The Beretta Pico was a last-minute introduction made at the 2013 NRA Annual Meetings. It was developed for ease of use and concealment, and therefore has a low profile, snag free design that can accommodate either right- or left-handed use. The semi-automatic pistol uses a barrel locking system in conjunction and is double-action, hammer-fired.
The steel sub-chassis is the serialized part number, allowing the grips, sights and caliber to be interchangeable. Drop in barrels allow users to switch between .380 ACP and .32 ACP with minimal effort. The frame, made from a fiberglass-reinforced techno polymer, is available in a variety of colors, depending on the user’s preference, including white, purple, pink, flat dark earth and black.
The Pico will ship with two 6-round magazines one of which will give shooters the option of using a finger extension. The magazines are capable of holding both .380 ACP and .32 ACP ammo so that users may switch between the calibers more easily.
The Beretta Pico fits neatly into the pocket pistol category, and is comparable, even smaller, in size to its competitors. For example, the little handgun is .09” thinner and .06” shorter than the popular Ruger LCP. The frame is smooth and rounded to prevent snagging and to keep corners from printing during carry. The size would make it ideal for a pocket holster, a bra holster, or for those with a smaller frame who have trouble concealing larger compact guns.
The .380 ACP and .32 ACP pairing in the Beretta Pico is a brilliant idea for an easy-to-shoot pocket gun. In this small of a gun, larger calibers such as the popular 9mm Luger would be difficult to control and would require a lot of practice to stay proficient with. The ability to switch easily between calibers also gives shooters the option to decide which they are more comfortable with, for both practice on the range and carry.
The different colored frames are also a nice touch for the Pico, allowing shooters to further personalize the gun to their liking. The interchangeable grips allow shooters to make the comfortable more comfortable for them depending on their preference. This is a great addition to the pocket gun, since often people are looking for different sized grips not only depending on hand size.
Unlike its big brother, the Nano, the Pico has a slide lock lever. The level is flush with the frame, so that it does not extrude from the gun, giving the Pico the same smooth surface that helps make the Nano so concealable, but with the increased functionality of having a slide lock.
Beretta has also done themselves a huge favor by working with manufacturers to make sure accessories will be available when the Pico hits the market. The gun is going to be available, for example, with a LaserMax integrated laser or light, an ideal option for a carry gun. The sights were also made to be easily adjustable or replaceable, so that changes can be made without the help of a gunsmith. Beretta has also teamed up with a variety of holster manufacturers, including DeSantis and Gould & Goodrich, as well as Trijicon, whose night sights can be found on the Pico.
If you don’t like the three-dot set up that comes stock on the Pico, Beretta has a system that is not only easy to swap, but is compatible with multiple other systems. Because they used the quick-changed dovetail system, it will be possible to mount much larger sights than is found on many other pocket pistol. Many of the Pico’s competitors don’t even bother with a legitimate sighting system, so it’s a nice change to see a 3-dot system, much less than one that can easily be swapped out for other systems.
We Don’t Like
Since the Pico is such a new release, it’s hard to say for sure what all the upsides and downsides are. Some concerns have been raised though, as bloggers and other internet media-types begin to express the opinions they had the opportunity to form during their first look at the NRA Annual Meetings.
For some, the Pico is just going to be too small for their hands. It’s a common problem among pocket pistols; the smaller controls can be difficult for those with larger hands to manipulate, and maintaining a good firing grip on the tiny guns can be extremely difficult for some. The flush slide lock lever, for example, is positioned perfectly for carry and makes the gun smooth to prevent printing and reduce the possibility of snagging. However, because of its position it can also be more difficult to manipulate for those with larger hands, that’s the nature of the beast.
There have also been some concerns raised about the gun’s reliability. The truth is it’s impossible to tell without putting rounds down range, but the good news is Beretta has a reputation for building reliable handguns, after all the Beretta M9 is the standard issue sidearm for the US Armed Forces. The .32 and .380 ACP swap out does raise some interesting concerns in this department though, since the only other gun that swaps calibers like this is the Sig Sauer P250, which never really took off in popularity. It will be interesting to see if the little pocket gun can perform equally well with both calibers, or will be best served sticking with the .380 ACP it comes chambered in.
It looks like, on the release of this firearm, Beretta has done a lot to alleviate the concerns and complaints that have arisen from other pocket pistols and some of their own firearms. There are always going to be those who swear off pocket pistols, either due to hand size, since pocket pistols do work better for those with smaller hands, or due to questions about their reliability to stop an attack in a defensive situation. The design of the Pico, however, shows a lot of thought put into use and concealability, Beretta seems to have gone out of their way to try to appeal to as many buyers as they can.
While it’s impossible to make a hard verdict before the gun has even been shot, Beretta seems to have put a lot of thought into solving many of the problems of a pocket gun, and making this gun ideal for concealed carry. It will interesting to see how it preforms, but I have no doubt the inherent concealability of the firearm will sell plenty of them. The smooth edges along with the availability of accessories will make it a great option for those who are looking for a pocket gun.
Originally published in the June 2013 issue of GunUp the Magazine.