My new love, the Beretta 84.

By CTD Suzanne published on in Firearms, Handguns, Reviews

Sorry Smith & Wesson, but I love Beretta now. The .380 ACP and the guns chambered for the round have never really held any desire to me. Had you asked me what I thought of the .380, my answer would have been “meh.” Especially after .380 prices rose so significantly a few years ago. It just seemed like an over-priced, weak caliber that really didn’t serve much of a purpose. We each have a bias against certain calibers. The .380 was mine, but not anymore.

The Beretta 84 in the movie, The Matrix.

The Beretta 84 in the movie, The Matrix.

When S&W released the Bodyguard .38 Special revolver and .380 semi-auto pistol, it was a no-brainer for me to purchase the revolver. My friend decided to purchase the pistol. My friend knows a lot about guns and the .380 was going to be his pocket pistol. I trust his judgment and he judged that the .380 is a sufficient self-defense round. I hate my friend’s .380 Bodyguard, but it’s not the caliber I detest, but the operation of the gun. It is hard to hold, the trigger pull is incredibly long, and it has a pretty feisty snap to it after a few rounds.

I shot the .380 S&W Bodyguard again at a recent self-defense pistol clinic. We compared three guns, the Bodyguard, the SIG P238, and the Beretta 84, all chambered in .380 in a quick-response drill. The instructor of the drill described the Bodyguard and the SIG P238 as great concealed carry guns. The same instructor compared the Beretta 84 to the SIG and S&W saying, “you wouldn’t carry this one.” I beg to differ.

The Beretta 84, currently in production as the

Beretta 84FS Cheetah, is classified as a “compact” pistol on Beretta’s website and though it looks like a clunker next to the Bodyguard and the SIG, it isn’t anywhere near the size and heft of some other compact guns I’ve shot. Modeled after the famous Beretta 92, the 84 was introduced in 1976. The 84 is a blowback operated semi-automatic handgun that holds 13 rounds in a double-stack magazine. The first round you shoot is double-action and follow-up shots are single-action. The open slide design prevents jams and other ammunition malfunctions. The 84 is certainly reliable.

The Beretta 84FS Cheetah

The Beretta 84FS Cheetah

Though the recently released small pocket .380s do have an excellent and legitimate place in the world, I have learned my lesson on spending my hard-earned bucks on a gun I do not particularly enjoy shooting. If I bought the SIG P238 or the Bodyguard, I know I would not put many rounds through them. Even for practice. What good is your carry gun if you get rusty shooting it? The Beretta 84’s full-sized plastic grips and larger frame make recoil much more manageable, therefore making the gun more fun to shoot. My follow-up shots on the Beretta were significantly more accurate than with the Bodyguard and the SIG. Even after 10 rounds on either, I was done and the web of my hand was already hurting. I’m a big believer in loving your carry gun. It is the most important gun you own. And who loves a gun that hurts you?

The Beretta 84 I shot was older than current production and was not the improved FS model. The older, well-loved model I shot had a classic, military look that is quite pleasing to the eye. The current production as well as the older model 84s are handsome guns.

Smaller guns do not feel comfortable in my hand and unfortunately, the smaller they get, the more perceived recoil I anticipate. Therefore, I am never proud of my groups when I shoot the smaller-framed handguns. The Beretta’s larger size gives me a secure grip on the firearm and its ambidextrous safety is in a place that I do not have to fumble around to manipulate. The sights make aiming easy because of their white three-dot outline. The current production Beretta 84FS has an enlarged trigger guard, which the older models do not. The 84 I shot did not have the reshaped trigger guard. This improvement makes no difference to me. I would not complain about owning a new or old Beretta 84. Brand new models retail for around $650 and used for about $415. In fact, Mr. Bodyguard, we might just be parting ways soon.

The Beretta 84 with a nickel finish and wood grips.

The Beretta 84 with a nickel finish and wood grips.

I like the Beretta 84 because I do not believe it is too bulky to carry and I have confidence in its reliability. It is also a fun target gun. It serves a multi-purpose and in my opinion that is money much better spent. All the Berettas I have had the opportunity to shoot have run smoothly, handled well, and have been very comfortable for me to shoot. Beretta makes a highly accurate, reliable, well-made firearm.

Beretta 84FS Cheetah Specifications and Features:

  • .380 ACP
  • 13 round capacity
  • 3.8″ nickel chromium-molybdenum steel barrel
  • Chromed bore
  • Double/single action
  • Ambidextrous safety
  • Double action trigger
  • Combat style trigger guard
  • Hammer decocking device
  • Reversible magazine release
  • Open slide design
  • Auto firing pin block
  • Aluminum alloy frame
  • Plastic grips
  • 3 dot sights
  • Staggered magazine
  • Matte black finish
  • Corrosion resistant
  • 6.8″ overall length
  • 1.4″ wide
  • 4.8″ tall
  • 4.9″ sight radius
  • 23.3 oz. empty
Purchase the Beretta 84 in black or in nickel.

