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A month ago I wrapped up the review of Beretta’s new Pico. It’s definitely the slimmest, tiniest .380 out there and I really dig the great sights, the quick and simple takedown, and the fact that only the easily-removable inner chassis is the serialized “firearm.” However, I wasn’t such a fan of the ejection problems I was experiencing. After a call with Beretta USA’s VP of Product Marketing and some further testing, there are some updates, tech notes, and best practices that I wanted to share here (some have subsequently been added to the owner’s manual), as I have experienced zero stoppages since . . .

Yes, that’s grip tape. It’s awesome.

Conclusion Up Top

Considering there is no SAAMI spec for .380 +P, I’m a bit surprised that Beretta manufactured a pistol that is officially rated to handle it. No question it’s built to do so, though, with the stiff recoil setup, stiff magazine springs, and stout stainless steel slide and takedown pin, etc. This is one little mouse gun through which you can confidently run the hottest “factory” ammo on the market. This “overbuilt” nature is why it definitely performs best, particularly right out of the box, with self-defense ammo that’s loaded a bit hotter than your standard target fare.

The downside to this is that it will likely take a little extra effort to get a Pico to flawlessly run practice ammo, especially if you load it to 6+1. I don’t think only being 100% reliable out of the box when self-defense ammo is used is a big issue for a gun designed specifically for concealed carry self-defense use, but it’s a problem when the consumer purchases it expecting it will flawlessly run cheap practice stuff without any extra effort on his or her part.

I still believe that the pistol is better tuned for standard target ammo by removing the smaller and weaker of the two recoil springs. NOTE: Beretta does not feel this way under any circumstance and you shouldn’t do it. I personally don’t think it’s asking too much of the consumer if Beretta marketed it as having two recoil setups and said something like “run both springs for +P ammo and only the stiffer, outer spring for standard pressure ammo,” but I understand why companies would want to avoid that. And, of course, after taking the steps outlined above below I was left with two Picos that cycled all of the ammo brands I have, every time.

The Problem

After spending hours on The Beretta Forum (plus wherever else Google took me) reading feedback and range reviews from lots of other Pico owners, it was clear that the ejection problems — the slide doesn’t always cycle rearwards enough to eject the spent case — were quite pervasive. Nearly every single instance of this happened with a combination of two things: target ammo as opposed to more powerful self-defense ammo, and when firing the first round in a full magazine or, even more frequently, the first round when loaded 6+1 (full mag plus one in the chamber). Pistols with higher serial numbers seem to do it a lot less, and we’ll discuss why soon.



As you can see — and click any of the photos here to expand them — the “feed strip” on the bottom of the slide does drag on the top round in the magazine. Every pistol does this (the top round in the mag obviously has to pop above the bottom of the breech face so it can be stripped out of the mag and fed into the chamber), but the Pico sees a lot of pressure going on here thanks to a stiffer-than-average magazine spring and a particularly steep ‘ramp’ right behind the breech face. You can see some brass and copper deposits on that ‘ramp’ in the photo above.

When the slide reciprocates rearward, that ramp presses the top round down into the magazine. This is obviously a lot harder when the magazine is full and there’s a corresponding increase in pressure and friction on the bottom of the slide from that top round pressing up against it. You can feel this drag and bump when you rack the slide manually to chamber a round. Most ejection issues were with the Pico loaded to 6+1, less were with 5 in the mag and 1 in the chamber, and none happened when less rounds were in the magazine.

This never happened for me and, at least in the few dozen range reports I read, never happened to other owners when shooting self-defense ammo that’s hotter than your typical plinking/target ammo. It has enough oomph to overcome that initial drag as the slide bumps over the top round. It runs the Pico reliably straight out of the box.

Other contributing factors to the slide sometimes not reciprocating rearwards far enough with target ammo are a particularly stiff recoil spring setup and the fact that the slide cocks the hammer (although it doesn’t stay cocked) as it moves back so it has to overcome the strength of the hammer springs as well.


All of these things and the minimal slide serrations are why you see my Pico sporting an absurd amount of grip tape. I actually did it as a bit of a joke, but once it was on…oh man. Love it! Note to Talon Grips: you guys need to make a full slide + grip frame kit for the Pico! Although, again, one of the cool things about the Pico (and the Nano) is that the frame is just a $20-$30 non-serialized piece of plastic so you really have low consequence, free rein to experiment with stippling and other permanent modification. Anyway…

The Solution

Initial consumer feedback has prompted Beretta to make a few changes during the assembly process. More and/or different lubrication is applied to specific places, most notably under the slide (the entire feed strip length), and the machine(s) that repeatedly cycle every single pistol off the line by racking the slide and pulling the trigger are now doing that racking a bit more vigorously and for a longer amount of time. This gets the pistol closer to “broken-in” and is why end users are having better success with models from after this change, but there are still a couple of things you’ll want to do at home. Well, not at home so much as at the range. Unless you’re lucky enough where that’s the same place. But I digress…

If you can manage to run a full box of the hottest ammo you can find, like Buffalo Bore, Underwood, DoubleTap and the like — and feel free to go “+P” — you’re significantly more likely to then have a Pico in your hands that’s going to run basically any ammo out there. The Pico is a relatively snugly-fit, overbuilt little thing and it enjoys a bit of a break-in.

