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If you had an M9 Beretta and wanted a .22 understudy, would you rather buy the Ciener conversion for $200, or pop the $300 for the Chiappa dedicated clone/lookalike?

My kid bought himself an M9 just before he left for USAF flight training, and I'm thinking of getting him one or the other as his graduation present.

The $300 whole gun looks at first like a no-brainer, but we have no experience with Chiappa and their durability, service, parts, etc.

OTOH, we have four Ciener units between us (1911 and P35) and they work great. Beretta parts for the bottom half should be available for years, and with more than 25K rounds through one of my units (maybe two of them), I have good faith in the Ciener's reliability and longevity. And of course, the converted M9 will have exactly the same grip feel and trigger pull.

Any other thoughts that would sway the debate one way or the other?
 

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This issue of the American Rifleman has a full test report of the Chiappa version.
They seemed to like it after some problems until they got it broken in.
Their major complaint seemed to be an easily scratched off finish.

Sights and some other parts are plastic, major parts are Zamac cast zinc.
 

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I thought JA Ciener managed to get himself thrown in jail for fraud; is he still in business?

His kits are first rate, I've never had a complaint. But he's the worst kind of person to do business with; I would never knowingly give him my business.

So based on principle, I'd go with the Chiappa.
 

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I thought JA Ciener managed to get himself thrown in jail for fraud; is he still in business?

His kits are first rate, I've never had a complaint. But he's the worst kind of person to do business with; I would never knowingly give him my business.

So based on principle, I'd go with the Chiappa.
He was in trouble with FTC for nondelivery, I believe. He's still in bidness. Now, as I understand it, you send him your order and your check and if he has what you want in stock, it ships. If he doesn't have it in stock, he returns your check immediately and you can try your luck again later. For that reason, I'd prefer to buy from a third-party vendor such as Brownell's.

Other than having to wait something like four months for his (very early) Browning P35 conversion to ship (in 2004), I've never had any trouble with him. I've sent in my order with a nice letter saying how much I've enjoyed the several products of his that I own, and about 3 weeks later, my thing arrives. But maybe I've been lucky.
 

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I think his products are first rate, I've never had any problem with them at all. The conversion units are downright accurate and they function perfectly. But he's a first rate jerk, always has been. I wouldn't trust him with my money, that's for sure. Now if you can find one of his units that you can buy from someone other than him, I'd snap it up in a second. just know if you ever have problems or need parts, you're on your own. I've never heard of anyone getting parts out of him.
 

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I think his products are first rate, I've never had any problem with them at all. The conversion units are downright accurate and they function perfectly. But he's a first rate jerk, always has been. I wouldn't trust him with my money, that's for sure. Now if you can find one of his units that you can buy from someone other than him, I'd snap it up in a second. just know if you ever have problems or need parts, you're on your own. I've never heard of anyone getting parts out of him.
Agree completely. "Customer service" is a phrase that just has no meaning down there, apparently.

When I was calling on a weekly basis about my P35, usually the phone wouldn't be answered at all, and once it was answered very rudely and I was gotten rid of quickly. The last time I called I'm pretty sure I spoke with Ciener himself, who was also pretty rude until I mentioned that I already owned one of his 1911 units and loved it, and then he asked my name and said "Hold on a second." Then I heard a bunch of papers rustling, like he was looking up my original order in the file, and when he came back on he said, "I'll see that this ships for you within a week." And darned if he didn't. So, apparently, being a repeat customer means something to him. The two more times after that I ordered from him I wrote a nice letter telling him what products I already owned and loved and in both cases I had my order inside 30 days--in one case, just before Christmas, too!
 
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