The Rimfire Report: The Strange Beretta U22 NEOS Pistol

Doug E
by Doug E
Beretta U22 Neos Review

Welcome back to TFB’s Rimfire Report, where we cover all things relating to rimfire cartridges. This week, we’ll take a jump back to the time when Beretta decided to create a pistol with a frame-mounted safety. All joking aside though, we’ll take a look at the science fiction-styled Beretta U22 NEOS chambered in .22LR. Even though the Beretta NEOS has since been discontinued, you can still find them for sale here and there at decent prices and Beretta still stocks some parts. Let’s take a look.

Rimfire Report @ TFB:

BERETTA U22 NEOS REVIEW

The Beretta NEOS design is quite the departure from modern pistols, and is unique, not just in appearance, but in the manual of arms and field stripping. Naturally, the weaver-style top rail fastened to the fixed barrel catches the eye, as does the aggressive grip angle.

The overall aesthetic looks like it was vying for a role in science fiction films, which seems to have been a common theme with Beretta considering some of their other designs such as the 90-TWO and 9000s pistols, and the CX4 carbine. Speaking of carbines, the Beretta NEOS was also available with a carbine kit, which replaced the pistol grip with a stocked version and 16-inch barrel assembly. The carbine kit was listed as a separate $280, while the base model U22 Neos retailed between $250-300. I’ve recently seen them selling in roughly the same price range used.

The Beretta U22 Neos was available in blue and inox finishes, and grip modules were available with different colored texture panels such as black, grey, blue, purple, red, pink and green. I opted for the blue finish with an all-black grip module. The Neos was offered in 4 and 6-inch barrel lengths, of which I grabbed the 6-inch version to eke out a bit more velocity. You can check out my Field Strip article if you’re curious about its unique takedown design.

Note the component with the trigger, which is the serialized receiver, which allows the easy outfitting of the carbine kit or different colored grip modules, or even a shorter barrel assembly.

My biggest gripe about the Beretta U22 Neos has been that the magazines only hold 10 rounds. The magazine is a single stack design, which naturally limits the round count, but the follower seems to be taller than necessary. If the follower were shorter and the loading assist slider slot were taller, I believe Beretta could’ve squeezed an extra two cartridges into the magazines. Given that they kept it to 10 rounds, I’m sure it eased production by keeping each magazine 50 state legal, compared to having two different versions like larger caliber pistols accommodate for the laws of different locales. The good news is that new magazines are still available (as of the time of this article), and range from $20-25, which isn’t terrible.

The magazine release button is placed on the right side of the gun but can be manipulated without changing your grip.

Aside from the magazine capacity, my family and I have really enjoyed the Beretta U22 Neos pistol. When I bought it, I planned on using it for marksmanship fundamentals practice and having a secondary purpose of dispatching nuisance animals. My Neos has served both purposes well.

RANGE TIME WITH THE BERETTA U22 NEOS

When I first got my Beretta U22 Neos, I just stuck to the iron sights for some extra practice on irons since the rest of my pistols had iron sights as well. The Neos’ front iron sight is surprisingly thick and the overall sight picture rivals that of duty-sized pistols. I’m not quite sure why Beretta didn’t opt for a narrower profile, but it suited my purposes just fine. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation.

Years earlier, I had the chance to shoot a scoped .22LR Ruger MKIII, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Thus, for the last couple of years, I’ve had my Neos outfitted with a no-name long-eye relief 2-7x32mm scope. It’s been a hoot, to say the least. This configuration has made my U22 Neos rather large, but it was already uniquely shaped to begin with so I never bothered to find a holster for it. I suspect that a chest rig holster for scoped revolvers would work. Whether you have a scoped Beretta U22 Neos or have kept the optics rail bare, let us know which holsters have worked for you.

The trigger is marginally better than duty-sized striker pistols, but not enough to feel like I’m cheating on my trigger work. The real cheat is in the lack of recoil, so when supplementing .22LR for bigger calibers, it’s always good to follow up with the actual caliber you might be supplementing.

As for accuracy, the Beretta U22 Neos is not what I would label a competition pistol per se. However, it has been perfect for my needs, and it’s been good enough for a friendly game of Battleship, pool, and blasting cans at the range. During my last range session, I was able to hit a 14 inch cultivator disk at 90 yards, offhand standing. I was more consistent with the optic mounted than with the iron sights, but it’s manageable.

The playing cards were from 15 yards, and the Battleship target was from 10 yards, all with the scope mounted.
Iron sights from 15 yards.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’ve really enjoyed my Beretta U22 Neos, and I can recommend grabbing one on the used market if you happen to find one for the right price. I haven’t had any malfunctions through this Neos, and I really don’t oil it or clean it as often as I should but it keeps chugging whatever I’ve fed it.

What do you think of this space gat? If you have your own Beretta U22 Neos pistol, let us know how your experience has been. I’d also really like to hear from anyone who sprung for the Neos Carbine Kit.

Doug E
Doug E

Doug has been a firearms enthusiast since age 16 after getting to shoot with a friend. Since then he's taken many others out to the range for their first time. He is a husband, father, grandfather, police officer, outdoorsman, artist and a student of history. Doug has been a TFB reader from the start and is happy to be a contributor of content. Doug can be reached at battleshipgrey61 AT gmail.com, or battleshipgrey61 on Instagram.

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  • Earth Pig Earth Pig on Mar 28, 2024

    Got a bid on one over at Gun Broker. No competing bids, will know Friday evening. Bid low, it looks like I might luck out.

    • See 1 previous
    • Earth Pig Earth Pig on Apr 13, 2024

      @Abel_Archer83 I did. I made a minimum bid and won. Got an unfired display model complete with case, extra magazine, unopened gun lock and user's manual. Had about a 10% misfire average with the bulk .22LR ammo I use with the Scouts. Will try again with some CCI Mini-Mag.

      Almost as cool-looking as a Walther P1/P38.

  • Erwos Erwos on Mar 30, 2024

    I had one - my first pistol ever - and the accuracy was just... not great. The trigger certainly contributed to that problem, but even rested, the groups were shockingly large. What the author shows for accuracy is pretty much what I experienced.

    Another gripe was that the rail was Weaver, not Picatinny, and thus tended to be incompatible with some of the better optic/scope rings.

    Otherwise... it was OK? The field strip mechanism was pretty good for the time. Nowadays, the Ruger Mark IV 22/45 Lite is just a better pistol than this one in about every way, albeit the Lite is also like 2-3x the cost.

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