The Beretta 92 is a series of semi-automatic 9mm pistols designed and manufactured by Beretta of Italy, introduced in 1975.
During the first three films, and two cameos in the next two films, John McClane is armed with a Beretta. In Die Hard (1988), his police-issued sidearm was his Beretta 92F. In Die Hard 2 (1990) and Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), he has a Beretta 92FS as his sidearm. After that, it simply makes appearances in the hands of several henchmen in the fourth and fifth films.
The Beretta pistol is mostly made of metal, and therefore has quite a weight to it, weighing around 33.3 ounces, unlike other polymer-framed pistols, like Glocks. The pistol features a squared crescent-shaped trigger guard for easier aiming, an ambidextrous safety lever located on the slide and an external hammer. The gun's barrel may be the most unique part of the gun, however, as it is exposed, allowing a 180 degree window for a shell to escape, nearly eliminating the possibility of a shell getting jammed in the bolt. The pistol is chambered for 9x19mm parabellum (9mm) rounds in a fifteen round high-capacity magazine. The gun has an effective range of fifty meters and a muzzle velocity of 1,250 feet per second. The blued stainless-steel slide is coated in a corrosion-resistant material called Bruniton.
One of the most interesting and unique features of the Beretta 92 is its exposed barrel, which allows for less of a chance of a jam. Other pistols like the Glock or 1911, have a hidden barrel, cloaked underneath the side, with the ejection port on one side of the gun. This allows for an easy jam. The Beretta 92's exposed barrel allows for easy cooling as well and gives it a futuristic appearance. The Israeli Desert Eagle large caliber pistol also features this exposed slide feature. Both pistols also feature the barrel locked in place, unlike most other pistol barrels, which are not held down and can move very easily. When the slide locks back, the barrel is held in place by a loop on the frame, so it won't move and risk the possibility of falling apart. The exposed and locked barrel is one of the most attractive features about this gun to veteran and beginning shooters.
The 92FS has been tested by the military and has fired 168,000 rounds without a malfunction. The average 92 can fire over 35,000 rounds before the slide stops working properly.
After McClane lands in Los Angeles, another fellow Airplane passenger notices his Beretta, but he calmly assures him that he is a cop. When Hans Gruber and his band of terrorists begin their assault on the Nakatomi hostages, McClane quickly grabs the Beretta out of its holster in the bathroom and uses it throughout the film. The handgun played an essential role in McClane's survival, allowing him to dispatch Marco, Heinrich, Uli, and Eddie. He also uses it to trick Hans
Gruber into revealing his identity, and the Beretta is even used by Karl to shoot McClane in his right shoulder. During the climax, McClane only has 2 bullets left in his Beretta 92F, (Karl has fired about 5 shots, McClane used about the same amount to kill Uli and he also fired a few shots to smash through the window). He tapes the gun to his back, and kills Eddie with a shot to his head, and the last shot to Hans' shoulder. He drops it when he runs to save Holly from being dragged out of a window by a dying Hans Gruber, in which McClane undoes her Rolex watch, making Gruber fall to his death.
While we never see McClane reload his Beretta or bring extra magazines, it is assumed that he swapped the bullets from the numerous MP5's he commandeered since both guns use 9mm ammunition. This is illustrated during the climax when McClane adds the last bullet in his MP5 to his Beretta magazine. McClane also never decocks the gun with the decocking lever, always manually lowering the hammer by pulling the trigger and slowly putting the hammer down with his thumb. The 92F is practically destroyed following the events of Die Hard, as it is dirty from being fired, dragged through water, taped to McClane's bloody, grimy back and dropped a number of times. Yet, it still continued to function, illustrating how reliable these pistols really are.
This time around, John McClane carries a Beretta 92FS as his sidearm instead of the Beretta 92F. It is not known why there was a switch, whether it was from losing the original pretty much destroyed 92F on the 30th floor of the Nakatomi building to save Holly, or because the filmmakers wanted the newer, updated model of the 92F, because the old models were known to have slide failures which resulted in injury and misfires. Or, it could also be that he was issued a new pistol when he switched to the LAPD, as the 92FS is the official sidearm of the LAPD.
