Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol left
Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol

It’s accuracy day for the Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol, and some of you have been eagerly awaiting this day! I decided to shoot 3 different BBs in the gun just to give you a general idea of how well it groups.

Because this is a BB gun, the shooting distance was 5 meters, which is 16 feet, 5 inches. I sat backwards on a chair, resting my forearms over the back, so the pistol was fairly steady. I selected a 10-meter rifle target for this session because the smaller bull seemed appropriate for the shorter distance.

I forgot!
After installing the CO2 cartridge and loading the first 10 BBs, I tried to shoot the target and the gun wouldn’t fire! What was wring? I knew this was a double-action-only trigger, and it should have worked. Right?

Wrong! This trigger is not DAO. It only feels like one! It’s really a single-action trigger that requires the hammer to be cocked before it’ll work. You can squeeze the trigger all day and nothing will happen until the hammer is cocked. So, with this little problem out of the way, the test could begin.

Crosman Copperhead BBs
First up were 10 Crosman Copperhead BBs. As I shot, I noted that the pistol was very steady in my rested hands. And the target shows that…I think. Ten Copperheads went into 1.521 inches at 5 meters. But note the 2 holes that are apart from the main group. Eight of those BBs made a group measuring 0.78 inches.

The farthest of the 2 holes that are apart from the main group — the one to the extreme right — was a called flier. My hand twitched to the left as the shot fired. The other one, though, was held just like all the rest.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol Coppergead group
Ten shots in 1.521 inches, though the one at the right was a called flier. But look at the 8 that landed on the bull. They measure 0.78 inches between centers.

Daisy Premium Grade BBs
Next I tried 10 Daisy Premium Grade BBs. Like I mentioned in Part 1, they’re top-grade BBs that always deliver the goods. This time, 10 of them went into 1.114 inches. There were no called fliers, and the group is fairly well centered on the bull.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol Daisy group
Ten Daisy Premium Grade BBs went into 1.114 inches at 5 meters. No fliers were called.

Umarex BBs
The last BB I tried was the Umarex precision BB — another top-grade BB. Ten of them grouped in 1.28 inches, with 9 going into 0.998 inches. There were no called fliers in this group, either.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol Umarex group
Ten Umarex BBs went into 1.114 inches at 5 meters. No fliers were called.

Overall impressions
As I told you in Part 2, the trigger-pull on this pistol feels very much like a double-action pull. That’s one where the trigger first cocks the hammer before releasing it to fire the gun. It “stacks” or increases in effort significantly toward the end of the pull, like a vintage Colt double-action revolver. Once you learn how to use that, it helps with accuracy. The pistol is actually stabilized before firing.

This little Beretta is a fun BB gun, make no mistake. I found it trouble-free and easy to use. The sights are right on, and there are no quirks in the operation. If you like BB repeaters, this would be one to consider!

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Part 1

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol
Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol

Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol. We’ll also look at the trigger and the shot count.

Of course, the first step to shoot a CO2 BB pistol like this one is to install a fresh CO2 cartridge. And when you do, never forget to put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip before piercing. The oil will be blown through the gun, coating every seal on the inside and sealing it tight for a long time. I found the cartridge sealed immediately after it pierced, so this pistol is conventional in that respect. Remember — once the cartridge is pierced and the gas stops hissing, you don’t want to tighten the screw any more or you’ll soon tear the face seal that the cartridge butts against, creating a leak.

The BB magazine holds 17 BBs comfortably, and 18 can be forced in. I loaded them one at a time, but in this mag, they load easily.

Umarex Precision BBs
Thye first BB I tested was the Umarex Precision BB. In past tests I have found this BB to be one of the 2 top BBs on the market for precision and size uniformity. They tend to be larger in diameter, which means they give the best velocity.

These BBs averaged 368 f.p.s. for 10 shots, but I did notice the gun is very susceptible to velocity dropoff if the shots are fired fast. When I waited at least 10 seconds between shots, the velocity held steady; but if I fired 2 shots quickly, the second one was always much slower. In one test, the first shot went 372 f.p.s. and the next shot…fired a second later…went 358 f.p.s.

The fastest shot in the string went 385 f.p.s. and the slowest went 356 f.p.s., so the spread was 29 f.p.s. However, the first 3 shots on a new cartridge always go much faster than the average. If we eliminate those 3 shots from this string, the average drops to 363 f.p.s., which seems like a more reasonable average.

Daisy Premium Grade BB
Next I tried the Daisy Premium Grade BB that’s the other top BB on the market. These BBs are also very uniform and very consistently sized. Ten of them averaged 357 f.p.s., with a spread from 350 to 373 f.p.s. That’s a 23 foot-second spread.

The Daisy Premium Grade BB is as good as BBs get, unless you opt to buy the special Avanti Precision Ground Shot that are the finest BBs available today. But they only show their advantage when used in the equally superior Daisy Avanti Champion 499 BB gun. If you shoot them in anything else, you’re wasting money as sure as someone who loads target rimfire ammo into a semiauto sporter.

Crosman Copperhead BB
The final BB I tried was the Crosman Copperhead BB. This BB is not as consistent as the other 2 because the diameter varies, causing velocity variations. You probably won’t find any flat spots on these BBs, but the diameter inconsistency puts it into the second rank for both velocity and accuracy.

In the 84 FS, Copperheads averaged 348 f.p.s., but the spread is very revealing. The low was 314 f.p.s., and the high was 375 f.p.s. That makes the spread 61 f.p.s.

