Tag Archives: Italian Steel
I scrapped plans to buy a classy Czech rifle to buy this:
A Benelli MR1. I have wanted an EBR for a while but the AR platform is not my thing, the SCAR is silly expensive, and most other EBRs do nothing at all for me. Add in the fact that I like wood, steel, history, and oddities and the plastic fantastics are put on the back burner in my priorities.
When my favorite weapons maker (Beretta) decides to take a wildly successful shotgun (Benelli’s wonderful M4) and turn it into a carbine that feeds from STANAGs, my curiosity piques. When the Benelli-made version pops up at a very reasonable price, I am willing to buy the wonky thing on the spot.
If it wasn’t official long ago, it is now; I am a Beretta fan-boy. Meet my new Moschetto da Cavalleria model 91:
This particular specimen rolled out of the Beretta plant in 1935, fascist year XIII. It is chambered for 6.5x52mm ammunition bearing a 160 grain bullet, bears an army acceptance stamp, the bayonet latch is of the pull-tab variety, it has the adjustable rear sight, is in excellent condition, and the previous owner did a very nice job of rubbing some BLO into the wood.
The rear adjustable sight blade clicks forward into a cutout in the upper handguard to leave the battle-sight unobstructed. Not many people know this, and the store assumed that the sight cut-out was a random hack-job by a previous owner for some obscene reason. This misunderstanding caused the rifle to be labled and priced as a cut-stock sporter, when it was actually a beautiful bone-stock example of Italian craftsmanship.
I have always thought the model 91 cavalry carbine to be a beautiful weapon and have desired one for years. To find one in almost new condition, priced as a junker, non-import-marked, and made by Beretta is about as perfect as I could have ever imagined. I’ve passed over rough examples and over-priced carbines, the patience was worth it. All that remains is for the ammunition and en-bloc clips to hurry up and get here so I can shoot this fine old war horse.
While out picking up a Valentine’s day present for my increasingly well-armed wife, this little bugger caught my eye. Okay, fine, it was already on hold for me and I went to get it as well as the present. Anyway…
The cute little thing above is a Beretta 84 BB Cheetah. It is a simple alloy framed, blow-back, double-stack 13 +1 round 380 ACP with a DA/SA system sans decocker, but with a 1911 style safety. The sights are dot over half-moon like an M9, the trigger is serrated and very nice. No Bruniton here, only bluing. Take-down is identical to a 92 series weapon with the lever on the opposite side. The bore is pristine. On the inside of the dustcover, there are very consistent machining marks in a spiral pattern. In the right light, they are almost mesmerizing.
As I waited for my background check to clear, I rooted through the box-o-used holsters and came across a Done Hume H721 Double Nine open-topped holster molded for a “31BDA.” It fits the little 80 series like a glove, which is good because I really like the Double Nine holsters. The holster looks to have had a weapon inserted all of once with no other wear whatsoever. My guess is that the original owner ordered it for a squared trigger-guard FS style Cheetah and dumped it when it didn’t fit. Works for me, I got it cheap. I also grabbed a 13-round magazine for a Browning BDA from the used mag bin.
At the range the 84 proved to have a nice trigger-pull comparable to a Vz. 82, actually an identical size as well. The sights are tossing Blazer Brass a bit high for me, but it could just be me getting used to the half-moon sights that I have never used before, or the ammo. At any rate, the little bugger is very accurate and keeps a nice tight grouping. Recoil is decidedly sharp with very little muzzle rise, and a good loud report. When drawing from the little pancake holster, the safety will almost always un-safe itself when my thumb falls naturally to leather. If my draw-stroke is a little different, the safety stays on. Funky, but very intuitive, even for me. Speaking of the way it rides in a holster; it is comfortable and compact enough that you could almost forget you were carrying it.
Would I recommend this as a carry piece for someone? You bet. It may be the same size and capacity as a G23, but it feels great in the hand, feels more slender, and 14 rounds of 9×17 is nothing to sneeze at. I’ll stick with my G23, but I wouldn’t whine if the medium-framed Beretta was all I had.
Hey look, numbers:
- Loaded Weight (full mag plus one in chamber) -One pound, thirteen ounces. Reload – 8 oz. Holster – 3 oz.
- Compare to a Beretta 96 w/ 13-round magazine. Loaded – Two pounds, eight ounces. Reload – 11 oz.
- And some pocket pistols.
- Little bugger sure feels light, but it is surprising how heavy it actually is.
My grandfather served most of WWII as a truck driver in Uncle Sam’s Army. He came home healthy, married a beautiful woman, had a family, raved about the beauty of Italy, and never said much about his service in the war itself until he died.
I bought this Beretta 1934 today to remind myself of one of the greatest men to ever grace God’s green earth.
The outer finish isn’t the best, so I got this thing for a steal, but the bore and mechanics are perfect. It has all of the fascist markings: XX for manufacture tewnty years into fascist control, 1942 that is and RE for acceptance and issue by the Italian Army. It shoots great.
Thank you for everything grandpa; I know you weren’t much for guns, but I wish you were still around to fire this thing.