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Beretta Bobcat 21 A

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by sm, Oct 31, 2007.

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  1. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Friend of mine has a real serious inquiry about this gun, for a particular niche in his lifestyle.
    I have shared in private with him my experiences and observations about this gun, the Beretta Minx (.22 short only) Beretta Jetfire (25ACP) and other smaller "Small Compacts" by other makers such as S&W 2214, Colt and Browning Vest Pockets and NAA mini-revolver.

    Beretta Bobcat 21A is one easier to find New, and sometimes Used.
    It is the dickens to find a used Jetfire, Minx and others, as folks just do not part with these.

    Now I go way back with the 21A, for his benefit, and mine, and some others we got a new one and tested it out.
    Lady friend bought one over year ago, with 3 additional magazines.
    Gun Buddy ordered 1 and got a duplicate order (2) so she bought one and stuck it in the safe.
    She was busy with other things, and it would be in the Safe when time came to mess with it.

    She bought the one I have always liked, and recommended. The Matte Finish one, in 22 lr.

    The 25ACP [6.35 mm] is also proven by me and others.
    Deal is, with the .22 lr lots of practice for less money can be had, so once the 25ACP was tested and all, used the .22lr for practice and fun, carry the 25ACP.
    Lots of folks did this, including Police and other serious folks.

    That said, LOTS of folks including Police and other Serious Folks carried the .22 lr version.
    Heck I know two folks, in LEO , members of THR that have/ still do.

    PDF of owner's manual :

    Manual itself is well written, plenty of information about the gun itself, such as being forged, safety instuctions, no magazine required to fire the gun, tip up barrel makes it easy to make safe, load, and not have to manually rack the slide for starters.
    Page 9 shares Ammunition recommendations and Standard will be efficient and less wear and stress on this gun.
    Also the warning to not dryfire this gun.

    Just read the links above to learn more about the pistol.

    I want to get into to what we did testing out a new one.
  2. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    When she bought this gun, she looked at the one sold, and the Gunsmith took that one apart to check it all out.
    Buyer was there, as as customary, Gunsmith goes over a gun with a customer.
    Even step out back and shoot it.

    So lady friends had been looked out, messed with, deemed good to go (these always are) and she wiped it off and just inspects and maintains.
    In this interim, for whatever reason, Gunsmith got in extra stocks and grip screws, something else in the box, forget.
    Just best to have back-up parts and not need, than to need and not have.

    She had a little of the G96 left, and it is hard to find locally. It smells good and it too works, another something I go way back with.
    Stocks off, clean gun and mags, Canned air , stocks back on and done.

    Warning. Gun Scrubber and Brake Cleaner will eat those plastic stocks.

    I had some old stuff, some going back 20 years.
    Win X22lr always worked and was easy to find.
    It was the .22 ammunition, that always ran in a Semi Auto. It might not be the most accurate, though it might, still the guns always run.
    T-22 the Standard loading.

    PMC Zappers, Fed Bulk pack that has to be 20 years old,
    CCI Mini Mags did not used to that easy to get back in the day, still I had some bought from being out of town.

    Winchester and Federal Rat Shot.
    These I have always like better than CCIs.
    These are all brass, and the ends are crimped to keep the shot in.

    She had not seen these, and this was really neat, it got "neater".

    She had newer .22 offerings, mostly some CCI, Fed Bulk pack, some Eley, Rem Golden Bullet and other loosed ends.

    Federal Rat shot, she could not stand it, "these are so neat and cute.
    So she had mag of the old X22lr, slipped a Fed Rat shot in the tip up barrel and it cycled it.

    She shot the rest of the mag, we repeated this, it did it again.

    So after about 50 rds, no malfs, just used a small Utitlity brush from the Auto Parts store, that fits a .22 rim-fire. Smushed the loop on the end, to fit into bore, pc of cloth.
    Clean chamber all we care about, so after twisting and turning, push this utility brush through bore and done.

    Child's toothbrush's are great, these are small and handy to reach places, used that to clean breech face and slide.
    Pipe cleaners work just fine.

    Starting out, just shot about two boxes (5 rounds) and inspect, add a drop of G96.
    Can was empty <frump> still the gun had kept on running for ~ 200 rounds.

    We figured some old ammo, with rust from being rained on from a storm would not work.
    Actually we had some work, just shooting one at a time. This ammo is set for disposal - just something to mess with and check out.

