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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

Which one should I pick

In a showdown between the Glock 17 vs Beretta 92, the truth is that both are good choices. Service lives of both pistols is in the multiple thousands of rounds. Both pistols are capable of incredibly accuracy. Anyone could trust their lives with one without thinking twice. It's said that the bulk of all service pistols in police departments are one of four pistols; two of them are the 92 and the 17.

What's going to set one apart over the other?

You do! You see, everyone differs on what they like and what will suit them well with a gun.

Double-action long trigger pull

Some people like the hard, long trigger pull of a double-action first shot to ward against possible accidental discharges, which Glocks have a complicated relationship with. (There have been a number of NDs and ADs with Glocks. They can occur with ANY pistol, but Glocks in particular are associated with them...and every single instance is due to mishandling and mishandling alone.) There are also those who prefer the handling characteristics of an all-steel gun, as they tend to "point" a little more naturally and soak up recoil very well. Also, some people like that a gun can be put on "safe."

However, there's a bit more to the manual of arms than that. The controls of the Beretta are not totally ambidextrous, though the decocking safety levers or decocker (on G models) is. The slide and magazine release controls are not, though the latter can be switched to the left side if desired.

Another issue has to do with the safety switch. You see, the Glock has no external safety, and all controls save the takedown tabs can be operated one-handed. The Beretta, however, has the safety/decocker located on the slide.

Other pistols of similar design usually locate it elsewhere, such as behind the trigger guard in the case of Sig Sauer pistols and on the frame above the grips in case of CZ pistols. What this means in practical terms is that most people have to use two hands to use the controls on a 92/M9, which is great unless you find yourself in a situation where you can only use one hand...which is quite conceivable, as a pistol is generally a close-quarters weapon. The Glock doesn't have this problem.

If that sounds like your cup of tea, and you can get around the heavy weight, controls and fat grip of the Beretta - which gives some people trouble - then the 92 is surely for you.

The Glock, however, has always had a lot going for it. It carries two more rounds per magazine. It's a full half-pound lighter than the Beretta. It's easier for more people to handle. Operation couldn't be simpler. The lighter trigger pull is easier for more people and it's easier on the person carrying it if they put one in a Glock 17 holster and carried on the daily.

Glock trigger pull & safety

So if you like a lighter, simpler gun...the Glock is surely the better pick.

The Glock comes standard with an accessory rail, so those who are going to mount a light will be able to do so. The standard Beretta doesn't, though a railed version is quite commonly available as well so that isn't as much of a hindrance.

If you're looking to concealed carry a big pistol, you certainly COULD carry the 92 but the Glock is going to be more easily carried due to the slimmer width and lighter weight. However, if you're just looking for a nightstand gun and you can handle either gun...get the one that feels best. The pistol that feels best to you is the best to have, as you'll tend to use it better.

Either way, you can't go wrong.

Beretta 92 Full Size 3.0 IWB Holster

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ShapeShit available ShapeShift Glock 17 4.0 IWB Holster

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When you do head to the range, you're going to need a target...but why pay for paper targets if you don't have to? We'll give you as many as you want - you just need to download Alien Gear's printable shooting target. Make as many copies as you like!

We will continuously be adding new target options to our lineup. Check out our complete free printable shooting targets page to see the full selection as they start rolling in.

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.