Like this article? CLICK HERE to get stories like this and others every other week in your e-mail inbox.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Trackback from your site.

The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (17)

  • Richard

    |

    Have been thinking about updating to the Model 84 or its Browning counterpart; have had a Taurus PT-59 (a clone of the early Beretta 84. My wife had a hard time getting use to my 9mm S&W (Model 39) but loved the PT-58 for all of the reasons the author sited. Will keep the PT-58 even though wife now has her own Walther PK380 and will continue to look for that upgrade at a good price.

    Reply

  • MMSDave

    |

    Wanna look good at the range or print on paper? Get over the 84.

    Reply

  • Winston Buie

    |

    call me pistol stupid…(pistol Stoopid) (hey i didn’t mean that literally)…my best guess is that a pistol is for lite carry super close cqb…i less worried about the brand and coating of a pistol than i am about funcionality…iwant the pistol to use the same round and mag as my main battle rifle…so here goes (ma…that 22 nut is on CTD again)here’s one option the S&W M&P 15-22 coupled with the 15-22P…neither one is even close to concealed carry but the 15-22p is surprisingly lite weight and easily handled (ergonomically)plus it has the distiniction of using the same round and mag as the 15-22 (Lois L’Amour eat your heart out)

    Reply

  • Joe

    |

    I’ve shot a Walther PPK in heavy stainless steel and the lighter weight Beretta 84 has less felt recoil and is more fun to shoot. The Walther is a bit more accurate but then my little P64 is even more accurate than that and shoots a bigger round. I own several older Italian-made Berettas and even the sixty year olds still shoot great with zero FTFs. I have over two dozen guns in various sizes and the Beretta 84 is my favorite. They were built to last and get smoother with time. The CZ-82 is another great gun, very accurate with a punchier round. But to each his own.

    Reply

  • clamboslice

    |

    It’s not important, but the lady in the Matrix is not holding the 84, it’s the 92.

    Reply

  • Mike White

    |

    I’ve owned my Cheetah since 2007 and fired it hundreds of times with zero malfunctions save a couple of bad rounds. I switched to Hornady in 2011 and haven’t even had a misfire since. The gun looks great, works perfect, very reliable and at close range I can shoot like a pro. I’ve fired in self defense once against a dog. It was about 30″ at the shoulder, must have been pushing 100 pounds he had just ripped a ladies small dog a new butthole, almost decapitated it and then he turned on me. I fired once into his ribcage. He had been charging full bore and was maybe 8 feet away, he slid to a stop 3′ away stone dead. I used to trade off guns for conceal carry but no more my carry is my Cheetah 100% now, I would recommend the Berretta to anyone unless you make a habit of walking into deserted warehouses full of dopers then I would advise on a round that knocks people over and while the .380 is deadly it isn’t a .45 the only thing I would modify were I running Beretta would be to offer the Cheetah in a 9mm version.

    Reply

  • Critical J

    |

    The wife and I are a bit backwards in gun society. She’s dieing for a proper .45, first a Cimerron and now an American Classic. A week ago, I was gonna buy a Beretta 92fs, slap some matching wood grips to it and that was gonna be us and our daily carry – a decent force to be reckoned with, out and about. Here in the heart of Southern gun culture, it’s still easy to spot anything from the odd highway patrolman proudly carrying his grand-daddy’s .38 Model 10 wheelgun on patrol to cops packin’ way non-standard issue 1911A1s or even citizens with all manner of things strapped to their hip and open carry, to true Southerners, is still concidered “polite”

    All the same, having never owned a small frame pistol before I was eager to try my hand at real CCW and not simply “making it work” when necessasary. You can certainly CCW a 1911, as the wife intends, but a 92fs? I might have been pushing my luck and in Alabama heat I really couldn’t ALWAYS do so. With half my money down already, I was having second thoughts when I came across the Cheetah .84 – I’m a revolver guy at heart, so stopping power from a pistol is nothing I intend to be impressed by. 13 rounds of anything is very appealing to me however and it’s much more concealable + for a smaller pistol it’s a SOLID build and still offers the reliable open slide design that initially drew me to Berettas in the first place. It’s an older model but I’m not to concerned about it having no decocker as, like I said, I’m transferring from revolvers. The stiff slide will take some serious getting used to, but they tell me it’ll become second nature and is entirely necessary given the heavy construction. When I learned that they’d just gone out of production (summer 2013) I knew I had to pick one up for that modest price tag.

    Here’s a link to my research:
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=9112981

    Reply

Leave a comment

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.


− five = 1