"Alpha Centauri, this is Space Fighter
Four-Niner-Six....we have been boarded by a stupid bunch of
Bastion Troopers....we are in a major firefight!"
"Four-Niner-Six, this is Alpha-Relay
5. We will send a Space Cruiser, ETA 19 minutes..."
"Alpha-Relay, this is Space Fighter
Four-Niner-Six...belay the Cruiser. No need, we are fine here.
Last transmission was just FYI...we are cleaning house house
on them because we are armed with new space guns from Beretta,
the U22 NEOS!"
When I first picked up the new U22 NEOS from Beretta,
That's what I thought: "This thing is for outer
space!" But after testing it, I think I'll keep it right
here on Earth with me. It might be five or six months before
Beretta remembers I have it, and I'll think of something by
Beretta has at last joined the likes of Ruger,
Browning, and High Standard for a piece of the
mid-priced .22 Rimfire handgun market. Beretta has always had
a decent .22 RF handgun on the market; the Model 89, for
example, was a fine one made for serious target shooting, but
I never could take a liking to it. As much as I like
muzzle-heavy handguns, it had other problems that for me
outweighed its assets. The Model 89 was essentially the old
Model 76, with the barrel redesigned to make it a target
Bernadelli 100s and Domino 602 series,
and the Hammerli 208s and 211s are all badly
overpriced. They are superb shooters, but they belong in the
Olympics, not taking out squirrel heads or 10-rings.
The Smith & Wesson Model Model 41s
and its variants are great guns, but just try to find one at a
There are more, but it was Walther's
introduction last year of their new .22 RF, a 7/8 size clone
of their 9mm and .40 caliber centerfire handguns that really
set things rolling. Its sales have been very impressive, even
though it looks a little too "spacey", but it is
really the use of all the new "space age" materials
that set the Walther and the Beretta U22 NEOS apart from
My traditional sense bothers me when I pick up
a handgun that doesn't weigh what my eyes tell me it should,
and I quickly found that my traditional sense was in for a
readjustment when I first picked up the U22 NEOS. The whole
NEOS handgun, weighed on my trigger scale, came to less
than just the trigger pull on some of my autoloader 9mms
and .45s, and even the Browning Buckmaster and Ruger 22s...a
feather-light 31 ounces!
Still, the Beretta had a long way to go to
The U22 NEOS is a blowback-operated
single-action autoloader with a "one in under 13-3/4-inch
twist" (350mm). The sights on both the 4-1/2" and
6" barreled versions have a "sight track" or
integral rail that doubles as a scope mount. I really like the
sight set-up; it reminds me of the old "guttersnipe"
sight package on the old S&W Model 39 9mm autoloader I
once had. Fast and accurate if needed.
Some might not like the broad front sight, but
that's easily fixable as the front sights are interchangeable.
The rear sight is most impressive; it is not an overgrown
adjustable thing that looks like an ugly bump on the barrel. I
have always disliked Ruger's adjustable sight for that
reason...sure it's functional, but it's butt-ugly! The
Beretta's rear sight is neat, fully adjustable, and the same
width as the sight track. Best of all, the adjustability is
positive and strong in all directions; go ten clicks up and
three over, fire a string of rounds, then come down ten clicks
and three back, and you're right back where you started. Just
as it should be. Too many adjustable sights on today's market
simply can't do that.
The U22 NEOS has an ambidextrous safety. I
never did see much need for those on any handgun, except for
lefties, but the ambi safety is also neat, small and compact.
There is also a cocking indicator that is both
functional and classy, not a tiny titted rod sticking
The U22 NEOS also has one of the easiest and
fastest magazine releases I have ever used on any .22 handgun.
The tip of your finger pushes a small button just above the
trigger guard, and the magazine falls clear. Only one hand is
needed, and you don't even have to shift your grip. Faster to
use than I can say it, that's for sure!
The U22 NEOS' ergonomic grip, while it looks
weird, works extremely well. I thought it an aid to accurate
shooting, as we will see.
Overall length of the 4-1/2"-barreled
version is 8.8 inches, with the 6"-barreled version
stretching it to 10-1/2". Overall height for both is a
little under 5-1/2". The nicely-designed magazine carries
ten rounds, and it's too bad there wasn't an extra magazine
included with the gun. The magazine reminds me of the old High
Standard Victor magazine, but I didn't have an old Victor
magazine available to see if it would fit. Plus, I was glad to
see that the NEOS magazine is made from steel, not plastic as
are too many these days.
As I thought it fitting for the new Beretta, I
tried some new ammunition offerings in the NEOS: Remington's
new Eley target loads and PMC's new Scoremaster.
Ten-shot groups with the Scoremaster went into 1.1 inches at
25 yards, while the Remington/Eley load grouped at 1.6 inches.
So I could better test the accuracy of the pistol (and not my
ability to shoot with open sights), I used a Simmons 4x
handgun scope. I was so impressed with the PMC load that I
went out and bought a brick of it. I am now testing the PMC
ammo with my ACU'RZR
tool to see if I can improve on its already impressive
When I was leaving the range, which is out in
the middle of nowhere, I saw a 7 striped little rat; and I
don't care how cute they name them, they are still rats. This
one suddenly found himself headless with one Nastinosed
high-speed Federal round!
After all was said and done, I guess I bonded
with this little .22. At a cost of around 250 dollars retail,
the Beretta U22 NEOS is a nice piece of shooting equipment.
And with 500 rounds of PMC Scoremaster and the NEOS, I'm ready
for an attack from the Bastions...