9mm Beretta Nano Review

By Suzanne Wiley published on in Reviews

I am surprised to be the first author who writes for The Shooter’s Log to pen a range report for the 9mm Beretta BU9 Nano as it has been available a little over two years. Perhaps it is because pocket 9s have saturated the market and we have been too busy reviewing others, but somehow I get to be the first to review it. Either way, I’m excited I get to go in without any influence from my cohorts.

Following the Ruger LCP and Kimber Solo, but preceding the Smith and Wesson Shield, the Beretta Nano is a sub-compact, striker-fired (Beretta’s first), locked-breech, recoil-operated semi-automatic pistol. It holds six rounds of 9mm in its single-stack magazine, with one in the chamber. It is important to note: the Nano will fire with or without a magazine inserted. This is a plus for a low capacity gun when doing a tactical reload. On the other hand, there is no magazine disconnect safety. Simply removing the magazine will not prevent an accidental discharge; give extra care to ensure the chamber is clear.

Picture shows a black sub-compact Beretta Nano on display at the SHOT Show.

The Beretta Nano is a sub-compact, striker-fired, locked-breech, recoil-operated semi-automatic pistol.

In fact, there are no external safeties at all on Beretta’s Nano BU9 pistol. Internally, the Nano has an automatic striker block and drop safety. The lack of external safeties or slide stop lever makes the Beretta Nano an ideal carry gun—in theory. Beretta designed it this way. The rounded edges and lack of protrusions guarantees a snag-free trouble-free draw. A small, unobtrusive magazine release button sits flush into the Nano’s frame and does not hinder drawing.

Rumor has it that Beretta’s original blueprints were to chamber this little guy in .40 S&W. However, Beretta delivered it in 9mm, supposedly due to the popularity of the 9mm cartridge; not a bad idea, Beretta. The Nano is one of the smallest and lightest pistols in its class. At 5.63 inches overall, with a 3-inch barrel and weighing about 20 ounces unloaded, recoil would have been quite sharp if the Nano was chambered in .40.

The cool thing about the Nano is its interchangeable frame. You see, the Nano is built on a removable sub-chassis—the only part of the gun that is serialized. What does this mean and why is it cool? You can also buy grip frames for it in FDE and pink. It also opens up the possibility of different grip sizes to fit different sized hands.

Speaking of looks… when you first see the Nano—especially on a computer screen, you may think, “I’ve seen this gun before.” Maybe it’s the angular lines on the slide reminiscent of the Taurus TCP or the Glock-like “safety” trigger. One chap described it as, “Like a Glock had a one night stand with a Taurus.”

I digress. That’s neither here or there for me. Sure, I like a good-looking gun, but how it shoots trumps its looks. I recently wrote about “try before you buy,” so I decided to take advantage of my local gun range’s rental fleet and give the Nano a try. Especially, since it has the potential—on paper—to be a great carry gun for women.

Picture shows a pink Beretta Nano magazine advertisement.

Available in a pink frame, Beretta uses pink to attract women to the Nano.

One thing about rental guns—they’ve already gone through their break-in period. So, hopefully you get a truer sense of the gun’s reliability. Since my range requires me to buy its ammo for its rental guns, I didn’t get a chance to try a variety. Nano owners report the gun may be a bit finicky with ammo—preferring heavier loads than the 115-grain FMJ.

When I arrived at the range, they handed me a box of Federal white box 115-grain full metal jacket ammunition. The range officer told me they had no other type of ammo available. I view this as both good and bad. I got to test the gun with cheap range ammo, however did not get the opportunity to see how well the Nano shoots a self-defense round.

Once in the shooting bay, I noticed the Nano was bone-dry. This is fine and actually preferred for me, as I’m not a stickler for cleaning or lubing my guns. I had the opportunity to see how the Nano performed in less than perfect conditions. I suggest following the manufacturer’s recommendation and oil your Nano accordingly.

Grip

The Nano has a stainless steel insert frame with a technopolymer grip. The backstrap has a hard plastic dot texture. When I gripped the Nano, it immediately fell into the sweet spot—resting nicely and naturally high into the web of my right hand. I got a full two-finger grip around the mag well, with a not surprising pinkie dangle. The trigger was perfectly reachable without issue. About half way through my box of 50 rounds, the dot texture started feeling a little rough and aggressive. Finishing off the rest of the box wasn’t an issue though.

Picture shows the back of a Beretta Nano pistol with a gripped texture on the backstrap and white 3-dot sights.

The Nano has a stainless steel insert frame with a technopolymer grip. A hard plastic dot texture covers the backstrap.

Shootability

From 5 feet away, I hit bullseye on my first shot. This is partly due to the Nano’s bright white 3-dot sights. Homing in on the middle of the target with the front sight dot is clear, quick and easy. I liked the Nano’s sights. Night sights are also available if you wish to upgrade. After my beginner’s luck, the rest of my groups were slightly left of the bullseye. However, I didn’t mind. The Nano annihilated the same spot during rapid fire.

