The Beretta Nano is a semi-automatic pocket pistol chambered in 9mm. It’s the newest edition to Beretta’s line of pistols, but what makes the Nano particularly unique is that it’s Beretta’s first striker-fired pistol. The Nano features a double-action trigger and, although it lacks a manual safety, it does have a trigger safety like what’s found on a Glock. The trigger safety prevents the gun from discharging unless the trigger is actually pulled meaning it won’t go off if dropped. It is also equipped with adjustable three-dot sights, and an internal slide catch. Beretta recommends the Nano for concealed carry.
|Features:||Internal slide catch; and reversible magazine release|
|Trigger Pull:||9 pounds|
The Right Size for Concealed Carry
My first impression of the Beretta Nano was, “I thought it’d be smaller.” So much attention has been given to its size that perhaps I had high, unreasonable, expectations. I had hoped for a 9mm that could be compared to some of the diminutive .380 autos. But no, it wasn’t so. Despite it lacking Lilliputian size, the Nano is perfect for concealed carry.
The Nano’s size is roughly that of a Ruger LC9. Yet, there is one distinct difference: the Nano seems blocky. While many manufacturers go to great lengths to streamline their guns, Beretta has modeled the Nano’s aesthetics on their more angular pistols. It looks more like the Px4 than the 92.
But the thing is solid. The Nano doesn’t have the characteristic rattle so common to polymer framed pocket pistols (like the LC9, or the Kel-Tecs). The polymer frame’s exterior is lined with a more substantial stainless steel frame. The slide is heavy, the barrel is also heavy, and the result is that the Nano feels like a much larger gun.
And that might be exactly why the Nano will succeed. Too many pocket pistol makers are determined to make their guns tiny, light and plastic. I think that focus on size is misguided (even if I do have to remind myself of that, sometimes). If our only purpose in carrying a concealed firearm was to conceal it, then tiny little two dimensional pistols would be fine. But that’s not why we carry. There is another reason: they’re weapons. And to that end, Beretta has engineered a highly functional masterpiece.
Masterpiece? Well, maybe that’s too hyperbolic, but this is a fine piece of work. If you’ve read many of my reviews of pocket pistols, you might guess that the Nano is going to top my list. It’s exactly what a concealed carry, back-up gun should be: relatively small and relatively light, but also functional, reliable and accurate.
How does it shoot?
The Nano feels like a Mini Cooper with a V8. I’m proud of this simile. I think it is perfect. The Nano isn’t a go-cart and it isn’t a racecar.
While I tested the Nano, I also shot a number of other guns and I also had a friend who, although an avid rifle shooter, is just learning how to shoot pistols, so I was eager to see how he would do with various incarnations of the pocket pistol design, and he did quite well with the Nano. Shooting at 25 feet, he was able to keep rounds on the target. The same cannot be said with all the guns – even those with more surface area on their grips.
And I was not disappointed at all with the Nano, either. The trigger pull on most double action only guns can be an impediment to targeted shots, but not with the Nano. From 25 feet I could predictably scare a spot the size of a quarter.
Note: Shooting off hand, groups of 5 shots at 25 feet
While I’m thrilled with these results, I think they are typical of what the gun can do. It’s rather easy to stay on target. There’s mass at the end of the barrel and that extra weight assists in reducing muzzle flip. And the flat plane on the top of the slide allows for rapid target acquisition without use of the sights. It also points well from the hip. The extra mass helps with recoil and keeps makes rapid fire easy.
In all, I ran several hundred rounds through the Nano and I didn’t have a single problem. Not one.
A Novel Pistol
Right around the time the Beretta 92 was picked up by the US military, Glock was introduced into the market and with the introduction of Glock, the pistol-designs evolved. Shortly after the Glock-trend caught on, many other brands began borrowing many Glock features such as a polymer frame, DOA trigger, trigger safety and lack of manual safety. The Beretta 92 was a nice pistol, but it wasn’t revolutionary. Beretta (along with many other manufacturers) may have been just a few steps behind, but with the Nano, Beretta has actually pushed the design one step further.
There are two primary controls on the Nano: the trigger and the magazine release. It lacks a slide release button, however, the slide still catches and locks back on an empty magazine. To release the slide, all one has to do is pull it back and it’ll slide forward. So to load or reload there are specific steps one must take.
It also has a tiny button that will disengage the firing pin. This means you don’t have to pull the trigger on an empty chamber before you disassemble or store the gun. At first, I thought such a safety device was a bit superfluous. I always check the slide after dropping an empty magazine – or at least I like to think I do. And that, I guess, is why Beretta put the device on the gun – because there’s a difference in what I think I do, and what I actually do. But then again, I’d have to use the button. And Beretta can’t make me do that.
The Nano’s three-inch barrel gives it an edge on most snub-nosed revolvers. As the pocket 9mm becomes refined, the old five shot snubbies are looking more like antiques. The edges are smooth and round, so there really isn’t anything to snag while drawing. It also has a two-finger grip that’s still easy to control, and it’s comfortably thin – less than an inch thick.
The Nano is also easy to modify, so regular Joes can feel like a real live smiths. The sights, although familiar to everyone – low-profile, adjustable, three-dot – are interchangeable and the user, armed with a 1.5mm hex wrench, can remove them rather easily.
The magazine release is reversible. All it takes is a small punch, a push of a pin, and the button comes off.
And it has a modular design, so the guts can be taken out just by punching a pin on the rear of the gun. The guts (or chassis) is the only part with a serial number stamped on it. Removing it allows you to fiddle with the trigger, give the frame a thorough cleaning, or replace the frame entirely (if you so desire).
Right around the time the revolver had been perfected (as in ease of use), Glock came out. And since then no design has been easier to use. Although the Nano’s design isn’t mind blowing, it is unique and growing in popularity, so it’s something that may catch on.
I respect what Beretta has done with the Nano. I think it will set the bar for the polymer framed 9mm pocket pistol, and it will give the other companies something to shoot for.