Star Model BM - talk me into / out of it


November 30, 2012, 12:31 PM
A local shop has a Star Model BM for $239. It felt great in the hand, like nothing I've felt before, and the gun shop guy told me how great they were and was trying to get me to take it home but knowing nothing about it I had to do some research first. So now that I've done some extensive reading and know the pros and cons, my only concerns are durability and parts breakage/sourcing new parts. Even with that in mind, I still want it really bad. Now that it's not so much of an impulse buy, I don't know if I want to pay more than $200 for it but the gun shop owner is unlikely to budge down on price as evrything in his shop is marked higher than the normal going rate for any given gun anyways yet this Star BM still seems reasonably priced in comparison. The main reason I don't want to pay over 200 is this pistol has an enormous amount of finish wear. I don't actually care what condition it's in but would like to use this as a talking point to haggle the price down.

My intentions for this pistol if I bought it would be mostly glovebox duty andoccasional/infrequent range use. So durability isn't a major concern but I would like to avoid parts breakage and as long as I avoid +P and don't shoot more than 50 rounds a month it should last me quite a while right? Anyways, I just can't decide whether to grab it for upwards of $260 out-the-door or pass on it? I've seen them cheaper online but after shipping and steep transfer fees I wont be coming out ahead though I may get a better specimen with more intact finish but that would be approaching $300 when all is said and done.bagain, more than I want to pay for a pistol that MAY become a paperweight if something breaks.

Also, I just ordered a Sig P226 from Widener's so if you all talk me out of it that would be great too! The wife would kill me if I bought a second pistol so soon!

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November 30, 2012, 03:20 PM
My BM has been a fine weapon for the past two decades that I've owned it. An old style, all steel gun. A bit heavy for CCW, but works fine as a truck gun, or car gun, where it's not holstered.

There are several sources for the usual parts, like recoil springs, firing pins, and ejectors and extractors. Numrich comes readily to mind.

I doubt is 50 rounds a month will bother it. Replace the recoil spring before you start, though, as you have no idea of it's condition.

November 30, 2012, 03:55 PM
I had one for a while. I liked it very much. It ran perfectly, was reasonably accurate and I even CCW'd it for a while.

I think $300 is a reasonable price for one in good shape.

November 30, 2012, 04:46 PM
Resist the temptation to detail strip the frame. There is a small part that ilves under the thumb safety that is easily lost.

I like mine. It was a while before I was able to find additional magazines. So far, it works with whatever I have fed it.


November 30, 2012, 05:43 PM
I own two and both are excellent. I would buy another in a heartbeat. Simply put, they are dependable accurate pistols and tough as an anvil.

November 30, 2012, 06:29 PM
I wish I'd never sold mine.

November 30, 2012, 06:33 PM
Well you guys aren't helping me save my clams. :p

November 30, 2012, 07:34 PM
My intentions for this pistol if I bought it would be mostly glovebox duty andoccasional/infrequent range use.

One of my 4 Star BMs travels with me in the glovebox of my pickup and prior to giving my Jetta to my niece as she headed off to college in Fall'09, another lived in its glovebox.

Very nice pistols, but, IMO, too heavy for regular/extended concealed carry. Mine are both accurate, reliable and feel very comfortable in my hand.

November 30, 2012, 09:37 PM
I bought one for my son to grow into this summer. So far he's too young for it and we're on the .22 single shot rifle stage for now but he'll get around to shooting it eventually. In the mean time, I have been "testing" it for him (can't give the boy a bad gun ya know!:o ) and it's been pretty accurate and reliable. Now I have only fired FMJ ammo through it but so far, so good. It's going to be a trainer so I wanted something in 9mm that has light recoil, single action for a shorter trigger reach, single colum magazine for smaller size hands and the steel frame to soak up recoil. I think the Star BM here fits that bill very nicely and the low price was a great additional benifit as well. Yes, parts may be a problem getting but IIRC, Numrich still has firing pins and extractors for sale. These are the parts I'd worry about most (other than recoil springs) so I'll be ordering up a few to have around as spares. Just don't dry-fire without a snap cap and I think that breaking a firing pin isn't something I would worry about all that much.

November 30, 2012, 09:41 PM
At $239, pick her up and don't look back. :D

November 30, 2012, 09:55 PM
Only real issues is lack of spare magazines and parts.

