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  #1  
Old 03-18-2010, 03:01 PM
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Default Beretta double action .22 pocket pistol?

A friend recently bought a small Beretta 21A .22Lr and was showing it to me and at first glance I could think of no good use for the gun, but the more I looked at it, I became intrigued. For defense a tiny polymer .380 would be better, but the little Beretta looked like it might be fun to plink with or use to shoot close range pests if it had decent accuracy. I've never been a big fan of .22 rimfires but ammo is getting so high, they are about the only thing I can afford to shoot in quantity. The trigger wasn't great but I'm pretty successful at slicking them up, and the grip is big enough to hold on to, so if the gun was accurate I might have use for it. Does anyone have any feedback on these guns.
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Old 03-18-2010, 03:17 PM
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I have had one for years. It is somewhat ammo sensitive so you have to figure out what works. Mine hated some old CCI Stingers I had in the ammo collection. It worked well with some other high velocity CCI loads.

I shot it as far out as 25 yards, but most practiced at around 10 meters.
I have carried it in an ankle holster a few times as a backup to my Smith J frame.
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Old 03-18-2010, 03:21 PM
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i too have had one for years...a nice little gun that is dependable and for what it is..quite accurate
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Old 03-18-2010, 03:28 PM
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I have one that I most often keep in my pocket while walking around the farm. It's good for pests and whatnot. The sights are horrible but can be made useful without a lot of trouble by using a small file and bright nail polish. I put CTC laser grips on mine. Mine is reasonably accurate out to 15 yards.

It's ammo sensitive so find out what works well.

Mine is strictly a pest gun. I carry a large revolver for self defense and bears.

I also like the double action first shot capability. I don't worry about it in my pocket as much.

It's a fun little gun to shoot.
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Old 03-18-2010, 03:49 PM
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I had a Model 21 .22 LR and a Minx, (.22 short). As the gents stated the 21's are very ammo sensitive and the 21 I had jammed like crazy until I found the right ammo, (and a reliable magazine). I sold it off though and kept the Minx.

The little Minx will shoot about anything I load it up with. It's also very accurate for such a tiny pistol.

The 21 is a nice little pocket pistol and all the little Beretta pocket .22's seem to be pretty accurate. They're well built and will serve you well. I also love the tip up barrels.
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:31 PM
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I carried one in .25acp as a BUG back in the day (which then became a Beretta 3032 in .32acp and then a S&W 642 in .38spl). It was okay, went bang when I pulled the trigger and all. I can think of a lot of guns that would make better plinkers however. And IIRC the price is pretty steep for what you get, something like $290 or so. Taurus also makes one that is very similar but much less expensive. It is one of the few Tauri I don't hear complaints about.
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:42 PM
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I worked peripherally on both the trial and appeal of a case in which one of these little guns (a Beretta 21a in .22 LR) was used to kill two people. Here are some facts on the episode as set forth in the New Mexico Supreme Court's opinion in State v. Coffin, 1999-NMSC-038, 8, 128 N.M. 192, 991 P.2d 477:

Doctor Julia Goodin, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsies on both Martinezes, testified at trial concerning their gunshot wounds. Chris Martinez, Sr. received two gunshot wounds, one on the left side of the head near the ear, traveling slightly front to back and left to right and lodging at the base of the skull and brain. The second gunshot wound was in the left chest area near the armpit, traveling right to left. Mr. Martinez, Sr. had a blood alcohol level of .269 percent. Chris Martinez, Jr. received four gunshot wounds: one to the left side of the jaw traveling slightly left to right and back to front, exiting through the chin; a second behind the left ear, traveling left to right and back to front, lodging in the base of the skull; a third just below the latter gunshot behind the left ear, with a similar trajectory; and, finally, a fourth in the lower middle of the back, traveling left to right and back to front, hitting the spine. Mr. Martinez, Jr. had a blood alcohol level of .156 percent.

Witnesses reported the Martinez men were behaving aggressively before being shot. Id. at 5, 6. Another witness said both Martinez men dropped to the ground immediately upon being shot. Id. at 7.



