The Quiet Pocket Jaguar
A Cold War era classic with smooth lines, a legendary back story, and an exotic-sounding name, Beretta’s Model 71 was definitely a mouse that roared.
Debuted in 1958 as a downsized companion pistol line to complement the recently introduced 9mm Beretta M1951, the company’s 70-series guns would span no less than 14 variants and sub-variants before ending production in the mid-1980s.
Using a fixed barrel and open slide – a hallmark of the M1951 that would later carry on to the 92-series pistols of today – the compact 70-series guns were blowback action pistols with a skeletonized bobbed hammer, a frame-mounted manual safety, and a smooth single-action trigger.
Chambered in .380 ACP, .32 ACP, and .22 LR flavors, they proved a hit both domestically in Italy and on the commercial market. While the Model 70 would see a modicum of Italian police use, such as with the CFS – the federal forestry service – it would be the Model 71 that shined the brightest in the series.
Spies and liquidators.
More in my column at Guns.com.