The Beretta 84FS Cheetah.
|Place of origin||Italy|
Magazine of capacity;
The Beretta Cheetah, also known by its original model name of "Series 81", was a line of compact blowback operated semi-automatic pistols designed and manufactured by Beretta of Italy. They were introduced in 1976 and include models in .32 ACP (Models 81 and 82), .380 ACP (9 mm Short) (Models 83, 84, 85 and 86) and .22 LR (Models 87, 87 Target and 89). Beretta has discontinued the manufacture of certain models and versions, but Cheetah pistols in .22 LR, .32 ACP and .380 ACP are still being manufactured and sold.
These two models are chambered for the .32 ACP cartridge. The 81 has a double stacked magazine with 12 round capacity, while the 82 has a single stacked magazine with nine round capacity and resultant thinner grips.
These models are chambered for the .380 ACP (9 mm Short) cartridge. The 84 has a double stacked magazine with 13 round capacity, while the 83 and 85 have a single stacked magazine with seven and eight round capacity respectively, and resultant thinner grips. The 84 and 85 have a 3.81" barrel, while the 83 has a 4" barrel.
The model 86 is chambered for the .380 ACP (9 mm Short) cartridge, but differs significantly from other models in the series, because it has a redesigned front end with a tip-up barrel that hinges at the muzzle to open the breech. This allows the shooter to load a cartridge directly into the chamber and not have to operate the slide.
There are two distinct 87 models both chambered for .22 LR. The standard model is similar to other models, but the 87 Target has a longer barrel and slide, can accept optical sights, and is single action only.
There are potentially five versions for models 81 through 87. The features for each version in models 81, 82, 84 and 85 are consistent between models (i.e., the 81FS, 82FS, 84FS and 85FS all have similar features). This is not the case with models 83, 86, 87 and 89, which were not made in all versions.
Base versions of models 81 through 87 are noted for having a rounded trigger guard and generally fewer safety features than subsequent versions. Safety is ambidextrous and frame-mounted. The frame is alloy, the slide is blued steel and the standard grips are wood.
The B versions of models 81, 82, 84, and 85 introduced an automatic firing pin safety, a shorter extractor and grooved front and back straps.
The BB versions of models 81, 82, 84 and 85 have more serrations on the slide, white dot and post sights and other subtle changes.
The F versions of models 81, 82, 84 and 85 introduced the "combat" trigger guard with a squared-off front that allows for a finger hold, plastic grips, a proprietary "Bruniton" finish, a chrome-plated barrel and chamber, and a combination safety and decocker lever.
Current production models of .32 ACP and .380 ACP Cheetah pistols are in the FS configuration (e.g. 81FS). In models 81, 82, 84 and 85 they include internal improvements over the F versions that are not visible during casual inspection.
Recently (2014-2015) the 81FS, 84fs and 85fs models have been available new for sale in the U.S. They are occasionally available in both the Bruniton and nickel finishes.
From 1977 to 1997 Beretta built the Browning BDA 380, which is essentially the model 84BB with a standard ejection port (instead of an open slide), a slide-mounted decocker/safety and a spur hammer. Production resumed in 2000 and continues through today (2015). During both periods mentioned Beretta also made the FN 140 DA, which is identical to the BDA 380 except for being marked "Fabrique Nationale" instead of "Browning". The 140 DA was also made in a .32 ACP version.
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