Beretta Nano

In August 2011, unofficial word leaked out that Beretta was jumping into the subcompact gun market with the Nano pistol. In September of the same year, Beretta officially announced the new handgun.  Since that time, there have been more than one Beretta Nano review, updates to the product line and even some torture testing.  In this article, we will provide you with all of the latest information on the little handgun.

Beretta Nano photo

General Information and Specifications

The Beretta Nano is a striker-fired, 9mm pistol with a polymer frame.  The magazine holds six for a total of seven rounds.  The guns are completely made in the United States.

As of the time of this writing, the Nano is not available in any caliber other than 9mm.  However, that may change in the future.  While the company will not discuss future plans with regards to caliber, I can’t help but thinking a .40 caliber Nano would be a good selling handgun for the company.

The Nano uses a modular chasis, similar to that of the SIG SAUER P250.  The chasis is the “firearm” part of the gun, meaning that you could buy multiple sizes of grip frames without going through an FFL.  Depending on which frame you wanted to use, you would merely drop the chasis into the frame and head off to the range.

It is unknown if Beretta will eventually make different sized frames to match the varied hand sizes of shooters.  However, Beretta has introduced a variety of frame colors that would allow you to change the gun to reflect your mood, attire or other whim.  More on that later in the article.  For now, being able to remove the internal chasis is simply a way to make detail cleaning easier.

This Beretta has several nice features not typically found on subcompact guns.  For example, the magazine release button is reversible.  This allows the owner to move the release to the right-hand side of the frame for easier shooting if he or she is a south paw.  The release is not ambidextrous, meaning that it can only be used on one side of the gun at a time.

In many subcompact pistols, the sights are minuscule and hard to use.  Adjusting them is difficult at best with some companies’ guns.  The Nano, however, has low profile, but very useable sights in a three-dot configuration.  Additionally, the sights are easily adjustable using a hex wrench only – no gunsmith or cumbersome sight pushing tools needed.  This adjustment method is a jump ahead of many full sized pistols.

The Nano has no external levers to snag on clothing while you carry the pistol concealed.  For many people this is a huge plus.  Drawing a gun for self defense is generally done in haste, and having the pistol catch on clothing could have disastrous consequences.

Beretta Nano

This tiny Beretta has a unique button on the right-side, rear end of the frame.  This recessed button is a “striker deactivator” that the shooter can use to release the striker without pulling the trigger.  Think of it as a more accessible version of the Smith & Wesson M&P deactivation lever located inside the handgun.  I love the M&P, but dislike the way they designed that lever.  Kudos to Beretta for coming up with a better method of achieving this function.

Glock set the standard in polymer pistols, but some people feel that pressing the trigger to deactivate the striker for field stripping is dangerous.  No doubt, unsafe people handling firearms have shot themselves and others by pressing the trigger on a gun they “thought” was unloaded.  Whether this is a useful feature or a legal dodge is a matter of opinion.  As long as it does not introduce malfunctions into the Nano’s performance, I don’t mind it.

Beretta states the shooter has to use a small punch or ball point pen to press the button.  Presumably, normal handling would not deactivate the striker.  Beretta undoubtedly did extensive testing to ensure the striker could not be accidentally deactivated when shooting or handling the pistol.

While the pistol is relatively small and light, it is not the lightest entry in the subcompact 9mm pistol market.  The Nano weighs about 17.7 ounces unloaded.  As compared to the Diamondback DB9 (11 ounces), Kel-Tec PF-9 (12.7 ounces), Kahr CM9 (15.9 ounces), Kimber Solo (17 ounces) and Ruger LC9 (17.1 ounces), the Beretta is the heaviest of the bunch.

As mentioned before, the Nano frame is made of polymer.  Beretta calls the frame material “Technopolymer,” which is likely just a marketing term for the specific type of plastic used.  The polymer is fiberglas reinforced, which is a standard method of strengthening the polymer and is used in other weapons.

Stainless steel is used for the internal chasis construction.  The slide is made of 4140 chromoly steel and is finished in a matte black called Pronox. Pronox is a metal nitriding process, which helps the metal to resist corrosion.  Tennifer and Melonite, used on other modern pistols, are similar processes.

Beretta has set the list price at $475.  Street price has run from about $400-435 until the recent run on all kinds of guns and ammunition.  During the past several months, these guns have been selling for close to published retail prices.

