By DENNIS RIORDAN
The Berctta Model 90 automatic pistol is a typical modern pocket handgun. Produced in Italy by Beretta, this blowback-operated arm fires the 7.65 mm. (.32 ACP) cartridge and has an eight-round magazine detached by pressing a catch on the left of the frame.
Special features of this pistol are its double-action lock mechanism with rebounding hammer, lightweight-alloy •frame, and stainless steel barrel. As in many other automatic pistols, the recoil spring surrounds the barrel, which is rigidly fastened to the frame. The hammer is exposed, and a manually-operated safety is on the upper left of the frame. When the safety is moved downward into fire position, a red warning dot on the frame is exposed. When pivoted upward on safe, the safety locks the hammer and slide. It can also be used as a manual slide lock to hold the slide open.
Due to its double-action lock mechanism and rebounding hammer, the Model 90 may be safely carried with the chamber loaded, hammer down, and safety disengaged. It can then be fired by simply pulling the trigger. This makes it possible to get the pistol into action quickly. Also, in the event of a misfire, additional blows on the firing pin can be given quickly by pulling the trigger.
The hammer is cocked automatically during firing. To make the pistol safe
ITo field-strip the Model 90, depress magazine catch (32), and withdraw and unload magazine. Disengage safety (38), and pull slide (4) fully to the rear to clear chamber. Replace magazine and draw slide rearward until it locks open. Grasp serrated fingerpieces of slide catch (17), and pull catch forward and up. Remove magazine.
3 For further disassembly, drive out firing pin retainer (6) to free firing pin (8) and spring (7). Depress extractor plunger (2) well into slide with ice pick or awl, pivot extractor (1) toward breech face and remove. Ease out plunger and spring (3).
2 Grasp slide firmly, pull fully rearward and lift rear end out of frame (19). Ease slide forward off barrel (21), and remove recoil spring (14). This is sufficient takedown for normal cleaning. Position tightest coil of recoil spring to rear during reassembly. Slide catch closes automatically as the slide moves over it.
for carrying with the hammer cocked and chamber loaded, it is necessary to engage the safety on "safe."
Another safety feature is provided by the extractor which serves as a loading indicator. When the chamber is loaded, the extractor projects from the slide and is easily seen and felt.
After the last round in the pistol is fired, the magazine follower pushes up the ejector which latches the slide open. This is a highly desirable feature.
The pistol has smooth, clean lines. This plus the black anodized finish on the frame, high-luster blue on the slide, and a satin-chrome finish on the trigger combine to give attractiveness.
Handling qualities are generally ex cellent. The weight is well distributed, and the checkered black Tenite plastic grips are shaped to fit the hand. Barrel length is 35/&", and overall length 6s/s". Weight unloaded is 19Vz ozs.
The fixed square-notch rear and square-blade front sights are well suited for a pocket pistol. Sighting is aided by a wide flat rib integral with the top of the slide. Fine serrations on the rib give a dull non-reflective surface.
Well designed, simple, and reliable, this high-quality pistol is an excellent pocket arm. (Text by Ludwig Olson) ■
4 Place left thumb against forward portion of ejector (27) so that its spring (26) cannot fly loose. Push rear of ejector to the right, levering forward end out of frame. On replacement, small hooked end of spring must seat into frame notch just forward of barrel flange (arrow). Remove barrel nut (20) with 15 mm. wrench to release barrel. Nylon inserts in barrel nut face toward frame in assembly. Remove right grip screw (10) and insert knife blade between the grips. Pry right grip (9) outward off positioning pin fixed to bottom of left grip (39). Engage safety, and remove left grip.
5 Insert a straightened paper clip through small hoJe in t'hp-of hammer strut (43), working through the frame tunnel provided. Release safety, pull trigger (29), and lower hammer (42) with thumb. Push out hammer pin (36) and lift out hammer. Push out sear pin (37) to release sear (40) and spring (41). Hold trigger depressed and insert small screv/driver between trigger bar (22) and spring (23). Lever the springt downward free of trigger bar. Then, pry the bar outward and off.
6 Push out trigger pin (30). Pivot trigger assembly forward, and remove from below. On replacement, small hooked end of trigger spring (28) must seat into frame tunnel (arrow). Drift out slide catch pin (18) to remove slide catch, spring (16), and plunger (15). To reassemble slide catch parts, start pin through frame and partially into catch. Position catch in take-down attitude, and install spring and plunger through hole in its forward end. Depress plunger with a thin punch inserted through the frame channel provided, and tap pin to fully seat it.
2. Extractor plunger
3. Extractor spring
5. Rear sight
6. Firing pin retainer
7. Firing pin spring
8. Firing pin
9. Right grip
11. Magazine bottom
12. Magazine follower
13. Magazine body
14. Recoil spring
15. Slide catch plunger
7 Cutaway shows relationship between parts. Pistol is cocked. Chamber is loaded, and safety disengaged. Parts are number keyed to parts legend.
16. Slide catch spring
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