I Didn’t Want To Do It, I Didn’t Want To Do It…

… but, Beretta Nano, you made me love you.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed, today was range day, and I rented a Beretta Nano. Actually, that’s not 100% correct: the Nano wasn’t a rental. No, I haven’t purchased one myself (sadly). A very good friend of mine bought one over the weekend, and we met up at the range today to break it in.

Now the Beretta Nano has been another one of those guns that I just did not want to like. But unlike, say, Glocks, my reasons for not wanting to like the Nano were rational. First and foremost, with the flush-fit magazine installed it’s only possible to get two fingers on the grip, whereas I much prefer a full three-fingered grip. Secondly, it lacks an external slide release lever. The slide still locks open on the last round, there’s just no way external lever to release the slide or lock it back. I rack the slide when I reload, but I use the lever to lock the slide back to verify that a pistol is clear when I’m taking it out our putting it away. Also, it looks very top-heavy and unwieldy. Plus it’s ugly. Yeah, I’m reaching here, I know.

Anywho, my first experience with the Nano was a few weeks ago. It wasn’t intentional: I’d gone to the range planning to rent a Ruger LC9. I did, but quickly regretted it after the first magazine. Recoil was, shall we say, stout, and rather painful as well. So much so that after less than half a box of ammo, I was done. But since I still had rental ammo left over, I decided to swap the LC9 for another gun. And since my buddy had asked if I had any experience with the Nano, I switched it with the LC9. And to my surprise, I liked it. A lot more than I thought I would. But I didn’t add it to my list of possible CCW pieces for two reasons: I’d put less than a box of ammo through it, and the rental came with only an 8-round extended mag, not the flush-fit six rounder. So I really couldn’t put the gun through its paces or see how it handled “stock.”

Flash forward to today.

As I said, my friend’s Nano is brand new. It came with both a six-round flush-fit magazine and an eight-round extended magazine, and my friend had purchased a second eight-round magazine separately. Between the two of us, we put roughly 150 rounds through the gun. And wouldn’t you know it, the Nano won me over. The gun felt almost perfectly balanced even with the six round magazine installed. And despite the two-finger grip, the Nano was very, very controllable. Recoil was noticeable, but not punishing at all. And yes, that’s also with the six-round magazine. The trigger was… good. I’m of the opinion that hammer-fired guns have better triggers than striker fired guns. But that said, the Nano does have a very good trigger. Relatively-short pull, weight is constant with no stacking, surprise breaking point, and it felt a lot lighter than it probably was. The trigger pull was a little gritty, but I’ll chalk that up to the gun being brand-spanking new. This was literally the first time the gun had been fired since it left the factory.

Unfortunately, our test run was not 100% smooth sailing. We experienced a small handful of failures to extract. They all occurred when we were using the same eight-round magazine, though we’re not sure if it was the one that came with the gun or the one he bought separately, they all occurred with Winchester USA 115-grain FMJ Value Pack ammunition, and (this is the weird bit), they only occurred when I was shooting it. Honestly, I have no idea what caused them. The gun had already eaten a box of 115-grain American Eagle with nary a hiccup. The jams started immediately after we ran out of AE and switched to the Winchester. The second and third round of the first Winchester mag FTE’d. My friend shot eight rounds through the gun, no problem. Then I shot eight more. The seventh round was another FTE. And that was it. We also had one double-feed, but I think that one was because I was limp-wristing the gun rather badly.  After the third FTE, we put another mag of Winchester through the gun without incident, then switched over to Fiocchi 124-grain FMJs. No further jams of any sort occurred. We’re chalking the FTEs up to the ammo, but I still really don’t know if that’s true.

Anyway, back on the positive: the gun is accurate. I mean scary accurate. Even though I have almost zero trigger time on the Nano, and my friend has very limited trigger time on pistols, period, we were both shooting three- and four- shot groups you could cover with a half-dollar. We even managed to shoot a few cloverleaf groups, putting shots nearly right on top of the other. Granted, the range was only seven to ten yards, but considering we are relative novices, were using a micro-compact 9mm, and with only a two-fingered grip a good deal of the time, I’d call that pretty darn impressive.

In short, the Beretta Nano has won me over. So much so that I’ve decided it’s going to be my dedicated carry piece. As soon as I can afford to, which unfortunately won’t be for quite a while, I’ll be picking one up.

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