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Old August 15, 2019, 08:54 AM   #1
scoobysnacker
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So, who here has jumped on the Beretta 81?

I bought one yesterday from Classic, as soon as my friend texted me ($209 + s/h).
And I mean, AS SOON- he sent me the link, I looked, and placed an order before I responded to him
I see that AIM started this wave, the day before, with similar priced.

Before this, the 81 has been scarce and pricey. I've seen the .380's around, and in heavily used shape they were pretty reasonable, but the .32's have been very hard to find- until now.

I bought fast despite being tight on gun-funds, because this particular gun checked a ton of my boxes;
  • price well under $300
  • Brand I admire and want
  • caliber I currently stock
  • both an attractive design, and still a functional piece

I have enough firearms to serve my purposes, it's completely for desire now, not need. I look at the $300 range, and when it dips below, I end up having to decide why not, instead of why.

I have long admired the 8x series, but have held off, because they tend to be more than the stated price range, and I didn't want a .380 (I have a small group of 9x18's and stock that, I feel .380 is redundant, too much overlap to justify the cost of buying more calibers. Same reason I stick to 9x19 and leave the 40's alone.).

As for functional- I know people will poo-poo the .32 acp. That's fine, I have shot some and it's been reliable in my case. Cost- I have been watching it since I have some older .32's, and have been able to get some at basically 9mm price- at or under $10 a box. So no more expensive than shooting my 9's. And this pistol, with a 12 rd mag, does not leave me feeling undergunned. If 12 rds of 32 can't do the job, I doubt 9 or 45 (my other current options) will be of more use.
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Old August 15, 2019, 03:15 PM   #2
Dain Bramage
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Me too. Similar story. I've been turned on to Beretta since I got a Model 71 and a 92S, and liked them both very much. Ran across a gorgeous brand new Model 81 at an LGS, but they have it priced north of $800. I could never justify the purchase. So, I jumped at this chance from AIM, even though I've been getting on my wife about credit card charges. Guess I'll be gingerly walking back my big mouth.

Got an email saying my select grade 81 shipped today. This will be my first foray in Washington state's new 10 day waiting period for handguns and semi-auto rifles, so we'll see how it goes. Courtesy for having a CCL is long gone.
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Old August 15, 2019, 04:41 PM   #3
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I did, ordered one from AIM. I have a weird thing for 32 ACP pistols. No clue why but I end up with more and more of them.
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Old August 15, 2019, 08:49 PM   #4
libiglou
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Damn I want this gun bad and its at a great price to boot. My problem is here in NY 12 round mags are a no no. Anybody know were I can get a 10 round mag?
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Old August 16, 2019, 04:22 AM   #5
Trooper Joe
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My model 81

That is a great deal on a model 81. Thinking of ordering an extra one for myself.

Here is a photo of mine I picked up several years ago. I think I paid $500 which was sort of high but I had never seen one before.



Saw it a a dealer and went home. When I was doing some internet research on it that night, I saw where Beretta was blowing out some new magazines for this model. Order 4 magazines and went back the next day and bought the gun.

That's it, I am ordering a select model now.

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Old August 16, 2019, 07:31 AM   #6
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I bought one from DK Firearms yesterday. They have a good supply and ship for free. This is a very good deal for anyone wishing to have a classic Beretta.

Most have the black plastic grips but I was able to find one with the smooth wood grips. The gun is in excellent condition showing very little wear. Bluing is beautiful, poorly represented by my photo. Code date, AF, is 1980. Was told these are trade-ins from the Italian prison system. Imported by PW Arms. I paid $239. DK ship for free. https://dkfirearms.com/
These guns are marked "model 81" with no letter.


Last edited by PSP; August 16, 2019 at 07:36 AM.
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Old August 16, 2019, 08:38 AM   #7
jar
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Quote:
Damn I want this gun bad and its at a great price to boot. My problem is here in NY 12 round mags are a no no. Anybody know were I can get a 10 round mag?
It's a double stack. You need the 82 not the 81. Or a 1935 or a model 70 or ...
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Old August 16, 2019, 04:34 PM   #8
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Yep just ordered one. Not sure why
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Old August 16, 2019, 07:18 PM   #9
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Yep I ordered one as well from Classic, for $209 I just cant say no. I already have an 81(from 1979) I found years ago but its in much rougher shape (I was just happy to find one). I also have a few 84's, there is just something about the little 8X series that I really like and never feel under gunned when carrying one. I plan on these being his and hers when were old and cant shoot anything else lol. I kind of have a thing for 32's.....
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Old August 17, 2019, 07:58 AM   #10
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I ordered a hand select from Classic. I'm looking forward to shooting the little gem.
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Old August 17, 2019, 09:01 AM   #11
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I had to order one even though I already have an 81. At these prices it was certainly worth it even if just as a spare. Plus the pictures actually look better than what I have and a friend has been bugging me for mine.
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Old August 19, 2019, 06:44 PM   #12
Metric
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Thanks for posting this, really. Easy decision for me. I may go back for a 2nd helping, if the first one lives up to expectations.

