Review: The Beretta Pico: Tiny gun makes a big splash at NRA Convention
Beretta showed off the all new Pico pistol at the National Rifle Association Annual Meetings & Exhibits last week in Houston. This new gun is a subcompact pistol that is clearly aimed at the concealed carry market, and offers some features not commonly found on this class of pistol.
The new Pico is a tiny, subcompact pistol chambered for the .380 ACP and .32 ACP cartridges. As with many modern handgun designs, it has a polymer frame and stainless steel slide and barrel. The gun is double-action-only and fired with a traditional hammer, not a striker.
If you are familiar with the Nano, some of the Pico’s features will look familiar. In fact, the name Pico comes from the metric measuring system, just like the Nano. Pico is the next smaller unit of measurement from Nano. The Pico is even smaller than the Nano, hence the name.
This gun is thin. Really thin. As in 18mm thin. For those of you (like me) that are stuck on inches, that works out to be just shy of 0.71” wide. For a concealed carry gun, width is a big deal and this gun is really aiming for the minimalist description. I don’t know if that is the thinnest pistol in current production, but it has got to be one of the thinnest.
Like the Nano, the Pico uses a removable sub-chassis that contains the fire control mechanism. This sub-chassis is considered the “firearm” by the ATF, and is therefore the portion that is regulated by law. The frame is not the regulated part, so the user can buy multiple frames just like he or she would buy extra magazines.
There are three types of frames and multiple colors. The base model Pico has a simple black frame. However, shooters with a desire for something different can buy frames in white, flat dark earth, pink and purple.
In addition to the basic frames, there are two additional frames that were designed by Beretta in conjunction with LaserMax. One of these frames integrates a laser, while the final frame integrates a white light. By having the laser and lights integrated into the frame, Beretta was able to achieve a smaller package than what could be obtained by adding an external laser or light to an accessory rail.
Frames aren’t the only thing that easily changes on the Pico. Caliber swaps are easy as well. The first Picos to ship will be chambered for the .380 ACP cartridge, but pistols chambered for the .32 ACP will be close behind. For maximum flexibility, shooters wanting both calibers will be able to swap calibers with a barrel change only. Barrels will be available from Beretta.
Beretta states the Pico’s barrel only tilts up 1.4 degrees when the handgun is fired, which increases reliability in the feeding of cartridges into the chamber. The company also states that felt recoil is dramatically reduced since the barrel does not tilt much. I look forward to getting one on the range to test that claim.
The pistols will ship with two magazines: one is a flush fit mag, while the second has a pinky finger extension. The magazine with the extension does not increase capacity, which is six rounds. The magazine release is ambidextrous.
Unlike some other guns in this size range, the sights on the Pico are full size. The sights are dovetailed, allowing the user to change them out. Trijicon is making night sights for the gun, so standard or tritium sights will be available from the factory.
The slide locks back as is typical for full size pistols. The slide release is flush with the frame, meaning that it does not protrude and should not snag on anything during a draw.
Beretta expects to ship the Pico in August of this year. In addition to the magazines, the guns will ship with a soft-sided, zippered carry case. The MSRP will be $399.
In a time when firearms and ammunition are scarce, some readers may wonder why Beretta is rolling out a new firearm instead of just focusing on the current line-up. This pistol was likely under development well prior to the current shortages. Stopping the development of the guns probably didn’t make good financial sense; especially considering the current shortage is unlikely to be permanent.
For a small gun, the Pico offers a lot of features and does so at a sub-$400 price tag. For a little extra money, an owner can have a few extra frames and even easily swap calibers. I imagine this pistol will sell very well, but what do you think? Sound off in the comments section below.