The “Slim 9” Nano

The Latest 9mm Pocket Pistol From Beretta Has Some Unique Features.

What I’ve come to call “slim-9s,” subcompact 9mm Parabellum auto pistols of pocket-size dimensions, are the new rage for concealed carry. Beretta has joined the market with their fascinating Nano, a striker-fired, double-action-only design built around a “sub-chassis” that lifts easily out of its polymer frame and makes disassembly and cleaning a breeze. No manual safety, no need for a decocking mechanism, good sights, a sleek profile, and a slide with more 4140 ordnance steel than some of the competition, to help control recoil and enhance “shootability.”

It’s become customary in some gun magazines to test these “pocket pistols” at 7 yards or so, instead of the traditional 25 paces. The theory is they won’t be used farther than that. Strangely, none of those guns owner’s manuals explain the force field that will keep anyone farther than seven steps distance from shooting at you and requiring return fire. So, I test them at 25 yards like anything else. They’ll surprise you. This one did.

With a 9mm, I try to test with the three most popular bullet weights: 115, 124 and 147 grains. Since the Nano is a defense gun, the 115 I chose was Buffalo Bore’s super hot +P+, rated by its manufacturer for a sizzling 1,400 fps out of a full-size 9mm service pistol, and presumably capable of 1,300 fps or more out of the shorter Nano tube. It put five Gold Dot jacketed hollowpoint projectiles into 4.75″ center to center. Four of the JHPs were in 3.35″, and the “best three”—a good predictor of what all five might have done out of a machine rest instead of hand-held on a Matrix rest—measured 2.35″.

For a 124-grain load, I chose Black Hills’ famously accurate standard-pressure JHP. It hit 4″ on the nose for five shots, making the often quoted standard of “acceptable service pistol accuracy” even though it’s a stubby pocket gun. It should be noted, however, that four of those shots were in 2.35″, and the best three, in 1.55″.
By Massad Ayoob

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