Beretta will be releasing a new 9x1mm subcompact pistol in late October 2011, the BU-9 Nano. The design looks similar to the Px4 Storm but in a smaller package. There are no protruding levers or buttons anywhere except for the magazine release, which is low-profile and reversible for left-handed shooters. While the BU-9 does have a slide lock which will lock back the slide after the last round from the magazine is fired, there is no protruding slide release lever. To chamber the first round from a new magazine, you need to "slingshot" the slide — pull the locked slide back as far as it will go (only 1/4" - 1/2" is typical), and release it. The fact that there are no protruding levers and safeties, and that the magazine release is low-profile, means the overall width of the pistol is smaller, and there is nothing to snag on when drawing from concealment.
Unlike most pistols, the frame is not the serialized piece. Instead, similar to the SIG Sauer P250, a steel chassis and fire control assembly fits inside the polymer frame and is considered the actual firearm with the serial number. This gives the advantage of being able to sell different sized frames (or even different calibers with a new frame, slide, barrel, magazine, and recoil spring) without having to go through an FFL. For example, an owner of a full-size SIG Sauer P250 can order the subcompact frame through the mail, and can quickly and easily switch between the two in order to have both a larger, higher-capacity home defense or open carry pistol and a smaller concealed carry pistol. While Beretta has not yet announced what options (frame sizes, caliber changes) will be offered, this versatility, it can be expected that a number of useful configurations will be possible, such as a pocket-sized frame for .380 ACP, a full-size 9x19mm frame for home defense, and caliber changes in .40 S&W and .45 ACP.
Finish: Pronox slide finish, black matte polymer frame
Barrel Length: 3.07" (78 mm)
Overall Length: 5.63" (143 mm)
Height: 4.17" (106 mm)
Width: (22.9 mm)
Sights: 3-dot low profile
Availability: Late October 2011
Beretta has put out a press release, as well as a video giving an overview of the new BU-9 Nano (below, under the press release excerpt).
ACCOKEEK, MARYLAND — Beretta USA confirms recent internet rumors regarding its entry into the pocket 9mm pistol category with the introduction of the Beretta BU-9 Nano. Initial shipments of the much anticipated American-made pistol are slated to leave the Accokeek, Maryland factory beginning late October, and with a suggested retail price of $475, this next evolution pocket pistol will be hard to resist.
Unlike traditional pistols the serial number on the Nano is found not on the frame, but on the stainless steel sub-chassis. This distinct difference makes the BU-9 Nano truly modular, providing customers the opportunity to easily change the techno-polymer grip frame from a full size pistol, to a compact, to a sub-compact or to a color other than black, all with a single serial number. The modularity of the Nano provides the option of customization and extends beyond the frame to its interchangeable sights and ambidextrous magazine release button. Owners no longer need the services of a gunsmith to change the front and rear sights, a simple hex screw allows for a host of sight options and adjustments; while left-handed shooters will appreciate the Nano's ambi mag release, an exclusive feature in the pocket pistol category.
Second to customization, the Nano's modularity provides for simple disassembly and easy cleaning. Safely disassemble the pistol by first engaging the striker deactivator, a patent pending safety mechanism that eliminates the need to pull the trigger prior to disassembly. A low-profile, snag free design completes the Nano and makes it easy to carry, draw from concealment and holster, mandatory features for any pocket pistol.
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