Beretta Pico .380 Auto Review

Beretta Pico .380 Auto Review

Beretta Pico .380 Auto Review

Beretta has been making quality firearms for years. In fact, I own a few Beretta firearms that I absolutely love. Recently, they have released the Pico chambered in .380 Auto to compete in the concealed carry market. Today we’re going to review this diminutive shooter.

The Basics

First off, let’s talk about the size. This thing is small. The barrel is 2.7” and the overall length is only 5.1”. It is only 4.94” tall and 0.725” wide. Small. Very small. It weighs in at 11.5 ounces with an unloaded flat-plate magazine. It comes with two magazines, one flat, and the other with a finger extension. Both carry six rounds for a total capacity of 6+1. It has a nice three dot combat site system installed. The sights are dovetailed in and kept in place with a set screw, making them both adjustable (rear) and replaceable without taking it to a gunsmith.

It is sold in a cardboard box, with a nice little zip case that holds both the gun and the spare magazine. The box also contains a cable style gun lock, manual, warranty guide, a maintenance addendum discussing where to oil the slide and hammer face (terrible replication) and a nice warning from the Massachusetts Attorney General that tells you that if your gun is lost or stolen, it can be used by someone other than you. That’s valuable information.

Beretta Pico .380

Beretta Pico .380

 

Beretta has introduced a modular build concept with this gun, like its (slightly) bigger brother, the Nano. There is a small take down device on the right side that only needs a quarter turn and the slide slips right off. The guide rod and barrel come out conventionally. The guide rod is surrounded by two springs, an inner and outer. There are two springs presumably to help cut down on recoil for +P ammo that this gun is capable of handling.
Removing the take down pin entirely allows the user to remove the trigger assembly (Beretta refers to this as the “chassis”). This is the part that is actually serialized and represents the firearm to the Feds. There are rumors that Beretta will soon release different color grip assemblies. With this system, you can change out the grip assembly for a different color and it’ll just set you back the cost of the part, instead of having to buy an entirely new gun just for a color change. You don’t like the grip? You can stipple it yourself. If you screw it up, you can just order another assembly for about $20-$40 bucks and start over. In my opinion it’s a great concept.

The slide can be reinstalled very easily by just aligning the slide with the rails and sliding it back on. The pin will automatically rotate back into place once the slide is pushed to the rear.

The build materials are nice but not necessarily unique. While the grip assembly is made from polymer, the slide assembly is stainless steel, slide catch and guide rod, magazines and springs are also made from stainless. The overall finish is exceptional. The design of the gun from a concealed carry stand point is great. There are no parts that stick out enough on the gun to snag on anything. Even the sights are small, but easy to get a quick sight picture.

Controls

Here is where I start to take exception with this gun design. The magazine release is small and ambidextrous, however, instead of simply punching the button, this needs to be pushed down, which is not ergonomic at all. I found that changing the magazine was cumbersome at best. It was exceptionally difficult to use my strong hand thumb to press the lever down. It was easier to hold the gun with both hands and pull the release down with my trigger finger and thumb. Not exactly speedy.

Beretta Pico

Beretta Pico

 

The slide stop is also troubling. While its profile is great for keeping it from snagging, it is also exceptionally tough to manipulate. In addition, since there are two recoil springs, they resist pulling the slide back into the stop, making this difficult to use with small and/or weak hand grip. Once you are able to get it set, the low profile of the lever makes it troublesome to release. It can only be done when the magazine is out, or when there are rounds in the magazine. It cannot be released with an empty mag in place. The slide does have some very nice serrations on the rear to assist with gripping it to pull it back.

The trigger is double-action only (DAO) and is made of metal. It is smooth on the surface and contoured on both sides. The forward slope is nice and fits a trigger-puller nicely. The trigger pull, however, is terrible. It exceeds my scale which maxes out at 13 pounds. It stacks at the end of the pull until the break. The break happens at virtually the absolute edge of the trigger guard which makes you end in a slightly awkward position because of the distance from the rear of the grip to the now depressed trigger. It’s not overwhelmingly problematic, but it is a nuisance. The reset point is all the way back at the top of the swing. There is no detent or other indication that is has reset, it just magically resets. Now, I know that a trigger that is DAO on a pistol with no manual safety should be long and a bit stout, but I think this is probably even worse than the LC-9 trigger that I complained about in a previous article. At over 13 pounds, trigger pull is excessive in my opinion, to say the least.