My Star BM served me well until reasonably priced 9mm 1911 from RIA and Taurus came out. I love the 1911, but it just never made sense to me to spend $800+ for the Kimber or Springfield offerings when the only reason for 9mm was to shoot cheap ammo. The Star BM was a nice alternative.

When I got mine they were running $130-170 depending on finish condition, as Spanish "police surplus". I ended up with two, one very nice one for $170 which I've never shot and a $130 "beater" that I shot a lot of cheap $3.86/50 CCI Aluminum Blazer from Academy back in the day.

Haven't shot it since I got my RIA Tactical. But I add my vote to buy it!

November 30, 2012, 10:24 PM
Well with all yays and no nays I'm gonna swing by the store next week and if they still have it I'm taking it home.

December 1, 2012, 12:15 AM
I had a Star Model B for a number of years and it was a real workhorse in terms of its reliability and durability. Again as others have already stated, the biggest problem with having a Star is finding spare parts and magazines.

December 1, 2012, 08:43 AM
Bought two about 6 years ago (the Spanish police returns referenced above), but gave one away as a gift (and wish now that I hadn't!) and the other to my wife. Fantastic little pistol.

As others have said, the only real drawback is that its is pretty heavy for a 'low capacity' 9mm.

I have had no problem finding parts that I needed for them via the internet.

At $239, I'd probably buy it myself if I saw one in a shop.

December 1, 2012, 09:28 AM
While your sitting around thinking about it, it's still on sale for all the other customers . . . You know that right?

Assuming its still there at that price, I'd buy a lead balloon if I wanted it as bad as you want this thing, just to prevent losing out.

My curiosity would be worth $200 bucks.

December 1, 2012, 01:28 PM
It's on layaway. ;)

December 1, 2012, 01:49 PM
It's on layaway. ;)
You will probably be pretty happy folks pay more for surplus Tokarevs and CZ52s and both are clearly inferior to what you found.

December 1, 2012, 01:54 PM
It probably helps that I went to a gun show first and I got to see just how much pistol I'm getting for the money with the Star BM. CZ-52s and P-64s going for over 400 dollars, SKS rifles for $500, etc. Price gouging is in full swing! So the Star BM from my local gun shop seemed like an even better deal than before.

December 1, 2012, 07:27 PM
At $239 for an occasional range gun, who cares about parts. Shoot it, have fun with it, and if you have problems you'll buy another $200 gun, right (or maybe you're just out $200, but not a terrible loss).

December 2, 2012, 09:23 AM
It's a tack driver, buy it.

Lone Star
December 2, 2012, 06:55 PM

That ain't it. The BM is a more compact item. Looks as if you have a Model B or B Super.

Apart from finish wear on the gun in this topic, I'd worry about an inertial firing pin issue. Might not be a good idea to carry it with a round in the chamber. A qualified gunsmith should be able to alter the firing pin if it applies to this example.

Otherwise, a good, sound gun. Sort of like their PD .45, but all steel and in 9mm.

The Spanish Navy used some.

December 2, 2012, 07:21 PM
The pre-1981 guns with the non-inertial firing pins are only a 'problem' if you intend to carry in Condition 2, which it does not sound like the OP intends.

December 3, 2012, 02:53 AM
The pre-1981 guns with the non-inertial firing pins are only a 'problem' if you intend to carry in Condition 2, which it does not sound like the OP intends.

I'm a 1911 user. Cocked and locked is how I roll. ;)

December 3, 2012, 08:04 AM
I don't see any issue with carrying the BM in Condition 1, except that it is difficult to find good non-custom leather.

Obviously the safety works differently than the 1911 (better for carry, IMHO), but there isn't a grip safety. Based on how I carry, it was important to have good coverage of the safety in any holster I use for the BM.

December 3, 2012, 11:08 AM
True but it won't be a carry gun for me. At most I may get one of those cheap nylon holsters just to protect it in the glovebox or whatever. Not sure what I'm gonna do with the gun until I get it.

December 4, 2012, 08:58 AM
Just like Jaymo I still kick myself for having sold mine.

December 4, 2012, 06:21 PM
Looks like it is time for some Star BM porn!

On top: a 1978, bottom: a 1976. Both ex-Spanish / CAI imports.

December 5, 2012, 12:59 PM
Great Pistol and at one time a preferred personal carry by the FBI personnel I knew "back in the day". I'd buy one in a heart beat if it was in very good condition.

December 5, 2012, 04:53 PM
The Spanish Navy used some.

The Spanish Guardia Civil, also.

