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Old 09-05-2010, 02:39 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 898
Beretta Model 85/Cheetah

Hello. Each Labor Day weekend there's a LARGE outdoor swap meet held at a gun club a couple hours from home. Don't always find time to attend but yesterday the weather was been too perfect to forego it, and nothing else of note was on my calendar.

What I purchased is a Beretta Model 85/"Cheetah" single stack .380 pistol. It came with a bit of ammo, a couple of extra factory magazines, a not-hateful pricetag, and it was a private sale to boot.

Had time to run some ammo through it last night, no problems and it seems to shoot as well for me as any of these smallish blowback guns do, better than some in fact.

The fire control system interested me enough to take off the stocks and have a look see. There's a magazine disconnect setup, which I figured out was pretty easily removed with no functional problems resulting.

By the way, am I correct about that assumption? I can live with magazine disconnect if necessary, it just seems that it was put there as an afterthought and dumping it out made no mechanical difference.

The (ambidextrous) decock/safety lever and modes of carry it provides seem better suited to me than a Walther or similar DA/SA. After closing the slide while loading, you flip the lever up and it decocks the hammer, leaving it in a partially cocked condition. Then you can flip the lever back down--but you don't have to, until you actually want to pull the trigger. For me this gives the gun a BHP-ish cocked and locked flavor. Whether you start with the lever up or down it gives you a shorter stroke on the first shot.

Please share your experiences with the Model 84/85 family of Beretta .380 semiautos. (The 84 is more or less the same gun with a doublestack magazine, best I understand.)
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Old 09-05-2010, 04:53 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 3,867
Beretta Model 85/Cheetah

Hello. I have not considered removing the magazine disconnect and have never done it on one of these, but have also been told that it is not hard to do. Again, I have no personal experience at it. I did shoot a used Beretta 85 that had had its removed and it worked fine for the year or so that I owned it.

If interested, here is a post I did on a box stock Model 85 a while back:


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Old 09-05-2010, 06:32 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 898
Beretta Model 85/Cheetah

I shoulda known you'd covered this gun, Stephen, thanks for the intel. :)

There's probably already something in my holster stash that this gun will fit into, that's the UPside of buying "too dang many" guns over the years.

If not though, the police/fire uniform shop has a peg full of IWB holsters for the

Models 84/85 in their clearance room, been there quite a spell with no takers. (The packaging is gathering dust!) Some agency around here must have approved these Beretta .380s for carry use in the past.
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Old 09-05-2010, 07:10 PM   #4
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Beretta Model 85/Cheetah


My wife's M85 was her "go to gun" for a number of years. The Beretta is a class act. Can't ever recall a stoppage with factory ammo or my reloads.

Just for giggles I resized some cases and the little rascal even fed those from the magazine.

The only down side is that the M84/85's are BIG for a .380! Must be a Beretta thing...the 9mm are BIG for a 9mm...

If you want to carry a .380 the Beretta certainly gets my vote.


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Old 09-06-2010, 06:54 AM   #5
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Beretta Model 85/Cheetah

Wes, I always wanted to try out something from the Beretta 84/85/Browning BDA series of .380 pistols. Strangely none of my vast circle of shooting pals have ever owned one, best of my knowledge.

If it doesn't suit me it can be peddled off at either a small profit, or worst case break-even. I always consider those deals to be like doing a no-fee range rental.

If it got put into the carry rotation it would be given BUG status. Yes it's a little large for that role but my off-side hand doesn't appreciate shooting wee little blasters such as the Kel Tec or Ruger .380. Believe it or not I'd ponder carrying my Sig P238 .380 on the strong (right) side with this Beretta 85 as the weakside BUG.
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:25 AM   #6
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Beretta Model 85/Cheetah

I had an 85 for a while. I always thought that while they were huge for a carry .380, they might be a perfect size for a "fun shooting" .380 and I was right.

It's big enough to hold onto, with sights you can use. But it's still small enough to bring along no matter what you are already taking to the range. I picked it up as afterthought on my way out the door more than once.

In short, I used it as a centerfire plinker.

Not very cheap to shoot unless you reload, though. If you do, you can shoot cast bullets so your ammo cost is next to nothing.

It isn't much bugger, if any, than many suggested .22 "trail guns" and gives more zip.
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:34 PM   #7
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Beretta Model 85/Cheetah

Huge is relative. If its all you can carry (for health or legal reasons) then its more effective than the more diminutive .380's.

Remember, it was conceived as a range/carry gun for places that prohibited 9mm.

The 84 is even bigger, with a doublestack mag.

Comparing my recently acquired Beretta 85 to the old Colt Pocket Pistol I find the Colt to be longer and heavier, but somewhat thinner. The Colt has a crappy grip angle and tiny safety, basically carrying cocked and locked, and a pretty good trigger. The Beretta is a lot more comfy to hold, reasonable to carry, a useble trigger, and has a SWEET decocker/safety setup.

The light slide and heavy spring on the Beretta makes it a bear to operate the slide manually and its a nasty kicker for the load.

I had hoped it would be useful to me as my hands deteriorate but I can barely rack the slide now. The Beretta 92 Compact I have no problems with and I will be able to use it far longer than the 85.

I will likely keep it as a fun plinker for a while, until someone offers me a nice old S&W for it. :)



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