Like other world powers in the 1980s, South Africa adopted the Italian Beretta Model 92 semi-automatic pistol as its standard weapon. It was built locally due to the UN arms embargo against South Africa, and was the same size as the Type 92, but the gun had the same form and function as its Italian counterpart. Production of these weapons began in 1989 under the designation "Z-88". In the early 1990s, an improved form was sought and it was decided to further develop the Z-88, mainly to expand the cartridge support and magazine count.
The resulting design was introduced into the Vector SP ("Service Pistol") line in 1992.
SP comes in two different main models, referred to simply as "SP1" and "SP2". The SP model comes with the ubiquitous 9x19mm Parabellum pistol cartridge, while the latter uses .40 S&W - the amount of ammo in different magazines varies, 15 rounds in 9mm form and .40 S&W form. Both models retain their short recoil operation using Double Action (DA) triggers. The frame is sturdy and fits nicely in the hand on the full-size model, with a more compact shape later added for portability. Iron sights are standard and are fitted with a tritium light assembly for an effective range of up to 160 feet.
The hammer is exposed at the rear of the frame, and the safety gear is ambidextrous. Of particular note is the removal of the slotted slide from the Beretta Model 92 seen in the Z-88 - instead, the SP's slide now completely covers the barrel assembly.
In addition to being accepted by the South African military, the SP series pistols have been adopted by Malaysia and Singapore. The arms company is also said to be producing in the Philippines.
- Close Combat (CQB) / Personal Protection
210 mm (8.27 in)
118 mm (4.65 in)
2.12 lb (0.96 kg)
Before and after ironing.
semi-automatic; double acting; short recoil
1,150 ft/s (351 m/s)
164 ft (50 m; 55 yd)
SP - Base Series Name
SP1 - For 9x19mm Parabellum; 15 rounds magazine count.
SP1 "General's Pistol" - a compact version of the SP1
SP2 - For .40 black and white; 11 rounds magazine count.
SP2 "General's Pistol" - a compact version of the SP2