In the beginning of the film after McClane enters the Washington D.C's Dulles
Airport, he uses the Beretta to engage in a shootout with two of Col. Stuart's henchmen, Cochrane and Miller, but ends up dropping it on a conveyor belt. The airport police later retrieve it for him. The Beretta sees a lot of use in the shootout in the Annex Skywalk, dispatching all 3 terrorists (O'Reilly, Sheldon and Mulkey) that killed the SWAT team and attempted to kill Barnes. John pulls it out when he attempts to arrest Esperanza. However, Col Stuart and his henchmen arrive, and McClane uses it to open fire on them, and dispatches Thompson and escapes to the plane's cockpit, but not before shooting
Esperanza in the arm twice. John uses it one more time to kill Burke and Garber at the Hidey Lake Community Church, while they were "escaping" Major Grant's militia, only to find out it was staged. After this the pistol goes missing for some unexplained reason, though it is possible McClane lost it in the snow after leaping off the exploding snowmobile. McClane uses the exact same 92FS in Die Hard with a Vengeance, though, so it's entirely possible that McClane retrieved the empty gun and continued to carry it, or just bought a different one, but the filmmakers used the same gun in the films.
During the five year span between Die Hard 2 and Die Hard with a Vengeance, John McClane faces several misfortunes and is in a slump. He is transferred to the NYPD after his stint with the LAPD, his wife Holly Gennero "wants nothing to do with him" and is suspended from the police force. When Simon Gruber, Han Gruber's younger brother emerges and begins his tyrannical plot to bomb several points in New York City, McClane is reinstated and is given back his Beretta 92FS, which was used to combat Col. Stuart and his cohorts way back in 1990. During the elevator scene, McClane utilizes his Beretta and the close quarters to kill the fake police officers that were Simon's men. He also uses it when disguised as an mechanic running an inspection on one of Simon's trucks, killing both of the henchmen in it. The Beretta is also used in the car chase while driving a Mercedes. When
McClane and his newfound partner Zeus Carver board Simon's ship, he's seen wielding the Beretta, ready to fire when needed. He finally gets to use it when he makes it to the cargo bay in which he dispatches one of Targo's soldiers who supposedly was begging him not to shoot in German. After Carver and McClane are captured, the Beretta is destroyed along with the rest of the tanker after the bomb explodes. John later has to resort to using a Smith & Wesson Model 36 snub-nosed revolver when he facing off against Simon Gruber and Katya in their helicopter. In the end, McClane manages to dispatch of both of them by shooting down an electrical wire, causing an explosion which destroys the helicopter they were in.
Although McClane used a Beretta Px4 Storm pistol frequently in Live Free or Die Hard, he didn't even touch a 92, although one was used by a henchman to kill off unneeded terrorists rather than having to pay them.
In this film, McClane's sidearm switched to a SIG-Sauer P220 in .45 ACP that was carried in a similar shoulder holster. It's likely that he switched to the SIG some time after the events of Die Hard with a Vengeance, because his Beretta had been destroyed, and had been carrying it for years as his sidearm. However, the NYPD does not allow .45 ACP sidearms and the SIG-Sauer P220 has never been in use by the NYPD (The SIG-Sauer P226 NYPD model, however, is allowed.
Other variants of the Beretta 92 are also seen as well such as a 92SB, which was used by a security guard briefly during the helicopter ambush scene, and the Beretta 92G Elite 1A, used briefly by Trey to hold on Lucy McClane.
McClane uses a 92FS to quite an extent in the fifth film. Although he doesn't use it as his main sidearm, he doesn't have a sidearm in this film and uses whatever weapon he can get his hands on. McClane is seen firing a 92FS at a gun range, later using it some more in a rage after finding out about his son, Jack's arrest in Russia. McClane is also seen with a 92FS with wood grips in his glove box, meaning that since his retirement from the force and switch of pistols to a SIG-Sauer P220, he has kept his old Beretta 92FS now as his personal sidearm.
- McClane's total kill count with both Beretta pistols is 19. In Die Hard, he used his Beretta to kill 5 people. In Die Hard 2 he used it to kill 6, and in Die Hard with a Vengeance he used it to kill 8.
