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Beretta M-21
Length overall Barrel Length Weight  Caliber Action Type Magazine Capacity
4.9" 2.5" 9.9 oz. .22L.R. D.A. Semi 7+1
    Great little pistol with a number of "big gun" features not usually found on a pistol of this size and caliber. Most important of these features is the general high quality of manufacture and finish. There is also the exposed hammer, instead of a striker as is generally found in pistols of this type, and the thumb safety like that of the Colt Government .45. The grip is substantial,  which makes the gun pleasant to shoot; it has the magazine release located European style, near the bottom of the butt. The pistol can be fired in single action or double action mode, and can be carried "cocked and locked" like a big .45.
     The M-21 also has some unique features of it's own, like the flip up barrel for loading single rounds, or checking the chamber. This particular model is chambered for the 22 long rifle, rather than the loathsome 25 acp that seems to be the curse of most small pistols. There are 25 acp, and even 22 short versions being produced (Jetfire, and Minx models), but the 22 long rifle is the best caliber of the three.
    An amazing amount of thought and care went into the design and production of this little gun when compared to others of it's ilk. This is the highest quality pocket gun I have ever seen, although the Walther TPH is reputed to be of similar quality. The gun is frighteningly easy to clean. You simply tip up the barrel and pull the slide off of the frame. There is not even a recoil spring to worry about as the slide is driven forward by a captive spring inside of the frame.
     The only criticism of the gun is more a matter of this whole class of guns rather than one of this particular model. Guns of this size are very difficult to shoot with any degree of accuracy. The sights and the guns themselves are just too small for precise shooting. On the other hand, a friend of mine is considering getting this gun for his mother whose fingers are badly twisted by arthritis. She has not got the strength to pull a slide back, but can easily pop up the barrel and load a cartridge, then pull the trigger in double action mode, making this gun a semi-auto alternative to a small revolver. The barrel is flipped up by pressing forward on a release button located just under the slide, on the left side of the frame. This is a convenient way to check for a loaded chamber, or to manually load a single cartridge. 

     This is a part of a whole series of small, "vest pocket" style pistols produced by Beretta. Unlike other manufacturers of little pistols, Beretta actually seems to take these pint sized firearms seriously, and does not consider them to be simply entry level guns, or cheap little pistols for people who do not know any better. Small size, and bantam caliber aside, this is every bit as much a fighting tool as a Colt M1911, or Beretta's own M-92. It is also light, easy to carry, and fun to shoot. Twenty two ammunition is cheap, and is available everywhere. 
    These are such unobtrusive, yet confidence inspiring pistols, that they practically beg to be carried full time, where allowed. Unlike the larger, full sized automatics, or revolvers, or even the compact autos, and snub nosed pistols, the little Beretta requires no thought, preparation, or even a holster. There is an old saying that tells us that the 22 you have with you is better than the 45 you left at home. This little pistol seems to be the embodiment of that saying.


Disassembly is started by tipping the barrel up, using the tip up lever on the left side of the frame.

Once tipped up, the barrel is moved forward, so that it clears the slide.

The slide may then be snapped out of the frame and tipped up.

Once tipped up, the slide is then pulled forward out of the frame.