Serial Number: F39656
Year of Manufacture: 1942
Caliber: .380 A.C.P. (9mm Kurz)
Action Type: Blowback Operated Single Action Semi-Auto Pistol with Removable 8 Round Magazine
Markings: The left side of the slide is marked “P. BERETTA-CAL. 9 CORTO-Mo 1934 BREVET / GARDONE V.T. 1942 XXI”. The left rear of the frame is marked with a “Crown / RE”, the acceptance mark of the Regio Esercito (Royal Army). The right side of the frame and slide are marked “F39656”. The right front of the trigger guard is marked “SE” in a box. The right rear of the frame is marked with an ovalled “IVU”, an inspection mark of the 4th Technical Control Unit of the FAG (Fabbrica d’Army Gardone) who proofed the pistol. The right side of the barrel lug is marked “39656” and just below it with what looks like a boxed “PF”. There is a boxed “PO” just below the lanyard ring on the left side of the grip frame. The bottom of the grip frame is marked “3” on the right side and “XC”, “3” and “6” on the left.
Barrel Length: 3 ½”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a short blade fixed to the front of the slide. The rear sight is a “U” notch dovetailed into the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are black textured plastic with a circled “PB” logo at the bottoms of the grips. The left grip is cut-out for a lanyard ring at its lower rear. The smooth borders show a few light marks on the front edge of the left grip and a few marks on the bottom edge of the right grip. There are neither marks nor mars in the textured surfaces. The grips rate in about Excellent overall condition.
Type of Finish: The pistol is blued. The slide has taken-on a plum colored patina.
Finish Originality: All Original.
Bore Condition: The bore is bright with sharp rifling. There is no erosion.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 90% of its metal finish. There is surface loss at the front of the slide and on the edges of the safety serrations, with thinning on the edges of the slide and frame. There are also spots of thinning in the center of the front strap and at the bottom of the backstrap. There is a small spot of pinprick surface erosion on the top left edge of the slide, another on the right edge of the backstrap and a third behind the bottom of the trigger guard on the left side of the grip frame just in front of the grip. There is a mark through the finish on the top right edge of the slide at the port and another on the top of the frame just behind the hammer. There are a few light handling marks in both the front strap and backstrap. The serrations on the hammer and slide are sharp and those on the safety show light wear. The left grip screw is disfigured. The markings are clear but those on the slide are very shallow. We think the address and serial numbers were added before the pistol was finished. The acceptance and proof marks on the sides of the frame are sharp with raised edges. Overall, this handgun rates in about Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The slide locks back on an empty magazine and closes as you remove the magazine. This pistol has a frame mounted safety and was not designed with a magazine disconnect. The slide is tight to the frame. The trigger is crisp. We did not fire this handgun.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with one blued 7 round finger extension magazine. a reddish brown leather top flap holster and bringback paperwork. The magazine shows thinning, a few light marks and a few spots of pinprick surface erosion. There are wear marks in the edges of the feed lips and there is a tiny crack on the right top edge. There are two spots of erosion on the right side of the floorplate and a few tiny spots of surface frosting on its bottom face. The magazine is in about Very Good condition. The holster is made from three pieces of leather: one each for the outside and back faces and another stiff piece about an inch wide that loops around the muzzle and separates the outside from the back. The back piece is folded over to from the top flap and is secured with a chrome plated steel ring on the outside of the holster through a slot in a chrome plated escutcheon on the top flap. The outside and back of the holster are stamped with a double line around their borders, a fleur-de-lis at the bottom and a flower in the center. There are no belt loops in the holster but there are two slots in the top flap and in the rear of the holster for securing it to a harness. There is also a short strap with buckle through the slots at the rear of the holster. The top edge of the front of the holster was cut erratically and there are holes with no threads along the top rear edge of the back piece, indicating the top of the holster was cut-off for easier access to the pistol. The holster shows a few handling marks, finish loss on the front surface and a small tear in on of the harness slots cut in the top flap. The metal furnishings are eroded. The holster is in about Good overall condition. The bringback paperwork consists of copies of a War Trophy Certificate, an Owner’s Inventory and Customs Declaration and a letter from the niece of Technical Sergeant Martin Roback who brought the pistol back with him from WWII. The paperwork shows that T. Sgt. Roback served in the 275th Infantry Regiment and that he came back to the states in Sept. 1945. Also included is a copy of T. Sgt. Roback’s Honorable Discharge, a copy of a listing of his awards and citations, and a copy of a picture of him in full uniform. The niece’s letter shows T. Sgt. Roback brought 3 pistols back with him, and that this was one of them. The Army papers do not refer to this particular pistol.
Our Assessment: In the early 1930s, the Italian army was impressed by the Walther PP pistol. Beretta did not want to lose a big military contract to their German competitor and designed the M1934 for the Italian Army, which accepted it in 1937. It was issued as a standard service firearm to the Italian armed forces and remained in use until the adoption of the M92. The Italians liked it so much that they kept it in service even after Beretta designed the M1951 with a larger frame and higher capacity magazine. The M1934 is fitted with the characteristic Beretta open slide, and is known to have a very reliable feeding and extraction cycle. This pistol is a Model 1934 that was made in 1942 for the Italian Royal Army, and is so marked. The serial numbers on the barrel, slide and frame all match. The pistol has about 90% of its finish remaining and is in about Fine condition. There is surface loss at the front of the slide and on the edges of the safety serrations, with thinning on the edges of the slide and frame. There are also spots of thinning in the front strap and backstrap and three small spots of pinprick surface erosion, on the slide, backstrap and left side of the grip frame. There is a mark through the finish on the top right edge of the slide at the port and another on the top of the frame just behind the hammer and a few light marks in the front strap and backstrap. The grips are black textured plastic with “PB” logos at the bottom. There are a few light marks in the smooth borders but none in the textured finished. The bore is bright with sharp rifling and no erosion. The pistol comes with a reddish brown leather top flap holster and bringback paperwork. The Beretta Model 1934 pistols don’t have too much of a collector following, as there were over one million made between 1934 and 1980. However, the nice finish and matching numbers on this WWII pistol should certainly interest the collectors, especially as it comes with bringback paperwork. If it gets by the collectors, it will still make a nice carry pistol that can also be used for home defense and informal target shooting. The small frame is perfect for those with smaller hands and yet the finger extension magazine enables those of us with large hands to get a comfortable grip.