Specifications

  • Caliber – 9mm
  • Capacity – 6+1
  • Overall Length – 5.63″
  • Overall Height – 4.17″
  • Overall Width – 0.9″
  • Barrel Length – 3.07″
  • Weight (unloaded) – 17.67 oz
  • Sights – three dot, low profile
  • Sight Radius – 4.92″
  • Frame Material – Technopolymer, a fiberglas reinforced plastic
  • Slide Material – 4140 chromoly steel
  • Slide Finish – matte black Pronox
  • MSRP – $475

Of course, all of this is for naught if the gun isn’t reliable.  But, the folks in Maryland (that would be Beretta USA of course) have done a variety of torture tests on the Nano handgun.  They’ve run a lot of ammo through these guns and even done mud and other torture tests on them.  One example is the following video which shows an employee repeatedly running over the gun on asphalt and then shooting it to show it still works.  Fairly impressive.

Variations

Beretta Nano Ranger Green

Varied frame colors for the Beretta Nano were introduced at the 2013 SHOT Show in Las Vegas.  Beretta representatives told me of the new colors in the previous year at the 2012 SOFIC in Tampa, FL.  At that time, they indicated the Nano was selling exceptionally well, and that they were bringing out the new colors in response to demand from consumers.

The new colors include Ranger Green, Flat Dark Earth, white and Rosa.  These compliment the original black colored frame.  All of the new frame colors still come only with a slide finished in the matte black Pronox.

Additionally, Beretta is now making two round magazine extension kits for the Nano.  The extensions protrude below the magazine well, adding to the grip length.  The two extra rounds is attractive to many, and having a little more grip for people to hold onto is likely a benefit for some shooters (see below for more information.)

Accessories

As time progresses, more accessories have been introduced for the Beretta Nano.  Here are a few of the things that are currently out there to enhance your pistol.  If you run across others, please list them in the comments below.

LaserMax CenterFire NanoLaserMax CenterFire Laser – This red laser aiming unit mounts under the barrel of the Nano without the need to modify the frame or call in a gunsmith.  It is a custom-fit unit, not a generic laser with some kind of universal mount.

Activation of the laser is via a push button on the side of the unit.  The laser is a constant, not pulsing, unit.  The CenterFire runs on one 1/3 N lithium battery, and should power the unit for more than five hours of actual use.  The entire unit only adds 0.5 ounces to the overall weight of the pistol.

The CenterFire is similar in appearance to the Crimson Trace Laserguard, though the method of activating the units is different.  The LaserMax is acticated by tapping a button on the side of the unit.  The Laserguard adds a button switch to the front of the pistol’s grip and is activated by gripping the gun.  Both methods have their pros and cons.

MSRP on the CenterFire is $129 and it comes with a one year factory warranty.  I did find the CenterFire on Amazon for about $90, which seems to be incredibly cheap compared to where laser prices were justa  few years ago.

The CenterFire is already available for the Smith & Wesson Shield, the Ruger LCP and the Ruger LC9.  The Nano is the fourth model in the series.  Currently, the lasers are only available as red.  However, LaserMax does manufacture green lasers, so it will be interesting to see if the company makes a CenterFire with a green laser.

Crimson Trace LG-483 Laserguard – Longtime laser manufacturer Crimson Trace makes one of the “grip activated” Laserguard units for the Nano.  These units mount under the barrel, similar to the LaserMax CenterFire above, but have an integrated switch that is placed on the front of the gun’s grip.  When the gun is grasped normally, the laser automatically activates.

MSRP is $219, which is significantly more than the LaserMax unit.  However, for the additional money, the shooter gets the grip activation and free batteries for the life of the product.  If the shooter keeps this laser unit for a long time, the free batteries can certainly make up and price difference between the two products.

Beretta Nano MagazineEight Round Magazines – Beretta announced they will now sell eight round magazines for the Nano.  These new mags will extend the overall grip length while adding two more rounds to the total capacity of the pistol.  The bottom of the magazine has what looks like an oversized bumper, which allows them to squeeze a couple of extra cartridges into the gun.  Hopefully, the company will also come out with a “plus two” kit so current owners can upgrade existing magazines.  MSRP is $38 each.

Talon Grips – If you want to have a better hold on your pistol, especially with wet or sweaty hands, these kits might be what you are looking for.  The Talon Grips kits are decals applied to the surface of the Nano, creating a surface that better adheres to the hand.  The decals don’t move once applied, but can be removed without leaving residue according to the company.  The kit price is $14.99, but drops quickly depending on the quantity ordered.