The grip is small. When I say small, I mean that with the flat plate magazine inserted, I can only get my middle finger tucked up under the trigger guard, with my third and little finger dangling off the bottom of the grip. Not a great way to keep a good grip on a firearm. My wife’s smaller hands allow for a two-finger hold under that trigger guard. With the extended magazine installed I can cram all of my fingers on the grip. The grip is largely smooth on all of the surfaces, with some slight stippling on the rear edge of the grip. It doesn’t offer much in the way of providing some extra traction. At the rear of the trigger well there is a nice bevel that allows for a good area to place your strong hand thumb. So, ergonomically, I don’t find this an easy gun to manipulate. You may find it easier if you have smaller hands, but if you have any issues with hand strength, this is probably not the gun for you.

At the range

beretta-pico-targetI decided this gun should be tested with both ball ammo and hollow points. For the ball ammo we used a box of Sellier and Bellot FMJ 92 grain ammo. It fired each and every round flawlessly. Felt recoil was minimal and the gun proved to be very accurate at 7 yards. The magazine changes proved to be just as difficult as I had experienced on the bench. Because of the way it has to be manipulated, it’s difficult to keep the muzzle pointed downrange while attempting a magazine change. Definitely a range master’s nightmare for a new shooter.

I also decided to work with some HPR hollow point ammo. We used HPR’s 90 grain JHP ammo, which is designed to have a lighter recoil. HPR designed this ammo with female shooters in mind according to their website, which is why it is designed to have a softer recoil and the reason I wanted to test it with this model Beretta. This ammo and the Pico are not compatible. Every single round was an FTE. I could not get the gun to run this ammo at all. I spoke with HPR reps who speculated that since their ammo is slightly less powerful, the springs were no allowing the round to properly actuate the slide and chamber another round as designed. Which leads me to believe that this gun will not work well with any ‘soft recoil’ ammo. Overall, given the proper ammo, this is a very accurate and reliably shooting gun.

Final Thoughts

I’m on the fence with this gun. On the one hand the trigger is terrible, the magazine release is awkward and the slide stop is difficult to deal with. On the other hand, the modular design is great and given the proper ammunition, it is accurate and reliable with low felt recoil. Perhaps Beretta will take another look at the overall design and make some improvements. You’ll need to go shoot one for yourself to make a final decision. Shot one? I’d love to hear your comments below.

, , ,

  • Tropical

    I’ll take my Bersa 380 CC over any other 380, any day!

  • rwitt1

    I have the Pico and love the size for what it is. I called Beretta before I purchased this gun and was told I should run some +p ammo first to break it in. I used 2 boxes of undewood ammo and it must have done the trick. My Pico runs everything including Liberty 50 grain. My only issues is that I cant seem to hit point of aim. I had the Ruger LC9 and even with that long trigger I could hit the center ring at 7 yards. The Pico hits very low and left for me

  • Argyraspide

    I’ve go the PIco’s great grandaddy: the M1934 in .380. I inherited it from my father who got it during WW2. Great pistol. Rugged, reliable, seven-round magazine, great look. Never had a misfire. It is my constant CCW. (The image below is not my pistol)

  • unstabel

    To me a 380 is just to small for protection

    • killerasteroid

      Lets see…. a 380 travels at 86% the speed of sound, will go through a car windshield even at a grazing angle and you say this is too small for protection………really???

  • asoro

    I will take the SIG-238 over any of these gun’s

  • Dana Binkley

    The Pico is the worst piece of crap ever…for all of the reasons listed above. I’ve learned as a gun seller that if a gun is talked about and review for a long period of time before anyone ever gets to see it, that means that something is wrong with it. I’m wondering about the Taurus Curve…..still no show.

    • RETUSAF1995

      Got a Pico in May, love it. Small no safety can carry everywhere. The mag release no problem, like anything else the more you use it the more natural it gets. Slide stop was hard with a full mag but now it works. The more you run through it the better it gets.

