Gun Review Spot's Beretta Bobcat .22LR Pocket Pistol Reviews

Beretta Model 21 Bobcat .22LR Pistol

Beretta Model 21 Bobcat .22LR Pistol

First Reviewed September 4, 2010
Found in Beretta, Pistol Reviews, Pocket Pistols

Overall Value4.

The Bobcat Model 21 is Beretta's older pocket pistol. The gun is almost exactly the same as the Tomcat in form and function with the significant difference being in that it is chambered for either the .22LR or .25 Auto. This review set is for the .22LR version of the pistol.

The Beretta's Bobcat functions as a double-action-only gun which is streamlined to provide a snag-free presentation on the target when drawn from the pocket. The gun weighs in at just 11.5 ounces and is less than 5” in overall length. Regardless of its small size, the gun is known to handle well as Beretta engineers have done a good job in matching both the frame and barrel to the specified cartridges. This pocket pistol is known to provide good accuracy at close range and its reliability is above average as well.

All Bobcat pistols feature a tip-up barrel which allows the gun to be both loaded and cleared without any attention given to the slide. This is a major advantage to some shooters who tend to prefer revolvers for the simple fact that racking a slide proves difficult for them. The Bobcat pocket pistol features internal safety systems as well as an external thumb safety.

The Model 21 Bobcat comes in two finishes. The most common setup is a black steel slide matched to a black anodized aluminum frame. A second “Inox” version trims the slide in bright stainless steel complementing a bright aluminum frame.

Below you'll find all available reviews for the Beretta Bobcat pocket pistol in .22 Long Rifle. Please write a review of your own if you've had the chance to use this gun in the past so your experience can benefit others in the worldwide shooting community. The .25 Auto Bobcat has its own review set so please be sure to submit your review in the proper place.


25 Reviews for “Beretta Model 21 Bobcat .22LR Pistol”
  1. Denni S. Miles says:

    I have owned a “Beretta” Bobcat, model 21A, for about 23 years now.
    I received it as a gift, & at the time, carried it for concealed protection, in my line of work.
    It was very easy to carry almost anywhere, due to the small size, & very light weight.
    However, after years of carrying this gun, (with occasional cleaning), I decided to get reaquainted with firing the gun, since I hadn’t shot it in many years.,
    After the 1st shot, the gun jammed, & after reloading the clip, as I attempted to fire the weapon, it misfired to my left side, about two feet up, to the right, over my shoulder.
    I checked the gun over, reloaded it, & it misfired again.
    I took the gun to a friend if mine, who is very familiar with small handguns, & he tried to fire the weapon, with the sane results.
    I asked around, &was told that such an occasional misfire is not uncommon, for a semi-automatic, but the consecutive misfiring was due to more than a fluke.
    I’d also had problems when going through a regular cleaning of the pistol.
    For some reason, the slide would become loose, and slide up towards the top, out of alignment, & didn’t feel firmly in place after replacing it to the proper position.
    I’d never field stripped the gun, & saw how dangerous this gun could potentially be.
    I called “Beretta’s” local authorized dealer, & sent the gun in for a thorough once-over.
    They didn’t explain finding any significant issue that would account for the problem, but went through it, replaced a few parts, (which considering I hadn’t put more than 50 rounds through the gun, in the 20+ years I’d owned it), I considered odd, but they claimed to have shot an extensive amount of rounds through it, without incident.
    I’m writing this review as a cautionary warning, for other gun owners that are relying on a weapon for self & family defense, as I had, carrying the gun in my vehicle & on my person, when I felt as though I might have need for it, only to find that I might have only succeeded in blowing my own ear off, rather than defending my family.
    I now fire all of the weapons I carry on a regular basis, check the assembly, & feel lucky that I learned about what might have become a horrible tragidy on my part, before I needed to ever use this gun.

  2. TexEsq says:

    First, I don’t own the Bobcat. I do own a Tomcat (.32 Auto) and have for about 7 years. I have used it as a conceal/carry and HAD no problems until recently. (If you read my similar post on another site, I apologize.) Mr. Miles (the commentor above) seems to know his stuff. But, I had a similar problem with the Tomcat only with use of different ammunition. No problems with the Car-Bon JHP or Winchester 71 gr. FMJ ROUND NOSE. I’ve put a few hundred rounds through the gun with no jams. I put in some Winchester BLUNT NOSE FMJ (the box is not marked any differently than the round nose and Winchester’s website doesn’t even show that they make the Blunt Nose .32 Auto) and got four jams in about 15 20 shots from a magazine. My only problems have been with the ammunition. BUT, with that bad ammunition, I did get a bad jump of the slide on the frame, which I think is what Mr. Miles experienced. The tip-up barrel remained locked to the frame; but, the slide was jammed up near the muzzle. It was a bad jam not easily remedied under pressure. I still love the streamlined form of the gun. Feels very solid. The grips seems to come a little loose from the frame regularly. That promotes a shifting feeling in the palm while firing. Not good, especially with the short barrel. I have never been bitten by the slide. But, I’ve got a thick hand and rue the day when that happens. I’m looking for a little .22lr for my wife to get comfortable with the using a handgun. Given the cost of ammunition for the .32, it will be cheaper to buy the .22 (or close enough ;) ) to justify the new purchase.

