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Old January 15, 2013, 11:24 AM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 7,224
...why not look at a beretta 84? 13 rounds of 380 in a mini Beretta 92 package... It is a fine fine gun
While I agree wholeheartedly that it's a fine gun, the 84 is not substantially smaller in any dimension than a double-stack 69-series Smith. A M3913/3914 has nearly the same width and height but is thinner; a CS9 is smaller all the way around.

The single-stack Beretta 85 is comparable to a M3913/M3914 in outside dimensions and should be slightly lighter. (I don't have time to look up the weight specs, but an 84 weighs a few fractions of an ounce less than a M3913, so the thinner 85 should be lighter still.) However, an 85 offers no advantage in capacity, it fires a lower-powered cartridge, it has less aftermarket support, and the slide is substantially harder to operate.

Having fired these guns back to back, I feel qualified to compare them in detail. In the plus column, the 81-series has more traditional frame-mounted down-for-safe safety levers, the BB and earlier variants can be carried cocked and locked, they have less felt recoil (for me at least), and substantially less muzzle flip due to the much lower bore axis. The BB and earlier pistols do, however, lack a positive hammer-blocking decocker; to use the DA mode, the (very small) hammer must be manually thumbed down. Trigger quality goes to the Smith by a hair. The Beretta has a stiffer DA pull weight but the stroke is shorter, and the BB and earlier variants have a half-cock position to lessen the stroke even further. OTOH the SA pull of the Smith has less creep and the reset is shorter and more positive, although pull weight feels roughly equal. Accuracy goes to the Beretta- most shoot almost like a target pistol- but both are more than accurate enough for defensive work. Then there's the issue of mag disconnects; almost every DA/SA S&W has one whereas only a few Berettas do- but they DO exist, I've handled one!
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak

Last edited by carguychris; January 15, 2013 at 11:28 AM. Reason: added info
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