“…the 92G Centurion Tactical, as built for Wilson Combat, is as different from the M9 as the Cobra was from the Mustang.”
The Centurion sports thin VZ G10 grip panels with Wilson medallions and a beveled mag well.
Note the Wilson Battlesight as well as the “G” decocker at the rear of the slide.
Up front you’ll find a high-visibility sight designed for AmeriGlo by expert trainer Ken Hackathorn.
Unlike the M9, the 92G Centurion Tactical has a rounded triggerguard. Also note the coarse checkering on the frontstrap of the frame.
Not only was the Centurion reliable with all of the test ammo, but it was also accurate with each load.
The gun comes with both 17- and 20-round magazines.
Despite the shortened barrel and slide, the dust-cover rail is still long enough for accessories like this Wilson-branded Streamlight TLR-1 HL.
In early October, I attended the Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous, a gathering of writers and firearms manufacturers, in Gateway, Colorado. It was here that I had the opportunity to see and shoot the new Beretta 92G Centurion Tactical built exclusively for Wilson Combat. Sporting a full-sized frame and a shortened top end with a 4.3-inch barrel, the gun balanced like a dream! Its slick trigger and awesome sights made missing nearly impossible. Of all the guns from different manufacturers I fired during this three-day event, the Centurion was the one that I enjoyed the most. Before I left the range, I placed an order for a test sample with Wilson Combat’s Guy Joubert.
The fact that the pistol made such an impression on me was a huge surprise, as I have never exactly been a Beretta fan. I was leaving the Marines about the time the new M9s were being phased into inventory. To put it bluntly, I was a much bigger fan of the 1911 than the M9. Time and experience have softened my prejudice against the Beretta a little. I even bought a couple: a Marine commemorative and an Enduring Freedom limited edition. I’ve put some rounds through the Marine pistol and was impressed by its ability to shoot just about everything I put through it, but I’ve never have carried it for anything more than a range session. The fat grip and long, heavy double-action trigger pull just didn’t appeal to me.
But the 92G Centurion Tactical, as built for Wilson Combat, is as different from the M9 as the Cobra was from the Mustang. Its balance is completely different with the shortened top end, and when the gun comes up, it’s like the front sight finds its way into the rear sight. The fat plastic grips have been replaced with slim VZ G10 grips that totally give the gun a much better feel. For the Wilson Combat Centurion, Beretta checkers both the front- and backstraps with coarse checkering. This model also features a light rail on the frame and a rounded triggerguard.
Bill Wilson, the owner and founder of Wilson Combat, spec’d out the Centurion for this exclusive build. And while Beretta makes the Centurion for normal distribution, this is not the gun that Wilson Combat sells. Bill Wilson selected every feature of this gun and even ships parts of his own company’s manufacture to use while the guns are assembled at Beretta’s Maryland facility. Wilson Combat provides steel parts like triggers, guide rods and decockers. Bill also specified that Beretta use his company’s steel magazine release on this model as well as the Elite-style skeletonized hammer.
One of the more useful features on the Wilson Combat Centurion is the steel mag guide that is anchored at the rear of the frame. Combined with the heavy bevel on the magazine well, reloads are fast and certain. Another feature that makes a lot of sense is the ambidextrous decocker. This is one feature that sets the Wilson Combat Centurion apart from the Beretta M9 and 92F.
Wilson Combat’s Guy Joubert explained that while reloading the gun and racking the slide, sometimes the shooter inadvertently engages the slide-mounted safety/decocker, leaving the shooter with a charged chamber but a dead trigger. The Wilson Combat “G” conversion replaces the safety/decocking lever with a spring-loaded lever that pops back instantly to its “up” position after decocking the hammer. It does not push the trigger bar out of engagement, so the shooter won’t ever be left with a dead trigger. The conversion does not act as a safety, but that’s not a big deal, as it’s a double-action/single-action (DA/SA) semi-auto. In the event the shooter inadvertently hits the “G” conversion lever, it will only decock the hammer—the gun will fire the next shot in DA mode. If you already own a Beretta pistol in the 92 family, the Wilson Combat “G” decocker system can be retrofitted to your gun.
Wilson Combat also supplies Beretta with its steel Battlesights for these builds. This rear sight features a deep U-notch. Beretta also dovetails the front of the slide to accept the Ken-Hackathorn-designed AmeriGlo front sight that features a tritium lamp surrounded by an eye-catching florescent orange ring. As I mentioned earlier, it’s as if the front sight finds its way into the U-notch. The setup is extremely fast; I wish I had these sights on every defensive handgun I own.