      Cleaning is a dream, one screw 1/4 turn and the slide is off. Better yet is carrying it. Front pocket carry and you forget you even have it. I wanted something small not a brick or iron because pretty soon i would be leaving it home. The past 10 days here in Las Vegas it has been over 100 so wearing a few shirts to cover a gun is out. With the Pico i can wear anything.

      Over 300 rounds i had 3 FTE, one was because i tried 6+1, never again. Other than that no problems. I used PMC, PPU, Perfecta, Federal and carry Hornady Critical Defense hollow points (25/box FTX about $25.00). Most of the target ammo is from Walmart when i can find it, around $15.00 box of 50. Federal was $20.00/box 50 ouch! I ordered an extra extended mag, it fits my hand perfect and my hands are not small.

      My choice came down to a Pico or Sig .380. The Pico was about 4 ozs lighter, $300.00 cheaper and has no safety. I like the fact that i can pull out the Pico and start shooting, no racking, no safety. The Pico’s long trigger pull ensures it won’t fire until the trigger is pulled. I wanted a home defense weapon which was a shotgun but decided to get a handgun and CCW first. I’am happy with the Pico.

    • USGIgunner

      Useless, completely useless

    • USGIgunner

      Useless, completely useless

    • Saw Dave

      If you think the Pico is as you say, you know very little about guns. The Pico is top of the line in every respect. You have a Taurus Curve. I have two Pico’s and they are flawless shooters, extremely mild, and the best workmanship I have seen in a long time. My God, did you really even look at the gun? I don’t know how you would have missed all of this.

  • Stormin’ Norman

    I’ll stay with the original pocket .380, the Colt 1903 (1908). Mine was made in 1919 and is still going strong!

    • Mikial

      Nice! I’m envious. I love awesome old guns.

    • David

      Drool, drool, drool, nice peace piece.

    • USGIgunner

      I’ll pass on packing a old antique.

  • 2ThinkN_Do2

    As the author stated: where has this been for the past 1 1/2 years that it has been talked up? And then sadly, this is what they release? I saw one at a gun show 2 months back, very disappointed in the mag release as well as the huge extension mag with not 1 extra round. It looks nice, that’s where it ends for me. I’ll stick with my LCP that shoots anything I feed it and has a an extended mag with an extra round.

    • Albert Nygren

      That’s true for my LCP also.

    • Pat

      Yep, LCP (with a Crimson Trace Laser no less).

      • 2ThinkN_Do2

        I have an original version LCP with the really low sights and picked up a Viridian Green laser model in February 2014. If you haven’t tried the Hogue rubber grip add on, you might look into it; I think it is fabulous, better grip, way less felt recoil. The 7 round extended mag is great as well.

      • TN Mountie

        I’m still a SW BG380 fan for my personal 380 needs but did acquire a LCP for our daughter. Added the Hogue grips and mag extension and was surprised at the positive change it made in the overall handling of the HG. I’m actually starting to really like it. And with the Veridian Tact light that comes on automatically when pulled from the holster, it makes the perfect bedside HG for our daughter. Now if it would just hang open when empty.

    • Saw Dave

      The mag release is a cinch one you understand and get used to it. I have gone through 4 Ruger LCP’s and can tell you right now, this gun is FAR superior in every way. Wish I had bought one sooner. I now have two and love them. I found the Pico and never looked back!

      • 2ThinkN_Do2

        Glad you like it Saw Dave, you own it. I didn’t care for it. Thankfully we have dozens of choices, so each of us can have something that fulfills our comfort and needs. I actually like my RM380 better than the LCP, but I prefer my Kimber Micro 9 CSE over either of them.

  • 2ThinkN_Do2

    Bad news for Beretta, if the new Remington RM380 is as good as the test I watched, it’s going to get the sales; if they can overcome the bad PR from the R51 release last year. Personally, I will be looking at the RM380 as I have an R51 that works and it is a very accurate weapon.

  • Mikial

    The poor controls are troubling, particularly the mag release. Small guns are more difficult to manipulate at the best of times, and under stress with a poorly designed mag release you’re asking for disaster. I think I’ll stick to my Kel Tecs for mouse gun back-ups. The PF9 is very accurate and easy to carry in a pocket holster. I also have a .32 with a CT trigger guard laser for times when I have to be very careful about concealed carry. It fits in a Bulldog cell phone style holster and no one knows the difference. Both are reliable and the controls are very easy to manipulate.