Lube relatively liberally. Especially on the entire feed strip under the slide with concentration on that ‘ramp’ and back where the hammer contacts. Also lube around the barrel hood and in the slide rails. The owner’s manual now has specific instructions, including photos, for how you should lubricate the outside of the barrel, the feed strip, and the rails. Download the addendum to the manual here.

The new springs do seem to take a bit of a “set.” Locking the slide back on a new Pico, filling the mags to capacity, and leaving it all like this for a few days or a couple weeks makes a noticeable, although minor difference. The cycling action over the course of a couple hundred rounds will break them in for real.

With this stuff accomplished, any stoppages in both Picos I had (one went back to Beretta after testing, the other is pictured here disguised as a skateboard) ceased entirely. Testing consisted of loading the Pico to 6+1, firing 2 rounds, then repeating this for over 125 rounds shooting with both hands and with only strong or weak hand. I ran FMJ target/plinking/practice ammo from Freedom Munitions, Blazer Brass, PPU, and Fiocchi plus just a few more self-defense rounds from Fiocchi (XTP), Federal (Hydra-Shok), and Buffalo Bore (JHP +P) for good measure. No stoppages.

This second Pico got to the fully reliable point faster than the first thanks to a little target practice with some powerful ammo and lubing in the right places a bit more heavily than I usually do.

I have even started carrying it a bit in two of the five or so holsters that Beretta already has available for the Pico:



20141120_205504 (1)


…and night sights by Trijicon just became available. They’re extremely nice, with large white dots and tritium inserts in all three. They come with brand new set screws and a hex wrench:



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    • Not on the hybrid one, but it does on the leather one. I wouldn’t recommend it w/ an all-leather holster like this, especially since it’s made on the snug side and intended to break in. Totally cool on the hybrid, though, and probably fine in a holster like the Cook’s.

  1. Great follow up! That is something that paper mags never ever do with a review, which is one of many reasons I like reading TTAG.

  2. Any word on the .32 ACP kit that was announced early on for the Pico? I have a KT P32 with 300+ rounds through it with zero malfunctions. But the better sights on the Pico are enough to make me want a .32 ACP version. Btw, my P32 has blue skateboard tape on the slide. I also use it on some of my slicker handled Benchmade knives, great stuff.

    • Why do people keep asking this? Are their really that many people that think, “ooh, .380, but you know what I really want? something that is even weaker, harder to find and more expensive, yeah thats the ticket!”

      In any case, no, nobody knows anything and even if beretta said something you couldn’t trust it. This is the company that promised ARXs shipping in 30-90 days….two years before they actually shipped.

      • I must say, there is WAY more demand for the .32 ACP conversion than I ever would have guessed. I was completely shocked by the number of people asking about it in the comments on my TTAG Pico review and in general on The Beretta Forum. Really surprised.

        • “I know. I don’t understand it at all but it seems to be what a lot of people want.”

          So, it’s a good thing then that “people” don’t need your permission or approval to buy the firearms and accessories that they “want,” right?

          I mean…not trying to be snarky; I’m actually quite curious…why do you care? I mean, seriously…I’m very curious about this phenomenon. Why does it matter to you what other people want to buy with their own money?

        • I read at least three reviews in the gun magazines about the Pico. It was stated in all of them that a .32 acp barrel was available. That was one of the reasons I bought one, even though I had to wait more than eighteen months after reading the first review. I thought several times about buying the Kel Tec but held out for the Beretta. I was extremely disappointed when I found out that the .32 barrel was not available. Even more so when I found out that parts were only available from Brownells. I don’t know who is responsible for, what I consider a lie, the story that .32 barrels were available. Did Beretta mislead the writers or did the writers just pass along Beretta’s lie about the.32 acp to keep an advertiser happy.

      • Because some people think that the difference between .32 and .380 is not all that big, and in a gun that size and weight, controllability is an issue, and they’d prefer a round that may not have quite that punch, but that lets them keep the gun on target all along while they’re emptying the magazine into it.

      • Hi, I’m from Italy. My friends and I are frankly baffled by how Americans consider the 9 para, a war round, a “small” caliber, and are so dismissive of the .32 acp (we usually just call it “7.65”) that is very popular round for police, self defense and target practice, and passional murders and political and mafia assassinations, of course.
        Our theory is that ancestors of modern americans, either from the British Islands or the Scandinavian Peninsula, around the last Ice Age shared their habitat with Wooly Rhinos, and the terror of hunting such dangerous beast with only spears is engraved in their genetic memory, henceforth every time their descendants handle a weapon, they istinctively ask themselves “yes, it’s a fine gun, but would it stop a rampaging wooly rhino?”
        It’s the most logical explanation that we’ve come with in years.

        • You win the internet for the day! Your reasoning is impeccable! Ciao from Texas.

          On a serious note: Aren’t military calibers illegal for private ownership/use?

