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Monday, October 5, 2015

The Beretta Cheetah 84 FS .380 ACP is top quality, old school, made in Italy elegance.

Caliber .380 ACP (aka 9mm Kurz, 9mm Corto, 9 Short, 9x17mm)
Double action / single action
Barrel length = 3.8''
Magazine capacity = 13 (10-round available for those suffering triskaidekaphobia)
Pistol height = 4.8''
Pistol length = 6.1''
Pistol width = 1.4''
Sight radius = 4.9''
Weight = 23.3 ounces (unloaded)
Frame = alloy

The 84 FS does kinda look like a shrunken version of the Beretta 92 FS. 

If asked to choose a half-dozen models of .380 ACP pistols as my favorites above all other available models of .380 ACP pistols, I would have to decline the request.  Of all the different models of .380 pistols that the market has to offer, I have affection for only a very few, the Beretta 84 Cheetah being the most recent (and likely the final) addition to my small but eclectic .380 collection.  The Cheetah is intended to be a shooter (as opposed to a "Safe Queen") and a carry piece once I feel comfortable with it at the range, and subsequent to logging substantial time carrying it inside appropriate holsters.  It may take up to a year for me to see if this pistol suits me like I believe it will.

Each of the three .380 pistols in the above photo will fit into the side pocket of all brands of my bluejeans.  Simply fitting into a pocket does not make a handgun a practical pocket carry. The easiest pocket carry is obviously the Seecamp, followed by the PPK.  The Cheetah is akin to pocket carry of the chubby little Glock 26.  If the pocket bulge is going to be equal I would likely opt for the 11-round capacity of the more powerful 9x19mm G26 over the 14-round capacity of the 9x17mm Beretta 84. However, for knock-about shoulder holster carry or IWB carry, the Beretta suits me a bit better than does the G26. The Beretta also fits my hand far better than does the G26.

The thumb safety on the PPK flips UP to fire.  The thumb safety on the Beretta 84 FS flips DOWN to fire. That would be confusing during a life threatening situation; it is unwise for me to carry both of those pistols at the same time or to frequently alternate carry between those two.  The Seecamp has no external safety; it is a simple point-and-click self-defense device.  The Seecamp internal safety blocks the trigger when the magazine is removed.  The Beretta Cheetah internal safety "disconnects" the trigger when the magazine is removed.  The PPK has no magazine safety.

Capacity of each (with a full mag and a round in the chamber):
Beretta 84 FS = 14 rounds
Walther PPK = 7 rounds
LW Seecamp = 7 rounds

The most felt recoil is with the Seecamp and the least is with the Beretta (although, unloaded, the steel frame PPK and the alloy frame 84 FS Cheetah weigh about the same).  As far as getting the most velocity out of the .380 ACP, the longer barrel of the Beretta should lead that race followed by the PPK and then the Seecamp.

The Beretta has a bit more sight radius than does the PPK.  The Seecamp has no sights whatsoever but many shooters find the stylish little last-ditch-self-defense belly-gun capable of adequate accuracy at surprising distances.

In the above photo, the Walther PPK is stacked on the side of the Beretta 84 FS Cheetah.  The Cheetah is a bit longer and a bit taller than the PPK.  Sized to fit the 13-round double-stack magazine, the grip of the Cheetah 84 is far thicker than that of the PPK.  Although it is a bit more difficult for me to conceal than is the PPK, the added ammo capacity is an attaction and the Beretta is far more comfortable in my hand.

CLICK HERE for this Beretta Cheetah 84 in a Ken Null SMZ shoulder holster.

CLICK HERE for a Beretta brand Cheetah 84 IWB holster review.


Old 1811 said...

I had a Beretta 84 back in the late 70s/early 80s, and it was the favorite of the 3 .380s I owned. (The other two were the old single-action AMT backup [mine was an even earlier one carrying the OMC name], which I liked, and a PPK/S, which I hated. [The million-pound trigger and the web-cutting slide on the Walther were negative features in my book.])
Getting back to the Beretta, it functioned flawlessly, didn't try to eat my hand, and just felt good, with no sharp corners or angles. Its length, height, and grip girth was almost identical to a Colt Detective Special.
If you're looking for a .380, I'd look at this one.

James Zachary said...

Hey there Old 1811,

I really appreciate you sharing your insight.

Thanks for stopping by!



Wilson said...

I've owned some larger Berettas and the quality was always top notch.

James Zachary said...

Agreed. They make world class firearms.

Take care!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim

Just my opinion but due to the double action trigger pull wouldn't the PPk and the Beretta be safe enough to carry with the safety off? Then flipping up or down becomes moot.

All the best

James Zachary said...

Hey there JonT

You bring up good points. My PPK is a 1967 vintage and I have been told that it may not be "drop safe" if carried with the safety off. There has always been some conflicting opinions regarding the PPKs being carried "safety off." A few years ago a guy dropped his PPK from a coat pocket in a theater; it discharged, thankfully nobody was hurt. I remember reading that law enforcement alleged that the guy was carrying the PPK with the safety off; dunno if that was accurate.

Both the PPK and the Cheetah 84 are for use in cases where I feel uncomforable carrying a Glock style trigger. For me, the safety is a "comfort thing" for carrying appendix IWB and with certain shoulder holsters. I do make exceptions; I feet at ease carrying my DAO J-Frame Centennial revolvers appendix IWB and with different shoulder holsters.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Anonymous said...

James -

Schrank's Smoke 'N Gun here! We just got a Cheetah in for the first time in forever. I'd like to link to your blog from our FB page. OK with you?

James Zachary said...

Hey there Schrank's Smoke 'N Gun! I would be very honored. Link away!