9mm Beretta Nano Review

Picture shows the right side of the Beretta Nano pistol.

I am surprised to be the first author who writes for The Shooter’s Log to pen a range report for the 9mm Beretta BU9 Nano as it has been available a little over two years. Perhaps it is because pocket 9s have saturated the market and we have been too busy reviewing others, but somehow I get to be the first to review it. Either way, I’m excited I get to go in without any influence from my cohorts.

Following the Ruger LCP and Kimber Solo, but preceding the Smith and Wesson Shield, the Beretta Nano is a sub-compact, striker-fired (Beretta’s first), locked-breech, recoil-operated semi-automatic pistol. It holds six rounds of 9mm in its single-stack magazine, with one in the chamber. It is important to note: the Nano will fire with or without a magazine inserted. This is a plus for a low capacity gun when doing a tactical reload. On the other hand, there is no magazine disconnect safety. Simply removing the magazine will not prevent an accidental discharge; give extra care to ensure the chamber is clear.

Picture shows a black sub-compact Beretta Nano on display at the SHOT Show.
The Beretta Nano is a sub-compact, striker-fired, locked-breech, recoil-operated semi-automatic pistol.

In fact, there are no external safeties at all on Beretta’s Nano BU9 pistol. Internally, the Nano has an automatic striker block and drop safety. The lack of external safeties or slide stop lever makes the Beretta Nano an ideal carry gun—in theory. Beretta designed it this way. The rounded edges and lack of protrusions guarantees a snag-free trouble-free draw. A small, unobtrusive magazine release button sits flush into the Nano’s frame and does not hinder drawing.

Rumor has it that Beretta’s original blueprints were to chamber this little guy in .40 S&W. However, Beretta delivered it in 9mm, supposedly due to the popularity of the 9mm cartridge; not a bad idea, Beretta. The Nano is one of the smallest and lightest pistols in its class. At 5.63 inches overall, with a 3-inch barrel and weighing about 20 ounces unloaded, recoil would have been quite sharp if the Nano was chambered in .40.

The cool thing about the Nano is its interchangeable frame. You see, the Nano is built on a removable sub-chassis—the only part of the gun that is serialized. What does this mean and why is it cool? You can also buy grip frames for it in FDE and pink. It also opens up the possibility of different grip sizes to fit different sized hands.

Speaking of looks… when you first see the Nano—especially on a computer screen, you may think, “I’ve seen this gun before.” Maybe it’s the angular lines on the slide reminiscent of the Taurus TCP or the Glock-like “safety” trigger. One chap described it as, “Like a Glock had a one night stand with a Taurus.”

I digress. That’s neither here or there for me. Sure, I like a good-looking gun, but how it shoots trumps its looks. I recently wrote about “try before you buy,” so I decided to take advantage of my local gun range’s rental fleet and give the Nano a try. Especially, since it has the potential—on paper—to be a great carry gun for women.

Picture shows a pink Beretta Nano magazine advertisement.
Available in a pink frame, Beretta uses pink to attract women to the Nano.

One thing about rental guns—they’ve already gone through their break-in period. So, hopefully you get a truer sense of the gun’s reliability. Since my range requires me to buy its ammo for its rental guns, I didn’t get a chance to try a variety. Nano owners report the gun may be a bit finicky with ammo—preferring heavier loads than the 115-grain FMJ.

When I arrived at the range, they handed me a box of Federal white box 115-grain full metal jacket ammunition. The range officer told me they had no other type of ammo available. I view this as both good and bad. I got to test the gun with cheap range ammo, however did not get the opportunity to see how well the Nano shoots a self-defense round.

Once in the shooting bay, I noticed the Nano was bone-dry. This is fine and actually preferred for me, as I’m not a stickler for cleaning or lubing my guns. I had the opportunity to see how the Nano performed in less than perfect conditions. I suggest following the manufacturer’s recommendation and oil your Nano accordingly.


The Nano has a stainless steel insert frame with a technopolymer grip. The backstrap has a hard plastic dot texture. When I gripped the Nano, it immediately fell into the sweet spot—resting nicely and naturally high into the web of my right hand. I got a full two-finger grip around the mag well, with a not surprising pinkie dangle. The trigger was perfectly reachable without issue. About half way through my box of 50 rounds, the dot texture started feeling a little rough and aggressive. Finishing off the rest of the box wasn’t an issue though.

