The mouse that roared: The Beretta 21A pocket plinker

Going back to 1952, the Italian firearms firm of P Beretta in Gardone came up with a pocket-sized handgun that proved extremely popular, that gun, the 950 Jetfire is still around in one form or another, to include the hero of our story: the .22LR Model 21A.

Baby Beretta history.

Dubbed the Model 950 Jetfire, this little tip up barreled .25ACP had an 8-shot magazine, used a simple blowback action, and loaded from a tip up barrel. Snappy and compact with a 9.87-ounce weight, the gun was under 5-inches long, which made it just perfect for a pocket or handbag.

Over the past six decades, the 950 was made in a .22 Short Minx, and now comes in the Model 21 Bobcat in either .22LR or .25ACP. The magnum of this series, the .32ACP caliber M3032 Tomcat is the same size but tips the scales at over 14 ounces empty. New models can be had for around $350-$400 while used versions, especially of the older 950-series, can be picked up for closer to $200.

They make great little hide out guns for when you don’t want to (or cant) carry something bigger.

The Beretta series benefits from some 60+ years of research and development and is just about one of the simplest designs you can imagine. I mean have you really worked with a tip-up barrel? Suffice it to say, the little Italian pony is pretty sweet.

The 21A in profile

With its 2.41-inch barrel, the 21A is 4.94-inches overall and weighs just 11.81 ounces. Of the Beretta “Cat” line, only the .22 Short chambered Model 950 Beretta Minx is shorter, and then only by a quarter inch. Using a 7-shot single stack detachable magazine, you have a 8 shot capacity which, when loaded with a nice hot round like a CCI Stinger or Mini-Mag, gives you an ounce of preventative medicine when walking around should you choose to carry such a small gun– or use the 21 as a backup piece.

beretta 22 with zippo and custom knife

Read the rest in my column at Firearms Talk

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