The Beretta 71 Jaguar ::

A Chilly Conflict period basic with easy strains, a legendary again story, and an exotic-sounding identify, Beretta’s Mannequin 71 was positively a mouse that roared. 

Debuted in 1958 as a downsized companion pistol line to enhance the not too long ago launched 9mm Beretta M1951, the corporate’s 70-series weapons would span at least 14 variants and sub-variants earlier than ending manufacturing within the mid-Nineteen Eighties. Utilizing a hard and fast barrel and open slide – an indicator of the M1951 that may later stick with it to the 92-series pistols of right now – the compact 70-series weapons have been blowback motion pistols with a skeletonized bobbed hammer, a frame-mounted guide security, and a easy single-action set off.

Chambered in .380 ACP, .32 ACP, and .22 LR flavors, they proved a success each domestically in Italy and on the business market.

Beretta’s circa-1959 breakdown of the Mannequin 70, 71, and 72. Observe the penetration exams listed when it comes to depth made in pine boards at 27 yards. 
Beretta's circa 1959 breakdown of the Model 73, 74, and 75
In addition to the Mannequin 73, 74, and 75 of the identical period.  


Whereas the Mannequin 70 would see a modicum of Italian police use, comparable to with the CFS – the federal forestry service – it might be the Mannequin 71 that shined brightest within the collection. 

Beretta ‘Cat’ Weapons

The brand new collection of post-WWII Beretta semi-automatic pistols have been generally marketed within the U.S. by a collection of catchy names, normally feline-based. As an illustration, the outdated Mannequin 418 was dubbed the Panther; the Mannequin 70 was the Puma; the later Mannequin 80s have been Cheetahs; the flip-up-barreled rimfire collection fashions would carry the Minx (.22 Brief), Bobcat (.22LR/.25ACP) and Tomcat (.32ACP) monikers; and the 9mm 8000 collection could be launched because the Cougar – after the M1934 was carried out utilizing that identify. 

1950s Beretta ads
Circa-Fifties advertisements displaying the Mannequin 418 first because the Bantam, then because the Panther, and itemizing assorted different Beretta Cat Weapons of the period. 

Falling into this naming conference was the Mannequin 71, 72, and 75, which might be marketed within the U.S. because the Jaguar. The distinction between the three fashions was slight, with the 71 delivery with a 3.54-inch barrel, the 72 with each the usual barrel and an extra 5.9-inch goal barrel, and the 75 with simply the goal barrel. 

Beretta Model 71 Jaguar 22 LR pistol
The 8+1 shot .22 LR Mannequin 71 Jaguar was marketed in 1959 as a sport pistol “that makes a relentless companion for defense at residence and subject.” (Photograph: Chris Eger/
Beretta Model 71 Jaguar 22 LR pistol
Weight, with an empty journal, is simply 16.6 ounces, whereas with a full magazine remains to be underneath 18 ounces. This is because of its trim dimension and alloy body building. (Photograph: Chris Eger/
Beretta Model 71 Jaguar 22 LR pistol
And, at simply 6.5 inches lengthy total and really slim, they match properly within the hand. (Photograph: Chris Eger/
Beretta Model 71 Jaguar 22 LR pistol compared to PPKs
By way of interval comparability, the Mannequin 71 matches properly towards the Walther PPK/s in dimension, whereas being considerably lighter than the .380-chambered Teutonic pocket pistol. For reference, the peak on the Jaguar is simply 4 inches at its tallest. (Photograph: Chris Eger/
Beretta Model 71 Jaguar 22 LR pistol
Observe the inner similarity of the Mannequin 71 to the older Beretta 951 collection and later 80- and 92-series weapons. (Photograph: Chris Eger/
Beretta Model 71 Jaguar 22 LR pistol
A more in-depth have a look at the mechanics for these . Exhibiting the operation of the slide catch (5), unique cross-bolt security (2), and push-button journal launch (4). 
Beretta Model 71 Jaguar 22 LR pistol
These weren’t sophisticated weapons. 
Beretta Model 71 Jaguar 22 LR pistol box
The showcased pistol proven above got here within the right Jaguar-marked field together with the intensive interval guide from which the above scans have been taken. (Photograph: Chris Eger/
Beretta Model 71 Jaguar 22 LR pistol PSF sheet
It additionally got here with a January 1959 dated PSF Gardone proof certificates. (Photograph: Chris Eger/
Beretta Model 71 Jaguar 22 LR pistol trigger guard
It reveals these proof marks on the set off guard. Observe the rotating takedown lever with “smontaggio” which is roughly Italian for “disassembly.” (Photograph: Chris Eger/
Beretta Model 71 Jaguar 22 LR pistol
And carries the older Beretta brand, which nonetheless options three arrows because it does right now. Observe the distinctive slide catch lever. (Photograph: Chris Eger/
Beretta Model 71 Jaguar 22 LR pistol
Floor controls are a cross-bolt security button, later changed with a extra conventional 1911-style flip-up security. The lever solely works as soon as the hammer is cocked again. (Photograph: Chris Eger/
Beretta Model 71 Jaguar 22 LR pistol
Typically marketed because the Jaguar Plinker within the Fifties and 60s, the same Fashions 72 and 75 ran an extended 6-inch barrel on the identical body. Right here is an M71 with the longer barrel and adjustable sights that got here by way of the GDC Vault not too long ago. Observe the later-style grips and thumb security. 


Israeli Spy Pistol?

A part of the large cache that the Jaguar has comes from its typically unorthodox overt and covert use. Apart from Mannequin 71 fan pages that cite it was lengthy part of the “bailout” survival package for Italian navy pilots in the course of the Chilly Conflict – full with matching pillbox-style suppressor – its Israeli connections are essentially the most buzz-worthy. It appears the svelte little .22 was an unofficial sidearm all through the Sixties and 70s among the many varied Israeli intelligence companies, the secretive Mossad, El Al airline sky marshals, and the Sayeret Matkal counter-terror unit. 

As famous by Nick Jacobellis in a 2014 Tactical Life article on the topic:

I think that Israeli Mossad operators and sky marshals favored utilizing the Beretta 70 and 71 as a result of these pistols don’t really feel like a dainty little handgun {that a} girl would use to make a mugger take his enterprise elsewhere. Whenever you grip a Beretta 70/71 you’re feeling assured that you’re holding a pistol that’s able to successful a gunfight, regardless that it’s chambered in a caliber that’s not recognized for vital stopping energy.

Pine boards at 27 yards certainly. 

The suave 70 collection has additionally appeared on-screen in virtually 100 movies, TV reveals, and video video games together with within the palms of Roger Moore’s James Bond (A Spy Who Beloved Me), Charles Bronson (The Valachi Papers), Jan-Michael Vincent (The Mechanic), Jack Nicholson (Prizzi’s Honor), Rutger Hauer (A Moonlit Night time), Andy Garcia (Godfather III), and Colin Farrell (The Gents), in addition to in The Final of Us franchise. 

Whereas the Jaguar went extinct within the Nineteen Eighties together with the remainder of its 70-series kin, Beretta nonetheless catalogs a pint-sized .22 LR, the Model 21 Bobcat.

Beretta Model 71 Jaguar 22 LR pistol compared to Model 21
And it stands to be “unseen in the perfect locations” simply as a lot if not higher than the outdated Jaguar. (Photograph: Chris Eger/


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