Sunday, September 1, 2019

Beretta 81 Cheetah First Shots

I've wanted one of the Beretta Cheetahs for some time, specifically in .32 ACP.  When an opportunity to acquire a Series 81 that was reputed to be a trade in from the Italian Police for a decent price I decided to snag one.

The Series 81 is a small frame pistol with a twelve round double stack magazine giving the shooter a thirteen round capacity with the chamber loaded..  It has a notch and post style rear and front sights.  The rear sight is drift adjustable for windage.  The front sight is part of the slide and has no adjustment.  There is no adjustment for elevation.  The sights are adequate but not up to the standards of most shooters as the front sight is smaller than the typical J frame front sight.

This is a Traditional Double Action pistol.  The first pull is a long, somewhat heavy double action trigger press which cocks and release the hammer thus firing the first shot.  The reciprocating motion of the slide cocks the hammer and every subsequent shot is a Single Action trigger press.

The Series 81 does not have a decocker.  Once a round is chambered the shooter must manually lower the hammer by holding and/or blocking it from falling while pulling the trigger.  The hammer can be lowered to the forward position or to half cock.  The safety can be engaged preventing the trigger from moving while the hammer is cocked.  It will also prevent the Double Action trigger press from moving the hammer past the half cock position.  The Series 81 does not have a firing pin block and is not considered drop safe by current standards.

I did not have a lot of ammo to run extensive testing with.  Spare magazines are expensive and rather difficult to come by, so at this point this is an oddity in the collection.  Based on my initial tests the Series 81 is quite shootable and very accurate.  I would not hesitate to carry it as a defensive pistol if I could source spare magazines and a suitable holster.

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