        • Besides armor piercing, tracer, explosive and expansion rounds (yeah, no hollow points) the only thing that civilians cannot posses are pistols chambered for the 9 mm parabellum. They can actually possess rounds in that caliber since it is legal for use in carbines (weapons longer than 60 cm with a barrel longer than 30 cm), so it’s not very clear what would be the goal of the law. Every gun that in the rest of the world would be in 9 para, in Italy is in 9×21 IMI (commonly known just as “9 lungo”, 9 long). I’ve known more than a collector torn between the desire to own an historical gun (say, a WWII-era Luger) and being forced to have it either rechambered for the 9×21 or inactivated by drilling the barrel and pinning the receiver.

        • Wonderful comment. Its starting to occur to us Americans 9mm is plenty of you aim. I’m personally tired of breaking my hand while simultaneously recoiling the back of the gun into my forehead. Seriously though I one shot of a box of 454 Casual and numbe my hand so bad I not pick up a pencil for 2 days.

    • Me too. I greatly prefer the rubberized ‘pebble’ texture on the grip and really don’t like the feel of the sandpaper texture at all. But in this case since you don’t actually hold onto the slide when shooting it’s really a non-issue. It feels extremely good for the purposes of pinching it between your fingers and racking the slide. I particularly love pinching the front of the Pico’s slide in front of the chamber, actually. I went with sandpaper texture in this case because it’s thinner and grippier, and I really, really like it a heck of a lot in this application.

      • I found a good compromise on the grit factor. In addition to the sand-paper type grip tape, I used a product called “Dip It” (you can find it at any major chain hardware store). It’s designed for rubber coating tool handles and such. A few coats painted on top of the sand-paper tape with a throw-away brush gave a really good and fairly comfortable grip.

        It also helps cure the problem of grit flaking off the tape. In fact, I thought at first I had damaged my Pico with grit somewhere in the mechanism, because (after first applying the tape) it simply refused to properly chamber a single round.

        I spent hours searching for the problem before I finally realized that it was what we in IT refer to as “Error Zero – Replace or Reboot User”. The grip was so successful I was holding on TOO long and unconsciously riding the slide. As with many things in life, learning how to “let go” fixed the problem.

  3. “Initial consumer feedback has prompted Beretta to make a few changes during the assembly process”

    Why do so many companies-not just Beretta-have customers doing their quality control? Especially so in this case, after the LENGTHY delay of getting this pistol to market I would’ve hoped they had worked out all the kinks. Changes to the assembly and manual, really? and you got prove it works with expensive self-defense ammo….wow.

    • What kinks? As stated in the article the guns tend to work perfectly when used as intended. That beretta went out of its way to make changes to accommodate its customers peculiar desire to make an SD pistol a range toy shows exceptional service.

      • Yeah this one’s slightly hard to explain. On one hand, Beretta insists that it should work with any factory ammo and that literally hundreds of thousands of rounds shot by their engineers in testing show it to do so. On the other hand, it’s clearly tuned for self-defense ammo and absolutely runs it wonderfully, including feeding basically any shape hollow point that I’ve seen people provide feedback on (and it runs Buffalo Bore hard cast lead flat nose +P for me in addition to all of the HPs I tried). If a teeny, tiny mouse gun is tuned for self defense ammo — and often they do have to be “tuned” more narrowly — and only runs self defense ammo properly, I don’t think that’s a problem as long as correct expectations are set for the consumer. It’s a CCW BUG, not a range toy… but it’s nice to practice w/ inexpensive ammo, of course. In this case people do buy it expecting it to also run plinking ammo and it won’t always do that. Of course, the occasional FTEject on the range is good practice 😉

        All that said, they have now been running a range of cheap plinking ammo for me without any issue.

        • I tend to agree. I don’t care if the gun chokes on weak target ammo, so long as I know it WON’T choke on SD ammo (leastwise, no more than is normal for a modern semi-auto). Choking on target ammo doesn’t help your confidence in the gun however, and SD ammo is expensive. If a more heavily loaded target ammo exists (which is true in 9mm, though I don’t know if it’s so for 380), it’s a good thing to use to validate the gun will work with SD ammo.

        • I wonder how those “hundreds of thousands of rounds” were shot? If they used a Ransom Rest I would expect less stoppages just due to the firm hold on the pistol. The gun/gun holder being a synergistic duo, that would be expected.

        • Things do become very tricky with short slide guns. All the critical numbers become even more critical, especially those involving the shooter.

        • WRH — you’re totally correct, especially in teeny little guns like this. There absolutely are people who will not be able to shoot the Pico. With large enough hands, you can’t hold the gun still due to not being able to make sufficient contact with the frame and you may see “limp wrist” type failures. A few folks mentioned this on the Beretta Forum where multiple people were shooting the same Pico at the range and it ran 100% for everyone except for a particularly large person (and in at least one case that large guy was an instructor, so it wasn’t necessarily a technique issue). I wear size L gloves and find it slightly difficult to make full contact with the backstrap. If my hands were larger it would be harder and my grip might actually begin to induce failures.

          As-is, though, I was even able to shoot it single handed without issue, including with my weak hand, so all is good here. Although weak-handed I found the heavy trigger pull to be tough for me.