December 5, 2012, 07:45 PM
Well I'm happy to hear good things about this pistol from everyone. I won't be getting it too soon as I have some other things to pay off first and a road trip coming up in a few days but the fact it's on layaway means I've secured it and it's mine for good. I look forward to putting rounds through it.

December 23, 2012, 05:36 PM
Well, here it is:

I put 50 rounds through it just to get a feel for the pistol. It shoots GREAT! Recoil was very soft, very controllable, the trigger is very good to excellent, and the sights, for being of a bland, all-black variety, are easy to pick up and shoot at speed with great accuracy. I was able to hit accurately with it out to 40 yards which is saying a lot. I had a two failures to extract where the empty casing stayed in the chamber, one during the first mag and one during the third mag fired. After that it worked fine. I'm hoping this is just a fluke but for now it is just a range toy and I will be keeping an eye on it. Oh, and I also think it might have something to do with the fact I took it straight to the range from the gun shop with no cleaning/lube before its first outing.

All in all, I'm very impressed by this pistol and at a loss for words as to why I never heard of it before, or why no mainstream manufacturer is offering an appropriately scaled-down 9mm 1911-wanna-be such as this. It now competes with my Colt XSE 1911 and my West German Sig P226 as far as which one I can shoot most accurately the fastest.

January 5, 2013, 10:34 AM
Hello everyone. I took the Star out for another spin. All cleaned and lubed up proper this time, including the magazines, which were embarrassingly filthy and full of crud on the inside, I'm surprised they even fed anything the first time.

I'm happy to report the failures to extract from the previous session did not reappear. However a new type of failure emerged. The slide stop would engage once, sometimes twice, in the middle of every magazine. Previous round extracted/ejected, next round waiting in the magazine in the normal position to be fed, slide stop completely engaged.

I believe the bullets are hitting the slide stop as they move upwards in the magazine during extraction. I have yet to disassemble the pistol but I expect to find copper marks on the slide stop and will file away minuscule amounts until the issue is resolved. I don't believe there is anything wrong with the ammo, I was using PPU 115 gr FMJ and Wolf 115 gr FMJ.

January 8, 2013, 01:28 AM
I took the Star out again today. Slide still locked back prematurely, looks like I need to file a little bit more off the slide stop. I used the file sparingly as it's easier to take metal off than put it back on and wasn't sure how much was enough.

I'm also getting 2 to 3 failures to extract out of 100 rounds. I can't explain why, but the interesting thing is the first time I shot it and had FTEs I was using a 50-round box of Federal Champion 115 gr FMJ and today I used a 100-round value pack of the same Federal Champion, both from Wal-Mart in the red box. I didn't experience any FTEs when using Wolf or PPU. I may order a new extractor and see if that cures the issue.

So far this pistol is unsuitable for defensive use until I get the kinks worked out. I shot a box of 124-grain Gold Dots through it and didn't have any problems but regardless, it's a range toy for now.

January 8, 2013, 07:25 PM
Mine had the slide stop pin located in the wrong place. It required replacement of the entire frame to correct it. Luckily I found one for about 50 bucks. Its a great shooter now.

January 8, 2013, 08:20 PM
I have had the brother to your Star bm the Star b (made in 1943) for about eight years. I've had it to the gunsmith twice. I will not be spending any more money on it. I don't carry and all my guns are range toys so this one will just join the club. Sorry to see that you are having some of the same problems. Mine is accurate and fun to shoot (except for the hammer bite). It's not reliable but I'll keep it anyway. If you have the patience maybe you can work out the snags. Let us know.

1943 Star b

I thing the longer barrel/slide are about the only difference from the bm.

Link to the Spanish Pistol Forum

October 14, 2013, 12:06 AM
Scored these gems recently.

I have yet to fire them, but looking forward to it.

They feel fantastic in the hand, with crisp triggers. I think these are sleeper pistols, meaning overlooked by most people.

I got the blued model for around $275 with 3 mags. It has import markes from CAI. It's in 85%-90% condition.

I got the nickel model with a leather holster and 1 mag for $330. It has no import marks. I'd rate it at 95% condition, with just the slightest pitting. This one appears to have the mag disconnect removed, so it fires without the magazine inserted... I prefer it in this condition.

I'm going to look for spare parts soon so I have them on hand.

I'm guessing the OP has already made his decision, but this may help another person looking into the Star models.

