We finally got in a couple of the little Beretta Nano’s. A very slim single stack 9mm. It’s a striker fired gun, much like the S&W Shield. For the same price, between the two, the Shield is easily the better gun.
The Nano looks nifty at first. Cool looking lines. Unfortunately it feels kind of awkward in the hand. The trigger pull isn’t bad… it’s no Sigma, but it’s not good. I’ll call it average. But the way the gun points and feels… it’s just… not there. It’s like the Italians designed it for looks to fit within a very small box, not to be an actual firearm for a human to use. Italians are great at designing for looks first and foremost. The only Italians that design for actual performance is Ducati… unfortunately they don’t make guns.
So the gun closest to the Nano, the Shield… Shield wins. Another Striker Fired single stack is the Walther PPS. Unfortunately Walther continues to struggle for relevance in the market, and I am no fan of the PPS. Like the Nano, just because you can make it that small – doesn’t mean you should. Yet it can be done right. SIG is very close to the same size as the Nano. And for the love of all that is good and holy in the world… I think the Germans made a better looking machine than the Italians. Cleaner lines, and it looks like there are no forgotten parts on the gun.
This SIG P290 as pictured does have a higher price tag, but it is coming with Tritium Night Sights and a Laser Module…. two features I rather like on a defensive pistol. I firmly believe that night sights are not optional on a defensive handguns – they are mandatory. SIG has great night sights. The Nano… not so much. The Laser is a bonus. The actions of the two guns show a greater disparity of quality. The SIG is much smoother than the Beretta, it’s like the difference between a night with a Hot Octoberfest Beer Maiden… and the Nano’s Prison Rape by your Cell Mate at San Quentin. Which one would you want to spend quality time with?
The SIG is much better feeling in the hand, and it has a slide release that is not in the way, obrusive, or awkward in anyway. It is there, and it works. Like it should. You don’t have to think about it. The Nano’s complete lack of it… What is this? A Magnum Research Micro Eagle? Come on. Kahr hangs a squared off mailbox off the side of their guns – but at least they have them. The Nano is trying to be slick by leaving the lever off. I’d rather have the mailbox, thank you. Beretta needs to look at the SIG to see how it’s done. Also, the SIG’s texture is superior. You can grip it and it’s not abrasive… it’s just… grippier. And it doesn’t snag clothes. Just like it should. The Nano… not so much. Oh, it’s snag free. But it’s also gripless. Gripless, Pointless… The SIG P290 just makes the Nano seem a cheaper, sadder thing. It’s a good thing it’s cheaper. It will appeal to those without the means to appreciate better. Like a Hi-Point. In fact, the Nano looks like shrunken an flattened Hi-Point. The SIG, looks like freaking SIG. A weapon you can trust. It feels like a weapon you can trust. And they actually shoot very well on top of it all! I’m sure the Nano shoots just fine… but do you really want to?