Cute little mouse gun

Some of you may remember that I have been in the market for a Beretta Bobcat for a while.  Especially after a certain incident at last year’s NRAAM steered me away from Taurus’ PT-22.  Unfortunately, it seemed like the moment I decided to buy one, the supply dried up.  I was even told by a trusted gun deal “good f’ing luck.”*

Well, fast forward to New Year’s Eve, and I spotted one on one the local FaceBook gun swap groups.  A guy had got one in a trade, and was asking what it was worth.  Several folks were offering to do him a “favor” and give him roughly half of what it was worth.  I chimed in telling him to look at what it was going for on Gunbroker, and that I’d be interested if the other offers fell through.  The next day, he contacted me offering to sell it for somewhere in the middle of what those guys were offering, and what the ones on Gunbroker were selling for.  After a quick drive out to meet him, I came home with this little guy:

Beretta 21a "Bobcat" in .22lr

This particular little guy is in .22lr, although it also comes in .25acp.  After doing a little research, it looks like I can convert it to .25 by ordering a new slide, barrel, and magazine from Beretta for about $130.  While I don’t plan on doing this conversion now, I might down the line if I ever decide to actually carry it.  .25, by virtue of being a center fire round, is more reliable, but significantly more expensive.  Oddly enough, the .25acp mags hold 8 rounds instead of the 7 round capacity of the .22.

For those of you that are unaware of the Beretta 21a “Bobcat” pistol, it’s really a relic of the past.  There was a time when there were several companies that made true pocket pistols in small calibers (.22lr, .25acp, .32acp, etc).  For the most part, these have given way to guns that are slightly larger, but fire “more serious” cartridges like the .380acp and 9mm.  Heck, you can now get a Boberg or Springfield XDs in .45cal!  I’m sure some of this has to do with modern manufacturing/materials allowing for things that just weren’t possible even a couple decades ago, but it’s also damn convenient to share ammo between your carry gun and your range gun (to say nothing of stopping power).  These tiny guns have been described as “guns for when you can’t carry a gun” due to their ability to disappear  in a pocket, and are really designed for little more than contact distance.

One of the interesting design traits of this gun is the tip up barrel.  The barrel is spring loaded and will tip up when you hit a lever (as seen above).  This allows you to load or unload a round in the chamber without racking the slide.  While that’s not a big deal on larger guns, it’s a nice feature on something this small where the slide is too small to easily grab.  The downside is that there’s no extractor, so the only way for a casing to leave the chamber is either through the recoil of firing it, or prying it out with your fingernail.

Another interesting design choice was the placement of the magazine release.  You can see it in the picture above between the two screws on the grip.  I know Beretta has released a few models with the magazine release there (including a very early version of the 92), but I’m unaware of any other company to do so.  While it is in a location that pretty much guarantees you won’t accidentally hit it, it also means that you will need to use both hands to drop the magazine.

Even though .22lr is still scarce around here, I did have some on hand and have been able to get to the range to try the little guy out.  Unfortunately, most of the ammo on hand was in the form of Federal bulk made during the true insanity, and not exactly the most reliable ammo.  This was proven to follow form, by that ammo causing several stove pipes and failure to fully cycle.  I did have a 50 round box of Winchester Sidewinder with me, which performed flawlessly.  The difference between the two sets of ammo was demonstrated by the Sidewinder ammo producing a noticeable fireball when fired from such a tiny barrel.  Also of note, you can load 8 rounds into the magazine, but it will not actually seat in the gun with more than 7, which is the advertised capacity.

I was rather surprised by the accuracy.  The trigger was fairly nice in either double action or single action mode.  I’ve definitely dealt with worse triggers on more full sized guns.  The sights, while definitely usable, are… difficult.  They are very low profile, and the rear sight is rounded.  If you’ve ever handled a single action revolver with the old school “complete the arc” sights, think that… only smaller.  That said, I was able to easily keep rounds on a 6″ target at 5 yards, which is pretty good considering the shooter and the optimal range is best described as “shove up bad guy’s nose, pull trigger.”

That'll work

That’ll work

I will say that I have already made one “upgrade” to this little mouse gun.  Beretta was having a sale that included wooden grips half of.  For some reason, I just couldn’t resist the look of the wood with the little brass medallions.


And… of course… one of my cats had to get in on the act


Can has mouse gun?

The last thing to talk about is why I bought this.  Honestly, I can’t give you a good answer to that.  While it was designed to be a pocket pistol, there are modern guns that do that job better.  While I would have no qualms over carrying this pistol with either the hammer down or cocked and locked, I would rather have something like a .380 or 9mm in my pocket.  It is a lot of fun at the range, but it’s not a marksman’s pistol like my Buckmark.  Heck it doesn’t even share the same controls as a gun I would/do carry like my Bersa Thunder 22.