Obviously, some folks will stop when they're shot with anything, anywhere. But to assure a stop with a handgun (based on what I've seen in the cases that I've worked on), a person needs to put a bullet (any size seems to work) into either the brain/spinal cord or the heart/aorta. (Even though heart/aorta shots don't necessarily stop a person from moving around or put him down instantly, I've never yet seen a case where a person shot thusly continued aggressive action - and the heart/aorta shot comes up a lot in these cases.)

Accordingly, my perception and belief is that to effect a stop with a handgun, precise shot placement and adequate penetration are necessary. Bullet diameter is not a necessary, it's gravy. Same with kinetic energy.

The .22 in little guns is not my first choice for defensive use, by any means, though it certainly worked in the Coffin case. I own this 21a and have carried it for defensive purposes a few times - I carry it with 40-grain solids at about 880 fps (I love the Aguila 60-gr SSS rounds for penetration from a longer barrel, but they're just so slow out of my 21a that I have real doubts about their usefulness from this gun). Here's the concern that keeps me from the faster, lighter bullets: from the .22 and .25 killings that I've seen, adequacy of penetration is sort of the iffy bit. Low-mass rounds moving slowly are easily deflected (or even stopped) by all sorts of things. I really prefer a bit more mass in my bullet - and a bit more velocity, too. Because of the fat grip (as you note), the 21a is quite fun to shoot and is decently accurate - I find it to be a bit less accurate than a J-frame for me. It's no tack-driver by any means - my Ruger LCP is notably more accurate.

If one thinks to use one of these for defensive purposes, be one would be wise to sure that he is capable of hitting the vitals accurately (Grey's Anatomy is available online for free study) with adequately penetrative rounds.



Here are some sample velocities from my gun's 2 3/8" pop-up barrel. Range 5950' above sea level, 75% humidity, 69-75 F.

Winchester Super X Super Speed RN 40-gr plated round nose
M 811.3/ES 46.8/SD 20.89

CCI SGB (Small Game Bullet) 40-gr LFP
M 841.2/ES 67.1/SD 22.79

CCI Blazer 40-gr RNL
M 830.1/ES 143.7/SD 51.41

PMC Zapper 40-gr PRNL (red box)
M 797.5/ES 101.2/SD 52.84

PMC Zapper 40-gr PRNL (orange box)
M 847.7/ES 98.76/SD 38.74

CCI Velocitor (new) 40-gr PHP
M 852.2/ES 71.41/SD 28.14

Aguila SSS 60-gr RNL
M 606.0/ES 47.34/SD 21.07

Aguila Super Colibri 20-gr lead truncated cone
M 494.4/ES 19.74/SD 8.18

CCI Stinger 32-gr PHP
M 1004/ES 86.16/SD 38.45

Aguila Interceptor 40-gr PFP
M 931.8/ES 155.2/SD 55.79

CCI Mini-Mag 40-gr PRN
M 879.9/ES 16.60/SD 7.07

Federal Champion bulk 36-gr PHP
M 928.1/ES 105.9/SD 38.96

CCI Mini-Mag 36-gr PHP
M 848.1/ES 71.00/SD 27.87

Aguila .22 Super Extra 40-gr PRN
M 836.1/ES 68.87/SD 29.42




And don't forget about the Beretta 87!


Last edited by Erich; 03-18-2010 at 04:46 PM.
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  #8  
Old 03-18-2010, 05:58 PM
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I'm with Erich, I too have carried the 21 A's for many , many years, and had at least 6 of them, ( they always buy them out from under me...) and every one was very accurate,like they say, "once you found the 22 ammo it liked to digest...) at 21 feet ( 7 yards) I could put all 7 shots in the size of a playing card ( about the size of the human heart.......) need I say MORE
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Old 03-18-2010, 06:04 PM
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Eric, great report! thnx, kalei
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Old 03-18-2010, 07:36 PM
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Thanks, Kalei. I should note that my accuracy experience is about like dant's - I can certainly put all the shots into a coffee saucer at 10 yards. Better ammo yields better groups. It's not a target gun, though - I've yet to see a functioning Ruger Mk II that won't put ten shots into a single hole with the right ammo.
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Old 03-18-2010, 07:37 PM
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Erich-

Thanks for the velocity readings. Have you done any for the .25?

I have to ask: what is the wine?

