Bill Wilson has been the king of custom 1911 makers for a long time. His pistols offer excellent function, fit, finish, and accuracy. Less well know is Mr. Wilson’s respect, even admiration, for the Beretta 92 series handguns. Wilson Combat offers several upgrades on this capable handgun.
The Beretta 92 is famed for its accuracy and reliability. For those who understand and are able to master the double action first shot handgun, the Beretta is a very credible choice. The pistol, like most anything man made, benefits from some judicious attention by a qualified gunsmith.
A number of aftermarket parts might be an advantage. Wilson Combat has developed excellent upgrades and convinced Beretta to manufacture an affordable version of the upgraded pistol. The Beretta/Wilson Combat 92G Centurion Tactical is among the finest Beretta handguns I have fired and used.
I am much more used to 1911 and striker fired handguns, but the Beretta need not take a back seat to any of them. Let’s look at the improved 92G.
The Centurion is shorter than the standard 92 or Wilson’s Brigadier Tactical. The Brigadier features a reinforced slide. The shop I walked into had the Centurion in stock and I grabbed it.
A lot of folks like the balance of the smaller Centurion. Others like the heft and lower recoil of the Brigadier. While 9mm service guns don’t kick much, when times are measured in splits of a half second between shots, the Brigadier pulls slightly ahead of the game.
I like the speed on target of the Centurion. The Beretta safety doubles as a decocker with Beretta’s G models. This pistol also incorporates an accessory rail, something the high speeders and low draggers demand. Here’s a list of upgrades Wilson’s made to the standard pistol:
- Dovetailed tritium front sight
- Stainless match-grade barrel with recessed target crown
- Steel guide rod
- Accessory rail
- Rounded trigger guard
- Ambidextrous decocker
- WC rear U-notch Battlesight
- Elite II skeletonized hammer
- Oversize magazine release with checkered pad
- Checkered frontstrap and backstrap
- Beveled magazine well
- G10 grips with “WC” logo medallion
While all of these improvements are good, a few of them really stand out. The G10 grips are a great upgrade over the standard Beretta 92 grips. They’re thinner and offer greater adhesion and a better, more secure grip.
The reworked trigger action is much smoother than standard Beretta pistols. Maybe the greatest improvement — a big one — is the addition of Wilson battlesights.
The ability to move the sights for adjustment in the dovetail and the tritium front sight make for excellent combat visibility. I haven’t done many speed loads with a Beretta, but it seems the extended magazine release and the magazine funnel offer excellent speed improvements. The shooter simply must catch up to their potential and this means practice.
The 92G Centurion Tactical is supplied with three magazines, two 17-rounders and a single extended 20-round magazine.
Most of the ammunition expended during testing has been Winchester ball ammunition including Winchester Active Duty and Winchester Forged. The pistol comes on target quickly and the smooth double action trigger allows for easly hits out to ten yards or so.
After the first shot, you’re in a gunfight and the pistol is in single action mode. The advantage of the double action first shot pistol rides mainly in that crisp single action trigger pull. The Wilson Combat Beretta trigger is tight and offers a rapid reset. Control is excellent.
I fired at ranges from seven to fifty yards during the evaluation. This pistol is an extremely accurate firearm that offers real advantages in both control and precision.
I tested several personal defense and service loads as well. Winchester’s 115 grain Silvertip has earned an enviable reputation over decades of service. It isn’t the most accurate load but more than accurate enough for personal defense purposes.
Winchester offers a less well known 147 grain load that offers a good balance of expansion and penetration. The 147 grain Silvertip is among the most accurate 9mm loads I have tested. Among my favored personal defense loads is the Winchester 124 grain PDX +P. At 1200 fps this load offers excellent expansion potential.
I checked accuracy of several loads firing from the Bullshooters pistol rest. The Beretta proved above average accurate. Firing for a five-shot group at 25 yards, 115 grain ball ammo on average was 2.5 inches.
The 115 grain Silvertip was in the same range. The 147 grain Silvertip averaged 1.75 inches. The Winchester 124 grain PDX was not far behind at 1.7-2.0 inches for five shots the average of three groups.
This Beretta is more than accurate enough for any conceivable duty. Firing from a benchrest is interesting, but the offhand fire and moving quickly between targets is more of a test of a combat handgun. The Beretta did well in all of these drills.
Low recoil and light muzzle flip are Beretta 92 hallmarks. Practice the double action first shot trigger if you deploy this pistol for personal defense.
Packing the Beretta Centurion
Wilson Combat offers a quality Kydex holster for the Beretta among oher options. The Kydex carry holster is .080 thick and features 1.75 inch polymer belt loops. The height or drop is six position adjustable. The cant may be adjusted as well. It’s convertible to inside the waistband use with special order soft belt loops. This holster is rigid, doesn’t move on the belt, and adds up to a very sharp draw. It’s a well-designed holster with much to recommend.
For concealed carry or range work this holster works well. When choosing a holster for the Beretta take care to be certain the draw angle accommodates a pistol a bit longer than some.
In the end, the Wilson Combat/Beretta 92G Centurion Tactical is the king of Beretta service guns. If, like many shooters, you are a fan of the Beretta 92 platform the Wilson Combat version of this pistol is very impressive.
Specifications: Beretta/Wilson Combat Centurion Tactical
Magazine capacity: 17 rounds (2 included as well as a 20-round mag)
Barrel Length: 4.3 in
Overall Length: 7.75 in
Sight Radius: 5.75 in
Height: 5.5 in
Width: 1.5 in
Weight Empty: 33 oz (about 41 oz loaded)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Reliability * * * * *
This is a Beretta 92. No questions here. It’s one of the most tried, true and tested pistol platforms there is.
Accuracy: * * * * *
For a double action first shot pistol the piece is very accurate. Generally the Beretta 92 is an accurate handgun anyway. This version is all about handling and speed, but is also more accurate than most Beretta pistols.
Handling, ergonomics * * * * *
The improvement over a standard, off-the-shelf Beretta is very noticeable. The controls are well designed and every one of them increases the utility and functionality of the pistol.
Concealed Carry * * *
This is a big gun. This is also a fat gun. And it’s a heavy gun (40 oz loaded). But it’s also a very good gun and a covering garment does the trick.
Overall * * * * 1/2
This is an outstanding 9mm pistol that’s been thoughtfully upgraded by Wilson Combat to enhance it’s performance and shootability. At an MSRP of $1250, every bit of work that’s been done to improve the original model is evident and makes for a handgun that performs extremely well in almost any role.