By Dan Kidder
Based upon feedback from users, Beretta has made several improvements to their .380 semi-auto Pico.
In our previous review back in March, we noted that the Pico had issues feeding certain standard .380 ammo unless the internal non-captive recoil spring was removed. This issue has been eliminated and we were able to fire a wide variety of .380 ammo without removing the spring.
The upgraded Pico also has a slightly lighter trigger pull to improve accuracy and the slide has been reworked for easier charging and operation.
In addition to these modifications, the same thin design and modular serialized chassis system allow the gun to be accessorized with various polymer frames in different colors or to be swapped out with a LaserMax frame with a built in laser for rapid target acquisition. The laser activation switch is directly under the thumb when gripped in a two-handed configuration or easily pressed with the trigger finger if shooting one-handed. Because the serial number is on the internal assembly, the entire lower frame can be easily swapped out.
Besides those modifications, the same strengths of the Pico remain. The gun is very small. At just over ¾ of an inch wide and only 5 ¼ inches long, it vanishes when concealed. The weight is minimal as well at only 11.5 ounces with an empty magazine. This makes this little guy easy to carry and conceal.
The Pico comes with two magazines, a flush fit that adds nothing to the 4-inch high grip and a finger extension version that adds about an inch of gripping surface. Both magazines hold six rounds.
Because the Pico uses a tilt barrel, it helps minimize felt recoil over other small .380s with fixed barrels. It also means the slide doesn’t have to travel as far to the rear to eject spent casings.
The gun shot amazingly well for such a little package. The sights on the gun are real sights, not a channel cut into the frame. These white dot sights give the shooter a quick sight picture and make target acquisition and follow-up shots faster.
All of the controls, and there aren’t many, are accessible for those with diminutive paws. The slide lock lever is slick and the magazine release is easily accessible. Other than those two controls, the Pico has no external safety, de-cocking lever or any other accouterments to confuse or snag; a clean simple design.
The true double-action mechanism requires no cocking to fire, so it is an ideal gun for practicing dry-fire, though snap caps are strongly suggested to prevent damage to the lightweight firing pin. The semi-exposed internal hammer stays flat when not in use and only travels rearward when you pull the trigger. It is recessed within the frame, so no danger of accidentally dropping it on the hammer and causing an unintended discharge.
The inclination is that this is a ladies gun, but there are plenty of men with small hands and many women who like the beefy feel of a larger framed weapon, so this gun will be enjoyed by users of both genders.