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Old 03-18-2010, 09:17 PM
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Texas Star,

It should be an Italian red.
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Old 03-18-2010, 11:26 PM
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Is that a mafia cheese board?
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  #14  
Old 03-19-2010, 05:57 AM
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yes...and the knife cracked it........
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Old 03-19-2010, 07:17 AM
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I've got a 21a in stainless. I gotta find some black plastic grips for it.
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  #16  
Old 03-19-2010, 07:44 AM
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I bought one for my wife to use because you don't have to pull the slide back to chamber a round. (push a lever and the barrel tips up, put bullet in barrel push barrel down and it is read to shoot) Another advantage for women is that it has very low recoil. At close range, it is easy to place shots in a vital area. Because it is automatic the shooter can get shots off rapidly. A larger caliber would be better, but a 22 in the head or heart will ruin someone day.
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:34 AM
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T-star, I can't remember what sort of Barolo it was - here's a better pic. Haven't chrono'd .25s out of a 21a and haven't chrono'd them out of a 950 BS since '89, IIRC.

JcMack, there are usually factory black plastic 21a stocks available on GB - the wood ones that you have are more desirable for most folks. There are also aftermarket black plastic stocks you can find by Pearce.

Sip, as a fellow ginzo, you ought to be able to identify what else is on the cutting board:

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Old 03-19-2010, 11:53 AM
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I have looked at the 21A's, and at the Taurus bobcat - They Sure look identical - Taurus about 40% less. I wonder if they have the same inclination towards ammo?
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:57 AM
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FWIW, I continually read of functioning issues with the Taurus copies - but have no personal experience with the breed.
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Old 03-20-2010, 07:12 PM
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I've carried one for years in a pocket holster. Can't add much. They are ammo sensitive, safety with hammer down, tip up barrel makes it safe and quick to load. I practice mostly at 7-10 yds and it will put them pretty close together at that range. Sights are almost nonextistant and up close muscle memory is a better system. Or just look down the top of the slide.
I like it because it is light, good performer with right ammo and although the 22 is not a first rate stopper, I have seen it excel in several cases. One shot stops to the head, 2 shot stop to the heart. And the little pill will penetrate amazingly well. Speaking of the model that shoots shorts, my brother carries one and on a lark I was shooting at his metal silhouettes at 35 yards and ringing them and then shot at a piece of 2x4 about 8 inches long and hit it and ROLLED it at 35 yards. I was impressed. Beretta makes nice stuff but with this model, get the right ammo and shoot the **** out of it to break it in and 100% reliable.
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:55 AM
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I had a 21A and still have the single action 950 in .22 short (one of the rarer ones with an extended barrel). My particular 21A was in .22LR and I would not suggest one as a carry gun. It was not reliable enough with any ammunition that I tried to truly trust, though was a fun little gun to shoot. Mine worked with bulk pack cheap ammo as well as anything. I shot mine extensively.

The gun as no ejector, it relies only on blowback to clear empties. Thus the standard clearance drills for getting rid of a jam are useless. It is also a problem when you get a split casing or dud which often happens with .22 ammo. I'd rather have one .25 if I had to have one, since the .25 ACP goes bang more reliably (I don't like my life hanging in the balance on the vagaries of rimfire ammunition ignition). If for some reason I had to have a small .22LR handgun, I'd find a 317 of early (prelock) vintage and enjoy the 8 more or less for sure rounds of .22 on board it.

My wife actually carries a Lorcin .25 in a Hello Kitty thing meant to carry a Nintendo DS. It is no more troublesome than my old Beretta .22.
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:28 AM
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I have a taurus pt 22 that is similar I got back years ago. It also worked for me. Others not so much I hear. I have killed ground squirrels at 3o yards witnessed although that was many years back with more practice and better eyes 10 shots is a good amount.

I use it mostly for training when a woman or older person can not rack a slide on a semi but wants to try one. Being able to insert a round in the chamber as easy as it is on these guns is a help to some.

