Beretta’s 418 .25 ACP handgun is one of the early pocket pistols. Dating from the 1930s, it was used by the world’s most famous secret agent.
by Glen Calvert
Beretta started producing .25 ACP (6.35×15 mm) handguns around 1919. The Model 1920 was followed by successive models: 1926, 1926-31, 1934, 318, and 418. These are a straight blowback design and have a spring-loaded firing pin instead of an internal or external hammer. The magazines hold seven or eight rounds. The later models have a grip safety and in the mid-1930s, a cocking indicator pin that protrudes from the rear of the slide was added, giving a visual and tactile sign that the gun was ready to fire. At the same time, the name was changed from “IBREV” to “Brevettata”. Starting in 1952, they were marketed in the United States as “Bantam” and in 1958 renamed “Panther”.
James Bond, Agent 007, was created by author Ian Fleming in the 1950s and soon became well known around the world. In the early novels, Bond carried a .25 Beretta automatic with “skeleton” grip, meaning the grips were removed. A model number was not specified but sources indicate that Fleming was referring to the Model 418. After a problem with a suppressor-equipped 418 in iiFrom Russia with Love, Bond’s boss insisted upon an upgrade to a 7.65mm Walther PPK and the little Beretta was history. The upgrade was recommended to Fleming by gun expert and Bond fan, Geoffrey Boothroyd. Fleming thanked Boothroyd by naming the fictional MI6 armorer after him in the next novel, iiDr. No.
I personally had not seen one of these handguns so I was glad to have the opportunity to inspect the one in this article. It is obviously very small and only weighs …
Read more in the May 2020 issue.
Don’t miss a single issue. Subscribe now or renew your subscription.
For non-subscribers wanting free access, submit one free article to use on our site and we’ll send you a complete digital copy of any issue of your choice (April 2006 to current).