        • Jeremy, I am a Pocket gun enthusiast. Shoot them each week. And about two years ago picked up a Pico. I have to say that the gun has just amazed me. I have shot just about every kind of ammo out there and totally reliable. In fact, I wish all my Pistols were as good as the Pico. I have shot 2,500 rounds of ammo through this gun before I just stopped counting. I liked it so much, I bought a second one. One for range and one for carry. I stopped counting after 1,000 flawless rounds with one. The only failures I have had were with very cheap bulk range ammo. And that was from a few bad primers. However, the Double Strike feature make quick work of those issues. The gun runs and runs. I had four LCP’s that would never handle the work load of the Pico. All stainless Steel parts (minus the Poly grip). It does take a little time to adjust to in handling, but once you spend or invest a little time, it pays off in BIG rewards. Just a fantastic little gun and much appreciated. Thanks for the great review.

      • @ Drew, the kinks would be those addressed by the changes in assembly, additions to the manual, and the previously unstated need to run SD ammo for reliability- yeah, those kinks. Keep in mind, the release of this pistol came at least a year after the first announced availability date. And it’s not a matter of Beretta listening to its customers and making it a range gun, they said it would run range ammo, and most shooters expect to be able to use it for inexpensive practice.

        My comment, question really, is why manufacturers of any consumer product-dishwashers, cars, firearms, whatever- seem to rely on the consumer for product testing/quality control? I would never be an early adopter of any product. For me, the risk of a faulty product isn’t worth the “oooh, look, I got the newest toy on the shelf.” This pistol might be great for some. For me, I shot one at the Texas Firearm Festival and I saw no big advantage over my current pocket pistol, so I’m not gonna hope it works out of the box or spend time and money tweaking it to get it to work. YMMV.

        • They rely on consumers for field testing for two inter-related reasons:

          (1) It’s cheaper
          (2) It gets the product on the market faster.

          Consumers often demand rapid release cycles; testing takes time.

          Consumers in today’s markets demand low prices…’quality’ products that are competitively priced with low-end junk products. There’s been a major step away from “you get what you pay for” and people demand high quality at low/medium quality prices.

          High quality and “proper” quality control testing takes money.

          One way around it if you don’t like this trend is to not be an early adopter. Let the others, those that have to have the product first, do the testing. Then buy it when this field testing phase is over.

  4. Sounds like a similar sequence of events to the Nano; it too preferred SD ammo initially, then they made some mods to make it a bit less sensitive in that regard.

    (My Nano is newer, but nevertheless chokes on target ammo. NATO spec *usually* works, and apparently the “normal” early NANO would have been marginal with NATO spec. But it’s not like I have a throwback to the original Nano: I’ve had at least one stove pipe with a gold dot.)

  5. I wonder.
    European spec .380/9mm short FMJ is IIRC a smidge hotter than our SAAMI stuff, so maybe try the imported ammo out over domestic ball.

    • I shot two brands of foreign ammo, one European (Fiocchi… Italian, no less), and both pistols initially had the same issue with them until breaking them in with gusto and lubing a bit extra in the right places, etc. A lot of foreign ammo is made to SAAMI spec anyway so I’m not sure what the story is w/ Fiocchi and PPU honestly. The Freedom Munitions stuff actually did extremely well. Maybe it was the 100 grn bullet. PPU seemed to do the worst, and I think it was due to slow-burning powder. I got lots of unburned flecks of powder on my face and inside of the gun with PPU and that didn’t happen with any of the other brands.

  6. I’m a little concerned about the recommendation to lubricate the “feed strip” on the bottom of the slide. While it will probably help improve reliability of the mechanism in the short-term, it may very well harm the reliability of the ammunition in the long run.

    Modern lubricants are very, very good at penetrating into small cracks and crevices, to better distribute their lubricating properties throughout a mechanism. However, if lubricant eventually penetrates to the interior of a cartridge through the bullet/case junction, it could cause a misfire, hangfire, or jam-inducing reduced-velocity shot, which are simply unacceptable in a defensive firearm. For this reason, most gun-toters know (or are eventually told) to keep lubricants out of any area where they could come into prolonged contact with cartridges, such as the interior of the magazine and chamber, as well as the breech-face of the slide (where the primer end of the chambered round rests while awaiting use). As the “feed strip” actually touches the top round in the magazine, at or very near the bullet/case junction, personally, I’m not comfortable with applying ANY amount of ANY liquid lubricant to that area, or recommending the same for others.

    When combined with the possibility of very low firing usage (may only get fired annually, and maybe even less after the initial break-in and training/practice sessions), I don’t think lubing the parts of a small pocket pistol that come into direct contact with ammunition is a very good idea at all. If folks chose to do this, I’d strongly recommend rotating (actually, shooting-up) your carry ammo on a VERY regular basis (quarterly at a maximum, or maybe even monthly), to make sure your pistol/ammo combo is still ready to function reliably in defense of your life.

    • I personally doubt that’s an issue. That’s not a “small crack.”

      You could test it though…rather easily. Buy a box of ammo. Squirt some oil on the bullets. Let ’em sit. Every week, shoot one. You could test for nearly a year.