Trigger

The trigger pull on the Beretta measures from seven to eight pounds out of the box. This is a rather long trigger pull compared to the other compact polymer guns I am used to shooting such as Glock, S&W M&P and Springfield XDs which averages a five and a half to six pound pull. If you have never shot a gun, imagine squeezing the trigger on a cleaning bottle. Think of how much force you need to pull your finger back to get the spray to release from the bottle. Some of your bottles will be easier and quicker for the product to come out, while others require more force. I expected something like the S&W .380 Bodyguard where it feels like …squeeeeezing… before the trigger breaks, but the Nano’s trigger broke much more quickly than I anticipated. It felt more like a six pound pull. The pull is clean and smooth. Was it the worse trigger ever? Absolutely not. For a double-action only gun, I have no complaints.

Slide

Racking the slide on the Beretta Nano goes very smoothly. However, it feels a slightly stiff. This could have been due to the lack of lube.

Recoil

When it comes to recoil, the Nano really comes out on top. I had to keep reminding myself I was shooting a 9mm and not a .380. The Nano is top heavy, which means the slide weighs noticeably more than the grip. This helps tame the recoil and muzzle rise when you fire it.

Picture shows the right side of the Beretta Nano pistol.

The cool thing about the Nano is its interchangeable frame.

Accuracy

With my beginners luck bullseye and more than sufficient groups, the Beretta shoots solid. I did experience a few questionable hits and one flier that I chalk up to faulty ammo. As to how the Nano ran during my range session, I had two malfunctions, both being a double feed. This is probably due to the finicky nature of the Beretta and the 115-grain full metal jacket loads I was shooting.

Overall

The Beretta is certainly a contender as a viable concealed carry gun. I like the snag-free design, no external safety and less than minimal recoil. It’s small and easy to conceal without sacrificing shootability. It’s easy to work and maintain. Six rounds of 9mm is plenty, given how easily the Nano shoots. If you feel more confident with more, buy the extended magazine giving you two more rounds and more to grip.

The downside to this review is I didn’t get to test Beretta’s BU9 Nano with additional ammo and for that, I apologize. Before I left for the range, I wrote down four important questions to answer while I was testing the Nano.

  • Can I practice comfortably with the Nano?
    Yes, I can. The lack of recoil surprised me making the Nano a pleasure to shoot.
  • How is the grip?
    Naturally high and secure.
  • What about the trigger?
    Feels shorter than measured.
  • Can I hit good enough groups?
    Sure can. I’m satisfied.

Is the Bu9 Nano a gun I should consider for concealed carry? My answer is “yes.”

 

Specifications and Features

  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Overall length: 5.63”
  • Overall height: 4.17”
  • Overall width: .90”
  • Barrel length: 3.07”
  • Sight radius: 4.92”
  • Sights: 3-dot low profile
  • Frame: Chassis stainless steel insert
  • Grip Frame: Technopolymer
  • Slide Material: 4140
  • Slide Finish: Pronox
  • Magazine: One 6 round capacity
  • Weight unloaded: 19.97 Oz.
  • Weight without mag: 18.27 Oz.
  • Made in The U.S.A.

Like it? Want it? Buy it!

Do any of you own a Nano? I would love to hear your experiences with different ammo. Tell me about it in the comment section.

SLRule

Introduced to shooting at young age by her older brother, Suzanne Wiley took to the shooting sports and developed a deep love for it over the years. Today, she enjoys plinking with her S&W M&P 15-22, loves revolvers, the 1911, short-barreled AR-15s, and shooting full auto when she gets the chance. Suzanne specializes in writing for the female shooter, beginner shooter, and the modern-day prepper. Suzanne is a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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Comments (52)

  • Alexander powell

    |

    I got one a while ago and its been gorgeous, shoots great with what i have. Ive run a few various loads through it including some reloads i made, typicaly with 115gr fmj or more recemtly jhp. And if run maybe a dozen different brands of ammo as well. All work nicely. Havent had a vast many issues really. Every now and again ill get a failure to eject completly or feed. But maybe 1 in 500.
    As for all else you said, id agree. I also thew talon grips on mine and use the extended mag to get a little more grip as well and i suggest both. If your hands are larger, (i typically wear XL work gloves)
    But good carry, feels natural. Its not overly noticeable (ive forgotten ive had it on me once or twice) and draws beautifully. Reholsters easily too (mighy be partly my holster.
    Over all very happy with it. I typically shoot 300-500 rounds at the range. And only think i notice is i end up removing my ring on my little finger.

    Reply

  • Lacey

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    The Nano was my first gun purchase and for a while it was OK because I got to learn more about the different types of ammo and what would work better with it. However the almost constant FTE issues finally frustrated me to the point where when I had an opportunity to purchase something new from a line that many friends recommended I jumped at it. I couldn’t learn or develop any technique when I was constantly un-jamming my Nano. Maybe I would have been better off if I had learned more about the grain and if I don’t sell the Nano then I will try that. But for now I need something solid and reliable out of the box to train on. Then I can learn about how to fix issues with different parts and ammo.