Interested parties can buy the 92G Centurion Tactical from Wilson Combat as they receive it from the Beretta factory or with one of two trigger packages Wilson offers. One package includes Wilson Combat craftsmen polishing the engagement surfaces of the trigger and hammer. The other package includes everything the first offers but with all-new chrome-silicon springs. My test sample was prepared like this.
As I mentioned before, one of the reasons the Beretta M9 was never a go-to pistol for me was its long and heavy trigger pull. The Centurion, with its trigger job and chrome-silicon springs, is an entirely different gun. Though the DA trigger pull is still long, it’s silky smooth and breaks at just 7.5 pounds. For me, it is easy to maintain a sight picture while pressing the trigger through its long arc. The SA trigger pull—just 3.25 pounds—was crisp with just a little overtravel.
Wilson Combat doesn’t do anything mechanical to the Centurion to make it more accurate, though Joubert says Beretta slides and frames are selectively chosen for their tight fits. Beretta uses a stainless steel barrel measuring 4.3 inches in length. It is blackened with a Bruniton finish. A recessed target crown protects its rifling in the event it is dropped on its muzzle. And while the Centurion isn’t billed as a target gun, it certainly possesses match-like accuracy.
I did all of my accuracy testing at 25 yards, firing five shots to a group. I shot from a seated rest using a DOA Tactical portable shooting bench and utilizing a Millett BenchMaster for support. The light rail on the Beretta’s dust cover made for a stable rest while shooting. All of the groups were shot in SA mode.
To say that I was impressed would be an understatement. My groups ranged from 0.66 inches with Wilson Combat’s 135-grain remanufactured HBFN ammo to just under an inch. But what impressed me even more was that the Centurion fired all of the bullet weights, from DoubleTap’s 77-grain hollow points up to Sig Sauer’s 147-grain V-Crown JHPs, with equal accuracy.
When I fired the Centurion for the first time at the Athlon Rendezvous, it felt as though I couldn’t miss on steel targets set out at about 15 yards. During my field outing back home, I brought along an MGM BC C-Zone steel target to try some double-taps. The target approximates a USPSA target with the D-zone removed. Set up at 15 yards, I used a PACT timer to measure my splits, or time between shots. My splits ranged from a low of 0.18 to 0.23 seconds, with the average being 0.20 seconds. This surprised me even more than the Beretta’s accuracy. I am many years removed from USPSA competition, but splits of 0.20 seconds with a 1911 was about as good as I could ever do.
What didn’t surprise me about the Centurion was its legendary Beretta reliability. Not only did it feed, fire, extract and eject every load I put into it, from light handloads to serious self-defense rounds, but it seemed to do it effortlessly.
The disassembly process follows that of M9- and 92-pattern guns. Remove the magazine and clear the chamber. Lock the slide to the rear and push the takedown lever button on the right side of the frame while pushing the takedown lever on the left side of the frame 45 degrees. Depress the slide stop and carefully run the slide and barrel assembly forward and off the frame. Turning the slide over, the recoil spring and steel guide rod can now be removed and the barrel can be lifted from the slide. That’s all there is to it for routine cleaning and maintenance of the 92G Centurion Tactical. Reassembly is in the reverse order.
I’m glad that I’ve had this opportunity to evaluate the Beretta/Wilson Combat 92G Centurion Tactical. Despite my previous prejudices against the M9 and 92 family of guns, this is a pistol that I’d carry anytime, anywhere. It feels good in my hand, has excellent balance and all the accuracy and reliability that a serious pistolero needs. Priced at $1,250, the Centurion impresses me as a lot of gun for the money!
Wilson/Beretta 92G Centurion Tactical Specs
- Caliber: 9mm
- Barrel: 4.3 inches
- OA Length: 7.75 inches
- Weight: 33.2 ounces (empty)
- Grips: VZ G10
- Sights: AmeriGlo Hackathorn front, Battlesight rear
- Action: DA/SA
- Finish: Matte black
- Capacity: 17+1, 20+1
- MSRP: $1,250
Wilson/Beretta 92G Centurion Tactical Performance
|Aguila 115 FMJ||1,205||0.76|
|DoubleTap 77 HP||1,552||0.73|
|Federal Train + Protect 115 VHP||1,205||0.81|
|Hornady 135 Critical Duty FlexLock +P||1,056||0.92|
|Precision Delta 124 JHP||1,116||0.82|
|Sig Sauer 147 V-Crown JHP||1,277||0.84|
|Wilson Combat 115 HAP||1,177||0.78|
|Wilson Combat 135 HBFN||939||0.66|
|Wilson Combat 95 TAC-XP +P||1,130||0.84|
*Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity measured in fps by chronograph and accuracy measured in inches for best five-shot groups at 25 yards.
For more information, visit wilsoncombat.com.
This article was originally published in the March/April 2018 issue of “Combat Handguns” To order a copy, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.
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