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Beretta, also known as Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta, is an Italian arms manufacturer established in 1526, making it the oldest active arms manufacturer today. Also noteworthy, is the fact that the company has remained family-owned since its inception. Beretta is known for its wide range of firearms, which include handguns, rifles, shotguns, submachine guns and much more, each of which find markets with the military, law enforcement and paramilitary agencies and civilians the world over. The company even has an American subsidiary and production facility, Beretta USA, which is stationed just a few miles down the road in Accokeek, Maryland. Today, however, we are concerned with the original plant in Brescia, Italy, as it is there that the Beretta 96A1 is manufactured.
Considering Beretta has been around for more than 450 years, it is probably safe to assume that the company produces a fine product. Having said that, I would still like to take this time to discuss what really makes the Beretta 96A1 worth your time.
As noted, the Beretta 96A1 along with the counterpart Beretta 92A1 marks the evolution of a platform that began in the early 1970s. Designed in 2010, the Beretta 96A1 combines the most desirable elements of the Beretta 92FS and the Beretta 90-Two with a variety of new features designed to increase modularity, reliability and overall service life. Among these upgrades are higher capacity magazines. The Beretta 96A1 ships with three 12-round magazines. Moreover, the pistol is completely interchangeable with all other magazines in the 92 Series designed for the .40 S&W cartridge. As for modularity, the Beretta 96A1 features a removable front sight, which allows shooters the ability to replace broken sights or install an aftermarket upgrade. There is now also an integral MIL-STD 1913 accessory rail for the attachment of tactical lights and lasers. Other upgrades include an internal recoil buffer designed to increase service life by reducing the stress taken by the receiver, a captive recoil spring assembly designed to simplify the takedown process and a rounded trigger guard.
The Beretta 96A1 features a 4.9-inch barrel and an overall length of 8 1/2 inches. Its chrome-lined barrel provides enhanced protection against rust, corrosion and pitting. Though the pistol boasts a steel frame, it weighs in at 34.4 ounces, just over two pounds and easily manageable by shooters of all skill levels. The Beretta 96A1 also includes several safety features, one in the form of a manual safety that doubles as a decocking lever. Other features include a fixed, three-dot iron sight system with the aforementioned removable front sight, black synthetic grips and an exclusive Bruniton™ non-glare finish. As noted, the pistol ships with three 12-round magazines.