If you’re reading this article, chances are good you’re attempting to decide between purchasing a Beretta 92 or a Taurus PT92 for a 92-series pistol.
Is one better than the other?
The Taurus PT92 has a reputation with some for being a cheap knockoff of the Beretta that doesn’t offer any advantages other than a lesser price point.
In reality, this could not be any further from the truth. Yes, the PT92 is the more affordable option, but there are other reasons to consider going with the PT92 over the Beretta as well.
So what makes the Taurus 92 worth owning over the Beretta? That’s what we’re going to discuss today.
The Beretta 92 has been in continuous production since 1976. Many, many variations of this pistol have been produced. Examples today include the 92FS, M9, M9A3, 92A1, and the 92X.
The Taurus PT92 originated from the Beretta, but contrary to what many people think, it actually originated from the older Beretta 92 pistol that was produced from 1976 to 1983.
The original Beretta 92 is a vastly different pistol from the 92FS we know today, with the two biggest differences being the heel mounted magazine release and the frame mounted safety.
Beretta manufactured these original 92 pistols in Italy, but they also set up a production plant to build the weapon for the Brazilian military as well. When Beretta fulfilled this contract, they sold the factory, blueprints, and the spare parts over to a smaller Brazilian gun company called Taurus.
At the time, Taurus was mainly known for producing cheap revolvers. When they purchased the factory and blueprints to Beretta’s 92 pistol, it would mark the biggest turning point in the company’s history.
Development of the Taurus PT92
As already noted, the original Taurus PT92s were most similar to the original Beretta 92. While Taurus would eventually move the magazine release from the heel to behind the trigger guard, they’ve always kept the safety lever on the frame (while Beretta moved their safety over to the slide with the 92S, where it has remained ever since).
Furthermore, Taurus also added a decocker function. Press the lever up to engage the safety of the PT92, press it downwards to safely decock the weapon. This also enables you to carry the gun cocked and locked, which you cannot do with the Beretta.
The Taurus PT92 remained virtually unchanged in this configuration up until around 2004, when Taurus made a few significant changes.
The first was widening and deepening the slide serrations to make it easier to grasp and actuate. The second was adding the presence of a safety lock in the back of the frame. A key ships with the Taurus, and when used to engage the lock, the entire firearm is rendered inoperable.
This either a pro or a con depending on how you look at it. On one hand, the presence of a safety lock may make you sleep better knowing that children or burglars would not be able to operate the firearm if they found it. On the other hand, the idea that you may need to access and use your firearm quickly in an emergency only to realize that the safety lock is engaged unless if you can find the key also isn’t too appealing.
Taurus also added a Weaver rail on the under side of the frame in order to add lights and lasers around this time as well. Eventually, Taurus phased out production of the PT92 without the rail, meaning all new PT92s have a Weaver tactical rail present on the underside of the frames.
In addition, Taurus switched from a more polished blue finish to a thinner matte finish around this time as well. This was done in order to make the firearm cheaper to manufacture, but at the expense of a more crudely looking firearm overall (thankfully, you can easily have your PT92 reblued so it’s more polished looking if you so choose).
The number one biggest difference between the Beretta 92 and the Taurus 92 is the location of the safety. The Beretta has a slide mounted safety, whereas the Taurus has a frame mounted safety.
As discussed, the safety and the decocker on the PT92 are separate functions: press up to engage the safety, and down to decock. The safety/decocker lever on the Beretta 92 engages both when it is pressed downwards.
The Beretta has much thinner slide serrations than that of the Taurus as well. The PT92’s thicker serrations in conjunction with the lack of a slide safety simply makes the slide of the PT92 easier to manipulate. The high chance of accidentally engaging the Beretta 92’s safety when racking the slide is another big problem as well.
However, the Beretta 92 has many advantages over the Taurus in other areas. The Beretta comes standard with a Bruniton finish, which is not only more aesthetically appealing than the matte blued finish of the Taurus but is also more rust and corrosion resistant against the elements as well. Simply put, the fit and finishing of the Beretta is superior to that of the Taurus.
The Beretta also lacks the safety lock feature of the Taurus, and comes with a curve at the base of the grip that (at least theoretically) should make the gun easier to grasp onto when shooting.
In conclusion, the Taurus PT92 is a worthy and more affordable counterpart to the Beretta. The newer Taurus PT92’s have a noticeably crude fit and finishing compared to the Beretta, but the location of the frame mounted safety lever is undoubtedly more practical and easier to reach.