  • Jesse

    Put 250 rounds through one, hate it. Easier to remove the magazine with your support hand. I disagree with ONE thing. Those slide serrations are useless. Beretta made a flop.

  • robert

    i live in queens ny and have been an nra life member since 1981,and have had legal handguns since 1981.its confusing that some states are easy to carry.and other states you need an act of congress{kidding]why isn,t across the board the same in every state.and what can a legal american citizen do.and yes i have emailed all my local politicans and phone called them who are charles schummer/gillbrand grace meng nydia vesquez..do you see a day when every state will be the same.that all legal american citizens who want to carry,will be able to do so.and anything else we can do to bring these issue to a conclusion.like i said its very confusing,and i think anti gunners want it that way.

  • chazz

    Have the later Berretta Pico’s been improved on? I want a reliable carry gun. I have purchased it on layaway. Did I make a mistake? Also purchasing a sccy cpx2.

    • Common Sense

      I love my CPX2, but I am also looking for a pocket gun and have been thinking about the Pico.

  • Retiredarmy13f

    I use and carry the Pico either as back up or a grab and go. It took some getting used to. For this little tiny gun you need to use big boy hands to retract the slide, but once well trained well its a non issue. As ambidextrous shooter I love the release, it makes tactical reloads a snap. Also it makes accidentally mag release nearly impossible. Accuracy is good for a tiny pocket pistol. PS method shooting is well suited for the Pico. Only issue I had ammo wise was with the G2 RIP, it cycled it but seemed to want to hang on the feed ramp momentarily. Otherwise everything I’ve used from 90 to 102 grain and plus p feed well. It’s not a beginners pistol for sure. And as the pistol breaks in the better it gets better. I have to far only 2 FTE with older Wolf, and a couple odd feeds with the RIP. As a pocket pistol i find the trigger weight where it should be. I do wish it had better slide serrations. After about 2000 plus rounds my trigger pull is at just below 10 lbs. Four things that have done to the pistol were the following. A full strip down to clean the lightly lube internal parts, round out the floor plates a bit as I found they kinda bit a tad with a firm grip, added the night sights. And used Brooks Tactical A Grip. Beretta has sent a frame with built in light but I haven’t had a chance to use it yet. When the pistol first is stores it was supplied with mags that had a long follower which caused some issues. If you have these mags simply shorten the follower about 1cm, the new mags are good as is. I owned both Glock 43 and 42 and so far I found them to miss the mark as a true pocket pistol for my needs. Is the Pico the first pistol I would choose for concealed carry, no. But if you’re limited on space or weight the Pico is the way I go. I also found the extended grip mag to be of little use. While it does give a better grip it’s huge and offers no added capacity. Hopefully Beretta or Pearce will make a more suitable extention. Happy and safe shooting everyone.

  • Patrick Champa

    I have had Zero malfunctions with the Pico, except some crappy ammo. So far it has functioned perfectly for a pocket pistol. It’s very accurate for its size. With is size and build it holds up to daily abuse as a backup or a pistol tiny enough to take anywhere.
    A pocket pistol shouldn’t have rubbery grips, lasers, require a holster, or rust easily, and should not print. The Pico fits all of these categories. I’ve carried alot of different types of backup pistols and most fail in one or more of the areas. While it’s not my favorite pistol, it is my favorite pocket pistol.

