Each year before SHOT Show, I get behind-the-scenes updates on new guns that are going to hit the market. Some are interesting and some are less so. What catches my eye, however, in most cases is who is releasing a new gun. When I got a notice that Beretta was adding to their handgun lineup, including the 80X Cheetah, they had my attention.
The Beretta 80X Cheetah
Beretta is not a company that randomly releases a gun. When I say that Beretta always catches my eye, it’s because they have been making guns for almost 500 years. In fact, they are the oldest manufacturer in the world. They were in business before Shakespeare and before Michelangelo painted St. Peter’s Basilica.
The Beretta family has been in the ironworking business since the 1400s and made their first firearm product in 1526. Master gun barrel maker Bartolomeo Beretta sold 185 arquebus barrels to the Arsenal of Venice for 296 ducats. As they say, the rest is history.
What got me really interested in this update, however, was the fact that this new gun is a new version of an older model that I personally owned back in the day. Say hello to the new Beretta 80X Cheetah.
Back in the 1990s, the Beretta Cheetah was a sexy reliable .380 that was a workhorse for concealed carry before concealed carry was a thing. Today Beretta is breathing some fresh life into this old-school gun.
The 80X Cheetah is an all-metal gun with a higher capacity than other .380s we find on the market today. A modern take on a classic pistol, the 80X Cheetah is ergonomically designed to fit smaller hands but is also comfortable for larger hands, lending the gun to ease in both practice and defensive use.
Designed for concealed carry, the 80X Cheetah is comfortable to carry in a variety of different ways. It is small enough to fit just about any carry method. It is a modern design and comes optic-ready, allowing you to mount your glass of choice. The optics cut and plates will support the Holosun K-pattern (407K/509K) as well as the Shield-pattern and the Noblex Docter footprints.
Equal Parts Form and Function
The gun is good-looking and comes in black or their premium bronze that is complimented with multi-tone controls. The launch edition of the 80X is presented in a matching leather case. I mean if you are going to get a slick-looking steel blaster, shouldn’t it come in a leather case?
The 80X Cheetah has a slide that is easy to rack, with enough serrations to grasp easily. In addition, it is fitted with interchangeable sights to make target acquisition faster. Gripping the 80X Cheetah is made easier by the Vertec grip with exchangeable grip panels.
There is also an enhanced beavertail to assist with acquiring a quick and clear grasp of the firearm. Likewise, it is long enough to help protect from slide-bites. This is a major plus for anyone with thicker hands.
A frame-mounted ambidextrous safety and reversible magazine release enable the operator to customize their shooting experience for either right or left-handed shooting.
Something that caught my attention about the Beretta 80X Cheetah is its adjustable X-Treme S trigger. It has an overtravel adjustment that allows shooters to shorten the trigger’s reset travel to just 1 mm. This is a nice customization feature to go along with the grips.
The gun uses a double-action/single-action operating system with a skeletonized hammer that speeds up lock time. Even with its relatively small size, the gun sports a 13-round flush-fit magazine, providing plenty of capacity in its .380 ACP chambering.
Rounds Downrange with the 80X Cheetah
I had the opportunity to test drive the new 80X Cheetah at a special Beretta range event just prior to SHOT Show. This was their first event of this kind and they knocked it out of the park. While I got some time on their new shotguns, the Cheetah was calling my name.
The first impressions were good. The gun has nicely radiused lines for comfortable carry. It also has some heft which helps in recoil management. The serrations on the slide are a good balance and offer a good grip without removing the skin. The gun also has a tuned recoil spring and is very easy to rack. This will be a nice feature for those with grip challenges who sometimes wrestle with the slide.
Coming in almost 10 ounces heavier than some of its competition, the 80X Cheetah feels very good in the hands. This is important because small micro blasters can be miserable to shoot because of recoil and muzzle rise. The 80X Cheetah does not suffer from this issue and is a pleasure to shoot. In fact, I found it to be very fast on second shots and all other follow-up shots because of minimal muzzle rise.
The Trifecta of Performance Basics
The trigger was good in both single and double action. It was a trigger I expected from Beretta with no grit or rough feeling. While I was not able to shoot for groups on paper at the event, I did have access to a lot of steel.
I performed a slow fire at 10 yards and quickly printed a tight grey pattern on the freshly painted steel as the rounds stacked. At speed, the groups obviously opened up but were still the size of my palm.
This gun has the trifecta of performance basics. A good trigger, good weight, and good sights. I have spent more than my fair share running compact and sub-compact pistols over the years and had yet to find one that I believe would be a serious fighter.
I say that because in order to really fight with a gun you need to train with it. Most of these guns are not pleasant to shoot and in turn, get very little range time. This can have catastrophic results if someone is ever pressed to draw their pistol in defense of their life.
The 80X breaks that trend. I found it easy to run and would happily get the required range time with it. More importantly, so would anyone else that picked up this gun. Magazine after magazine gave me the same results and I found myself missing my original Cheetah. In every way that matters, however, the 80X is superior to its old-school cousin.
The Beretta 80X Cheetah Checks all the Boxes
I really like the 80X Cheetah for a variety of reasons. It performs and checks all the boxes any serious concealed carry pistol needs. It is comfortable to shoot and carry. Where it stands above the rest is aesthetics, in my opinion. Sure, it is a great shooter and would serve anyone well, but it’s also very good-looking.
In a sea of black polymer guns, the 80X Cheetah is a classic breath of fresh air. This is especially true for the bronze version. If you are looking for a high-performance pistol that is more than a collection of polymer and quickly assembled parts, the Beretta 80X Cheetah needs to be on your list.
For more information, please visit Beretta.com.
Beretta 80X Cheetah Specs
Caliber: .380 ACP
Barrel Length: 3.9 inches
Magazine Capacity: 10 or 13 rounds
Weight: 25 ounces
Height: 4.9 inches
Overall Length: 6.8 inches
Grip Width: 1.06 inches (at grip radius)