During the 142nd NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Houston, Texas on May 3, 2013, Beretta announced that a new gun will be shipping this August. Called the Pico it has a lot to offer the senior shooter. It initially comes as a very slim (.71”) Inox slide chambered in 380 acp with a forthcoming .32 acp drop in barrel as an accessory. The chassis of the gun is serialized which is the part that is considered the “gun” by the ATF people. This allows Beretta to offer new frames with built in lights and lasers rather than as add-ons. Lasermax will be offering frame replacement frames with lights and lasers that require no or little tool use. MSRP is $399 for the .380 version of the gun that comes in a zippered bag.
The Pico will ship with two 6 round magazines, one with a flat floor plate and the other with a finger extension so you have a choice on how to configure it. These magazines will hold both .380 and .32 ACP ammo. Like S&W did prior to releasing the Shield, Beretta has already struck deals with several holster makers to produce holsters for the new Pico. Beretta shows two holsters on their website. The first looks like an IWB hybrid holster in black with a belt clip that lists for $39. The other is a typical nylon pocket holsters listed at $35. Unlike most small pocket .380 guns; the Beretta Pico will sport much larger sights than found on other tiny guns. The rear sight can be drifted left and right as it is dovetailed into the slide. Both front and rear sights can be removed and replaced with different sights like the night sights being made by Trijicon for the Pico. The Pico has ambidextrous magazine releases and a slide stop/release that flush to the frame to maintain its thin profile.
Beretta claims that the Pico will have less recoil than typical guns its size and better feeding reliability. They state that the barrel of the Pico only tilts 1.4 degrees when fires and this increases its reliability and dramatically reduces recoil. A Beretta spokesman states that due to this feature, the Pico is actually enjoyable to shoot. Also in the works is ammo being specifically made for this gun by DoubleTap although existing ammo would work just fine.
Of interest to the senior shooters is the modularity of the new Pico. The ability to easily swap barrels to convert the gun from a .380 to .32 can come in handy as we age and a .380 becomes more than we can handle. Could even be used on those days when arthritis is flaring up and you want a milder recoiling caliber. In under a minute you swap out barrels, load your two stock magazines with .32 acp an you are good to go. Since the Pico is a modular gun due to the chassis being the actual “gun”. You can swap out the standard frame for one with a laser in it or one with a light. Do not like owning another black gun? Swap it out for a purple one. Gone are the days when you could have a gun in any color as long as it was black or blue.
If you like night sights you can purchase and install the popular Trijicon replacements. I have not seen the full specs on this gun like it weight but I think we can safely assume that it will be in the 9-10 oz. range of similar guns. For senior citizens the Pico provides an easy to carry modular gun that can be configured to suit the needs of its owner. If your eyes are not what they used to be simply swap out the standard frame for one with a laser built in. Hands hurting today, just replace the .380 barrel for the .32 one and you now have a gun with a lot less recoil. Although the .32/.380 are not the optimum defensive rounds, they sure are better than a sharp stick and a harsh word and more likely to be on you than your big 9mm or .45 back home in your gun safe.
Why would Beretta come out with a small .380 pocket gun after it has been done to death by everyone else who has moved on to small 9mm now? I can only assume that Beretta has found a way to improve and perfect the .380 pocket gun especially in the recoil department. I know many people who carry an LCP or similar and complain that they cannot shoot them well due to the recoil which can feel harsher than a 9mm out of a larger gun. The ability to simply drop in a .32 barrel is also attractive as you can share the gun between husband and wife if one cannot handle a .380 or even if advancing age makes shooting a .380 painful. This is a gun you can keep and not sell when your hands can no longer shoot the .380 or eyesight gets worst.
Although the gun is due out in August 2013, I issue the standard caution about being the first to buy a new model gun. The track record of all gun manufacturers has not been good lately with recalls seeming to be the norm rather than the exception. I try to wait at least 6 months before I buy a new model and that is if the gun has received mostly positive reviews. If the same problems are reported repeatedly I will wait until they are fixed. Having said this, it looks like this will be a viable gun choice for senior citizens made by a well-respected gun manufacture with a reputation for making very good guns.
From the official Beretta website:
“Super thin, ultra conceable, and easy to configure, the Beretta Pico sets a new standard for the micro compact carry pistol. The thinnest .380 auto made…by a millimeter…the snag-free Pico’s slide and frame is a true 18 mm at their widest point. The grip frame, sights, and caliber (go from a .380 to a .32ACP by changing the barrel) are all simple to modify. Extremely soft shooting with a double action trigger, the Pico is easy to control with its smooth, tip-to-parallel, straight line action. the removable, serialized sub-chassis and modular frame feature simple disassembly for easy cleaning and customizing. The chassis can accommodate a Lasermax™ Laser frame and be customized with a selection of colored frames. Even the dovetail quick-change sights can be adjusted or replaced by the user. Light, durable, and easy to draw from concealment, the Pico brings all the reliability and quality of a Beretta to bear on its standing as the leader of a new generation of concealed carry firearms.”