  • detroit realist

    ust got mine today after 2 years of waiting and ran 200 rounds through it. Initial thoughts as follows:
    CONS:
    1. The first thing I noticed is that the trigger itself has a very aggressive curvature to it which is extremely uncomfortable, as the tip of the trigger has sharp edges which dig into your finger. Then, upon pulling the trigger, the final result traps and pinches the bottom edge of your finger between the trigger tip and the trigger guard.
    2. The trigger pull is wildly heavy…I mean you have to actually “pull” the trigger really hard to intialize firing. I am not sure additional “breaking in” will fix this.
    3. Intially I could not rack the slide with either of the two mags fully loaded with six rounds. This did clear up to some degree. But the serations are pretty much useless with a spring rate this high.
    4. On several occasions, on initial racking, the round would not fully load into the chamber. You cant rack a round when the mag is full…you have to rack the slide and then insert the magazine…I am guessing this will improve uopn further “breaking-in”.
    5. The mag realease design is a good idea. But, the implentation is TERRIBLE. The release lever is really tiny and VERY, VERY hard to move. I literally could not operate it with my thumb or my finger tip. I had to use the finger nail of my left index finger to move it down (it is a lever and not a push release) to release the mag. NO WAY could you ever do this with the thumb of your shooting hand…it just wont move. I do hope this gets better.
    PROS:
    1. This weapon is surprisingly accurate even with the terrible trigger pull issues.
    2. Less than .750″ thick and conceals very, very well.
    3. Very simple to breakdown and clean.
    4. The BEST sights of any .380 I have shot.
    I am not going to give up on this weapon…I waited too long to get it. I have the Ruger LCP, and the S&W Bodyguard…right now the Bodyguard is my favorite, feeling so well machined, comfortable in my hand and so smooth and easy to operate….terrible sights. The LCP comes in second. I have to run a few hundred more rounds through the PICO before I render my final opinion,…and maybe give the factory a chance to work on the things that may need a little massaging. Stay tuned.

  • FFLNRAcombattrainer

    I now use and carry the Pico on a daily basis. Beretta was spot on when they designed the .380 Pico. Many criticize the Pico with little knowledge. It was built as a deep concealment pistol, not as a full combat or range gun. Beretta gave it a modular frame that is fairly smooth, this was done for many reasons. Keeping it smooth makes it easy to hide and draw, if the end user want more grip we are living in an age of grip tape, wrap around grips, and stippling. Adding finger grooves and textures makes the pistol larger. Adding a bunch of unneeded slide serrations makes the pistol more prone to snagging and isn’t needed for a pocket pistol. Beretta also offers FREE upgrades to older Pico owners giving them free magazines and the new lighter and shorter slide and trigger. Many pistol makers will add features that make a pocket pistol more range friendly, more cosmetic features all of which makes the pistol larger and prone to deep concealment issues. The Pico is lean, accurate, and reliable with real sights, corrosion resistant materials, plus p and double strike ready… do your research and look for what is needed in a pocket pistol and I know where you’ll end up.

    • Saw Dave

      I agree with you 100 PERCENT. The Pico is OUTSTANDING in all areas. I have gone through 4 Ruger LCP’s. Then I found the Pico. Top notch in every single category. And I shoot a lot of Pocket guns on a regular weeky basis.

      I liked mine so much that after 500 flawless rounds, I immediately ordered a second one because I liked it so much. I will keep one for CCW and One for Range time. It is a really fun, MILD gun to shoot and I love the trigger.

  • Templeton Peck

    I’ve been in the market for a pocket 380 for a little while, so I’m interested in giving the Pico a try. It has its detractors, understandably, but I think context is key with this pistol. If you’ve got a round in the chamber when you leave the house and don’t carry extra mags, slide racking or reloading isn’t really a primary concern. A pocket 380 is a terrible choice for a shootout, so if you’re the type who feels you need to be prepared for any situation, you’re probably packing something bigger anyway. IMHO the Pico might be exactly what it needs to be – super concealable and reliable enough (with the right ammo) to get off an idiot-proof seven rounds to save your life in a close encounter. Nothing more, and nothing less. While that may not be enough for everyone, it may be exactly what many are looking for.

  • Saw Dave

    The Trigger is terrible?? My Gosh, this is one of the best triggers out there, (upgraded version). I am a Pocket gun enthusiast, shoot them as a hobby. This trigger is strong, but very smooth all the way through. Much like the touted Ruger LCR. Man alive this is one of the nicest guns out there. Top quality workman ship, modular designs, streamlined for conceal carry. Yes, this gun is not for beginners, but if you shoot a lot, you will really enjoy this VERY VERY Mild shooter. And as Hickcock45 kept saying in his review “I REALLY LIKE THIS TRIGGER”
    This gun is not a target gun, I can see many do not understand this. You see so many shooters of pocket guns at the range acting as if they are. The Pico is fantastic for fast rapid fire defensive shooting and much safer to carry.

Quantcast