By John Crump
John reasons why he went back to the .380 in the Beretta Pico Pistol.
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- It has been a year since I sold my trusty Ruger LCP. I have never been a fan of the .380 ACP round so decided to stick with the 9mm Ruger LC9s then I transitioned to the Glock 43 which was also a 9mm handgun.
I never thought I would go back to a .380 handgun, but then I saw the Beretta Pico.
Some people thought it was ugly, but it was endearing to me. I knew I just had to have it even though it was in a round I really didn’t like.
So for my birthday my wife purchased it for me.
Beretta Pico Pistol
What first drew me to the double action only Beretta Pico was the module design. The serial number is on the fire control unit and not the frame. This makes the fire control unit the actual firearm. It makes switching out the frame very easy. Beretta calls the frame a chassis and they, as well as third party companies, make many different style options that allows you to make the gun your very own.
The replacement chassis comes in the truly ugly yet awesome “ranger green” to pink for the woman in your life. Not only can you change colors of your firearm but you can add a laser. Beretta offers several chassis with integrated lasers. At the time of this article for the chassis with a built in integrated laser it would set you back $99 which is a steal with all things considered.
The Beretta Pico boast the slimmest frame of any .380 pistol currently on the market. This makes the Pico very easy to conceal. I picked up a Garrison Grip leather pocket holster from Amazon. I was able to comfortably carry the gun in my front pocket with the firearm and holster only printing like a wallet.
The Beretta Pico comes with two magazines (see image above). Each of these magazines hold 6 rounds. The first magazine has a flat base. The second magazine has an extension for your bottom finger. I was able to use either magazine with my pocket holster without any issues. I found the magazine with the extension a lot more comfortable to grip. It felt really good in my hand.
With the smaller magazine I could not get a good grip on the gun which was the same issue I had with the Ruger LCP.
One of the things I didn’t like about the Beretta Pico was the magazine release. The the magazine release is on the trigger guard similar to the magazine release on my HK VP9. Unlike my VP9 magazine release which could be easily activated with a single hand, the magazine release on the Pico is almost impossible to use one handed. I don’t think it is lack of practice that made it hard. It is a design flaw. The magazine release is just too small and too tight to be practical.
Another thing I found troublesome was the slide release. It set flush against the gun making it impossible for me to get a good grip on it. Operating the slide release requires two hands. I had to pull back on the side with one hand while pushing down on the side release with my thumb.
Even doing this wasn’t easy because the stiffness of the slide release. Couple this with with the magazine release issue would cause reloading the gun while under pressure to be near impossible.
I dry fired the Beretta twice and I noticed a piece go flying off the Beretta. That piece turned out to be the firing pin. Some guns are not meant to be dry fired without real ammunition or a fake bullet made for dry firing such as the “Snap Caps.”
I called up Beretta and they sent me one free of charge with a warning not to dry fire the gun again. I asked the woman who I was speaking to if anyone else experienced this issue to which she replied that they get the same call everyday.
I looked through the internet for the same issue which I usually will not do so other reviews will not influence my review. In this case I just had to know how much of an issue this has been for other people. It turned out that this was not an isolated incident. Message boards are littered with people with the same exact issue that I experienced.
Shooting the Beretta Pico Pistol
One issue with the LCP was that it wasn’t fun to shoot. The small light frame of the LCP, weighing in at only 9.4oz, caused the recoil to feel like it had much more of a kick than other .380 handguns out on the market. I wanted to see how the Beretta Pico, weighing in at 11.5oz, would handle the recoil since it is at a very similar weight to the LCP.
I headed to Walmart where I picked up two value pack boxes of 100 Winchester 95 grain .380 ACP full metal jacket ammunition and 2 boxes of Winchester 95 grain PDX jacketed hollow point ammunition to try out at the range. This would give me a total of 250 rounds to test out. The first 200 rounds would be the range ammo. The last 50 would be the Winchester PDX JHP since that is what I would be carrying and I wouldn’t feel comfortable carrying anything I didn’t know would work in the Beretta Pico handgun.
I decided to forgo the quick magazine changes since I was having such a hard time with the magazine changes to begin with, without live ammo. I would be testing three things with the Beretta Pico. The first thing would be comfort. If a firearm is not comfortable to shoot then I wouldn’t carry it. The second thing would be accuracy. I need to know I can put rounds on target if I would ever need the gun to defend myself. The third thing I would be testing out is reliability. If a gun doesn’t fire I would rather have no gun at all in situations where I felt I needed to draw a gun.
Beretta boast that the Pico has low recoil, and it did compared to my old LCP. I tried first with the magazine without the pinky extension, and even though the recoil was less than the LCP you could still feel it. It felt slightly more than my Glock 43 which is a 9mm handgun. Where the Beretta really shines is when you shoot it with the magazine with the pinky extension. The recoil felt truly low with that magazine.
The trigger pull was a heavy pull on the Beretta Pico. After my trip to the range I tested the trigger pull and it came in at just over 8 pounds. That is insane for a .380. This is the second generation of the Pico. The first generation of the Pico had an even heavier pull. Beretta said they responded to the feedback of the users after the release of the first generation of the Pico by lightening up the trigger, but it is still extremely heavy. In future editions of the Pico I recommend Beretta lighten the trigger up by at least two or three pounds.
I set the target out to 5 yards. My shot was going slightly to the right. Lucky for me the Beretta Pico comes with adjustable sights. I was able to correct the sights and get the firearm centered on target. I then took the target out to 10 yards and I was still able to hit the target. The sights held zero pretty well. I am confident I would be able to put rounds on target if I had to in a stressful environment.
The third and most important factor is reliability. I ran 250 rounds through the Beretta Pico in a single trip without a single failure. I then took it out on a second trip without cleaning it and ran another 100 rounds through it without a single failure. For all this gun’s shortcomings it is a very reliable handgun.
My final thought is that the Beretta Pico feels like a first generation gun before they get all the bugs worked up. I was disappointed to find out that this is their second generation. The trigger pull is still too heavy, the slide release needs reworked, and the magazine release needs to be totally redesigns. Also the gun’s firing pin should not break after two dry fires. That isn’t to say that the Pico isn’t a fun gun because it is. It just isn’t ready for prime time quite yet.
I would love to hear what others who own this same gun thought and what your experience was in the comments below?
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the history of the patriot movement and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at www.crumpy.com.