In the end, all I can say is “it makes me giggle.”  Of course, is that necessarily a bad thing?


*incidentally, I have since seen 3 at the local gun show.  All in .25acp and for at least $100 more than I paid.  Such is life.

15 comments to Cute little mouse gun

  • Cat for scale!

    Yah those grips are very sharp.

    Don’t forget Kahr also makes some very diminutive 9mm and 45acp pocket guns.

  • Anon

    “The last thing to talk about is why I bought this. Honestly, I can’t give you a good answer to that.”

    For s—s and giggles is a perfectly good answer as to ‘why’…

  • Matt

    You know, Bond was perfectly happy with his .25 acp Beretta until M made him switch to the PPK.

  • Xspectre8

    I have a stainless 21a in .22LR and I always have it with me. ALWAYS. Regular EDC, left front pocket. Bathrobe, sweatpants, pajamas, matters not; it’s in a pocket holster. I practice with it each and every time I go to the range regardless of what else I’m shooting. Granted, it’s not a lot of gun, but I can shoot it well and have it if I need it.

  • claymore

    I carried one for 15+ years as a backup firearm while a State Trooper. Even managed to pass the qualifing range time we had to pass to carry any firearm. In my Black jungle boot top mostly or sometimes in the vest carrier pocket. When in the boot and tied ran with it several dozen times and never lost it.

    • oddball

      Was it actually comfortable tucked in the top of a jungle boot? I’m guessing you were using some form of holster? I would think that it would dig into your leg pretty badly when the boot was properly laced.

  • Will

    Check that you can’t inadvertently drop the mag just with your hands gripping the gun. I had this problem with my Jetfire (single action version of that design). Looks like the wood grips are thicker than the plastic ones. I had to have the button milled shorter, as both a finger or my palm, depending on which hand I was using, could drop the mag.
    Also be aware that the barrel latch lever can pop the barrel up when drawing from a leather holster, effectively locking the gun inside, until you squash the holster to return the barrel to it’s locked location. I had the finger pad milled off the lever to eliminate this possibility.
    When you push the barrel into it’s locked down location, make damn sure that the latch lever has returned to it’s fully locked position. If not, within the first couple shots the gun will disassemble itself. Bit disconcerting to have the slide dangling off the frame, held by the recoil spring!

  • Check your 25ACP ballistics. 22 LR hits harder. Most 25ACP wont open a hollow point in flesh. Get some Aguila SSS 60-gr 22LR. I used to have a Budischowski TP70 in 25ACP. Half-scale PPK. Other cops tried it at the range, loved it, so the Sheriff bought some in 22LR for the narcs. My mom carried a Beretta Minx, and I have that now. It shoots 22Short, about the same power in HiSpeed as a 25ACP. I don’t carry it, my fave mouse gun is a NAA Guardian in 32NAA, which almost makes 9mm Luger power. It shoves a 60-gr XTP out at 1200+ fps. Only the hottest Buffalo Bore 380ACP +P is close to it. I have a KelTec P3AT in 380, but ever since it kaboomed on a double-charged round and had to be rebuilt, the trust isn’t there.

    • oddball

      The ballistics tests that I’ve seen *from short barrels* show that the .25acp is a little more potent than .22lr. Not a huge amount, but a bit more. Now… once you get past about the 4″ barrel mark, then it’s a different story.

      Of course, the big thing for me with .22lr vs .25acp when it comes to defensive use is reliability, which the .25acp wins out on by virtue of being a centerfire round. I’ve hit entirely too many dead spots on the rims of rimfire ammo in my life.

  • Silverado

    I owned one of these for years and finally traded it off awhile back and while it was a fun little gun to shoot I never felt like I wanted to trust my life with that thing either. It was very finicky when it came to the brand of shells it preferred, probably more so than just about any other auto pistol of any caliber I’ve yet owned. Shooting regular old .22 shells and the thing would frequently jam especially if you shot some of the dirtier cheap ammunition with the only saving grace being it was small and easy to clean. It wasn’t until I started running Mini-Mags and Stingers through it that it started acting like a pistol should. More accurate, no misfires, clean ejections and no surprises nor should there be, after all this IS a Beretta. For what it is and what I used it for – a true in my pocket gun that actually fit in my front pocket that was undetectable and being perhaps the smallest Beretta that a lot of people haven’t actually seen or handled, it’s a nice little gun. The problem as far as I can see would be in thinking it’s…bigger and more capable than it actually is. This one belongs in your tackle box or glove compartment being used and shot for fun. Not in your pocket for everyday carry with your life depending on it. Now if that thing would have been in the Winchester .22 Magnum …now IMO (and all things staying where they are) that would have been a great gun and I’d probably still own it!!

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