Trijicon Night Sights – The standard Nano comes with non-illuminated, three-dot sights.  Many people, however, prefer tritium illuminated night sights.  Trijicon makes three dot, tritium sights for the Nano.  Beretta sells these sights on their own website for $105 for the set.  However, they are not listed on Trijicon’s own website.  As these are relatively new, I expect that the Trijicon site merely hasn’t been updated to list them.  Beretta is selling these Nano night sights for $105.

Grip Frames – Since the Nano is a modular system, Beretta sells grip frames individually for only $39.  These can be had in the original black, or in one of the colors mentioned above.  All are the same price, and they swap out very easily.

Holsters

Holsters are becoming easier to find for the Nano pistols.  At this point, a shooter can find scabbards in leather, nylon and Kydex for their handguns.  Also, the holster styles being offered are much better today that they were at the introduction of the gun.  Outside the waistband, inside the waistband, appendix, shoulder, pocket and other kinds of holsters are all available for the Nano.  Price points vary, but there is something for every budget.

Click here to head over and see our updated list of holsters that are now available for the Nano.

 

Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 Rifle Scope

leupold mk ar rifle scopeWithout a doubt, Leupold is the premier name in rifle scopes.  If you want the best glass for your AR-style rifle, this is the scope you must have.  This tactical scope is extremely durable and the optics are amazing.  The bonus is the incredible pricing and that it is made in the USA.
About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, police trainer and really bad joke teller. Check out his other writing in Combat Handguns, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement, on The Firearm Blog and at BlueSheepdog.

  • Speedyfish

    Nice to see GHG back!

    Okay, it’s an ugly pistol, but hopefully it will run well. The striker deactivator…seems like it makes up for operator negligence. Is it really too much to ask a responsible shooter to perform a chamber check before pulling the trigger? I cleaned five semi-autos yesterday after a range stint and holy cow! no ND’s due to operator error!

    ‘fish

  • Kelz

    It’s not an ugly design, the shape of the nose and the snag-free design is sexy. It’s more attractive than other compact pistols. The main drawback for me is the low magazine capacity.

  • http://www.homedefenseweapons.net Chuck

    I already own several small subcompact single stack 9mm pistols. I also own a Beretta PX4 in 9mm. If the Nano is as reliable as the PX4 Storm then Beretta will have a winner. So far the only feature I don’t like is the button de-activated striker. I’m looking forward to the release and will probably buy a Nano when they become available.

  • scott

    why can`t a Mfr make a pistol without a safety device/de activator, or some pop up load indicator and be reliable before it is sent out to market!!!

    Let`s see- Kahr good design, questionable reliability

    pps- backstrap deactivator

    KIMBER solo- reliability/slippery

    SIG 290- BIG BLOB

    STILL LOOKING- MAYBE Hk WOULD COME OUT WITH ONE, BUT i HIGHLY DOUBT IT, SINCE THAT IS NOT THEIR MARKET

    IF G

  • Jay K

    G26 is reliable just a tad bit thicker to accommodate the double stack.

    I heard the kahrs were reliable??

  • James Brown

    I don’t know why that striker de-activator bothers so many people. It’s there if you want to use it, but you don’t have to use it. Just pull the trigger like you always do and the striker is de-activated. I think it’s a beautiful pistol, but that’s just my opinion. The Glock people are green with envy, this is the pistol Glock should have made.

  • George

    I have no problem with the striker-deactivator. I use it like a safety. Unless I need to have the gun ready for immedate use, I keep the the striker uncocked. It can be instantly recocked by pulling back the slide slightly and listening for a click. A slight touch to the trigger will confirm that the striker is now cocked.

    By using a penney, or better yet , a stiff plastic, or fiber washer, the take-down screw can be turned without marring it.

  • Speeka

    Very experienced combat shooter with lots of time and training….Ran the Nano through its paces at the range at 25 yds outdoors using remington 115 FMJ with no failures or Failures to Feed in 200 rounds. However, I was astounded at the accuracy I was able to acheive with the weapon and the well-mannered behavior of the Nano. Consistent, easily acheived 2.5 to 3″ groups in relatively rapid fire strings and 2 inch groups with slow fire. I read that the gun was designed for .40SW so the 9mm would be tame and I found this to be especially true. The feeling was far closer to a Glock 26 or Glock 19 than I ever would have expected out of a pocket looking/sized pistol.
    While the gun is very top heavy and has a weird little grip, and has magazine base plate extensions that make dropping the mag almost impossible for me, I think that this is NOT a target or comfort gun and must be judged on its close and backup capabilities which are AMAZING, and also, it should be remembered that since it has a Sig P250 style trigger group for a frame, Beretta should come out with lots of frames, etc, to make modifications easy, interesting and fun. I like it.