October 14, 2013, 05:47 AM
I carried one every day for some twelve years, as a rough estimation. Fine little pistol, although I had several of them as we were issued one pistol once we got deployed and if we were transferred, we were to hand it over at the regional HQ where we were being transferred and they sent the "old" one to our previous station. Some were in better condition than others, but in general is an easy to shoot, reliable pistol. Never had malfunctions using the regular FMJ 115-124 loads. +P were not allowed in this pistol.

This pistol saw service in the Spanish Navy, and was quickly replaced by the much better Star 30M, but its main user was the Guardia Civil (law enforcement) and some units were used (not many) by the "Policía Armada" (we're talking early 70's, Franco was still alive). The "Policía Nacional" was later to be renamed "Cuerpo Nacional de Policía" and to replace their .38 revolvers and BMs by Star 28PK pistols.

The units on display on those pics are definitely ex-Guardia Civil pistols. The Guardia Civil units were traded to Beretta when the BMs and 30Ms were being replaced by the current Beretta 92FS we use. Have a look at the frame and slide, just above the trigger guard, and you'll see the old (the current one is slightly different) Guardia Civil logo.

As some other members pointed out earlier, just be careful if you carry one in the pipe. A lot of these pistols don't have an inertial firing pin and I wouldn't be comfortable with a round chambered and a firing pin so close to the primer. There are no firing safeties, either. The finish could be better, too, but that is an issue that has an easy fix.

Hope you enjoy it.

Lone Star
October 14, 2013, 06:34 AM

Thanks for that wonderful account. Are you Guardia Civil?

Does the Beretta 92FS do well by you, and are they obtained from Italy, or made under license in Spain? What are the holsters like?

Your Engish is certainly excellent. Thanks again for the interesing post.

October 14, 2013, 07:16 AM
I love how on the blued pistol that @leadcounsel posted, CAI felt they had to mark the "9mmP" right over the top of the factory marking saying the same thing. Quality work.

October 14, 2013, 11:03 AM
I have a Star PD and still carry it sometimes. The Star series were good guns.

October 14, 2013, 11:12 AM
Just remember if the finish is worn, and you are leaving it in the truck, "outdoors", you are going to be exposing it to the elements.
This may cause it to rust fast. Think about a re-bluing or Parkerizing job first, or you may find a rusty gun in a month. My "career Marine" neighbor, has 2, and swears by them. I have never owned one. Is the Firestar the same company?

October 14, 2013, 12:47 PM
Lone Star,

Thanks for your compliments. Much appreciated. Correct, I do serve in the GC, hence the first hand information ;).

The 92FS is a very good service pistol. I like mine and most of my coworkers do like them, too. The small framed people and the females sometimes complain about the grip size, but the common perception is that is an accurate and reliable weapon. In my case, I have medium sized hands and handle it without problem. I like the extra bit of accuracy a 5" barrel will provide, and the minimum muzzle flip, but if I were to choose and it had to be a Beretta, I'd rather carry a PX4. Otherwise, a Glock 19 or 17. Our pistols have "Made in Italy" in the frame, but I think the quality of the finish isn't on par with that one of a unit you could purchase in a gun shop. My guess is that the government saved some money there. Holsters... the one we were issued is so much of a crap, that supervisors have allowed that we carry the one of our liking (bought with our own money, needless to say), provided that it's not the "thigh" model. They have to be carried at waist level, low, medium, or high, but waist level. Me, I chose a Vega Holsters model that has two interesting features. One is that I can remove the holster from its paddle and put it in a drawer (good for when you have to do some paperwork in front of a computer), and the other one is that if you have to drive, there's a button in the holster that will allow it to tilt backwards. It really makes a difference when you have to drive for more than 15 minutes.

I'm glad to see that these old gems are still seeing some use and that there's people who do appreciate their qualities. It was sad enough that our arms industry went belly up, and that the people who was to be blamed for that got away with it. That's actually one of the reasons I got my 30M and plan on keeping her for ever. They were nice guns.

October 14, 2013, 03:15 PM
Think about a re-bluing or Parkerizing job first,

Or hard chrome.

Here's my thread on hard chroming a Star BM back in 2006:

October 15, 2013, 06:28 PM
Who did the plating, it came out perfect.

October 15, 2013, 06:47 PM
I had a look at the thread and I have to say that I'm deeply impressed. What a job they did.

Wouldn't mind to have a BM myself, but they aren't easy to find over here. Most of the units were Guardia Civil units that got sold to Beretta, and as far as I know they ended up in the US or various countries in Africa.

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