After shooting 64 BBs (there were many that didn’t register on the chronograph, plus I filled the magazine with each type of BB and then shot the rest of them without recording the velocity), the next few Daisy BBs went 317, 306, 301 and 294 f.p.s., respectively. So, the liquid CO2 was exhausted at this point, and the gas pressure was dropping.

Shot count for a CO2 cartridge
I continued to shoot the pistol until the blowback no longer worked. That happened at shot 78, so that’s the number of shots you can get from the gun. By that time, the gun is shooting the Daisy BBs in the mid-200s, meaning that about 100 f.p.s. have been lost since the cartridge was fresh.

The blowback on this pistol is faster than the blowback on most air pistols, because the slide doesn’t come back as far. When the CO2 cartridge is fresh, you just feel an impulse when the gun fires, but I wouldn’t call it realistic recoil. But as the gas pressure lowers, the slide starts cycling slower and you do feel the recoil.

Remember that I told you in Part 1 that the trigger felt strange? I said it felt like a double-action-only trigger instead of the single-action trigger that it is. Well, this time I tested it and proved that’s how it feels. Despite the slide cocking the hammer for each shot, the trigger is still very long and heavy.

The first-stage pull runs about 4 lbs., and stage 2 breaks at 9 lbs., 9 oz. every time. Pull the trigger slowly, though, and stage 1 becomes creepy, plus stage 2 increases by a full pound. This will be an interesting handgun to shoot for accuracy!

Evaluation thus far
I like how the 84 FS holds. It’s small, but not tiny. It fills the hand with its wide grip frame. But that trigger will be something to contend with. The trigger on my Micro Desert Eagle .380 firearm pistol is also DAO and also challenges me when I shoot farther than 20 feet; but it’s smoother near the end of the pull. This trigger stacks up a lot at the end of the pull. We’ll see!

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol
Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol

Fabbrica d’Armi Pietro Beretta is one of the oldest companies in the world. They were founded in 1526, at a time when wheellock guns were high-tech and the flintlock was still a century in the future. On top of that, the company has remained under family control all that time!

Before the U.S. military adopted the model 92 as their sidearm, all I knew about Beretta was that they made some odd-looking handguns in small pistol calibers and they made fine shotguns. Since the 92 became the M9 pistol, Beretta has forced its way into the limelight in the U.S. gun culture. Still, what I know about the handgun models they make is very limited. So, when I first saw a picture of the Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol, it looked like a rehash of the 92 FS to me.

Well, it isn’t! The 84 FS is two-thirds the size of the 92 and more closely related to a pocket pistol, though the width of the frame that accommodates a double-stack magazine makes it too fat for such a role. The firearm is called the Cheetah and comes in .380 a.c.p. caliber. Given the width of the grip frame, it must be a mild gun to shoot with such a light cartridge. The double-stack magazine holds 13 rounds, so buyers living in states with magazine capacity limits have to either get a smaller mag, or avoid this gun altogether. Or, they can enjoy it in this BB gun version!

The BB gun
I am looking at the BB gun, which is powered by CO2 and has blowback that moves the slide and cocks the hammer for the next shot. The trigger operates only in the single-action mode, so the hammer must be cocked every time for the gun to fire — you can’t just pull the trigger and fire the gun unless the hammer is cocked.

The trigger-pull is unusual for single-action. It’s a long pull that has an increasing resistance as the blade nears the back of the triggerguard. It feels more like a smooth double-action pull; except that with the hammer being cocked by the slide, it cannot be by definition. There’s no pause before the sear releases, so the double-action pull metaphor holds all the way until the sear releases.

The safety is ambidextrous and is a thumb-actuated lever at the top rear of the slide. As small as this pistol is, the safety is easy to put on and take off with just the thumb of the firing hand.

The magazine is a drop-free design with the thumb-release button on the left side of the frame, behind the triggerguard. The bottom black portion is synthetic, while the silver top portion that contains the firing valve is metal.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol magazine
Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol magazine.

At the bottom of the magazine, the CO2 tensioning screw handle is spring-loaded to cling tight to the floorplate of the mag until you need it. Although it’s visible from the outside of the gun, the designers have taken steps to ensure that it isn’t obvious. This is a big red flag to BB pistol buyers, and it looks like the designers knew that.

I said this pistol is small, so the weight of 1.4 lbs. is lighter than that of a larger handgun. The overall length is 7 inches, and the smoothbore barrel is 3.6 inches. The single-stack BB magazine (single-stack for BBs, double-stack for .380 cartridges) holds 17 BBs plus the CO2 cartridge.

The sights are a fixed post in front and a fixed notch in the rear. The rear sight is cast with details to look like it drifts side-to-side, but it doesn’t. Given that the 84 FS is a self-defense type pistol, the sights are in keeping with that theme.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol rear sight
The rear sight looks like it slides in a dovetail, but it’s really just a sharply detailed casting.

The majority of this gun is made of metal; and the grips are plastic, held on by two steel screws, each. Besides the safety, the slide hold-open lever and the disassembly lever are both functional. And that’s all the controls there are on this handgun.

The Beretta 84FS is at the high end of the price spectrum for a BB pistol. It has blowback, which shooters desire, but the rest of the gun is as basic as the firearm it copies. It will take this review to determine if this will be a desirable BB gun for the target consumer.

Another thing buyers want to know is the gun’s pedigree. The gun is made in Taiwan and distributed by Umarex. Those are 2 positive marks, because Umarex is known for distributing realistic airguns, and Taiwan is known for making many other fine airguns.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol left
Beretta 84 FS BB pistol.