  • Don G

    I have 2 Sig P250’s and really like the frame set up on this and the Sig. I do find the Sig is easier to take apart but that really is a small item to me. I did just order a Nano the other day for carry. I know it is small and easy to carry and that is why I bought it. I am sure Beretta will come out with different calibers but they will have to see how well it sells in 9mm. The Sig was a nightmare at first then became a nice pistol, but just too big for deep conceal carry. I prefer no silly levers on my cc gun and am looking forward to shooting it. It is hard when you don’t live near a gun store to try them out and I am getting a little tired of buying new guns only to find they don’t fit me well so I will hope this is a nice small gun for me to carry.

  • Steve in Seattle

    I didn’t like the looks of this one, but I had a chance to hold one in the gun store. It felt pretty good in the hand. I think I am going to wait and grab a Pico when they ship, though.

    • Tom in TN

      Stupid question, by WTF is a Pico?

      • Mike

        Pico is the .380 version of the Nano. Beretta just announced it a few months ago, but it hasn’t been released yet. In the video I saw it looks exactly like the Nano only smaller.

  • Tom in TN

    Thanks for all of the info on the Beretta Nano. I saw one in the store, but the clerk was so busy, I wasn’t able to handle it. I’m definitely going back to get another look.

  • King Q

    Shot one of these about a month ago. It was a really, really nice shooting pistol. I would like to get one, but not in the budget right now.

  • MO Rodeo Clown

    My girlfriend has one of these and she loves it. I can’t say enough about how awesome this gun is.

  • Stan the Man

    I bought one of these last month. I’ve run it with five different kinds of ammo and it runs without any kind of problem. It carries easy and feels good. It has some recoil, but it is not bad. HEre’s my question.

    I could only find some Federal Personal Defense ammo (Hydra Shock I think) to carry. Is this a good load, or should I be looking for something eles? I have been told that Golden Saber ammo from Remington is supposed to be good.

    • Caligula

      You can’t got wrong with Gold Dot 9mm 124 gr + P or the 124 gr normal pressure. Federal HST’s are also a good round in 124 gr.

  • Pooh Bear

    My husband bought me one of these (at my request) for my birthday. I love the gun. It conceals very well and I love shooting it!

  • Caligula

    I have a Beretta Nano and love it. I traded in a PF-9 Kel-Tec and have no regrets. The PF-9 was lighter, but recoil was very sharp and the gun was painful to shoot for more than 50 rounds. It actually created a blister on the webbing between my thumb and forefinger on my shooting hand. The only issue I’ve had with the Nano is a FTE on some Blazer 115 grain range ammo. My assumption is that under-powered, light bullet ammo may not be able compress the stout recoil spring completely. However, the extra weight and double recoil spring help tame the recoil in such a small, light pistol.

  • SpinDoc

    Are they making these in .40 or just 9mm?

    • Mike

      At the moment just 9mm. A Beretta rep told me that a 40 cal is planned, but nothing has been announced.

      • Chris J.

        Yeah, the .40 should be coming next year. They did .380 in the Pico this year.

  • Wally S.

    If God wanted the Nano to have a striker deactivator, he would have put one on a 1911. Or at least that’s what it sounds like when I hear some of these “gun people” talking. Get over yourselves. Beretta builds good guns and the system works.

  • Hera

    I bought a Nano and love it. It is an easy shooting pistol and I carry it everywhere!

  • Will

    Just curious, why would you prefer a .380 instead of a 9mm. Do the dimensions of this gun change? Recoil? Last time I checked .380 ammo was harder to find and more expensive. Not to mention your giving up quite a bit of KDP with no advantage capacity wise? Your choice, just curious

    • Mike

      Two thoughts here. I personally prefer a 9mm over a .380, but .380’s are usually (not always) smaller guns. The Beretta Pico is small and very concealable from appearances–even smaller than the Nano which is small, but weighs in at about a pound and a half fully loaded. The recoil is lower if the gun is engineered correctly as well. It is generally makes a good pocket gun. There are some very small 9mm’s but they tend to have a bit more recoil than some people are comfortable with in a small gun. Also, improvements in .380 ammo have made it more acceptable for self-defense. I agree with you about the cost and availability. However, for some people, this caliber makes the ideal carry weapon.