POTD: The Classic Beretta Jetfire

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

Clayton writes …

I’d like to share with you a beautiful pocket pistol I acquired recently. It’s a Beretta 950BS chambered in .25 ACP, commonly referred to as a “Jetfire” to distinguish it from its .22 Short chambered relative known as the “Minx.” I purchased this from a former LEO and, judging from the amount of pocket lint underneath the barrel when I first disassembled it, I assume it was his backup gun. This particular gun was produced in 1989.

The 950 was produced from the early 1950’s until it was discontinued in the early 2000’s. The earlier models, known as the 950B, were produced in Italy. Following the 1968 GCA, it was produced domestically in Maryland with the addition of a manual thumb safety, hence the 950BS designation. It’s a simple blowback action that features a tip-up barrel which makes loading and unloading the chamber safe and fast. The magazine release is a button located on the bottom right-hand corner of the left-side grip, similar to the original Beretta 92. The single-action trigger is crisp and not too heavy with absolutely no creep. The frame-mounted thumb safety is positive and there’s no way it can be accidentally engaged or disengaged. It holds 8 rounds in the magazine plus one in the chamber for a total of 9 rounds, making this a very attractive option for concealed carry. Owners of the 950BS can attest to the gun’s spectacular reliability, surprising accuracy, and excellent shootability. And at only 10 ounces unloaded, you hardly even know you’re carrying it. In fact, it has been serving as my go-to pocket pistol since I’ve had it.

Many people criticize the .25 ACP cartridge for its lack of stopping power, but the fact of the matter is that a well-placed shot with a full metal jacket cartridge will have adequate penetration to be lethal at standard self-defense ranges. Add in the fact that the 950BS holds 9 rounds and has a quick single-action trigger, and you have what YouTube user nutnfancy has dubbed “the King of Hideout Pistols.” To top it all off, this gun is very photogenic and has been seen in countless movies, including The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Licence to Kill, They Live, and Reservoir Dogs among many others.

These guns can be had on the used market for anywhere from the low $200 range up to $500 depending on the age and condition. I purchased this one for $275, which I felt was a good price considering the beautiful shape this gun is in. The only bluing wear to be seen is on the front corners of the slide and on the original magazine.(Replacement magazines are produced by Mec-Gar and can be had for pretty cheap.)

Clayton, thanks for the beautiful photos and great writeup.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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  • Claymore Claymore on Aug 30, 2015

    Great little piece. I carried the .22 short minx as second gun for 10+ years until it was replaced by a Beretta 21 because dept mandated double action. Still have the minx but have replaced the barrel with a threaded one for suppressor use as you can see in the photo. Old SWD suppressor with squashed bronze donuts baffles with rubber separators that wore out. BUT the quietest firearm I own. Use high speed shorts that come out to .22 LR speeds, just under subsonic. It is very very quiet when you use your offhand thumb the hold the slide closed and get no action noise unless you need a followup shot and work the action manually

  • Josh The4thWatch Josh The4thWatch on Sep 02, 2015

    Photogenic, indeed. A little gun cleaning therapy with the Jetfire.