I have a pretty substantial pistol collection, but this will be my first da/sa pistol purchase since the 1990's. I haven't been a fan of the da/sa transition, but the nice thing about these Berettas is that the 1911-style safety means you can stay in sa-mode forever and completely ignore the da aspect of the gun, if you are so inclined. Something no longer possible on the newer FS models with a decocker built into the safety.

Also, these were made during a real golden age of Beretta's quality. Slide action on the Berettas I've felt from this era is usually similar to something like a Sig P-210. Something special and really, really hard to replicate on today's plastic pistols.

I also prefer .32 over .380 in a blowback pistol like this. 9mm has completely replaced .380 in my shooting, but I do have some .32's kicking around -- they fill a certain shootability gap between .22 and 9mm. I'm hoping to be able to run this 81 at ludicrous speed.

And of course the wonderful thing is that the barrier to entry is so low. The last new 81's at Buds were going for $700, I think. The gap in price between plastic and all-metal pistols is getting harder and harder to ignore, with time. This is the next-best thing to a giveaway. At least it seems that way, right now.

One thing -- those plastic grips will have to go. Thinking Altamont in rosewood -- any opinions on how these fit and feel?

Last edited by Metric; August 19, 2019 at 07:05 PM.
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Old August 20, 2019, 07:59 AM   #13
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Well mine came in and it is better than expected. Gave it a SPA Day then took it to the range. Honestly it really appeared to be almost unfired internally. Outside in good shape with a few signs of carry, particularly on the sharp edges. Definitely a good decision and my friend is also happy with my old one.
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Old August 20, 2019, 09:08 AM   #14
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Jar, you get yours from Classic or AIM?
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Old August 20, 2019, 12:12 PM   #15
jar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodak1858 View Post
Jar, you get yours from Classic or AIM?
Actually from DK Firearms.
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Old August 20, 2019, 02:15 PM   #16
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I thought about it, they look like they're in great condition. But I dont own any other .32 pistols and I'm shooting plenty 9mm out of my 92FS for cheap as it is.
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Old August 20, 2019, 04:25 PM   #17
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I love the Cheetah pistols,,,
If I didn't already own an 85BB and an 87,,,
I would get me one of those 81's just to own one.

Aarond

.
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Old August 20, 2019, 06:19 PM   #18
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Metric said "the 1911-style safety means you can stay in sa-mode forever and completely ignore the da aspect of the gun"

This is not true with the 81 I already own (1979era), the safety will not engage with the hammer in condition 1, cocked. I also will check the new one once it arrives.

Now if the surplus Gods would just send down a pallet of mags for these we would be set. A new one from Beretta at 48.50 a pop is a bit steep.
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Old August 20, 2019, 07:14 PM   #19
jar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smee78 View Post
Metric said "the 1911-style safety means you can stay in sa-mode forever and completely ignore the da aspect of the gun"

This is not true with the 81 I already own (1979era), the safety will not engage with the hammer in condition 1, cocked. I also will check the new one once it arrives.

Now if the surplus Gods would just send down a pallet of mags for these we would be set. A new one from Beretta at 48.50 a pop is a bit steep.
Yes, you can engage the safety with the hammer cocked and carry it as though it were a 1935 or Model 70.
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Old August 20, 2019, 11:58 PM   #20
scoobysnacker
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Mine came in from Classic, I'm quite pleased.
This wasn't a hand select, just a random order

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
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Old August 21, 2019, 05:44 AM   #21
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Very nice.
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Old August 21, 2019, 08:08 AM   #22
jar
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My New-To-Me Beretta 81.


When I took the picture I noticed that someone had scratched "DAR" in the slide. Didn't notice that during my SPA Day or when cleaning after the range trip but it definitely showed up in the pictures. It's minor and I may try to touch it up or just fall back on Wabi Sabi.

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Old August 21, 2019, 12:28 PM   #23
Metric
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Very nice indeed. After pondering a bit, seeing the condition of these, and having a look at "normal" prices on GB, I ordered a second one -- hand select. With some nice grips, I anticipate my wife is going to want one. She is a good shot, but very recoil/blast sensitive and currently opts to have a full-frame .22 nearby, over any of the very nice 9mm's she's tried.

Quick question -- do these have a mag safety? Pretty sure the FS version does, but no idea about these pre-B's.
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Old August 21, 2019, 01:30 PM   #24
jar
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Quick question -- do these have a mag safety? Pretty sure the FS version does, but no idea about these pre-B's.
No mag safety. No firing pin block.
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Old August 21, 2019, 01:47 PM   #25
Metric
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No mag safety. No firing pin block.
Excellent. Mag safeties really bug me -- a conspiracy of lawyers to ruin triggers and interfere with my dry fire practice to the maximum possible extent.
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