It was Christmas of 1988 and I was on an Coast to Coast flight, headed out to Los Angeles to visit friends and maybe see some family. The backlog at work was huge – a full load of New York scumbags waiting to do their time. Sufficiently jaded by the job and the city, a trip to California during the holidays might have been a nice change of pace; Cappy retired out west a few years ago and seemed to enjoy it. As always, my family situation was “complicated”. I was still married (barely), separated by a few thousand miles after she got that big new position. But, my real life partner was always with me, even when I was on “vacation”, since it appears that I was the quintessential sh*t magnet. Riding in a well-worn leather shoulder rig was my Beretta 92F. Fast forward some 30 years later, here I sit, long since retired, cherishing a Wilson Combat 92G Brigadier Tactical – a beautiful update to the weapon that I used to personally defend freedom on so many different occasions.
Many shooters/movie lovers who grew up in the 80’s came to idolize John McClane’s Beretta 92F handgun. How could you not: from the opening scene of Die Hard to almost the end, the hairbag detective manipulated that pistol like the two were made for each other. But how many of us went on to buy a Beretta 92? I had many opportunities over the years, but since it was never an authorized carry gun nor did it fit into my needs and wants at the time, a Beretta never made it home to my safe. However, there was no way I was going to pass up the chance to spend some time with a Wilson Combat 92G Brigadier Tactical.
Wilson Combat 92G Brigadier Tactical:
Let’s get the detractors out of the way first so that we can spend the rest of our time appreciating this beautiful pistol. The 92G is a large-frame, full-size and heavy pistol. Sure, you could conceal carry this gun, but it would probably be easier in the winter months when bulky clothing will hide any errant curves. Next, the double action trigger pull is long and stiff, making some revolvers feel like a striker fired action.
And finally, any model of pistol labeled as “Tactical” should probably include a threaded barrel. In my love for the world of silencers, the lack of a mounting option was the only thing that prevented me from purchasing this Brigadier. The people at Wilson Combat are awesome though: I could have waited for a custom build that included a threaded barrel. So if you are interested in a suppressor-ready version, it never hurts to call and ask.
Other than the above observations, the 92G was a pleasure to own and operate for a few months. Wilson Combat can often catch criticism for overpriced guns and custom packages. But when I look at the Brigadier alongside the M9A3, with each being about the same MSRP, the 92G seems like a fair value.
The pistol comes packaged in a clamshell-type plastic case with a cardboard overbox that is marked as a Wilson Combat Exclusive. This surprised me a bit: I always thought that Wilson took unmodified Guns from Beretta and turn them into art. I appears most of the work is completed up front.
The grips are a beautiful blend of a light forest green and black (or as described, dirty olive) with a gold Wilson Combat seal in the middle of the palm swell.
I don’t have a basic 92FS to compare with, but the 92G Brigadier seems well polished and refined, with smooth edges and no machining marks. The serial number has a special WC prefix, designating it’s Wilson Combat roots.
- Available Calibers: 9mm
- Magazine Capacity: 15 rounds
- Barrel Length: 4.7″
- Overall Length: 8.25″
- Sight Radius: 6.5″
- Height: 5.5″
- Width: 1.5″
- Weight Empty: 36 oz.
- Weight Loaded: 43 oz.
- M9A1 frame with 92A1 round trigger guard profile and improved checkering
- Dehorned 92G Brigadier slide
- Enhanced slide to frame fit
- Trijicon tritium dovetail front sight
- Stainless barrel with recessed crown, 4.7” Elite II length, black finish
- Oversize steel magazine release
- Steel de-cocking levers
- Skeletonized Elite II hammer
- D hammer spring
- Lanyard loop pin
- Lanyard loop, aluminum
- Steel trigger
- Wilson Combat rear u-notch battlesight
- Wilson Combat fluted steel guide rod
- G10 Dirty Olive grips with Wilson Combat logo medallion
- Wilson Combat logo on slide
- 3 15rd M9A1 Beretta sand resistant magazines
- 9mm caliber only
- G configuration ambidextrous decocker only
- All steel components (decocker, trigger, magazine release, guide rod)
- Checkered frontstrap and backstrap
- Beveled magazine well
- Rail for mounting light or laser
- Special serial number range with WC prefix
- IDPA Stock Service Pistol approved
- USPSA Production Division approved
- MSRP: $1,195
92G Brigadier Tactical Field Strip:
The Brigadier is an elegant weapon inside and out, with a dehorned slide, oversized magazine release and frontstrap and backstrap checkering.