      My hypothesis is that last one will fire just as the first. Welcome being proven wrong with testing. It’s just an hypothesis.

  7. I generally assume that any gun is going to require a break-in period, just to get the springs to work if nothing else. To meet that goal, I’ll start with standard (115 gr) long enough to ensure the weapons functional, and then I’ll go on an extended +P run.

    Beretta fully participates in the Beretta Forum. I’m sure it’s not the only channel, they monitor, but from what I can tell, If there are issues with a product, they want to know about it, and they respond as quickly as they can get the engineers involved. They absolutely listen to customer ideas about how to solve problems too.

    I thought this was a well written article.

    • Don’t know what beretta forum you go to but its been years since anyone official has been active on the forum. Pretty much ever since the 90-two naming contest fiasco we’ve been on our own. Beretta makes some great stuff but they are amazingly deaf when it comes to listening to customers. Just look at the continuing Nano troubles, discontinuation of some of their most popular pistols and botched release of every new product in the last decade.

  8. Props all around… To Baretta (yes, I know I misspelled it… I just like how it sounds that way), to Jeremy and all.

    I will say, for the love of God, why are you carrying such a diminutive pistol on your waist?

    It’s a backup gun, not a primary defense gun.

    But I guess some folks don’t want to carry a bigger gun… and any gun beats the .45 you left at home. Especially if it’s a .45mm.


    • That’s just the holster I have for it. This Pico would be awesome in a pocket. If I took to carrying it, I’d probably stick with it in the waist though as that’s what I’m used to and that’s where I like my pistol to be. I’d run it in a Cook’s Holster like the ones I reviewed for the Nano and TCP. I’ve never CCW’d two guns and highly doubt I will, so it’s the Nano like 95% of the time and in a rare instance that the Nano is too large for my attire or activity or whatever, it’s the TCP. Every now and then I’ll carry my H&K P7. The Pico made it into the rotation just for testing purposes and such.

  9. I had considered a Pico at one point, but after reading about the hangups went with the exceptional Bersa Thunder instead. I’m sure the Pico will run well with quality ammo, but if it hangs on the cheap stuff, even after improvements, I’m really not interested.

    Beretta is a great company, I have a PX4 and CX4 Storm series and would trust my life to either, but the Pico ain’t for me.

    • Well for me they’re no longer hanging up on cheap stuff, so that’s good. The Thunder is absolutely an excellent gun, but the Pico and the Thunder are different enough in size and weight I feel like you’re basically saying “I was thinking about a Miata but purchased a Camry instead.” Even if you sacrificed flawless reliability with cheap ammo by going w/ the Pico instead of Thunder, you’re talking about a pistol that’s substantially smaller & lighter so in some cases the sacrifice could easily be worth it. However, again, mine’s eating cheap ammo and reloads without issue and neither ever had a hiccup w/ self-defense fodder.

      • Well put and well understood. If I ever get a new small 380 I might reconsider. The problem to me is that if you have the best gun in the world that only runs defense ammo and the second best that runs anything, I’m going second best. I am a plinker at heart. That said, if it’s no longer an issue it moves into the realm of possibility.

        Thanks for the clarification and a great update.

      • The Gen 2 updated version has only one recoil spring not two, one outer and inners. Runs on every single ammo I have fed it. Literally thousands of rounds. I wish all guns were this reliable. And not to mention it as “Restrike” capability.
        Jeremy, thanks for doing the revisit of the Pico. And by the way, you were right on, with the Nano. Just finished this summer putting 5,000 rounds of everything through this gun with no problems other than some very cheap bulk reloads. Like the Pico, it is one very Mild, Easy Shooter.

        • Thanks for the responses, and I wanted to update my story… I was the unlucky sob that got the defective model. Upon close inspection I noticed that on the feed ramp there was a little irregularity, a small bump in the metal finish that was causing the rounds to fetch up, only once in a while. Called Beretta and explained and they were VERY happy to send me a new barrel. I told them what was going on and explained that I had a Dremel and could try and repair it first, and they said that they would note this call and if it worked fine, if not, they wouldn’t charge me for the replacement barrel anyway. Took a fine finishing cone to it and made a few lite passes and it flaked off. Polished it back up real nice with some Mother’s and it hasn’t fetched up since. However, the trigger would still randomly go limp. Turns out I also had a bent trigger bar. Called Beretta back up again, and explained, even confessed that my wife may have bent it when breaking down and cleaning it, and they were totally cool, sent me a new trigger bar, springs, retainer pin, AND a new recoil spring as well (because I had mused it MAY be a problem and was my first suspect) — never charged me a penny! Can’t back a company any more that is this cool about everything…

  10. I still don’t want one.
    This gun doesn’t appeal to me one bit.
    As a backup for say a LEO.
    It has its place.

  11. Super follow up, Jeremy, and thank you for it. Using your first write up and review I developed an intuitive “break in” of my new Pico before it went to the range including excess lube and serious racking of the slide and trigger pulls. About 500 cycles at least.

    I was rewarded with flawless performance thru 250 rounds of Fiocchi, Winchester, and my own hand loads developed for my Wife’s Glock 42 whcih are pretty hot rounds. Needless to say I’m really thrilled that the new Pico is up and running. I love the size of the gun and the fit and finish as well as the styling and modular chassis concept are tops for me.

