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Obscure Object of Desire – Beretta 950B Minx

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I’m a fan of pocket-sized pistols, and it’s a rather recent fandom. I used to hate pocket pistols, and that’s because I didn’t shoot very well. As my skills progressed, I realized that most handguns are easy to shoot. Pocket pistols still provide a challenge, plus they tend to be very convenient for daily carry. A love of pocket pistols meant a love of the Beretta tip-up guns. I own several of them, and my favorite remains the Beretta Minx, aka the Beretta 950B.

The difference between the 950 and 950B is the presence of a safety. The manual frame-mounted safety replaces the former method of carrying with the hammer down. There are two guns in the 950B series, and they are nearly identical. You have the 950 Jetfire and the 950 Minx. The Minx is the .22 Short model, which takes up Beretta’s condition of naming their guns after different feline species.

The Minx is my favorite tip-up model, but I’m willing to be lured away by the 30X. The Minx is my favorite because it’s a .22 short semi-auto pistol, and we don’t have a ton of reliable 22 short semi-auto handguns. It’s superbly small, even compared to the other Beretta tip-up guns. This micro-sized pocket pistol began production in 1952, and the 950B series continued to be produced until 2003, although I’m not sure if the Minx was dropped before the Jetfire.

Taming the Minx

The Minx is an all-metal, single-action only pistol. It features the Beretta tip-up barrel system. When the user pushes a small lever, the barrel pops upward. This allows the user to load a round directly into the chamber. It avoids the need to rack the chamber, which can be a challenge for some shooters with weaker hands.

The gun is a straight blowback-operated pistol, and it lacks an extractor and ejector. It relies on the blowback action to send the case flying from the chamber after the gun’s fired. This also means fixing malfunctions isn’t easy.

There is no tap rack bang with the Minx. You have to pop the barrel open and use a thumbnail to pry the cartridge out or use a punch rod or something down the barrel. Then, you have to reload the chamber. It’s a slow process and not one I’d want to do under fire. Even a simple failure to fire means you’ll quench harder than a glass of ice water in the desert.

The Minx is a super small gun. It’s downright cute. The overall length is 4.7 inches, and the gun is .9 inches wide. It also weighs 9.9 ounces and is an all-metal gun. It’s downright adorable and dwarfed even by other “compact” pistols. The little gun fits perfectly in your palm, and its one of the smallest semi-autos ever, second only to the Seecamp.

Handling the Little Fella

Ergonomically, it’s got a short grip, but with the lower-powered calibers, this isn’t a major concern. The safety is tiny but sweeps downward easily. The lever is small but doesn’t require much strength to press and activate. The hammer is textured and easy to cock to single action. You can safely decock the gun by tipping up the barrel and then lowering the hammer.

The Minx is certainly not inspiring for self-defense, but neither is the .22 Short round. It’s not exactly a deep penetrating round, and I wouldn’t advise it for concealed carry. However, for a fun gun, an obscure object of desire? Sure, why the heck not?

I was a bit surprised at how long it took me to find a locally sourced box of .22 Short that wasn’t CB cap. CB Cap won’t cycle the gun, but luckily, I landed on some CCI ammo on a dusty shelf in the back of the third gun store I checked. Yeah, yeah, order it online, but I wanted it that day. Who wants to wait to shoot their new gun?

Shooting the Minx

I love the Minx because it’s so fun to shoot. I have this P365 BB gun I use for training purposes, and believe it or not, that BB gun might have more recoil than the Minx with .22 Shorts. The gun is so loud but has such little recoil that it’s really adorable.

That’s why it is so much fun. Not only is it low recoil and fun to shoot, but it’s seemingly reliable. A hundred rounds isn’t a ton, but in that 100 rounds, it hasn’t had a single failure to fire, feed or eject. For fun, I tried a magazine of .22 CB Cap, and it actually cycled the first two rounds.

The gun has super small sights, but the rear sight is cut enough to make it easy to find the thin front sight. It’s easy, but I wouldn’t call it fast. From a pocket draw, the sight proved a little tough to find. For off-hand plinking it was fine. In fact, I hit a steel IPSC target at 25 yards with it three out of six times and felt quite accomplished. Another amusing aspect is that the steel target dings but barely sways.

I can hit soda cans at 10 yards with the regularity of a healthy senior citizen on Metamucil. It will bite you if you ride your hand too high. I’m so used to getting as high as possible on the gun that it got me every now and then. However, even when it bit me, it continued to run.

I’ve got more .22 Short on order because I can’t get enough of the Minx. It wouldn’t be my first, second, third, fourth or fifth choice for self-defense or even my 20th, but it’s a fun gun to shoot and is quite enjoyable. Plus, they tend to be cheap since people seem to dislike .22 Short and .25 ACP. It’s a real sweetheart of a gun and one that gets me excited to go shooting.

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