Picture shows the back of a Beretta Nano pistol with a gripped texture on the backstrap and white 3-dot sights.
The Nano has a stainless steel insert frame with a technopolymer grip. A hard plastic dot texture covers the backstrap.


From 5 feet away, I hit bullseye on my first shot. This is partly due to the Nano’s bright white 3-dot sights. Homing in on the middle of the target with the front sight dot is clear, quick and easy. I liked the Nano’s sights. Night sights are also available if you wish to upgrade. After my beginner’s luck, the rest of my groups were slightly left of the bullseye. However, I didn’t mind. The Nano annihilated the same spot during rapid fire.


The trigger pull on the Beretta measures from seven to eight pounds out of the box. This is a rather long trigger pull compared to the other compact polymer guns I am used to shooting such as Glock, S&W M&P and Springfield XDs which averages a five and a half to six pound pull. If you have never shot a gun, imagine squeezing the trigger on a cleaning bottle. Think of how much force you need to pull your finger back to get the spray to release from the bottle. Some of your bottles will be easier and quicker for the product to come out, while others require more force. I expected something like the S&W .380 Bodyguard where it feels like …squeeeeezing… before the trigger breaks, but the Nano’s trigger broke much more quickly than I anticipated. It felt more like a six pound pull. The pull is clean and smooth. Was it the worse trigger ever? Absolutely not. For a double-action only gun, I have no complaints.


Racking the slide on the Beretta Nano goes very smoothly. However, it feels a slightly stiff. This could have been due to the lack of lube.


When it comes to recoil, the Nano really comes out on top. I had to keep reminding myself I was shooting a 9mm and not a .380. The Nano is top heavy, which means the slide weighs noticeably more than the grip. This helps tame the recoil and muzzle rise when you fire it.

Picture shows the right side of the Beretta Nano pistol.
The cool thing about the Nano is its interchangeable frame.


With my beginners luck bullseye and more than sufficient groups, the Beretta shoots solid. I did experience a few questionable hits and one flier that I chalk up to faulty ammo. As to how the Nano ran during my range session, I had two malfunctions, both being a double feed. This is probably due to the finicky nature of the Beretta and the 115-grain full metal jacket loads I was shooting.


The Beretta is certainly a contender as a viable concealed carry gun. I like the snag-free design, no external safety and less than minimal recoil. It’s small and easy to conceal without sacrificing shootability. It’s easy to work and maintain. Six rounds of 9mm is plenty, given how easily the Nano shoots. If you feel more confident with more, buy the extended magazine giving you two more rounds and more to grip.

The downside to this review is I didn’t get to test Beretta’s BU9 Nano with additional ammo and for that, I apologize. Before I left for the range, I wrote down four important questions to answer while I was testing the Nano.

  • Can I practice comfortably with the Nano?
    Yes, I can. The lack of recoil surprised me making the Nano a pleasure to shoot.
  • How is the grip?
    Naturally high and secure.
  • What about the trigger?
    Feels shorter than measured.
  • Can I hit good enough groups?
    Sure can. I’m satisfied.

Is the Bu9 Nano a gun I should consider for concealed carry? My answer is “yes.”


Specifications and Features

  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Overall length: 5.63”
  • Overall height: 4.17”
  • Overall width: .90”
  • Barrel length: 3.07”
  • Sight radius: 4.92”
  • Sights: 3-dot low profile
  • Frame: Chassis stainless steel insert
  • Grip Frame: Technopolymer
  • Slide Material: 4140
  • Slide Finish: Pronox
  • Magazine: One 6 round capacity
  • Weight unloaded: 19.97 Oz.
  • Weight without mag: 18.27 Oz.
  • Made in The U.S.A.

Like it? Want it? Buy it!

Do any of you own a Nano? I would love to hear your experiences with different ammo. Tell me about it in the comment section.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog. "The Shooter's Log", is to provide information - not opinions - to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decicions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (53)

  1. Spent 6 months looking to replace my LC9s, Shot just about every thing out there. Man, when I found the Nano, it was a solid home run. Crazy mild shooting firearm. Muzzle flip is about as low as you can find. Shot every type of ammo out there, all the different weights, and plus P. Easy take down, modular design, fast to target. Loves high pressure ammo and Plus P. Sleek design and built like a tank.

