Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is all about the rimfire world and its various firearms, ammunition, and trends. This week we have a review lined up from Italy with a recently acquired Beretta 21 A Bobcat Covert pistol. While the Beretta 21 A Bobcat has been around for quite some time, last year at SHOT Show 2020 was the first time I spotted the newly developed 21 A Bobcat Covert. The Covert is mostly the same pistol as the regular Bobcat but with the added feature of a 1/2-28 threaded 2.9″ barrel.
Many original adopters of the 21 A Bobcat have sought out threaded barrels for their pistols and until Beretta released the Covert there wasn’t an OEM way to acquire a threaded barrel. Places like XCaliber previously could provide you with replacement pre-threaded 21 A barrels which would turn your miniature plinker into a covert can cracker. What is the Beretta 21 A Bobcat Covert Like? Let’s start off with the base gun and move our way through its features.
The Rimfire Report: Beretta 21 A Bobcat Covert Review
Beretta 21 A Bobcat Covert Specifications:
- Action:Single/Double 1:14 twist
- Barrel Length: 2.9″
- Caliber: 22 Long Rifle
- Capacity: 7+1
- Finish: Black Bruniton Steel
- Grips: Walnut
- Sights: Low Profile Fixed
- Weight: 11.8 oz
- Overall Length: 3.7″
- MSRP: $529.00
Info from: https://www.beretta.com/en-us/21a-bobcat-covert/
What’s In the Box
The Beretta 21 A Bobcat Covert comes shipped to you in a standard cardboard box like many Beretta pistols come in. Inside you’ll find your owner’s manual, gun lock, a single 7-round magazine, and finally the pistol contained within a nice soft carrying case.
I do appreciate that Beretta included a soft carrying case with the pistol. Most gun companies usually ship the gun in a cardboard box with the gun wrapped inside a plastic bag and while this is fine if you plan on carrying the pistol on a daily basis, a lot of gun owners often keep their pistols stowed in a gun safe and would rather have them and all their accessories together.
The 21A Bobcat Manual includes instructions for its somewhat odd operating procedure as well as instructions on disassembly which can be difficult if you’ve never encountered a pistol with a pivoting barrel before. The instructions, although they cover both the .25 ACP and .22LR versions of the pistol are simple and easy to understand for even novice gun owners.
Fit, Finish, and Presentation
The Beretta 21 A Bobcat is a beautiful piece. Normally I wouldn’t associate dark walnut grips with a “covert” pistol but the carefully crafted grips blend perfectly with the black Bruniton finish (this is basically a baked Teflon coating). Hats off to the guys at the Gallatin, TN plant for adhering to Beretta’s relatively strict quality control measures. There is also apparently an FDE finish for the 21 A Bobcat Covert while the standard model of the 21 A Bobcat is available in an Inox finish.
All of the controls including the trigger, safety, and barrel lever have an almost clocklike feel to them with pieces snapping into and out of place with clarity. There is no question whether or not you’ve clicked the safety on or if you’ve pressed the magazine release – everything works well and is indicative of a top-quality Beretta pistol.
As a final note on looks and finish, I find the walnut grips to be just about right for a small pistol that you can’t get a full hand on. Despite my pinky hanging off the bottom of the grip, the design of the grip is such that it gives you positive control using only your thumb, index, and middle finger to hold it. The checkering is aggressive enough for you to feel but not enough to scrape up your freshly lotioned hands after you get out of your Lamborghini Huracán. Coincidentally, the pistol fits very nicely in the hand even when wearing gloves.
Range and Trigger Time
So the biggest performance metric most of us are worried about in regards to a tiny rimfire pistol like the Bobcat is its reliability. I tested the pistol very thoroughly with a variety of bulk, target, and subsonic ammunition and had near 100% reliable results with every ammunition. The only type of malfunction I had was with a single round of CCI 40-grain Subsonic ammunition that failed to fire.
Failures to fire in the Bobcat create a difficult situation for you to deal with. Since the Bobcat has no extractor and relies on the blowback operation of the pistol to clear the spent casing from the chamber, there is no “easy” way to remove a failed cartridge. To remove a cartridge you’ll first have to activate the barrel lever to swing the barrel up and then pry the round out of the chamber either using your pinky nail or a small tool.
The pistol is genuinely fun to shoot especially with the addition of a suppressor but if “quiet” isn’t your game, you can buck the nomenclature of the Bobcat Covert and add a “flash enhancer” instead. I don’t know why you’d want to do that but it is an option. As far as performance changes go for the Bobcat Covert, the pistol doesn’t seem to suffer from any additional blowback. When using some CCI Mini Mags I did encounter a small sting when using a suppressor but this happened once out of an entire box of 100 and I have yet to encounter the same thing from any other ammunition when using the suppressor.
If I could change one thing or have the option to change one thing on the bobcat I’d have taller sights to accommodate for the fact that any type of suppressor completely obscures the sights when mounted. I know that some suppressors with integrated sights exist but that seems like a hefty investment vs simply adding taller sights on the pistol. Either way, don’t expect stellar accuracy from the pistol when you’re using a suppressor unless you find a way to mount a laser to the pistol (there were at one point crimson trace lasers available but it seems they are no longer made).
Some of the spicier 22LR offerings (CCI Mini Mags, Stingers, and Velocitors) had mixed results as far as staying subsonic. With such a short barrel all of the cheap bulk 36-grain ammo and standard velocity ammo remained subsonic when I was testing. This makes it that much better of a suppressor plinker as there is no need to worry about the extra noise from supersonic ammunition.
The addition of the suppressor almost takes this pistol out of the realm of concealed carry for me – almost. Since the pistol is so small, I could imagine adding something like a 3-baffle or shorter suppressor to it to turn this into an extremely small concealed carry option if you’re dead set on carrying 22LR in a DA/SA configuration. Nothing in my suppressor inventory currently fits this bill but something like the GLS Technology Pill Box would probably make the pistol hearing safe and still give you a good degree of concealability.
With concealability comes safety and the Bobcat Covert has that going for it on two fronts. Not only does the pistol feature a manual frame-mounted safety, but it also has a pretty stiff double-action trigger pull averaging out at about 9lbs fresh out of the box. The single-action pull on the other hand is a reasonable 4lbs on average and this is what you’ll be dealing with most of the time you’re shooting.
The biggest ding in my opinion on carrying the bobcat covert is the lack of holster options. Without a dedicated holster, you’re either stuck to fanny pack carry or belly band carrying. There are a few holsters I found on Amazon that might work as a pocket pistol option but I personally didn’t try any of them out to test their efficacy.
The Beretta 21 A Bobcat Covert is a beautiful, simple, and fun 22LR handgun. While I wouldn’t recommend it for concealed carry, it could definitely be pushed into that role if you need and/or want it to. What I bought the pistol for was merely for the novelty as a rimfire enthusiast. The Bobcat is just an oddity in and of itself as such a small pistol that is also capable of being suppressed right out of the box and it makes for great conversations during range trips with friends and strangers alike.
Overall, I personally find the pistol to be a fun little plinking piece even if it’s not the most accurate or most practical for any particular application. In any case, thanks for stopping by once again to read The Rimfire Report, we’ll see you in the next one!
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