Beretta 92F Trivia
- Due to Bruce Willis being left handed, the prop gun used in Die Hard was modified by adding on a longer slide release.
- The same gun used was also used by Mel Gibson when he portrayed Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon (1987) but the only difference was that it had gold logo grips of Beretta on the grips, and the slide release was shorter, due to it being a year before production of Die Hard in 1987-1988.
- In the scene where McClane tricks Hans Gruber when Hans disguised himself as "Bill Clay" McClane hands him his Beretta to assist him in fighting the terrorists. He loads an empty magazine while holding the slide release so Hans couldn't see it was empty, or else the slide would rack back, indicating it is out of ammo.
- Its unknown why McClane has a 92FS in the sequels, whether it was meant to stand in for the same gun to go unnoticed, or that he trade up during the two year span between Die Hard and Die Hard 2 for the newer and more improved FS.
- There are several instances in the first film when McClane fires over 15 shots out of his gun. (The Beretta 92F and FS both hold 15 +1 in the chamber.) an example being when John kills Marco under the board meeting table with 16 shots, whereas before he already used two shots killing Heinrich.
- Being McClane's sidearm is somewhat of a mistake since the NYPD didn't use semi-automatic weapons until 1993 and they've never authorized the use of the 92F/FS. Die Hard 2 is the only film where it makes sense since he's working for the LAPD where the Beretta is a common sidearm for police officers.
Beretta 92FS Trivia
- A particular Beretta 92FS, slightly modified with a reversed magazine well to accommodate the left-handed Bruce Willis, appeared in 3 out of the 4 Die Hard films. In 'Die Hard 2' and 'Die Hard with a Vengeance,' it acted as McClane's personal sidearm. In Live Free or Die Hard, the very same pistol had a 'cameo' appearance of sorts in the hands of one of Gabriel's men and being used to eliminate some others who were no longer needed.
- As mentioned before, the Beretta 92F and FS are the same gun, but the FS is much more improved. The 92F had reports of jams and slide failures, actually injuring users, such as U.S military, and Law Enforcement. The slide failures of the M9 pistols (the military version of the 92FS) were actually caused by the 9mm NATO ammo. The army procured ammunition that was loaded with a different powder and resulted in higher pressures then NATO specifications. Because it was the Army's fault Beretta was paid to upgrade the pistols.
- The 92FS used by John McClane in Die Hard 2 and Die Hard with a Vengeance was kept in a unique tanker style holster with two spare magazines, plus the one already loaded in it.
- Unlike it's predecessor, it never contributed to the main antagonists' deaths.
- Miller is briefly seen with a Beretta towards the end of the luggage shootout. This could potentially be McClane's pistol that Miller commandeered after losing his Glock. Otherwise, it's just an odd continuity error.
- Katya is seen shooting a Beretta 92FS at John and Zeus's helicopter. It's not mentioned or suggested but it is possible that this is the same pistol the terrorists confiscated from McClane.
- Ironically McClane uses another Beretta handgun in Live Free or Die Hard, after losing his SIG-Sauer P220. The model used was the Beretta Px4 Storm, picked up from Russo. He used it to pretend to kill Russo and uses it to kill Robinson, Trey and one of Thomas Gabriel's henchmen. Later its used by Matt Farrell to kill Emerson after McClane kills Gabriel with his own gun.
- The Beretta 92FS makes cameo appearances in the latest two Die Hard movies. In Live Free or Die Hard, a terrorist uses the original prop Beretta 92FS to kill the unneeded terrorists, and in A Good Day to Die Hard, John McClane is seen firing a Beretta 92FS at a shooting range.
- There are various other Beretta models that also appear in the latest two Die Hard movies. In Live Free or Die Hard, a Beretta Px4 Storm, a navy Beretta 92SB and a Beretta 92G Elite 1A target pistol make brief appearances. In A Good Day to Die Hard, a subcompact Beretta Px4 Storm makes a brief appearance.
- A similar plot device like this was used in another Bruce Willis movie, Hostage.
- Jack McClane is also seen using one with tan Hogue grips. Although he doesn't use the Beretta to kill villains, it still makes an impact in the film.