A Beretta kind of summer - models M9 and 81 review and range report
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Thread: A Beretta kind of summer - models M9 and 81 review and range report

  1. #1
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    A Beretta kind of summer - models M9 and 81 review and range report

    What a wild summer so far. Work has been insane - yep blame me if your local Walmart store had issues from 6pm to 12am. I have been running a server upgrade project completing an average of 70 stores per week. My live-in MIL decided she was ready for an assisted living facility, then another medical problem whacks me upside the head. So what do you do when faced with a stress filled summer, why buy guns of course.
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    My summer started with a visit to my favorite LGS looking for some old style metal guns. He has several models of used Beretta's 92 series. I asked for his best deal and Don showed me a like new M9. Let me have it for $489 OTD. It came with a box, manuals and 2 15 round mags, I purchased a 17 rounder as well. Well this M9 exceeded my expectations, no wear, likely shot very little if at all, slide is butter smooth. My M9 weighs 29.5oz with no mag, it has a 4.9" barrel and is 5.4" tall, 8.5" long, 1.14" wide at the slide and 1.33"wide at the grips. I did replace the stock plastic grips for some OD green VZ style grips. I also replaced the Hammer spring with a Beretta "D" spring. The trigger pull is 8.5lbs in DA and 4.5lbs in SA. This M9 was made in 2014.
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    A month later a large shipment of police surplus Model 81's hit the stores. I ended up choosing Classic Firearms as my choice for ordering. Slow shipping but nice quality pistols. This one was rated good to very good, no hand select. What I got was an 81 with one mag in excellent condition. No wear anywhere, no scratches, grips are perfect. Just a dirty barrel bore and a nasty dirty magazine interior. The magazine had a large Italian dust bunny riding the spring and the walls and spring were covered in brown gunk - not rust, just some kind of dried out grease or lube. Total cost OTD was $232
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    This not so little Cheetah came in a shipping box wrapped in bubble wrap. My 81 weighs 20.5 oz with no mag, it has a 3.8" barrel and is 4.8" tall, 6.1" long, .99" wide at the slide and 1.39" wide at the grips. The stock trigger pull is 10.5lbs DA and 4.2lbs in SA. The trigger pull is Beretta smooth, 5/8" long with 1/4" reset. This 81 was made in 1981. As you can see from the break down , these are very similar in design. The M9 breaks down grandma easy with quick reassemble. The Cheetah is a persnickity cat , it breaks down similar to a M9/92, but during reassemble you need to ensure you keep the barrel locked to reinstall the recoil asm. You do this by keeping finger pressure on the muzzle while assembling the recoil asm and while reinstalling the slide to the frame. It takes a few times to get it down, but now is easy.
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    So how do they shoot. These two targets show a 10 yard run with the Model 81 Cheetah using Herters brass range ammo and a 20 yard run with the M9 using my reloads. (115grn Xtreme plated RN, under 4.1grns of Titegroup, COL 1.125 with a medium crimp). They shoot great. The M9 performed as expected , but that 32acp kitty cat is surprisingly accurate and similar in recoil to shooting CCI stingers out of a semi auto. I am very impressed with these two Italian handguns. My hope is to purchase a good condition used 84 in the next year or so. Maybe another police/military surplus bunch will come in. Ciao fellow Taurus members.
    Last edited by silverstring; 09-17-2019 at 10:15 PM.
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    I love both of your choices. You got good deals on both of them too. I already have A Taurus 92 which is a fantastic firearm. Assuming the good lord wakes me up tomorrow I'll be pickup up my own surplus Beretta 81 in the afternoon. As is my norm I'll be shooting it in my back yard twenty minutes later. Congrats on your new beauties!!
    silverstring and darbo like this.
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    Very nice OP! With all these 81's hitting the stores, ammo makers are going to see an uptick in .32 ACP sales! Lol.
    silverstring likes this.
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    Sales in the older 32acp pistols seem to have increased lately as well with prices generally getting into ranges I never expected. I suspect there is a larger body of 32acp owners out there than might be expected.

    I have long enjoyed the Beretta 32acp offerings and I think that during the last 12 months I probably carried my Beretta 1935 more than any other handgun. I picked up one of the recent 81s and gave my old 81 I've owned since the late 1970s to a friend who has always liked it. I admit the cosmetically the surplus 81 does look better than my old one that had been rid hard and put up wet to dry far too often.
    silverstring likes this.
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    I picked up a select version from Classic and was very pleased, once I cleaned off all the gunk. Very accurate and smooth shooting and, yes, a real bugger to re-assemble. I also found a "commemorative" CZ50 that was listed for $219 so I ordered that at the same time. Turns out the CZ is Chrome with a mat finish on top of the slide, I assume to reduce glare, and is also a very nice shooting pistol, though not as accurate as the Beretta. The 81 impressed me so much that I ordered the 81BB from Gander and it showed up yesterday. The BB version has a few upgrades, improved sights, better slide serrations, loaded chamber indicator, trigger disconnect safety and firing pin safety. This one has a tiny bit of holster wear near the muzzle, but, the finish otherwise is as nice or nicer the the first one. I will be headed to the range today to see how it shoots. I put Pachmayr grips on the first one so we'll see how those work out. They do fatten up the grip quite a bit, but, I have large hands and they feel pretty good. Might order some Altamont's for the other one, they look pretty nice.
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    Thanks for the reviews! I am getting that gun buying urge again...
    silverstring and darbo like this.
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    I have the M9, 85, and 3032 Tomcat. Love them all.
    The wife carries the 3032, I have carried the 85 years ago. The M9 is a fantastic shooter, but a little big for a tote gun.
    silverstring likes this.
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    Good looking pistols you got there! And at good prices too! Thanks for the excellent write ups on them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverstring View Post
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    So how do they shoot. These two targets show a 10 yard run with the Model 81 Cheetah using Herters brass range ammo and a 20 yard run with the M9 using my reloads. (115grn Xtreme plated RN, under 4.1grns of Titegroup, COL 1.125 with a medium crimp). They shoot great. The M9 performed as expected , but that 32acp kitty cat is surprisingly accurate and similar in recoil to shooting CCI stingers out of a semi auto. I am very impressed with these two Italian handguns. My hope is to purchase a good condition used 84 in the next year or so. Maybe another police/military surplus bunch will come in. Ciao fellow Taurus members.
    You need to read up on the 84BB. IMO the BB is the best of the Beretta 81. series
    silverstring likes this.

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    Great day to go shooting and very good results. Silverstring. You CHEETAH-ed on your shooting. Hey, it's a joke that was just sitting there. Really. Truly.

    Seriously, those are two fine pistolas.

 

 

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