    I’m another .32 aficionado that can’t wait for that option if it presents itself!

    Another reason I use TTAG as my “go to” spot for gun reviews. you guys get after it and stay after it. Thanks again!

  12. I took advantage of the unusually warm Iowa weather this morning and put about 150 rounds through my new Pico. Pretty much had the FTE issues that you’ve so thoroughly (and thankfully!) analyzed. The target rounds eventually became generally OK, as long as I started with just five rounds in the magazine. Yes, the “hotter” ammo performed admirably, but I never did think to load six in the magazine after having such difficulty with the target rounds. My Pico didn’t like Silvertip or my favorite .380 SD round, the Barnes TAC-XPD 80 grain. Not enough oomph, I guess! Critical Defense was fine, as was PMC Starfire, surprisingly. I’m settling on Federal Premium Personal Defense for this pistol. Will clean my Pico and lube it according to the new specification (again, thanks!), and we’ll see what happens during my next range visit.

    • In the mean time, lock the slide back and load the mags to full capacity and let ’em sit like that until you go shooting again… and before that range sesh, take it apart and clean + lube. She should be solid after that, but it’s always possible that it just needs more rounds to really break in before it’ll cycle target ammo with aplomb.

      Oh and cover every square inch with grip tape 😉

  13. Wanted to mention that I did successfully shoot a couple magazines of Doubletap ammo that also uses the Barnes TAC-XP 80-grain bullet. No problems with this round, but as I mentioned earlier, I never did try this 6+1.

    Oh, and one final thought. Maybe Beretta should start including a note in the user manual about a proper break-in period for its pistols — type of ammo, number of rounds, strategy, etc. Can you say “Kahretta Pico”? 😀

  14. Jeremy S,

    Thank you for your very informative review of the Pico 380.
    I recently purchased a Pico and am too experiencing very difficulty racking the slide.
    The grip tape on your Pico may help me greatly to rack the slide.
    Please advise where can I purchase and does it precut to fit the Pico 380?
    Thank you in advance for your response.


    • Hey Jack, sorry for not responding. I hadn’t checked back on this post until today. I purchased a sheet of grip tape material from Talon Grips. You can likely find it locally at a skateboard shop or something as well, though. I cut it to size myself, which is why it isn’t perfect. You could also call or e-mail Talon and try to pressure them into making a slide kit for the Pico and link them to this article 😉

  15. I purchased a pico yesterday on my way home from work. When I got up this morning I took it out to the back yard and fired a box of 100 Winchester White Box 95gr ammo with only a few minor hiccups.

    Then took it inside wiped it down and put it back together. I decided that I should shoot another 100rds to try and loosen the slide spring tension and make it easier to load 6+1.
    When I got outside the gun would not fire a round.
    The hammer does actuate and it acts like it is firing but nothing happens. I took it back inside, pulled it apart and found out I have a broken firing pin.

    The gun had exactly 100rds fired through it and now I guess it has to go back to Beretta for a new firing pin.

    • Wow, that stinks. Hope you got it resolved already. I’m late to respond here but I likely would have just suggested calling them up, as 99% of manufacturers would simply mail you a new firing pin without asking to see or receive the pistol itself. If they want to be thorough, they’d also send you a return label so you can send the broken pin back to them at their expense so they can investigate what might have happened to it.

      In my opinion, I think this is something we’ll be seeing a lot more of from nearly all manufacturers. Not a Beretta problem or a Pico problem, but something across the board as more and more guns are designed with metal injection molded or cast firing pins (also includes strikers). While I have no general issue with MIM or quality castings, there are certain parts that I think should always be machined from billet / bar stock / tool steel, and one of those parts is the firing pin. I don’t really care what kind of firearm it is, I think the firing pin should be machined from stock.

    • I feel your pain…I got tired of waiting for the Beretta and bought a S&W M&P Bodyguard 380 a month ago…shot exactly 3 boxes and the firing pin broke as well..

      S&W has great customer service and it is on its way back to the mother ship for repair…but I can’t understand why both companies would
      skimp on something as key as a firing pin in a small defensive gun…I’d gladly have paid the extra $10 or so for a non-mim part.
      All that being said–I can say that performance was great other than that–no issues regardless of ammo.

  16. Had several FTF issues in first box of el CHEAPO ammo. Since 100 rounds, the pico eats anything I put in it. No issues since. This is a small gun that will be carried when it’s not feasible for larger one. Have the nano also. I like it, but sometimes ya just need to go mouse size

  17. I had a chance this evening to try out my new pico 380. I ran 50 rounds total of pmc 90gr fmj and American gunner hornady 90gr xtp also pmc starfire all fired flawless . My groupings weren’t the greatest yet but for me I did much better with more rapid fire . I think going to have to adapt to smaller frame verses my 380 bersa.

