Beretta is the oldest name in firearms manufacturing. The company has had the same family ownership for well over 500 years. Beretta is the current supplier of handguns for the majority of the United States Army personnel that use handguns and is in the running for the next generation of handgun the Army may choose.
My first Beretta was a Cougar, Model 8000. Actually, it wasn’t really Beretta, but was a Stoeger Cougar. Beretta designed the Cougar line and produced it for many years, but when they acquired the Turkish company Stoeger, for some reason, they moved the Cougar tooling to that location and Stoeger started producing the Cougars. They come in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP, but mine was a 9mm. This is a sturdy gun, very easy to operate, accurate and trouble-free. My son Phillip owns it now, so it’s still in the family and we use it in some of our instruction classes to introduce new folks to handguns. It now sports a nice-looking set of wood grips.
I followed up the Cougar with a PX-4 Storm 9mm. One thing that sets the PX-4 and Cougar apart is the way their barrel lock/unlock mechanism operates. When the gun is fired, the barrel rotates almost a quarter of a turn before it unlocks and starts rearward. This turn actually absorbs some of the recoil, making these guns relatively soft-shooters. They’re made of steel, so their weight helps absorb recoil as well. I find the slides easy to operate on both guns and when we use them for our Handgun 101 classes, many of the students also find them easy to operate.
The PX-4 comes in several configurations. The Type C has no external safety. Type F has an ambidextrous external safety/de-cocker and Type G has the ambidextrous lever, but it only works as a de-cocker, not as a safety. Mine came from the factory as Type F, but I converted it to Type G when I was using it as a carry gun. The safety on these guns is pushed up to go off and to me that’s an unnatural motion that I would just as soon not have to deal with when under pressure.
If you practice good trigger control an external safety is simply an extra item that is not needed in a handgun, especially if the safety is somewhat hard to get off. These guns are double/single action guns, so the double-action first trigger pull is plenty of safety.
Beretta makes the PX-4 in Compact and Sub-Compact models. Both work well for concealed carry. The Sub-Compact does not have the barrel-rotation recoil-reducing feature that the Compact and Full-Size models have. All of the models discussed come with 3-dot sights. I’ve had night-sights installed on both the Cougar and the PX-4.
My next Beretta was an M-9, the military designation of the Model 92F. I don’t shoot this gun much, but I’ve no doubt it’s a fine shooter. People in the military seem to have a love/hate relationship with them, but that’s true of all military guns. I’ve noticed that a whole bunch of former Army guys who come through our License to Carry class are shooting Beretta M9s as their personal defense guns.
I’ve got two more Berettas. One is a Beretta Bobcat 25. I took it in on trade and consider it just a nice-to-have small gun. It’s a tip-up model that might come in handy if you just absolutely have no strength to rack the slide on any type of semi-automatic handgun. The other is a cowboy gun, a 45 Colt Beretta Stampede. It’s the prettiest of my cowboy guns. It shoots pretty accurately and could be used for self-defense if needed.