  2. I fully agree regarding cleaning/lubing. With this gun I think lots of gun oil is the key to shooting it with no problems.

    I personally do have a hard time with accuracy with this gun. I wonder whether trigger fatigue is part of it. I score more hits early on in a target session, and my accuracy drops off pretty quickly after the first couple clips. I’m trying to figure out why.

  3. I purchased my nano shortly after the initial release many years ago. Apart from shooting maybe 50 rounds of 147 hst +p to verify function and recoil, all of the ammo I have put through my nano (well over 1000 rounds by now) has exclusively been 115gr fmj.

    How many malfunctions have I had with my nano since I bought it?


    I can’t verify the maintenance and cleanliness everyone’s nano on the forum here, but what I can say after many years of recreational shooting at dozens of ranges in many different states is that the typical gun owner I’ve seen brings his firearm to the range dirty and with little to no lubrication in it. It almost always results in many failures in exrtraction, feeding, cycling, etc and said individual blaming the firearm and talking about their next purchase.

    My theory is that my nano is reliable because I don’t have this aversion to cleaning and maintaining my firearms that most gun owners seem to suffer from. I clean my nano before and after each shoot and use lots of quality gun oil on all metal on metal contact points… too much most would say. But my nano has never malfunctioned or had any kind of stoppages using the very same ammo that everyone says wont work in the gun.

    I trust my nano with my life becuase I clean it and maintain it. I also practice with it and all my other carry guns ALOT. Dry fire practice with snap caps, as well as reading a book or two on pistol marksmanship will do wonders for your shot groups. If you think the gun is hard to shoot and that its trigger is terrible its because you haven’t practiced with it enough.

  4. I have shot through well over 2,000 rounds, probably closer to 3,000 rounds and can happily say that I had only one (1) FTE. It was while using and testing out lower grain ammo and using my 8 round magazine. The spring in that magazine seemed to always give me trouble locking in, but only produce the one issue I just mentioned. I have change nothing with the firing or recoil mechanisms of the firearm and it is stock other than the Lasermax laser and the Pearce triangular pinky grip extension I’ve added to the six round magazine. This is an excellent conceal carry firearm and way ahead of it’s time in design and functionality. Other manufacturers are now getting around to emulating the features of the BU9 Nano that was introduced nearly five years ago.

    1. @Vince…..are you still using the original polymer guide rod? If so, make sure that you inspect it real closely each time you clean your Nano. I’ve talked with a number of Nano owners who upon close inspection found hairline cracks right in the middle of the rod after putting a good amount of rounds through them. I replaced mine very soon after getting the pistol with a stainless steel one, so can’t personally attest to the problem. Being that my Nano is my primary EDC, just didn’t want to take the chance of a failure at an inopportune time.

  5. My first 500 rounds I had 3 FTE’s using Federal 115 grain fmj round nose. I am going to order that stainless steel rod and report back. Thanks to the posts about this fix!

    1. Hope it works out as well for you as it did for me Bill. I actually had about 10 FTE’s in my first 250 rounds prior to getting my Stainless Steel rod. After that… I think you’ll be pleased with your decision.

    2. UPDATE: Oct 5, 2016

      The new steel spring worked great for 200 rounds.
      At the range today I had to stop after 75 rounds due to at least 6 FTE’s.
      Ammo used was Federal 115 Grain FMJ RN, Federal 150 grain HST JHP and Hornady 115 Grain FTX.
      I called Beretta and they said to ship back for them to work on, which I am doing(under warranty)
      I like the gun, I like the way it shoots and it is great as a CC gun.
      I hope they can fix it.
      I will report back once I hear from Beretta.

    3. @Bill….yeah….that’s very odd. I’ve put at least 800 rounds, maybe more through my Nano since changing my guide rod and spring without a single FTE. Do you know what year your Nano was manufactured? I read on a Blog awhile back that the first two manufacturer years, those Nano’s had an issue with the extractors, and that Beretta changed them after that second year. Mine was manufactured in 2013, which I believe is the third year they were made…..I think….not a 100% on that. If yours was made prior to ’13, then it may just be a matter of Beretta changing the extractor. I no longer shoot 115 grain in mine at all. I stick with 124 & 135 mostly. I hope Beretta can fix the issues with your gun…I love mine and wouldn’t give it up for anything else for my EDC. I recently purchased the FDE color shell and switched it out a few weeks ago. With the black Laser unit and black Talon grips, it looks really sharp with the FDE shell.

