The Beretta 84
Dr. John Woods 09.10.18
John J. Woods
Magnolia Outdoor Communications
THE BERETTA 84
Long before the polymer pistol craze came along, pistols were made of steel (mostly). Some of the very best steel handguns came from the oldest gun maker in the world. In October of the year 1526, an order for 185 barrels began the manufacturing history of Fabbrica d’Armi Pietro Beretta in Gardone, Italy.
Beretta has designed, engineered, blueprinted, and manufactured arms for every possible functional use one could imagine. From arms for fighting for countless armies around the world, sporting shotguns for grouse, quail, waterfowl and small game, rifles for game hunting, handguns for plinking cans, defending hearth, home, field and everything in between.
Among all the handgun designs Beretta invented and fabricated, the Model 84 was created to fill a mid-sized, medium frame niche for a smaller cartridge than the standard 9mm. In fact, chambered for what is now commonly called the .380 ACP was originally known as the 9mm Short. Same thing.
The Model 84 was derived from the Model 81 lineage but upon entry into the 1980 Beretta catalog was officially titled the Model 84B. This pistol was a double action operation with the classic Beretta open slide like the 92. The 13 round staggered magazine is called the double column type. The cartridge extractor has a unique red colored indicator to show to the user that a cartridge is chambered. Safeties are ambidextrous on both sides of the frame as are magazine releases.
The 84B’s barrel is 3.81 inches in length. The sights are fixed at the rear and the front sight is part of the slide, again aka the Model 92 design. The pistol weighs 22.5 ounces so it is no lightweight by today’s standards for a concealed carry type handgun. The handsome grips are dark walnut, smooth in texture and varnished. Some 84 grips bear the gold Beretta emblem, others are just plain wood. The steel components are deep blue. Other parts are steel alloys mainly the frame.
Other features include a classic Beretta handgun combat type external hammer. A disassembly latch is available on the right side of the frame. Also to note is that the red extractor feature can also be felt in the dark to alert the shooter to the chamber load status. Production of the 84B ended in 1984, but the improved 84BB continued until 1994.
A curious sidebar is that Beretta produced the 84 for Fabrique Nationale/Browning called the Browning BDA .380. That model production ended in 1997 and is now considered a collector’s gun. If you find one of these pistols, buy it.