    So technically the gun did not run due to rusty faulty ammo, that had not business even being tried.
    Just curious was all.

    So she decided to take off stocks, and clean with Hoppe's No. 9 and lube with Breakfree CLP from a 2/3 oz bottle. Why this CLP?

    "Its cute, and black and matches the gun" - she said.

    Gun kept running, not missing a beat.
    Downright fun, and accurate too.
    She got to shooting the ends of tin cans, and then got cute and was going after golf balls and all.

    I asked her to get serious and all shots into a playing card at 7 yds as fast as she could.
    She did it again at 10 yds.
    1/2 playing card and she still did it.
    I lost a Snicker's bar over this, all in the name of research you understand.

    Gloves. Note the trigger guard on this gun, works fine with Isotoner gloves, Latex gloves, Surgical Gloves like Bio-Gel.

    She decided to see if/ how long it would go without any attention, just shooting.
    Over a 150 rds.
    I was tired of loading mags, and we had come to the point this gun was like the guns they have always been for me, - they work.

    I will tell all. Some stuff stays private.

    Still Surgical Scrubs are reversible, meaning pocket inside and out.
    Folks wear a T shirt with scrubs, especially ladies has the scrub fronts are cut in a low "V".

    Gun will fit in these pockets. I prefer tops, and all it takes is is a index card or List of cases [sheet of 8.5x11 ] folded in same to retain and conceal.

    These things conceal really well.

    Lots of fun and some old tricks with these guns, many are not aware of today.
  3. ACP230

    ACP230 Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Upper Michigan
    The 21A also works fine in a nylon ankle holster.
    Easier to get to while seated in a car than guns in some other carry modes.

    Since there's no extractor a misfire can leave a round in the chamber.
    Just flip the barrel latch. When the barrel flies up the offending round should be ejected and land behind you and to the right. Snap the barrel shut and cycle the slide to load a new round.
  4. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

    Aug 28, 2006
    Phoenix, Arizona
    The 21 fits perfectly in an Ipod case. And in the tiny pocket of my swim trunks. And in every pocket but the watch pocket of my jeans. Very lightweight, easy recoil, extremely cheap ammo, excessively simple to diassemble and to clean from the breech. Put it in the CD case holder in your car.
    I bought mine thanks to your repeated mention of how good it was, and it's proven to be well worth it. Easier to clean than my revolver, easier to carry than anything else I own, about the same weight as my Swiss Army knife, carries anywhere, anytime.
  5. Mad Magyar

    Mad Magyar Member

    Jun 8, 2005
    I just hope you didn't pick up the one I got rid of....:uhoh:
    Keep it clean & well-lubed and use hypervelocity ammo...Good luck...:)
    P.S. I cured my problem and still was able to enjoy plinking a .22: went with a revolver....
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2007
  6. Steve H

    Steve H Member

    Nov 10, 2006
    Southern Utah
    Mine really likes CCI stingers
  7. gb6491

    gb6491 Member

    Apr 17, 2006
    Yuma County, Arizona
    I'm glad to hear some folks have found this gun reliable. I've must have owned two (one replaced the first) that Beretta messed up. The first would absolutely not fire and feed two rounds in a row. The second was marginally better and improved (after treating it with Militec-1) to the point I could sometimes fire a complete magazine without failure. The failures were either failure to eject or feed. The guns always fired a chambered round and are surprisingly accurate. On the failures to eject, the gun would sometimes cycle enough to cock the hammer; a second strike on a empty case was the result. This made extracting (again my guns) the cases difficult; they had to be punched out with a rod via the muzzle. I have since sold the second one. I really want to like this model and may try another later on. I want something cheaper to feed and practice with, but similar in sight plane length to my KT P32.
  8. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Alma Illinois
    I carried a 21A as an off duty BUG and sometimes as a primary depending on how I was dressed. I bought it from a Trooper I know who used to carry it as an on duty bug in a holster he had for the strap on his body armor.

    I carried mine in a Milt Sparks pocket holster. It was 100% reliable with any .22 LR I tried in it, unlike many other more expensive pocket .22s like the Walther TPH.

    I've still got it and wouldn't hesitate to use it again if the situation required it.

