I was really looking for a tiny .380 for use as a backup/alternate carry. But they are all straight-blowback handguns, and I've tried enough of them to know that they are vey uncomfortable for me to shoot. If I dread shooting it on the range, the results would be even worse out on the street.
So I decided if I was going to go small, I'd go tiny, but get something that I could use with confidence. And there was this barely-used Beretta whispering "take me". I bought it yesterday, and went back today to try it on the range, along with my Sig P229. This time I had enough trigger time (without hypothermia) to test eight different brands of ammo in each, so while I didn't set any accuracy records, I did learn which each one preferred.
I was a bit surprised that this Beretta is marked "made in USA", but then again, it could not be imported into this country under GCA68. Since Beretta makes the US M9 here, it probably wasn't much to make the major components here, and just import the small parts from Italy.
Without actually holding it, it's hard to tell how tiny it is, or how hard it is to get a grip on the slide serrations to put a round into the chamber. So instead, Beretta invented a tip-up barrel that you load with one round after inserting the loaded magazine.
Also, because the barrel is exposed, there is no way to put a recoil spring over it. And the frame underneath is is very shallow, and is filled by the slide. Where exactly did Beretta put the recoil spring?
There's a "recoil arm" on each side that is spring-loaded, and catches a small cutout in the bottom of the slide. When gas pressure forces the empty case back (there is no extractor, the empty is just blown out of the barrel) the recoil arms pivot, providing both a rearward and downward spring pressure. This spring pressure is pretty stiff, more so than if just a single spring had to work horizontally. Another reason why the slide is so hard, even for me, to retract while cocking the hammer at the same time.
Despite all of this, recoil is quite mild, along the lines of the more massive Sig P229. As far as accuracy goes, I was able to keep all the rounds on the paper (and mostly in the black) at the standard gun-fighting range of 7 yards. I didn't press my luck at a longer range.
Aside from a spare magazine, I bought a DeSantis "nemesis" pocket holster. This is definitely a pocket pistol, and needs a holster to keep it positioned while preventing print-through.
The holster is semi-sticky, while still allowing a bit of movement if needed. I'm also getting another model that's even stickier, to see which works better. I can see reasons behind both. The gun itself is double-action, but the thumb latch on the rear of the slide is a safety, and not a decocker. It will lock the weapon in either single or double action mode. I'm not a fan of this, so I'll be using this in DA mode for the first shot. This is not one handgun I'd carry "cocked and locked", and would have preferred it DAO. Still, I like it, but I need to spend lots more time with it, just like the others.
So I started out despairing of finding any sort of .380 holdout that I would be satisfied with, and wound up with a little gem that will do everything I ask of it, and is fun and pleasant to shoot, too. My aunt's Beretta Jaguar remains a fine "kit gun", but this little C21A is still the perfect nerd's pocket protector.
Nice Beretta, you planning on shooting Std velocity or full bore Stingers etal?
Gunshop/range had a lot of tire kicking going on. They had just bought a large collection of Smith and Wessons, numbers that I can recal include 14, 15, 18, 27, 28, 29, 36, 37, 38, and full set of stainless ones as well. No flat out bargains but a long time since I’ve seen that many for sale at one shop for a reasonable amount of money. Head scratching time, again.