    4. Try changing the ammo before changing parts. I changed to 115 grain Fiocci and have never had a problem since. It’s cheap and easy to find. I love the Baretta now. Great pocket pistol.

    5. It’s true that going with 124 grain and above ammo will take care of most FTE issues with the Nano, but the forty bucks to change out to a stainless steel guide rod is well worth it. Many people have reported having their stock polymer guide rods cracking after a thousand or so rounds, especially people who shoot +P ammo. Not only will the stainless steel guide rod allow you to shoot 115 grain ammo (the cheapest and most plentiful), but will ensure that you never have to worry about your guide rod cracking at a time when you least need that to happen. If you are using your Nano as your main EDC defensive weapon as I do, you definitely do not want that happening in the middle of a firefight. Changing the guide rod out for a stainless steel rod was a no brainer for me.

    6. Update on my FTE experiences with the Nano: I’d had next to no FTEs, maybe one or two in hundreds of rounds fired. Then I cleaned my gun, using a gun cleaning wipe that probably cuts oil/lube, and the next couple times I fired my gun I had multiple FTEs, enough to frustrate and concern me. What was the reason, you ask? The recoil spring/rod was too dry! I oiled it up considerably with gun oil and next time I put rounds through it, fifty with no FTEs.

      Keep that spring/rod WET! I’m convinced after this experience that a lack of smooth movement of the spring and rod due to insufficient lube is the cause of FTEs on this gun.

  6. Now you tell me! I loved my nano but once the malfunctions started and beretta beat around the bush, I quickly became disgusted and went to my local gun store. I got a decent price for it and used that to help buy something I could feel confident with if I had to defend myself or my family. I miss my nano for allot of reasons but my confidence was definately shaken.

  7. Here to report that out of about 400-500 rounds I’ve only had one fte. Not sure what’s going wrong for a lot of folks and sorry to see it, as I think this gun is solid as a rock.

    Trigger pull is a bit of a pain for me, as I wasn’t used to anything this stiff, and it has taken me a long time to get a semblance of accuracy, but practice makes perfect. Love the profile and look of my olive and black model.

    1. I agree….the Nano has been rock solid for me as well. Especially after I changed out the polymer guide rod for a stainless steel rod. I put another 200 rounds down range day before yesterday, which makes about a 1000 rounds since the rod change. Not a single FTE in that 1000. I had issues with the trigger at first too, but practice has taken care of that. I wouldn’t give up my Nano for any other sub-compact at this point.

    2. Good to hear! I also changed out the rod for a steel one. Do you know what pound-strength the rod you use is? I believe mine was either 6 or 8 lb. I wish the problems some people are facing with this gun had an easy answer, since I like the gun enough to recommend it wherever I go!

    3. @Andrew…. I got my stainless steel guide rod from Galloway Precision. They come in 14, 16, 18 & 20 lb. versions. I stuck with the 16 lb. spring, which is what the factory polymer spring is rated at. Galloway told me that sticking with the 16 Lb. is usually the best bet. They only recommend the 14 lb. for people with have strength issues such as people with Arthritis, and the 18/20 lb. for people who primarily shoot heavy grain (147) +P ammo. The problem with the factory rod is not the lb. rating, but the fact that the polymer rod flexes slightly in the middle when you install it in the slide and when the slide cycles during firing, that flex is what causes the FTE’s with lower grain bullets (115). Beretta knew that this was an issue from the beginning of the Nano line, but decided against changing to a steel guide rod. Guess the extra cost was more important to them than fixing a known issue. With the steel guide rod I’ve never had a problem even with 115 grain ammo. Some of the other issues that people have had I believe to be related to “limp wristing” the gun during firing. Also, I’ve read that the very early Nano’s when they first came out had some issues with the extractor, but Beretta apparently fixed that early on after the first model year. I purchased mine in January 2015, and other than the issue with the polymer guide rod, fixed with the Galloway stainless steel rod, it’s been a perfect and reliable EDC firearm. Mine came with a Lasermax sight pre-installed. It’s such a part of my everyday life now, I wouldn’t give it up for anything else. I have other Semi-Auto’s, but my Nano is my go to EDC.

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