Impossible Engineering?

Langdon Tactical Red Dot Beretta 92
1

Mas finds the Langdon treatment comes to his eye faster than any other carry optic combo he’s used.

They said it couldn’t be done … but Ernest Langdon did it.

The firing pin block rises through the top rear of the slide when the trigger is pulled and the Beretta 92 has an open-top slide. How in Hell was anybody going to mount a red dot optic on one of those?

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” it is said. Those old sayings have gotten to be clichés because they’re generally true. The guy who figured out how to get an optical sight on a 92 was Ernest Langdon … and, I suppose, he was the logical guy to do it.

The Langdon mounting solution includes an integral rear sight, ready for a co-witness setup.

Why It Matters

Sitting on my desk is a Langdon RDO LTT Elite Beretta 92 with a Trijicon SRO optic. It represents a confluence of two current trends, one of which Ernest Langdon is largely responsible for. The first is the renaissance of the Beretta 92 pistol, just when everybody thought it was going to be relegated to the military museum. Ernest’s training and particularly his Fear Not the Double Action Shot video series on YouTube reminded America’s shooters the Beretta could be made with a very sweet trigger both double and single action, and had long since proven itself to be one of the most reliable auto pistol platforms in existence.

The other trend is “carry optics”: red dot sights are compact enough to ride in a duty holster, or even serve for concealed carry. The carry optic’s red dot offers advantages. It’s a natural for those whose vision won’t give them a good focus on iron sights. For any user, though, the big advantage is what the military, police and armed citizen sectors found with the same optics on rifles: the aiming index — the dot — is seen by the eye on the same focal plane as the target.

Langdon customs, 20 years apart: LTT RDO above, customized 92G below.

How Langdon Did It

The Langdon Tactical crew explains, “This has been no easy task as the internal workings of the 92 slide have made the ‘proper’ low mounting of a red dot optic impossible. With the design of five new components and a custom mounting plate specific for the Beretta 92, Langdon Tactical can properly low mount a micro red dot optic.

“When we say low, we mean very low: Our system has a dot height above the center of the bore of 0.85" (when paired with a Trijicon RMR), which is as low or lower than most direct milled striker-fired systems.

“A re-engineered firing pin and firing pin block permits the super-secure mounting of an adapter plate that is held in place with three mounting screws, a front dovetail, and a center indexing boss milled into the slide. This plate has a built-in back-up rear sight that mates up with a newly designed front sight for the Elite LTT and other Vertec type slides. The new system is a game-changer for the Beretta 92 owners.

“This RDO package comes with the red dot height front sight that matches the adapter plate built in rear sight pre-installed …”

Mas found the large window of the SRO and low position of the
mount made tracking through recoil easy.

Testing

I picked up my test sample barrel and slide assembly from Ernest and Aimee Langdon in early July 2020, a couple of weeks ahead of the anxiously awaited official announcement. In anticipation of my evaluation, I brought my Langdon Custom Beretta LTT which served as my teaching and personal carry gun for a two-week training tour. This gave me a leg up.

My Langdon RDO is fitted with a Trijicon SRO (Specialized Reflex Optic). These come with dot sizes of 1.5, 2.5, or 5.0 MOA. Mine is the Mama Bear middle road one, the 2.5, and for me it’s “just right.” Battery life is spec’d to be about three years, presuming the unit is adjusted halfway in the middle on the brightness scale.

It was reassuring to find the barrel and slide assembly I picked up from the Langdons, already affixed with the SRO in the Langdon mount, came pre-co-witnessed with the high-profile iron sights, the rear of which was pyramidal and plain black, and the front mounting a big, easy-to-see white dot.

I shot my LTT with its iron sights in early July 2020 at the Firearms Academy of Seattle on a 60-shot qualification course, and finished with a perfect score and about a 5″ group. I shot the same course on my home range after the announcement, with the SRO on top. The score was the same. The group was a little bigger, but I’d had less time behind the SRO than I’d had behind the irons. I didn’t have students watching, but knew I was “shooting in front of 100,000 readers,” and believe me, the stress was greater in the latter shoot.

On the 25-yard line, the Langdon gun with the carry optic routinely gave me six for six on Bianchi Plates within the nine-second limit. That’s better than I was able to average with other guns in 11 times at the Bianchi Cup itself.

Langdon LTT Elite with RDO mount modification. Note how low the red dot sits on the slide.

Swapping slides on a 92-platform pistol is effortless, so ordering the side and
barrel assembly allows quick change between optics-ready and iron-sight configurations.

Something Magical

I’ve been shooting red dot sights on handguns since they came out. I shot an early Tasco ProPoint, then state-of-the art, atop a Cannon/Ayoob Custom compensated 4″ S&W 686 with Jarvis barrel weight at the 10th Bianchi Cup. I found this new combination of the Langdon Beretta and its very low-mounted SRO optic to come to my eye faster than any carry optic and pistol combination I’ve worked with yet.

At this writing, I’ve now had the Langdon RDO Beretta in the hands of six other handgunners. Most of them are match-winning shooters, and all are familiar with red dot sights. They hold several state and regional shooting championships, one or more national titles among them, and two are IDPA Five-Gun Masters. And we all came to a unanimous conclusion.

To a man (and two state champion women) we all found the Langdon Beretta brought the red dot to the eye faster than any other optic combo we had worked with.

Getting the red dot to the eye is the single biggest hurdle to overcome, all the more so for those of us habituated by years or even decades to open iron handgun sights.

I don’t know about you, but I identify with felines on this. You know how hard your pet house cat works to catch the red dot you project with your laser pen/cat toy? Well, I had almost as hard a time “catching the red dot” on carry optics. The Langdon treatment of the SRO on the Beretta seems to cure this.

I’m still trying to determine what it is about this combination that makes it work so well. It may be the SRO sight, with its generously large window, significantly larger than its super-popular predecessor, the Trijicon RMR. It may be the very low-to-the-bore-axis placement of the red dot which Langdon Tactical Technologies rightfully emphasizes on their website. And it might be the Langdon Beretta itself.

If you order one of these, do yourself a favor and get Langdon’s famous action job — it’s famous for a reason! I got my first one about 20 years ago on a stock 92G I had won at a police event. It has since won several IDPA matches for me with the overall top score, and as best as I can remember, three out of four NRA Police Service Pistol matches I’ve shot with it. The current options are better than what we had 20 years ago: My LTT has the NP3 treatment on critical parts, created by the now-retired Robbie Barrkman, that reduces friction and makes the action both smoother and a bit lighter.

The red dot adds minimal carry bulk, shown here with an IPSC-approved Comp-Tac holster.

Bottom Line

This gun ain’t cheap, but it’s more than worth its price. You can buy the whole gun from Langdon Tactical Technology, just the slide, or send your slide in for the work, provided it’s a Vertec style. While you’re at it, I’d urge you to invest in the action job: It darn sure proved its worth to me.

For more info: LangdonTactical.com

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