  18. Have a PICO and it is broken in after 175 rounds of ball ammo. Clean and lube generanouly during break in period. Now eats up all ammo including my personal defense loads. Fiocchi XTP and Precision One XTP for personal defense. LCR vs PICO? LCR has no double strike capability and has a magazine safety! The loudest sound you will ever hear is a click when you expect a bang. In high stress situations, I don’t want to have a gun like the LCR that I might accidently drop the mag and can’t shoot the chamber round or if I have an ammo malfunction have to tap,rack, bang vs just repull the trigger. Training is key but you never know how you’ll react when needed…period. Training doesn’t mean going to the indoor range and shooting 100 rounds at a stationary paper targer at 10 yards for 1 hr in a modified weaver stance two handed. Practice malfuction clearing with dummy rounds and dry firing. Shoot offhand, one handed, holding a bag in other hand. This is where the controlability of the PICO excels!

    • Are you saying that the Precision One is a hot round. I have two boxes as a result of watching the YouTube “Shooting the Bull” guy test 380 ammo for best effect.

      • PrecisionOne now has a 380 plus P which came out after the Shooting the Bull review. And the Pico loves it. I buy the 250 rd box and have gone through 3 boxes of that ammo alone and the Pico runs like a sewing machine. What a fantastic little pistol

  19. I just got back from the Range with my new Pico . I couldn’t be happier, it worked flawlessly
    I put 200 rounds of Blazer brass threw it without a problem, Beretta must have solved the
    problem. This was my first time shooting the Pico and I was expecting the worst after reading the reviews , I did lube it up pretty good after reading your review which didn’t
    hurt. I found the Pico accurate and pleasant to shoot.

  20. Do you know about where in the serial number range Beretta made the changes you talked about? Also, if you decided at some point to remove the skateboard tape would the slide be damaged underneath?

  21. Jeremy S.,
    Beretta just released news (Oct. 2015 from what I hear) of Beretta Pico “upgrades.” Supposed to have easier to pull trigger and easier to rack slide. Can you get these upgrades for your Pico and update this review or review the newer upgraded Pico compared to the old one? Thank you for all your great reviews!

  22. I hate to crack the .32 Auto discussion again. But the fact is .32 Auto was the most sold manufactured and distributed pistol in the 20th Century. That alone deservers recognition and study. As well as living history with the many pistols we have in private ownership.

    Perhaps we should be encouraging private industry to view us, and those like us to produce more weapons in .32 Auto. I personally have two Walther Interterms, a PPK and a PPK/S, both chambered in .32 Auto. Hopefully by either our voices or their RADAR we can gain their focus to understand where the future lies on American soil.

    Long live our Dubs!

  23. Thanks for the informative and helpful write up. I when to the LGS to buy either a Kahr P380, Kahr CW380, Ruger LCP, or Smith Bodyguard. I even brought up the Pico and the sales person said, I wouldn’t get that if I were you.

    They were out of the Kahrs so I looked at the Ruger and Smith. Really liked the Smith but decided to look for a Kahr before deciding.

    On my way out the door, I saw a lone Pico sitting with the other Berettas and away from the other 380s. I asked to hold it and a few minutes later (however long it took to do the paperwork and background check) I was out the door with it :-).

    Something about that little Pico just called to me despite no initial interest and the sales person steering me away from it.

    I haven’t been to the range with it yet, but I do intend to shoot the cheap stuff for practice. After reading the above, I feel that I’ve made an excellent selection and know what to do to make it run smoothly with practice ammo even if it doesn’t out of the box.

    Really loving the “real” double action, unbelievable thinness, modularity, fit, and finish of this tiny Beretta!

  24. The current production Picos have an “Upgrade” sticker on the outside of the box. I just purchased one and they have changed the recoil spring to a newer single not double spring. And the trigger spring seems lighter too. You can go to the Beretta web site and enter the serial number to see if a specific example has the upgrade or if it is eligible for the free Beretta upgrade. Not a single glitch with mine thus far, Approximately 100 + rounds of three different brands of ammo.

  25. Pico is horribly unreliable. Who wants to risk carrying a gun for protection that has a 50% chance of jamming. Mine jams every time I pull the slide back to load. Beretta installed upgrade for free and it still came back jamming every time, Needless to say, I dumped it for a Ruger LCP II. A person would be crazy to risk the Pico Jam in an emergency situation.

  26. Okay so my wife talked me into buying her a Pico after a week of witching for her to get a slimline flock .380 or a Sig p238. I let her buy this basically because she liked it and then the thoughts of how my Beretta m92 and px4 have ran flawlessly over the years. Beretta make damn fine guns. Period. But after getting this home I had to take it directly back as the firing pin had been broken at the store. We know this bc I never pulled the trigger once. So that’s fixed.. Now.. it’s not wanting to feed the first round into the pipe. I have to literally slap the back of the gun to give it the force to chamber the first round. This isn’t range ammo.. it’s a jhp. I must admit it runs excellent once that first round is slapped in place, but still.. I took the gun apart for cleaning and noticed only 1 recoil spring. Hmm.. could this be the problem why it doesn’t want to chamber the first round? The Manuel clearly says 2 springs are supposed to be there. I call Beretta and it’s like talking to a hair salon about guns. Again, wanting me to send it back. I’ll buy the damn spring and put it in myself.. Could someone please tell me what part number this second spring is? I’m assuming it’s the smaller one, but I plan on buying both if I can just get some good info and answers.. Please, if anyone can help me my email is [email protected]

    • You may have already read this in my earlier comment, but it’s worth repeating in case you missed it. I saw a similar problem feeding the first round with my Pico. In my case it was after I applied grip tape, but it could happen without that.
      With the Pico you really have to pull the slide ALL the way back and then just let it fly. The slightest bit of resistance from your grasp on the slide, and that first round will hang.