While not my first choice I also would not feel unarmed if I had only my pt22 or a berretta 21 for that matter.
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:29 PM
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I have one, and as others have stated they are ammo sensitive. Mine seems to require HV, but not Hyper velocity. Every year when our winter bullseye is finished several of us have a "Jennings" match. We called it that as most of us were shooting the little Jennings pocket .22's. We shoot a 50' B3 T&R target, 30 shots, any way you want (supported, leaning against the wall , 2 hands, etc.) I traded my Jennings off a few years ago on the Beretta 21A, and it shoots just about as well as the Jennings did. We all can usually hold all shots on the B3 target at 50', and the best I have shot was 237 out of 300 possible. It's hardly a target gun, but is accurate enough for what it's designed for.
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Old 03-21-2010, 02:42 PM
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Nice design with the exception of crumby sights. The pop-up barrel and safety design makes it a better pocket pistol than many. That said, I've had two and neither fed reliably. Tried everything and every ammo I could find and still couldn't get acceptable reliability. When I researched, I found that my issue was not uncommon and that the matte finished guns seemed more susceptible to these problems. I preffer and carry a 2-3" .22 revolver now.
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Old 03-21-2010, 02:53 PM
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You don't need to conjure up a bunch of justifications with this crew, just purchase the thing already and post some pictures.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:38 PM
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Have you looked at a Walther TPH? I have one, and I like it more than the Beretta.
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:05 PM
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I never found the American .22 TPHs to be all that reliable . . . but I've only shot maybe three total.
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Old 03-21-2010, 10:51 PM
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Dog-gone-it!!!
Now you guys have me hankerin' for a 3", 950 Minx! or
I'm not sure!?!?
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:11 AM
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I will blame this thread for my recent purchase of a 3" M950 in .22 short. Now, even though these are tiny little pocket pistols, I'd like to find a nice tiny little holster to put it in. Anyone out there with suggestions on a good little leather holster for a 3" M950 Minx? Thanks!
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:34 AM
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I am surprised no one has mentioned S&W 61s - I know they're not the tip-up barrel type however it is are small pocket pistol of the PT22 Bobcat type.
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erich View Post
I never found the American .22 TPHs to be all that reliable . . . but I've only shot maybe three total.
My Interarms stainless TPh .22 does not fail with Remington Golden bullet .22s, and shoots them into a group about half the size of any other cartridge. It's the only one I have ever fired, so couldn't say more than that.

As to the 21A, I have one but do not put it in the same class with the TPh. Of course, it doesn't cost what a TPh does, either. But, still, it is a nicely made little gun, compared to a PT22.

Erich, your switchblade is very similar to one my 15-y/o son purchased a few months ago while attending a gun show with me. He has been showing it around to various people (those who he believes will not over-react ). The best line to date came from a one of my friends who told him he should have bought three of them - "...one for the teacher, one for principal, and one to keep at home."

Fortunately for me, he's a good lad and I think the risk is small that he will go astray. Hopefully he will still have the thing when he's your age.

I'll show him your picture and lament about another (ex-) Hoosier boy gone bad.
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:11 PM
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It seems strange that you see some of the little Berettas in .22 short with the extended barrel, but you don't see that in the .22 LR guns.
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Old 03-26-2010, 03:27 PM
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"It seems strange that you see some of the little Berettas in .22 short with the extended barrel, but you don't see that in the .22 LR guns. "

I've got both the standard & long barrel 950's in .22 short. Was disappointed to find out they never made a long barrel version of the .25 acp either.

I'd like to have collected long and short barrel versions in all three calibers.

My little 950's have been surprisingly dependable with a wide range of .22 short ammo. Amazing for such a short, stubby rimmed cartidge and no extractor. If you take your time, they are pretty accurate even with the vestigal sights.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:16 PM
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I collect the little Berettas and have over 40 currently. I carry a model 21A in 25 ACP in my vehicle and it doubles as my CCW pistol. Easy to use, easy to unload (I have 2 grade school kids) and a 25 ACP hollow point will do a lot of damage at CCW defense distances.
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Old 09-09-2010, 01:34 AM
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I carried a Beretta 21 for several years while working as a Security Guard. It was completely reliable for years, until one cold winter day when it just quit working properly. I sold it to a friend who had it up and running quickly...but only with 31 grain Federal hp's..!?!
I have a Smith 2213 .22lr that is spot on accurate, reliable and only a bit larger than the 21a. Find ya one of those! You won't be sorry!
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Old 06-06-2011, 02:36 PM
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Is i possible to get an ambidextrous safety on the Beretta 21?

