It was 100 years ago this year that one of the world’s most renowned firearms makers began manufacturing what would become one of its best known products.
The Beretta Model 1915 marked the world’s oldest gun maker’s entry into the semi-auto pistol market. And the Italian manufacturer isn’t allowing this milestone to pass without a little bit fanfare.
Beretta has issued a commemorative handgun to mark the occasion, however, it is not a replica of the historic blowback pistol that kicked it all off. Instead, the company has decked out a model better known to contemporary shooters — particularly those with a military background.
The Beretta 92 Centennial is a collector’s edition of well-known 9mm pistol, a variation of which has served as the U.S. Military's sidearm since 1985. And for enthusiasts of the company, the firearm should have plenty of collecting potential.
Perhaps the handgun’s greatest asset in this regard is its scarcity, Beretta has only produced 500 Centennials. But the special-edition 92 has other qualities almost certain to catch some eyes.
The pistol has a high brush steel frame safety and a single-action only configuration. The years 1915 and 2015 are engraved in Roman numerals on either side of the Brigadier-style slide. The same numerals appear on a medallion logo placed in the center of premium-grade wood grip panels.
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The 92 Centennial comes with a certificate of authenticity and is presented in an ammunition can bearing the pistol’s logo. There was no price available for the collector-edition pistol, though given it is a limited edition it’s a safe bet it will cost a pretty penny.
While the pistol of which the company is commemorating was the inspiration for the Centennial, it was quite a different animal than the rather largish modern military arm.
The Italian Army adopted the Model 1915 shortly after its entry into World War I, due to a lack of sidearms. By today’s standards, the pistol would have been consider very underpowered especially for military service, chambered in both .32 ACP and 9mm Glisenti Short.
The Model 1915 was a single-action pistol with an 8+1 capacity. While the Italian army used the handgun during the war, the military force still relied on an older military sidearm — the Bodeo Model 1889 revolver.
92 Centennial Specs
Barrel Length: 4.9 inches
Height: 5.4 inches
Length: 8.5 inches
Width: 1.5 inches
Weight (unloaded): 42.3 ounces