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Forgotten Weapons
February 25, 2019

South Africa's Berettas: The Vektor Z88 and SP1

From Forgotten Weapons on Monday, February 25th, 2019 in Pistols, Handguns, & Videos

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In the 1980s, the South African military and police were using substantial numbers of different handguns, and began looking for a way to consolidate to simply maintenance and logistics. Studying the different guns they had, they decided to pursue a copy of the Beretta Model 92. No foreign manufacturer was willing to undertake production for them because of the international sanctions then in force against South Africa, so instead Musgrave and Lyttelton Engineering opted to reverse engineer the gun and produce them domestically. A batch of 20 Berettas were used in a remarkable program which successfully recreated a full technical data package for the pistol, and production was begun by Vektor under the designation Z88. Aside from changes to markings and grip panels, the Z88 was a faithful and parts-interchangeable copy of the M92.
Beretta was not happy about this, of course, but attempts to bring a lawsuit against Vektor were equally stalled by the sanctions, which prevented South Africans form traveling internationally. Eventually, a settlement was negotiated to allow Vektor to produce the Z88 for use within South Africa (but not for export). Shortly thereafter the sanctions were lifted, and Vektor decided to modify the gun enough to give it a new name and offer it for export (and domestic) sale.
This new pistol was the SP1, and it changed the profile of the Beretta, replaced the distinctive open slide with a fully enclosed (and simpler to machine) slide, and replaced the slide mounted decocker with a frame mounted manual safety. These were produced and marketed in several variations (compact, service, target, and competition) in 9mm and also as the SP2 in .40 S&W. Production of both ceased in 1998, when Vektor shut down all small arms production.
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50 Comments on "South Africa's Berettas: The Vektor Z88 and SP1":