  27. Hello everyone,

    I am curious, has anyone experienced this problem… I bought a Pico for my wife (for when I am not home) and I have noticed the feed issues but they are also getting better and less frequent now that we’ve run about 800+ rounds through it at the range. However, something that has started happening recently is the trigger bar is slipping off the bottom of the hammer. I had to completely break down the chassis twice at the range today to get it firing correctly again. Basically, the trigger would pull, you could feel it go limp, the gun wouldn’t cycle or fire and the trigger did not return to the rest position. It seems to make contact very loosely as it is and it seems to be able to come loose far too easily. You could manually pull the trigger forward and wiggle it back and forth, and it would eventually grab again and fire. I think it is a faulty/weak trigger spring but I am not exactly a gunsmith here.

    Any input would be appreciated as I would hate for this to happen in life and death situation.

    • I put a laser grip on the Pico and put the trigger spring back on the wrong way. Beretta support talked me through it and no problems so far.
      If I recall correctly, it’s sort of a “U”-shaped spring with a 90 degree bend at the end of each side of the “U”. If it’s been bent too far apart, I could see what might be happening. Call Beretta support and ask. If you can take a picture, do so. If you are manipulating the spring, it’s really small in there, so I used a small screw driver and a small needle-nosed pliers to nudge the spring into place. My big fingers could bend it out of shape pretty easily, I think. That spring is there (if I am correct) to reset the trigger after it has been fully pulled.

      • Yeah, I also have the lasergrip and it has since stopped doing what it was doing. The issue was just getting all the tiny parts to seat just right. They are very small and finicky. The firearm works great and is very reliable. It was in part user error from teaching the wife to clean it, then in part minor malfunction simply due to the tiny and precise parts. The manufacturer should have seen that this would be an issue and likely avoided it with some minor modification, but alas, it is what it is. No complaints about the gun since this post, which was a little while back when we first got it.

        Thanks for your response and inquiry Jeff, the situation resolved itself after looking at the firearms schematics and playing around with it a little.

    • I have this exact issue. I shot mine for the first time and ran 200 rounds through per break in recommendations. During break in my trigger stopped fully going back to reset. I broke it down and cleaned it thoroughly thinking that was the issue. Tried some dry fires and the trigger bar was slipping off the hammer and I realized I failed to set the trigger spring onto the trigger bar. So I fixed that, took it to the range, and trigger still never fully reset without forcing it back. I’m assuming the issue is a damaged or weak trigger spring, although I’m not sure why shooting 200 rounds would progressively lead to this issue. Did you have to replace the spring? I’m beginning to wonder if maybe I put the spring back in backwards…

      • It took some trial in error but I found the trigger bar was bent. Very slightly but it was enough that it wasn’t grabbing that little machined line on the bottom of the hammer assembly. Contacted Beretta and explained, they had me send in the gun and they replaced it along with the trigger spring and recoil spring. It cycles flawlessly again now. It costed me nothing but shipping to send it back to them. I’d just contact the manufacturer.

        • I think you may be right. I’ve been ignoring the fact that my trigger bar is always a little off center back in the area where it contacts the hammer every time I inspect it. Strange that it didn’t start doing that right out of the box, but only after I shot nearly 200 rounds. I had never fully broke the gun down and touched the trigger bar before this issue started. Anyways, I replaced the spring and it didn’t help. I think what I’m going to attempt to do is line it up, then shoot it to see if the failure is produced. Then push it a little off center where I usually find it upon inspection and compare the results. I would have to do it after each individual shot but it may give me a conclusive answer.

  28. I bought two Pico’s. After shooting LCP’s and going through 4 of them, I said enough is enough and bought a Pico, loved it so much bought a second one. 1500 rds. now through the first without one hiccup, and 500 through the second one with no flaws.
    Sorry to hear about your problem, but it does should like a bad spring. Should be a easy fix. Any gun made can have a problem etc. I find the Pico to be one of the most reliable out there. Just bought a Kahr and built well. Not the tank quality build of the Pico but well built just the same.

  29. I have now purchased two Pico’s. Absolutely love them. One shot everything right out of the box, the other required about 60 rounds or so, but has eaten everything I have thrown at it since. They do loosen up just the right amount after 300 or so rounds. Accurate and fits so well in my pocket that I find myself carrying one almost all the time unless I am looking for woods protection, where I grab something more substantial. If I am traveling into what I consider a danger zone, I still carry a Pico as a backup to my PX4.

    Great fit and finish. Shoots anything from mild to wild. Fits great in my pocket holster even with the added light body. With the light body and the Trijicon sights I added to one of them, it is a great little night time carry as well. I can’t find anything not to like.

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