February 09, 2012
I find that I have gotten to that certain age where I have more guns than I need, but less than I want.
New models are always coming out, so there is always something new in the "want" category, and while I don't have the disposable income I once had before my children came along, I still manage to buy new guns from time to time. This has resulted in my collection growing slowly over the past fifteen years or so.
There are pistols I own that I carry every day, and some that I don't carry but enjoy taking to the range from time to time to shoot. And like many people I have several pistols that just sit around gathering dust. Usually dust-magnet pistols don't last forever; I end up trading them for something new that has caught my eye. But there's usually one pistol in my collection that, while I never shoot it, I'd never trade. This popped an article title to mind--The Favorite Gun You Never Shoot.
I'm not by nature a collector, I buy guns I intend to shoot. Many of you who buy collector pieces may have many handguns you love that you never shoot, but that's not the case for me. Guns are for shooting, they exist for that one reason. For the last five years or so, the favorite gun I own that I never shoot has been a Beretta 84F.
I originally bought the Beretta for my wife over fifteen years ago, but because it's a traditional .380, it features a straight blowback recoil system, which means a very strong recoil spring. Between that and the double-action first shot, my wife didn't like the pistol, but to my surprise, I did. A lot.
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This 13+1-shot aluminum-framed .380 is too big to be a pocket gun. The barrel is nearly four-inches long, and the pistol itself is almost seven inches. In fact, it's almost a mid-size pistol the size of a Glock 19 (fully loaded it weighs 29 ounces), so if I was going to carry something its size I would carry a pistol chambered in something more powerful than the .380 ACP. That said, I love this gun.
The Beretta fits my hand, points naturally, and between the low bore and the .380 chambering felt recoil is negligible. I can get my whole hand on it. While it has a decocking safety, I can ride it with my thumb (like a 1911) without decocking the hammer (push UP to decock). The double action trigger pull is smooth and not too heavy, and the single action pull is crisp. It's a good-looking gun, and with the signature skeletonized Beretta slide it resembles a miniature M9/92. It's very reliable — in fact, it's never jammed on me. The pistol even has a chrome-plated bore, something I find hard to understand on a .380. It has a magazine disconnect safety, which I have no use for, and mediocre sights, but overall I really like this gun. And yet, I've only fired it once in the past ten years, and that for an article. Before I took a photo of it for this post, I had to blow a layer of dust off it.
I've sold pistols I shot more frequently than I do my Beretta 84F, and yet I'm never going to sell it. Currently it sits loaded with Hornady XTPs in an out-of-the-way but easily accessed spot in my house, patiently waiting. I'll take you out to the range someday soon, I promiseâ€¦