Pietro Beretta is an old name in the gun business with its roots placed firmly in the heart of Italy. The 93R is without a doubt one of its most legendary products, based on its more humble sibling, the 92F. Sporting an extended barrel, a folding front "fore grip", longer magazine and of course - full auto and 3-shot burst capability, the 93R is one of the most versatile machine-pistols on the market today.
KSC of Japan produces 3 versions of the 93R; the 1st Generation, the 2nd Generation, and the Auto-9 version. The 1st generation and the 2nd generation are of essentially the same design with two main differences; the first generation has a heavier slide and the slits on its flash suppressor are of a different shape than that on the 2nd generation. One point of clarification is that KSC made the 1st generation Beretta after it came out with the 2nd generation so hence in the airsoft world, the 1st generation is actually a newer design than the 2nd generation. The Auto-9 version was popularized by the movie Robocop and has an extended barrel that makes it look more like a sub-machine gun. While essentially the same design as the 1st and 2nd generation 93Rs, the Auto-9's look is quite different and its large size really makes it quite bulky to holster like a regular pistol.
The 93R 1st generation was also featured in the movie "Broken Arrow" when John Travolta brandished one as he took aim at a chopper hovering above the train that he was riding on.
Pictured in this review is the 2nd generation 93R. As the photos show, this pistol was designed and assembled with top-notch craftsmanship resulting in an extremely realistic replica. Molded from high quality ABS plastic, the gun feels extremely solid and heavy. Even without the heavy magazine inserted, the gun still feels quite hefty with substantial weight in the front of the gun thanks to the metal folding stock. Metal parts on the 93R are quite abundant, and include the folding stock, disassembly lever, slide catch, firing selector, hammer, safety, magazine, trigger, slide guide rod, magazine release, and that little hole on the bottom of the grip for attaching a security strap. The 1st generation slide also contains a high metallic content and therefore feels like metal as well! Finishing is quite good and the surfaces do not look plastic. All selector switches are quite stiff and add to the sense of sturdiness. One complaint we do have is that the sights are plastic and non-adjustable. Having said that, they are aligned accurately as-is, though it would have been great to have the ability for windage adjustments! Beretta trademarks are clearly inscribed on the slide, with "Made in Italy" clearly emblazoned on the right side.
The imitation wood grips are also quite superb and look convincingly real. Getting back to why the 93R is so unique, you'll notice the firing selector switch above the left grip which has 3 settings; the solid white dot on the top position is for single shot, the middle dual circle is for full-auto mode and setting the switch to the bottom position puts the 93R in 3-shot burst mode. The safety switch comes in the form of a round lever behind the firing selector and pulling it downward to cover the red dot (as shown in the picture to the left) deactivates the trigger. Note that the safety can only be engaged when the hammer is cocked. And unlike the 92F, the 93R's hammer needs to be manually cocked for the first shot as the trigger mechanism is single action. Looking towards the front of the gun you'll notice the large folding front fore grip held in place by a spring mechanism. The action of folding it down is quite crisp and the stock falls into place with a solid thump. The fore grip is not that long and fits nicely into the palm of your hand. Observant readers will notice that the trigger guard is quite large; designed to accommodate the thumb of the hand you use to grab the front grip. Held in that manner, your non-trigger hand actually has a firm grip on the 93R; enough to counter any rise in the barrel owing to the strong blowback.
Loading up the magazine is a little cumbersome as the design is not the pour-in type. A loading tool is included that allows you to load up all 30 BBs into the standard extended magazine. Shorter magazines are also available separately (20 rounds) where the magazine butt ends flush with the bottom of the grip, just like a 92F. We found the shorter magazine more suitable for holstering though 20 rounds goes all too quickly in full-auto mode.
Pulling the slide back and letting go creates a very crisp "claack" thanks to a fairly stiff recoil spring. Doing so chambers the first round and cocks the hammer. Firing the 93R is a blast - in single shot mode, the blowback is crisp and quick though readers should note that the blowback on the 2nd generation 93R is slightly faster than the 1st generation, thanks to the 2nd generation's lighter slide. Adjustable hop-up ensures that the BBs sail straight and far (0.2g BBs recommended) though the adjustment requires that the slide be removed off of the gun before tweaking with a hex-wrench. Accuracy is actually quite good with a +/- 1 inch variance at 18 feet. The stock gun also cranks out an acceptable 240fps using HFC22.
Shooting in 3 shot mode and full auto mode are also quite fulfilling though in stock form, 3 shot mode proved to be more reliable with less cool-down effects. Full auto mode often caused the blowback to gradually slow to a laughable level whereby you're forced to let go of the trigger simply out sympathy for the limping slide. One great thing about the 93R is its ability to take HFC22 right out of the box and that helps a lot - HFC134a was barely able to get past 5 shots in full auto mode before crossing the "embarrassment line". And it goes without saying that as the blowback slows, the BBs gradually start traveling shorter and shorter distances. If realism is important for you, then the blowback action of 3-shot burst and full-auto should really impress you. The kick of the blowback is quite enough to raise the barrel as you shoot, forcing your shots higher on each subsequent shot. It takes a strong hand and firm grip to hold the gun down and even then, it's close to impossible to get the 93R to shoot all 3 shots in the same place. This is best illustrated as you try some target practice and see the shots go up, up and off the page.
While the 93R is great as is, it's a great gun for upgrades as well and we simply could not resist the temptation. What you see in these pictures is actually an upgraded version that's capable of shooting almost 350fps using HFC22. An upgrade kit is available that includes a high flow valve and some other components. As it turned out, the upgrade did wonders for the 93R and pretty much eliminated the cool-down effect. Emptying one entire 30 round magazine in full-auto mode became crisp and purposeful with no hesitation. The extra power also meant a stronger blowback and the slide cycled even faster than before - so fast that it was sometimes hard to focus on the slide as it shuttled back and forth at an amazing speed. Moreover, the gas that escaped from the shell ejection port on each round added immensely to the realism. Even with the hi-flow valve, the magazine was still able to retain enough gas to empty 30 rounds. In short, upgrading the gun increased the fun-factor significantly and it gave the 93R a whole new (meaner) personality!
Disassembling the 93R is a snap (literally) and all you need to do is remove the magazine, and then by pushing a button on the right side of the gun, simultaneously pull the disassembly lever downward. The slide then comes right off as you pull it forward. Once you get to this stage, there are two things I want to bring your attention to. One is the hop-up adjuster located behind the recoil spring on the slide (note small black hole about an inch rear of the recoil spring). The other is a metal switch protruding from the rear right section of the lower frame. This "switch" actually makes contact with the slide and is used to sense when the slide is in full rearward position. From experience and feedback from other airsofters, this piece sometimes wears down on heavily used guns - to a level whereby 3 shot burst mode stops working and becomes full auto. To prevent this from happening, owners should be sure to lubricate the part frequently to prevent excessive wear.
For custom gun buffs, note that you can get a host of accessories for the 93R, including folding stock, scope mount, silencer kit and shorter magazines!
So is the KSC 93R worth owning? In our opinion, a definite "yes" for its power, versatility and overall good looks. The upgrade is worth thinking about if you plan to do lots of skirmishing with your 93R. In our opinion, the 1st generation is probably the preferred version simply for its heavier slide and slightly more metallic finishing.
Pick one up for yourself and see! In stock at the Gas product pages!
We also carry the folding stock and 38 round magazine magazine in our accessories section.
Written by NightOwl
Photos by Wildgoose
May 1, 2000