Beretta has a long history of building fine semi-auto handguns, going back through both world wars. The company itself has been around basically since the advent of firearms. It began producing early gun barrels for the Arsenal of Venice in way back in 1526.
Just to put that in context, that same year the Spanish ship Santiago reached the Pacific coast of Mexico, which was the first time anyone had ever navigated from Europe to the west coast of North America. Later that year, the first complete printed translation of the New Testament of the Bible into English arrived in England from Germany after being printed in Worms.
Bartolomeo Beretta, who founded the company, his son Jacomo and his grandson Giovannino all became master gun barrel makers, and the company continues to manufacture guns to this day, making it the oldest firearms manufacturer in the world, as well as one of the oldest corporations.
Beretta didn't get into the handgun business for almost 390 years until it produced the Model 1915 in its titular year. By the end of WWII, Beretta was making 4,000 Model 1915 pistols a month.
For the next few decades, Beretta was mostly known in the handgun world for the 1915 and for its compact “European” style pistols—until 1975, when it introduced the now iconic Beretta Model 92 in 9mm, which went on to become the most widely used semi-auto pistol by law enforcement agencies and militaries around the world.