eli oliver Wednesday, March 13th, 2019
It looks like a p226 body kit for an m9
Julian Monday, March 11th, 2019
It's surprising how many ZA weapons appear here.. It almost makes me feel proud, but then I remember it's South Africa.
Ray S Saturday, March 9th, 2019
Doesn't Val kilmer have a vektor in kiss kiss bang bang? Does anyone here think Ian looks a little like Val before Val got old and chunk and turned into Mark Twain?
Brazen Bull Thursday, March 7th, 2019
After seeing several different African firearms. I'm quite intrigued by them. They all have a distinct look about them that seem unique to the region
James Peterson Wednesday, March 6th, 2019
Hi, FWIan!
were wally Wednesday, March 6th, 2019
Pretty sure they misspelled "license". Oops.
Not Socrazy Tuesday, March 5th, 2019
So it's not only China who copy's ...
Michael Meyer-Palmer Monday, March 4th, 2019
I have an SP1-Target and an SP2 the 10mm version. They are very reliable and very accurate.
Leroy Viviers Monday, March 4th, 2019
I edc my z88... Very good pistol
antony raison Monday, March 4th, 2019
this is south african's for you we gotta We can Do attitude and often do it with a pocket knife if we must
Hamza Shukri Monday, March 4th, 2019
The SP1 has a nice scifi-ish aesthetic to it.
Ruger parabellum Saturday, March 2nd, 2019
Copy llama m82
kubrick8002 Friday, March 1st, 2019
The SP1 - it's like a Beretta, only Jet Li proof.
Michael Treu Friday, March 1st, 2019
Love me some smooth Beretta! That sp1 has nice features.
cstarr3 Friday, March 1st, 2019
If you can find one, could you do a video on the Vektor CP1?
Hubert Cumberdale Thursday, February 28th, 2019
Is it just me or does it look a bit sci-fi?
PỺO's MƎᴻTɐʟ MƎʟTdowɴs Thursday, February 28th, 2019
I watched the movie Dredd (2012) with Karl Urban the other day after I watched this video and to my surprise I recognized a Vektor SP1 in the movie. One of the two stupid kids that wanted to shoot Dredd was holding one.
Dan Fisher Thursday, February 28th, 2019
I was sad when you died on The Walking Dead
Daniel Cook Thursday, February 28th, 2019
Why was there an embargo on South Africa in the first place? Apartheid?
Soh Kwong Hwee Thursday, February 28th, 2019
You know, the SP1 is looking very futuristic. Like something off "Blade Runner" or "Total Recall".
pena2020 Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
TORILLE. RK-62 mainittu
Miikka Välimäki Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
That SP1 is really nice looking pistol.
Travis Cahoon Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
honestly that slide looks cool af
Nico Cortes Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
This is some next level fake it till you make it
Anderson Andrighi Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
This tale reminded me of Taurus in the 1980's that had a very similar fallout with Beretta. Because Brazil had much better relations internationaly than South África, Taurus still manufactures Beretta 92 with a different codename, PT 92
DaedalusProps Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
I want an SP1...
Jason Armstrong Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
I’m trying to imagine what a samurai edge version of the SP1 would look like
aidan cupit Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
Thank you gun Jesus
Daniel Nicklas V Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
13:26This is what all decentralized aiming video sharing platform startups should do. We only need one video sharing platform, and it has to be really good together with being very pro free speech.
Jaconek Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
Despite the arms embargo, South Africa had military contacts with a number of countries, inclusing Israel, Taiwan, France, Germany and Italy during the seventies and eighties. The story I heard was that Italy sold Model 92 guns to South Africa, despite the embargo. When Beretta won the contract for the US Army in 1985, they immediately realized that contravention of the arms embargo against South Africa could cost them the US contract and they immediately and quietly sold a production licence to the South Africans, and supplied the technical package to make production possible. The tale of an illegally reverse engineered pistol was solely for public consumption. The SP1 was developed, as Ian noted, to enable the South Africans to export the pistol as the licence agreement with Beretta forbade export.
S Aurelius Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
Even more proof the slide mounted decocker/safety is stupid.
Mateo Gruszynski Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
IAn whats ur skincare routine???
Søren TF Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
I used to own a TQ stamped Z88, in the late 90'sIt was my first semi automatic 9mm and a very well made and accurate pistol. I can confirm that parts were fully interchangeable between the Z88 and the 92F. I used both Baretta grips and a hammer, to make mine look just like a 92F (those were the days when the 92F was made famous by both the "Die Hard" and the "Lethal Weapon" franchises... So looks were important)Quite a few og the Z88 and even more SP1 pistols were imported to Denmark, for sporting/target use.I've even shot the smaller CP1 polymer framed Vektor. The CP1 however was not as ergonomic or comfortable to shoot as the Z88 and the SP1. All well made though.
Rambo 919 Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
Dude, we built tanks out of tractors.... this should not be a big surprise.
Кирилл Горин Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
This story is awesome. Almost feel sorry for Beretta.
Ian Farquharson Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
This is great to see after you always saying how hard it is to reverse engineer a gun. Are there any other success story? Great vid as always. ThankQ. TkEZ》UK
Rob Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
Still think the 92fs knockoff looks much better, Maybe its because of the sheer number of movies its been in.
velvet Brick Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
Enjoy ur review & Neat firearms 🤠
Don Valentino Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
Corey Gilbert Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
The SP1 is gorgeous.
Thys van Zyl Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
Those were (and still are) excellent pistols. In the early '90s the SP series was quite popular with the IPSC crowd. Lots of SP2s for those wanting to shoot major. Both the SP1 and SP2 are bricks though, better get a good gunbelt if you are going to carry one of those. Good memories
Dire Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
SA: Let us build your pistols!Beretta: No waySA: We weren't asking.
bonnome2 Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
Could you try to get your hands on a VSS or an AS val?I know they are really rare but there are some people that were able to.
SloppyStock Animation Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
Beretta: Hey, hold up you can't do that!Vektor: meh
wht02lightning Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
I own a 92s and an M9A3. Tell me what by the **** I want one of these after watching this video? Damn you Ian. Between you and my C&R license I’m going to be broke!
MumrikDK Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
Lifesizepotato did a video on his two SP1s, including a fancy version.
crazyfvck Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
The General's Model is an awesome looking gun :)
PerfectTangent Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
Don't forget the Vektor CP1!
Only4wotb HWQCB Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
That's really good looking gun
thermodelicious NA Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
9 Rhodesians down voted this video.
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