    Reply

    • Kevin Hagus

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      @Lacey….did you see my comments below in this blog? I solved all my Nano issues by replacing the stock polymer guide rod with a stainless steel rod from a company called Galloway Precision. I haven’t had an FTE since and have fired hundreds of rounds of all types of ammo and ammo weights. Best $42 I’ve ever spent. Try it…you’ll no longer be disappointed in your Nano purchase.

      Reply

    • Nanno Fan

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      Ther´s 14, 16, 18 and 20 Lb springs.
      Which one I have to choose?

      Reply

    • Kevin

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      I stayed with the 16 Lb, which is what the factory guide rod is rated at and it works great. I was told that if you primarily shoot 147 grain 9mm ammo you should go with the 18 Lb, but that will make your slide harder to rack, as will the 20 Lb.

      From what I was told, most people stick with the 16 Lb.

      Reply

  • Brian

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    I was having trouble shooting anything less than 124 grain ammo. Took my nano apart and used 2000 wet/dry sandpaper and made every part smooth as glass even the barrel feed. Also used Fliz polisher. Works perfect now. I’m shooting 80 (yes 80) grain FMG reloads. I also switched to gun grease (Lucas) on the slide and trigger area. What a wonderful difference buffing the gun did.

    Reply

  • Kevin

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    For you Nano owners out there, I have found the one thing you can do that will end any problems you may be having with FTE’s…..expecially with 115 grain rounds. Replace your stock polymer guide rod with a Stainless Steel guide rod. After some FTE’s and a few stovepipes, I have solved everything by replacing my stock guide rod with a SS rod (got mine from Galloway Precision). Since the replacement, 350+ rounds of different weights and types without a single problem. I use American Gunner 124 GR XTP HP +P for my carry ammo, and it shoots beautifully. Even 115 GR, RN remanufactured ammo works great now. If you want to carry a Nano for your PDW, and want to make sure that it is absolutely reliable, get rid of that stock polymer guide rod. You’ll be glad you did!

    Reply

  • Steve

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    Use high quality 124 grain self defense ammo and you won’t have any problems with a clean and broken in Nano. It is very dependable. I continue to use cheap 115 grain range ammo for practice. You get an unanticipated FTE every now and then, which is a perfect opportunity to practice your Tap-Rack-Bang drill or what ever you use to clear your weapon.

    Reply

  • Jack Johnson

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    Get a Ruger. Ridiculous safe queen. You can hammer a Ruget with crap ammo and it will laugh at you.

    Reply

  • Jeffrey

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    The Nano and 115 grain just don’t mesh well. When I owned it, I had good success with American Eagle 124 gr ammo and the Winchester train and defend 147 gr. But after having so many misfeeds, I decided to sell it. I had about 350 thru it. I understand that some guns have break in periods but I would rather mine work out of the box. M&P Shield was my next purchase and I am happy with it – no issues with it

    Reply

  • Christopher

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    Wife wanted a small 2nd carry pistol for running around town & work where the company says no, after 4 armed robberies. Range let her try several.
    Her major negative other than a couple of FTF was no safety said might as well get a Glock from LE dealer. She found a compromise with the SIG 320 ordered today. A little larger & heavier but the mag disconnect sold it. As there is no other real safety on these sub compacts,
    you need something until you can get to. A second defense even if it’s just a monkey’s fist for a headache.

    Reply

  • Trevor

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    I have put 350 rounds of 115 grain ammo through my Nano, only 7 FTE with 6 in the first 100. I bought this gun on a whim, after shooting 6 rounds at my range I bought the nano about 6 months later. After I bought it I took it home then the next morning went to the range without cleaning, bad idea, took 100 rounds of Blazer Brass. With the first 100 6 FTE, I chalked that up to me not being smart, and failing to clean my gun before I shot it. Then about a week later I took it to the range again, after I had cleaned it, and put 250 rounds of Remington UMC 115 grain with only 1 FTE. I do have to agree with the author that it was pleasantly easy to shoot. I was also surprised how well my hands felt after putting 250 rounds through the gun in 2 hours.

    Reply

  • Jeff

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    I have owned my Nano for 5 months and have a few hundred rounds through it. Beretta should include a recommendation to use 124 grain ammo or higher in the manual. My first 100 rounds had me worried-it was failure after failure. I was using the range’s 115 grain ammo.
    I then starting buying my own 124 and 147 grain ammo and there is a night and day difference. But I can’t say that there was ever perfection. I was more accurate with the 124 grain. I ran through a 50 box and had only one failure with American Eagle 124gr. Next, I tried the 50 box of Winchester train and defend (train) ammo which is 147gr and had zero failures but less accurate. So I ran another 50 box of Win T&D 147gr again on another trip to the range a few weeks later-had 1 failure-stovepipe!
    I ran through a three 20 boxes of Winchester 124 +P and had zero failures. The +P ammo will probably shorten the life of the gun but who can afford to practice with +P all the time….? $$$
    I think the Nano can be dependable if you find the right diet of ammo. It may not be a favored range option with average target loads but it I would trust my life with it if I am running some 147gr or 124gr +P ammo. If anyone else had good results with a particular ammo, please share your experience.

    Reply

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