  9. George Hill

    George Hill Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Uintah Basin, UT
  10. buttrap

    buttrap Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    I am kind of attached to the one I have. Runs like a top till it gets really dirty then tends to have the occasional FTF. It seems to vary on ammo, some stuff you hit 50-60 rounds and it gets a bit testy vs others I may get up to 150 before I get a FTF. Bottom line they suck as a range gun if you expect to expend bricks of ammo. I dont worry much about that though as I dont expect to end up needing to shoot that much ammo for self defence.
  11. Mad Magyar

    Mad Magyar Member

    Jun 8, 2005
    George, nice, positive review on the Beretta 21A....
    I really liked much of what you said about the pistol, but unfortunately it didn't behave quite so well in reliability with me....I've been around long enough with weapons to know about the "occasional" misfit: I had it...So, I'm not going to knock Beretta...
    Anyway, if you ever do a review on the Officer's model, let me know...I am getting hammered about my "measly" barrel size....:)
  12. Striker

    Striker Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    NE Ohio
    Dang Steve,

    Haven't happened upon a Bobcat yet, so I make due with a Tomcat (the Bobcat's brother on steroids).

    Seriously, after running the Keltec, Guardian, and Seecamp, I have settled on the Tomcat as the best compromise for a pocket auto for me (emphasis added).

    I know you have one, any thoughts to share?
  13. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Great Reviews as always.


    I currently do not personally own a Bobcat or Tomcat.
    Mine are actually now owned by Physically Limited persons.

    Bobcats and I go way way back. As George shared, just neater than all get out, and mine have always worked.
    CCI was not that prevalent around here back in the day, but the Win X22lr was and this load always ran any semi auto, including the 21A.

    My first Tomcat, was the Alleycat version when these came out. Some LEOs said this met the approved list and we were going to wring these out.
    Simple, we would not carry a gun we could not shoot a lot, and continue quality practice with.
    Mine did not break, the other UC officers did, and one did twice.
    Excellent Beretta Customer Service and turn around time.
    This was early on, and we were advised by Beretta "to carry more than shoot, we are looking into all this, and again we apologize."

    UC LEOs went back to J frame. I had a lady in need , Physically Limited, with no weak side hand.
    Taking no chances, mine went to Beretta, and they checked it out and I mean good.

    Once back, and I and this lady shot this gun, getting her some quality range time and using the gun, she carried it.
    Her BUG was one of my older Bobcats.
    She would sit out back and pop pine cones for fun.
    We had a deal made to hold mags, to make loading them easier for her.
    Basically a small Craftsman vise, with wooden holder to hold mags, but not crush them. [Bobcat and 21A mags]

    Years go buy, and again with a new private range, and students, and some physically limited, and CCW becoming more popular, Tomcat looked into again.

    We got in 3 and tried to tear these up. These held up, and we put some high round counts through them, did not clean and used all sorts of ammunition, including some reloads.

    Gunsmith fella at the time, now passed, said "good to go in my book".

    No doubt the .380 tip up Beretta was a real favorite! Good looking, accurate, and less felt recoil...
    Just the size and weight too much for some. Tomcats on the other hand, were a smaller size, weight, and more readily available, plus the money angle.
    Basically not making any money except to cover shipping, handling and all.

    At that time, the gunsmith got deals on ammo, and his reloaded ammo cut down ammo costs for these folks.
    Win STHP was bought by the case, and this load was very accurate and well liked for the JHP, Fiochhi FMJ for the FMJ loading.

    If one goes way back to Beretta days, these tip up guns were popular, and were also used by Physically Limited persons that had been in conflicts, Arthritis, and having injuries and surgeries .

    From www.mouseguns.com , "Blast from the Past" 1952 : http://www.mouseguns.com/blast/beretta.jpg

    Same deal on break open revolvers, easier to eject all the spent cases for many.
    Be it a H&R , Iver Johnson break top .22 or .32 revolver.

    Some things don't change, and some remedies always work. :)

    Grown folks having fun at a "garbage dump" shooting rats with Bobcats and Tomcats.

    Seriously though, some folks that used to carry Full Size service guns, got down, hurt sick and dying and could not use the service guns. Either temporary or until they passed.

    Bobcats, and Tomcats are two guns these folks used.

    One fellow went blind right before he passed. His 21A was handy in the event matters got serious.
  14. Striker

    Striker Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    NE Ohio
    Thanks Steve.

    As always, enlightning and insightful mentoring.

    PS: You really gotta write a book!
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2007
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