I am a lefty and getting more and more P.O.ed at manufacturers ignoring 15% of the market.

Some time ago I started getting rid of most guns that were not ambidextrous. Right now I have a S&W M&P which I love, A Sig P250 which I like and a Ruger LCP

I still have a Springfield XDM and a Ruger Mrk III both of which I use for competition but neither are ambidextrous..

Now, here is my problem. Actually several of them so bear with me till I get to the biggie!

1. I am an old Pharte.

2. I took up active shooting just 4 years ago.
3. I am very interested in Concealed carry and even help teach classes.
4. I am not a particularly good competitive shooter. In some 200 events I placed first once and I'm the first to admit that was luck.
5. I wear hearing aids.
6.. I do much better both in accuracy and speed shooting with a .22 placing in the top 3 on occasion.

I tuned stupid about a month a go and went to the firing range withou my hearing protectors. Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!

I didn't even notice it until I had fired 7 or 8 rounds of 9 mm. Totally screwed up my hearing. The doctor says I might get some recovery within 3 months. I see some improvement in the month since.

Of course I will never forget my hearing protectors again on the range, BUT, I have no doubt that if I had to use a center fire in a life or death situation it would leave me all but deaf, and maybe totally deaf.

So I am thinking about a .22 for concealed carry, at least until I see how much my hearing improves, if any.

I've kind of narrowed it down to a Beretta A 21 or a Walther P .22, maybe both. Acctuaally I have owned both in the past. The Beretta 21 before I ever got active and the Walther the first year I got active. At that ime my carry pistol was a Kahr PM 9. I hadd to send it in to have some work done and actually the Walther fit in the same holster and I did carry it for a couple of weeks.

I like the Beretta, but with the left side safety it's no good for SD. The Walther is a real possibility, but it is not really a pocket pistol.

I don't want another debate on caliber, I know bigger is better but I think I can place .22s in a playing card sizes at 21 feet quicker and more accurately than with my 9's.

My questions:

Can I get an ambidextrous safety for the Beretta?

Is there some .22 ambidextrous gun you can recommend?

Thanks you!

Last edited by Puppy; 06-06-2011 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 06-06-2011, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Is i possible to get an ambidextrous safety on the Beretta 21?
No. I'm a southpaw, and I had mine apart many a time.

Quote:
Is there some .22 ambidextrous gun you can recommend?
You bet. The Beretta 87.


Last edited by Erich; 06-06-2011 at 09:49 PM. Reason: To add photo
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Old 06-07-2011, 01:03 AM
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Don't know about the Barolo, but in my refrigerator (in Texas),I've got a lot of St Clair Chardonnay, wonderful stuff. In fact, after writing this, I may just have to break out a bottle.

At the St Clair Bistro in Albuquerque, the lady said if you visit the winery, (in Deming, I believe), they will fill whatever container you bring with you. I flashed on driving in with a truck pulling one of those 350 gallon GI water trailers; walking into the office and saying "Fill 'er up".
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Old 06-07-2011, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Erich View Post
T-star, I can't remember what sort of Barolo it was - here's a better pic. Haven't chrono'd .25s out of a 21a and haven't chrono'd them out of a 950 BS since '89, IIRC.

JcMack, there are usually factory black plastic 21a stocks available on GB - the wood ones that you have are more desirable for most folks. There are also aftermarket black plastic stocks you can find by Pearce.

Sip, as a fellow ginzo, you ought to be able to identify what else is on the cutting board:



Erich-

Well, the brand (bottler) is on the label, but if it's a Barolo, that's mainly what I wanted to know. Thanks.

T-Star
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Old 06-07-2011, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by R Cubed View Post
I am surprised no one has mentioned S&W 61s - I know they're not the tip-up barrel type however it is are small pocket pistol of the PT22 Bobcat type.

They weren't made for long, felt bad in my hand, and had a terrible reputation. I think the design owed a lot to the Belgian Bayard or Clement.
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Firearms & Knives - Other Brands Thread, Beretta double action .22 pocket pistol? in General Topics; A friend recently bought a small Beretta 21A .22Lr and was showing it to me and at first glance I ...
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