The magazines are listed as “sand resistant” exactly like the ones that come issued with the M9A1. They are PVD coated with a low friction follower and have a solid and quality feel. The Brigadier Tactical comes with three mags.
The 92G is a double action/single action pistol with a decocker. For those who used to platforms with no manual safety, you will be somewhat at home, since there isn’t one on the Brigadier Tactical. The safety lever is a actually just a decocker and will always show a red dot for “ready to fire”. Obviously hammer down is a double action trigger pull and hammer cocked is a single action trigger pull.
The front sight is a Trijicon Tritium dovetail while the rear is a a Wilson U-Notch. The combination is useable, but not my favorite: I prefer a three dot night sight setup.
Ambidextrous decockers will make most people happy, even though I would bet money that the shooter’s strong hand side gets used 99% of the time. But it is a a nice feature and adds to the redundancy and helps when an agency or department needs to issue thousands of guns to both righties and lefties. Along those lines, the magazine release is reversible.
The falling locking block barrel design is new territory for me; I hear it really shines with a threaded muzzle and suppressor; maybe I’ll get a chance to find out one of these days. Either way, I think the design has more than proven itself in the three plus decades of service in the U.S. Armed Forces and many law enforcement agencies. Although, not to rain on Detective McClane’s parade, but I can’t find any reference to a Beretta 92 ever being the issued sidearm of the NYPD (maybe it was on a roster of approved off-duty guns).
The Brigadier’s barrel comes outfitted with a recessed target crown which is supposed to help with accuracy and consistency. I have no doubt that this pistol can out shoot me.
SHOOTING THE BRIGADIER TACTICAL:
As I discussed above, the double action trigger pull is long and heavy (that’s what she said). Even so, the pull is super smooth with no grit or crunch. The single action trigger pull is like heaven – light with a clean, crisp break.
Recoil is quite manageable, probably due to the the Brigadier’s generous 43oz weight when fully loaded, but possibly also due to the reduced reciprocating mass in the lightened slide. Muzzle flip was noticeable but normal and case ejection was consistently between two and three o’clock.
On top of a magazine of Federal Premium’s Hydra Shok personal protection ammunition, I ran 150 rounds of their Syntech training ammunition. The Syntech is quickly becoming my favorite range round with a light recoil and negligible smoke. Headshots on steel silhouettes from the 25 yard line were easy. However, strong hand only shots were my failing with the Brigadier. My assumption is that the grips are a good deal wider that my Austrian pistols and the overall weight might have thrown me off.
Overall, for a full-size gun, the Brigadier Tactical is an excellent shooter that, with the right ammunition, can easily pull double duty as a target pistol or a self defense handgun
The current firearms market is full of light polymer guns that are purpose-built for defensive use. However, very few of them have the character and feature set that comes along with the Wilson Combat 92G Brigadier Tactical. This gun is refined, with custom features and modern specifications that make it useful as well as beautiful.
The Beretta 92 series is one of those guns that I believe every serious shooter or collector should eventually own. Out of the model choices currently available, the Wilson Combat 92G Brigadier Tactical is a fantastic custom pistol that will not disappoint.
“Being a serious Beretta collector, I have always considered the 92G SD the best model ever produced, but almost too expensive and rare to shoot. I feel fortunate to have been able to work with the fine people at Beretta USA to produce a pistol that, in my opinion, is an improved 92G SD. Having Beretta USA build my dream 92 series pistol is awesome and I’m very happy that a lot of people will be able to enjoy this fine pistol model.” -Bill Wilson
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