flush-fit magazines for the Beretta 92.

The factory sights of both guns leave much to be desired, but you can actually change a Glock's sights. The Beretta 92FS/M9 has a fixed front sight, so you're stuck with it unless you have the slide milled by a gunsmith. 

Today's Glock 17 has an accessory rail and the MOS models are optics-ready. The standard 92FS has none and does not. 

…but that's compared to the basic, bog-standard 92FS/M9. 

Any of the models with the Vertec slide/frame have a reduced trigger reach and dovetailed sights. Add a short-reach trigger kit and a reduced-power hammer spring and issues with the double-action trigger are all but abrogated. 

Don't like the controls? Order a G model, which changes the controls to a decocker only. Railed frame models have been around for a dog's age, so they're old news. RDO models (optics-ready) are here now too. 

Oh…and there are a few more things in the 92's favor. 

DA/SA pistols are enjoying a minor renaissance for appendix carry, as positive control of the firing system mitigates risk of an accidental discharge when holstering. 

Granted, so does reholstering carefully like you're supposed to. Also, the Striker Control Device (formerly made by Tau but now made funnily enough by Langdon Tactical) is a thing. 

There's an upside to double-action triggers for more seasoned shooters. The double-action trigger press gives you a bit more feedback, a fraction of a second of more information about whether your sights are starting to move before the shot breaks. 

Then again, Bob Vogel won an IPSC world championship shooting a factory Glock 17. So it's not like Glocks are less capable compared to other pistols. 

The takeaway? Both are proven, reliable and rugged service pistols. Some features on the standard Beretta 92FS give some people problems in ways that a Glock doesn't…but that's only the standard 92. 

Ultimately, it comes down to preference. Which one is a better fit for YOU. 

But what do you think? Have you shot both of these guns? Do you own both? Let us know in the comments! 

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Sam Hoober

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.