How many firearms have a record album named after them? Hell if we know the definitive answer, but we know of at least one: Beretta’s Model 70. It may not be Houses of the Holy or Back in Black or Appetite For Destruction, but due to the pistol’s use in Italian police/action films of the 1970s a compilation of theme songs from those movies was released with the title of Beretta 70: Roaring Themes From Thrilling Italian Police Films 1971-80.
Yeah, it’s not exactly on our playlists, either, but we do keep a couple of the pistols in our safe!
Designed as an improvement over the earlier M1935, the Beretta Model 70 was designed as a European police weapon in the late 1950s. Initial caliber offerings were .380 ACP or .32 ACP followed up by .22 lr. Interestingly enough, our familiarity with the 70 series has to do with its use by Israeli Mossad and Sky Marshalls who would carry a suppressed version on board El Al airlines.
If a hijacker showed his ass, the Marshalls would get as close as they could and pump him full of .22 long rifle without risking over penetration. Well, they didn’t get the memo in the 70s that “people will be sucked out of planes if a .380 ACP round breached the hull” was ridiculous to begin with. They were going off a bad James Bond film.
The early 70 series used an odd crossbolt type safety that disappeared by the 1970s in favor of a more conventional frame-mounted safety that moved up and down. As Israeli doctrine for pistols mandates carrying with an empty chamber and racking the slide upon deployment, the cross bolt safety was a non-issue for them. The demand came from the rest of the shooting public.
Known in the US as the Model 100 or the Jaguar in .32 ACP or Cougar in .380 ACP, these pistols were eclipsed in the 1980s by the Beretta Models 84 and 85. Mostly in the realm of the Beretta collector these days, shipments of the Model 71 (alloy frame chambered in .22 lr) have been appearing on the used market lately. They come with a fake supressor guaranteed to not get you laid.
The origin is Israel and to get around the onerous 68 import ban, they ship with a permanently attached fake suppressor. This has lead to some of these pistols being sold as IDF or Mossad trainers, but that’s just
sales speak bullshit. The origin of these handguns is simply the used pistol market in Israel.
For all we hear about the Israeli “Armed and Polite Society”, there are strict controls on ammunition purposes where citizens are limited to a certain number of centerfire cartridges a year, so most train with rimfire guns when they can. These Model 71s represent the past generation’s pistol of choice.
That means they are accurate and reliable, plus they are marked Model 71 instead of Puma, Jaguar, Cougar or Milf. They were intended for the international market and many were used by the Mossad, Sky Marshalls, Sayaret Matkal and the like, but chances are these particular pistols were not..
Removing the fake suppressor takes a few minutes: grind the weld, remove the hex nut and you find a sloppily threaded barrel in 1/2 X 20″. We reached out to Silencer Shop for an adapter to the more popular 1/2 X 28″ pattern to run a suppressor on ours.
We have a number of rimfire cans as everyone should, but instead of rehashing the same silencers we have been using for a few years we like to run something new once in a while.
So if an old timey Beretta .22 that has accuracy on par with a modern .22 target pistol has any appeal whatsoever, look for those recently imported 71s. We have seen them as low as $250 recently.