Beretta M1934

The Beretta Model 1934 is a compact, semi-automatic pistol which was issued as a standard service firearm to the Italian armed forces beginning in 1934. It is chambered for the 9 mm Corto, more commonly known as the .380 ACP.

Beretta M1934
Class Manportable
Type Handguns
Manufacturer Beretta
Production Period 1934 - 1991
Origin Italy
Country Name Origin Year
Italy 1935
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Italy 1935 1991 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Beretta 1934 1991 1080000 View

Armi Beretta SpA of Gardone Val Trompia has a history in firearms manufacturing reaching back to 1526, when they were established as a maker of barrels. But it was not until 1915 that, responding to the needs of the military during World War I, they produced their first pistol, the model 1915. Beretta has become one of the world's largest pistol makers and the model 1934 (M1934) was their most numerous product in the pre-World War II era.

It was designed and purpose-built for the Italian armed forces. In the early 1930s, the Italian army was impressed by the Walther PP pistol. Beretta did not want to lose a big military contract to their German competitor and designed the M1934 for the Italian Army which accepted it in 1937. This model was followed by the M1935, which was similar to the M1934 in most respects, except that it fired a .32 ACP (7.65 mm Browning) cartridge.

Pistols made during the Fascist Era are marked with their year of manufacture in two forms: the conventional Julian date in Arabic numerals and the date in the Fascist Era in Roman numerals. The Fascist calendar commenced on 28 October 1922, so a pistol from 1937 may carry either "XV" or "XVI" as its Fascist year. Pistols taken by the armed forces usually exhibit acceptance marks stamped into the frame on the left just above the grip: "RE" (Regio Esercito) for the army, "RM" (Regia Marina) for the navy, or "RA" (Regia Aeronautica) for the Air Force, always in the form of an Eagle wearing a Royal Crown for the Royal air force. Police pistols may be marked "PS" (Pubblica Sicurezza). The Romanian military, at the time an Axis power, also purchased model 1934 (and 1935) pistols. The calibre marking appears as 9 mm Scurt (short in Romanian) rather than 9 mm Corto. Romanian Army M1934's differ from Italian M1934's in that the Romanian pistols use the Russian sight picture, where the Italian pistols use the standard sight picture used by Western armies.

An M1934, serial number 606824, was used by Nathuram Godse in the 1948 assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. The pistol, manufactured in 1934, was carried by an officer during Italy's invasion of Abyssinia and subsequently taken by a British officer as a war trophy. It is not known how it came to India, but Godse was given the unlicensed firearm by a co-conspirator.

Type Semi-automatic pistol
Place of origin Kingdom of Italy
Service history
In service 1935-1991
Used by Royal Italian Army
Wars World War II
Production history
Manufacturer Beretta
Produced 1934–1991
Number built 1080000
Specifications
Weight 660 g (23.28 oz) (Unloaded)
Length 152 mm (6 in)
Barrel length 94 mm (3.7 in)
Cartridge .380 ACP (9×17mm Corto)
Action blowback
Muzzle velocity 750 ft/s (229 m/s)
Feed system 7 + 1-round detachable boxmagazine
Sights Fixed front blade and rear notch

End notes