I recently upgraded from a Taurus PT 24/7 OSS|DS to a Beretta M96 Centurion, and so far, I'm really feeling the better buy. While the polymer frame of the Taurus is essentially rust-proof (still have to watch out for the springs...), and packed with all sorts of nice features like the rail, the thumb-friendly memory channels/dishes, agreeable trigger pull and such, it is still better suited for smaller hands, and the slide on the Taurus bugged me. Yes, the throat cleaned up real nice, the integrated lock is pretty cool, and in the course of about 300 or so rounds, I did have a couple jams--(better than expected). Yeah, it's field-strip friendly too, almost too simple even...but the DA|SA action and the internal striker both kind of piss me off. If its decocked, I do not like not being able to switch back to SA if I need it, and it seems the torque from the rifling makes the recoil on the Taurus un-lefty(/weak-hand)-friendly. The cocking indicator on the back of the gun seems really awkward; if they're going to put something on the back of the gun I ought to pay attention to, it should be a hammer--WAY more useful. This gun is really only well-balanced when the mag is full, too...which is disappointing, especially during trickier one-arm shots. All things considered, the cons about the Taurus are outnumbered by the pros, but all in all, they score badly next to the pros by the life-or-death severity issues that I feel I'll probably end up having to contend with in real situations. If the USSOCOM JCP project did actually get completed, I could reasonably see the 24/7 not winning the contract.
(Not to mention, whoever/whatever put the sights on my Taurus skewed the rear one with a right-facing twist, and put the front one on backwards...)
So, yes, I traded for the Beretta M96. I mean, it's been around since before dirt, and well...so far, so good. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the underdog and all about subculture, but hey...it's a good gun. I like the way the slide hangs from the barrel instead of enclosing it--better ejection, better barrel cooling, less dead weight. I L O V E the way it grips...may not be able to shoot anything else as comfortably ever again (even with the longer trigger pull). The half-cock notch is interesting, but the application for this isn't really apparent yet (if I want to be cocked+locked, I'll just pull all the way back...?). The magazines cycle alot more cleanly through the Beretta than the Taurus (better jump, cleaner lock), the fixed takedown pin makes for much more reasonable field-stripping too, but I'm a little daunted by the shorter barrel, and potentially by the lack of a rail on the frame. Part of the reason I'd bought such an established, proliferate and "tried-and-true" service pistol was that I figured parts & enhancements would be easy enough to find, but it seems like there's little if any aftermarket following, and nearly no support from Beretta on this piece. I can't imagine they'd be embarrassed by it, so are they just that confident in it?
The Taurus kind of spoiled me with the 15+1 arrangement, and I'd like to find the same in M96 magazines. I may want to mount a light once the mountables get better about battery drain, too...so it'd be nice to mount a picatinny rail so I can clamp a light onto the Centurion frame someday. I don't know about you, but unitaskers kind of piss me off, so a flashlight holder w/remote trigger butt cap would probably be preferred over a fixed light (or laser/light combo) that has a strobe or momentary feature. (It's still a gun-light, whereas in the other case, I can still carry the light with or without the gun.) I was really curious about a target slide&barrel assembly...something to the tune of a 6" barrel or so.
Basically, here's the list of my issues/questions:
1) Anybody found a reliable source for hi-cap mags in the M96 .40 S+W flavor?
2) Does anyone know of a custom slide manufacturer for the M96?
3) I've seen some of those bolt-on picatinny rail frame adapters for other pistols...they look like you have to drill screw holes. Does anyone have experience with these?
4) Has anyone found a simpler (but reliable) solution than #3 for mounting a light to an M96?
5) Oh, and...anybody have any interesting M96 stories to share?