Beretta U22 Neos .22
The Beretta U22 Neos is an interesting combination of the old and the new. The design influence of the earlier Hi Standard 22's is easy to see. And yes, I know, the early Hi Standards, and the Colt Woodsmens are both heavily derived from an early Browning design. However, if you need a starting point for a gun design, you can't do much better than that, particularly if you then add modern technology and materials, as Beretta has done. The hammerless in-line firing pin/striker mechanism is a design similar both to the Smith & Wesson 422, featured in a previous Rim Fire Race Gun post, and to some less common Hi Standards, although Hi Standard more commonly used a hammer.
The quickly removable flat-sided bull barrel with a single stud to retain it to the frame is also very similar to Hi Standard. Just below the barrel near the front of the frame there's a small thumb wheel, which, when loosened, allows you to lift off the barrel and scope mount as an assembly. This is a particularly nice feature as you can mount a red dot sight and sight it in, and it stays sighted in after removing and replacing the barrel. It also allows you to shoot in two classes with the same gun, if you have two barrels, one with a scope or red dot, and one for using the iron sights. The Weaver style scope mount comes with the gun, so you don't have to buy it extra if you want a red dot or a scope. Out of the box, trigger pull was average, but a bit heavy for competition. It didn't take much to get it lighter, however.
Speaking of sights, the stock sights are adequate, but nothing special. On some models you DO get different colored easy to change front sights. You can also get the Neos in different colors of grip panels. An adjustable trigger is also an option. It's worth the extra few bucks.
To field strip the gun is a piece of cake. Loosen the knob, lift off the barrel, release the slide catch and slide it forward and off of the frame, hold the firing pin/striker in one hand and pull the trigger, and the striker slides forward and out of it's carrier. That's it!
Range report? Thought you'd never ask! When I first picked it up, it felt, well, different! Not bad, just different. I'm more used to a larger grip with more of a 1911 grip angle, so the grip felt small to me. For those of you with really large hands, you might find it a little on the small side. KeeWee, all five foot zip of lead-launching terror, loves it!
The longer barrel option and the weight of the red dot sight keeps the muzzle down fairly well when rapid firing. Like most brand new guns, mis-feeds would occur every so often, but after a brick or so of ammo had been fired, and a couple of good cleanings, those disappeared completely.
Accuracy at short ranges, where this gun is used, was excellent. One minor complaint was that the magazines are just a little bit short, and it's really easy to not get them fully seated into the gun. The cure, which is a good idea anyway, was to buy some 1/8" thick rubber gasket material from the hardware storeand contact cement it to the bottom of the magazine. Carefully trimmed, it looks like it came from the factory that way, and if you accidentally drop it onto a hard floor, it's less likely to be damaged.
If you are looking for a current production 22 caliber pistol, whether for plinking, or club competition, you should give this one a look. There are several different models available, and you can check them out at
If you are looking for a current production 22 caliber pistol, whether for plinking, or club competition, you should give this one a look. There are several different models available, and you can check them out at Beretta USA's website here.
KeeWee adds: As a new shooter (less than a year), I have found the Beretta Neos to be the perfect gun for me. The grip fits my small hands and the balance of the gun makes for a pleasurable shooting experience considering I wasn't at all sure in the first place I wanted to learn to shoot. Now that I am comfortable with this weapon and my shooting skills, I love to get out there and "give the guys a run for their money "
(I might add that KeeWee is currently in second place for CWSA season points in rimfire optical sight pin top competition with a first, a second, and a third so far, shooting the Beretta pictured above, equipped exactly as shown.)