Gun or phaser from Star Trek? Or another sci-fi series to be named later. By someone else. Please excuse my lack of knowledge of sci-fi geekdom — and I mean that in a good way fanboys. But this stuff suggests itself. Beretta took the venerable .22 caliber training pistol — default option Ruger Mark III or Colt Woodsman — and made it look like something for taking out Adhar Ru’afo. According to the Beretta USA bumph, Neos means “new” in Greek. To get that ancient civilization look, Beretta designed a nice rimfire pistol and dropped it off by Italian designer Giogetto Giugiaro’s studio for the weekend. OK, I know: Neo. Matrix. Got it. And you should too, if you’re looking for something to lure your sci-fi lovin’ child off the couch and down to someplace far healthier. And by that, I mean the gun range, of course.
Cliché time: Usually form does follow function. Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, all of the components in this Beretta feel top notch for the price point. The 10-round magazine (great for us New Yorkers and those living in the Peoples Republik of Kalifornia) features a small indentation slot so .22 can drop in easy. The pistol features modular construction, (barrel with sight rail, receiver, slide and firing pin). The 6-inch barrel is available either in the classic Beretta blue finish, or in stainless steel (“Inox”). The only one that I did not dig is the screw-release that allows the frame to separate from the side. It makes you wonder why a “dial indicator” is on the side of your handgun.
Beretta Neos work by cycling a portion of the rear mechanism, and not the entire “slide” a la 1911. When you play with one in the store, you’ll get what I mean. The only thing I did not like about the gun is its tendency to bite you when releasing this modified slide. It can be overcome by training, but my index finger was pinched from the get-go trying to figure it out.
The grips are made of a rugged fiberglass, and most everything else on the Neos pistol feels solid. Say what you want about the M9 pistol, but it had to go though a lot of hurdles to become the official sidearm of the U.S. Army. Beretta, after nearly 500 years in business, knows what it is doing.
Except when it comes to the magazine release. The mag release, which sits on the right side above the trigger guard, is actuated by your trigger finger. Not your thumb as God and John Moses Browning intended.
There is a ambidextrous safety.
I didn’t send a lot of rounds downrange, but all reports on the internet grapevine indicate a gun that will shoot hundreds of rounds of Winchester, Remington, or anything else, without complaint. The only odd thing I noticed: more muzzle flash than a typical .22. That could have been the supplied 32-grain ammo being a little hotter than usual.
The futuristic semi-auto pistol features an integral rail that accepts Weaver-style scope mounts (red dot and otherwise), and a matte-black front sight, as well as a fully-adjustable target rear sight.
Beretta suggests a retail price for the U22 Neos Inox of $375. There are new ones about just under the $300 mark.
If you really want to take this gun to the next level of rimfire crazy, Beretta offers a carbine conversion kit that makes the thing look goofy and badass at the same time. If I bought a U22, I would buy it just for the novelty of using it a few times but the gun would primarily remain a pistol. It is a great gun, perfect for first-time or entry-level shooters and terrific for plinking, target shooting and accuracy with styling to keep the younger generation interested.
Model: Beretta U22 Neos Inox
Caliber: 22 Long Rifle
Magazine Capacity: 10
Action: Single Action semi-automatic
Total Length (mm/inch): 260/10.2
Barrel Length (mm/inch): 152/6
Total Thickness (mm/inch): 38/1.5
Total Height (mm/inch): 132/5.2
Sight Radius (mm/inch): 226/8.9
Weight Unloaded (gr/oz): 100/35.3
Safety: Ambidextrous manual safety
RATINGS (out of five)
Style * * * * *
Probably the most sci-fi .22 pistol out there. If you like it, you’ll love it. If you don’t, subtract four stars.
Ergonomics * *
They take a little getting used to and in the beginning it’ll bite ya.
Reliability * * * *
I did not have the opportunity to use it with the cheapest .22 ammo that would be good for extended plinking, but it ate the good stuff.
Customize This * * * *
There is a carbine kit available that makes it into something a Stormtrooper would use.
OVERALL RATING * * *1/2
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