The Beretta Pico

A Sensible, Slender .380

The slide lock/release is on the left. J.B. found it easier to pull the slide back to chamber a round, rather than try to use the release.

When you pick it up, the first thing you notice is it’s extremely flat and thin. The official thickness figure is 0.725″ — skinny! For decimally-challenged readers, that’s about 11/16″. The slide latch and magazine catch have minimal protrusion, and with the DA-only trigger, there’s no manual safety.

The other dimensions are also small. I haven’t done an actual comparison, but in the field of little .380 pistols, it may be the champion. Dropped into a pocket or an inside-the-belt holster, it just seems to disappear. With an empty weight of 11.5 ounces, it is also comfortable for all-day carrying.

As mentioned above, there’s an external latch holding the slide open after the last shot. An angled shelf on it gives some traction for moving it down, but it’s easier to just pull the slide back a little and let it go. For the low-profile of the latch, it’s worth the extra effort.

That little slotted screw is the first step of the take-down process.

An Interesting Catch

The magazine catch is a push-down lever at the lower rear of the trigger guard. This type has one big advantage over the old-style push-button — it can’t be inadvertently depressed by a tight holster and body movement. On the other hand, I found its small side tabs were difficult to operate with thumb or trigger finger.

Okay, I’ll admit my particular finger and thumb have been around for slightly more than eight decades. So, for those who might share my problem, there’s an easy way to manage the magazine eject routine. Just grasp the tabs with thumb and finger letting the magazine eject into the palm.

Speaking of the magazine, it holds six rounds, and the Pico comes with a spare with an extended floorplate with a finger rest. No increase in capacity, but a much better hold. A little less concealability, of course. You decide which is more important. As for the general hold factor, the polymer grip-frame has a very comfortable shape.

The takedown is simple and easy. The bits look just like the same
series of parts from a bigger pistol — but tiny!

An easier way to operate the unique magazine catch is to simply pull down the tabs and catch the mag in your palm.

That Good Grip

For a .380 pistol of this size, weight and “thin-ness”, that good grip is a definite asset. It can be snappy. The fully-locked falling-barrel system also helps, along with the concentric double recoil springs. Even with those springs, though, I had no difficulty operating the slide. The trigger pull is also a bit stiff, but it’s smooth and quick. This is no target gun so a vigorous trigger adds to the safety quotient.

If you pull the trigger slowly, there’s a hesitation-point allowing you to “stage” it for careful aiming. Yeah, I know, the “experts” all advise against this, but I’ve been doing it for many years with DA pistols and it seems to work fine. And, it means you can more effectively use the good, square-picture sights with three white dots. The rear one is laterally adjustable in its dovetail, by the way.

On my pistol, I didn’t have to loosen the little Allen screw and move it. At seven yards, standing, two-hand hold, the Pico delivered well-centered groups that easily stayed in the 8″ black of Champion Visitor targets. I shot fairly quickly, as you might with such a pistol in a close-in situation, and it was easy to control. Ammo was from CorBon, Black Hills and Winchester, with some +P hollowpoints tossed in the mix. The little Pico ran just fine, in spite of the fact these little .380’s of all makes tend to be problem children at times. But hey, it’s a Beretta!

The Pico comes in a nice padded zipper case,
with pockets for the pistol and spare mag.

Taking It Down

The designers made the after-shooting takedown easy. On the right side of the frame, just below the ejection port, there’s what appears to be a screw with a wide slot. That’s the takedown latch. Remove the magazine and turn the latch counter-clockwise (left) so the slot goes from vertical to horizontal. Move the slide assembly off forward, and take out the recoil spring unit and barrel. That’s it.

The Pico comes in a padded nylon zipper case having elastic internal pockets for the pistol and spare magazine. The owner’s manual is one of the best and most comprehensive I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a few. And, you get all this at a suggested retail price of around $400. You might have to wait a bit, as Beretta is in the process of moving away from oppressive Maryland gun laws to the hills of Tennessee, but in this case, patience will be duly rewarded!

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