  3. Carlos Montayne says:

    I have not shot a pistol or rifle since being in the service 45 years ago and today I took my brand new virgin BerettaBeretta Model 21 Bobcat .22LR Pistol” to the local indoor pistol range which I had all to myself. I had clad ammo so I was forced to buy CCI Lead Round Nose Ammo which I used. I fired a total of 98 rounds overall I would say the gun was very reliable although 3 times when I fired a single round without a clip in the gun it hung up brass between the slide and the barrel and failed to properly eject. I fired over a dozen 7 round clips starting with a round in the chamber and the gun functioned perfectly. My accuracy is another matter my shooting was very inaccurate from 50 feet and my only real complaint about this gun is the force necessary to pull the trigger even when cocked the trigger pull force seemed excessive. Hopefully as the gun breaks in the trigger will pull easier. I think that it would be hard to find a better pocket pistol in the $300-$400 than this little Baretta its certainly small enough to be easily concealed and carried and although its not a large caliber gun I would not want to be shot by it that’s for sure.

  4. Steve Schneider says:

    I have a Beretta .22 Model 21 Bobcat and have been very disappointed in the reliability. I had it sent in for warranty work shortly after purchasing it and it was returned with the information that they had fired 50 rounds through it with no malfunctions. This has not been my experience. I have fired hundreds of rounds through it and it consistently misfeeds, fails to eject properly, and somtimes fails to fire. I would love to get a Px4 Storm subcompact, but am reluctant to do so based upon my only expereince with a Beretta firearm. I originally purchased the Bobcat because of the Beretta reputation, but this weapon has not lived up to that reputation.

  5. David says:

    I think you guys may have got ahold of some lemons. I have had mine for three years now and have a little over 300 rounds through it. Flawless with CCI stingers or mini mags, Occasional jams with bulk ammo. So I don’t have a long track record with it, hopefully I don’t run into the same problem as you guys did I have read many account of people putting thousands of rounds through these guns with no problems, assuming they are true who knows. Well I guess I will get out and shoot mine some more and see what happens.

  6. Tammy says:

    I do not own a Bobcat yet but I do own and ALWAYS carry my little Beretta Tomcat 32. I cannot speak for all women, however after having shot and carried a variety of guns, I choose the Tomcat hands down as my carry piece. I have arthritis which greatly limits my ability to shoot the heavier type guns these days (though I used to love to shoot the HK P200SK). Tex, I bet your wife would love the little Tomcat 32 too. Not only is it simple to operate and easy to handle with no recoil at all; it’s almost weightless. It’s really cute too and can be carried almost anytime. As for ammo, mine seems to prefer PRVI PARTIZAN FMJ 71gr. I have fired around 300 rounds through her in the past couple years and she has only had one misfire and that was when I tried some Winchester that a friend gave me. I guess she is like me, she knows what she likes to eat and what she doesn’t. I plan to pick up a little Bobcat 22 soon just to practice with. Got to stay in shape for the evil doers you know and .22 ammo is way cheaper than .32 ammo.

  7. NWoracle says:

    Here’s a personal opinion: I’ve owned a Baretta 21A Bobcat INOX (.22 cal LR) for about a year.

    I bought it for specific reasons: extremely small size, light weight, reliable manufacturer, high quality, and it does not have to be racked to put a round in the chamber for firing. This latter feature is essential because I bought the gun for my petite wife who has a weak wrist and has had difficulty in racking semi-automatics and a fear of firing them, regardless of what the guys in the gun stores and the blogs have claimed about semi’s.

    This model Baretta has a tip-up (ie on the loading-end of the)barrel. You slide the 7-round magazine up in to the handle, flip open the T/U barrel, insert a round into the chamber, and you’re ready to go for 8 rounds – without racking, a great advantage for folks or women who struggle with racking. Alternatively, you can just pop in the magazine, rack it and you’re good to go for 7 (not 8) rounds.

    This model is extremely reliable, PROVIDED you understand a bit about it’s design. It does not have a mechanical ejector; instead it has a blow-back design , which uses some of the energy of the ejected round to slam back the slide after firing and then eject the round.

    For highly-reliable and jam-free operation, blow back designs require a narrow range of permissible energies for the blowback ejection to reliably function, and only specific type of ammunition types fit the bill. I personally use CCI Mini-Mags and CCI Stingers; after 1000+ rounds, I have never had a mis-fire.

    I bought the 21A INOX (stanless steel version) because of reports that the standard blued steel version had issues with cracked frames. The Stinger round is a high-powered one (1750 fps)and I’ve never had cracked frame issues even with that type of ammo on my 21A INOX.

    Additionally, the .22 cal HP Stinger round delivers the same energy to target as a .380 round, a very nice factoid for those doubting the use of a .22 cal handgun for concealed self-defense or those considering the use of a small caliber handgun by their loved ones.

    Overall, a very fine and reliable weapon that is highly accurate, has the kick of a pellet gun, and yet will put down an assailant in short order.

  8. Charles Martell says:

    Every review prior to this one (ok maybe one exception) is written by a person that should not have a firearm and should not be posting reviews. That’s the nicest thing I can say other than calling them idiots.

    If you understand just a little about semi-automatic handguns you will know the Bobcat is a fine little pistol.

  9. Jacques Glaze says:

    Use CCI Stingers in all of your 22 semi’s, you won’t be disappointed. My experience with the Beretta Jetfire (pre Bobcat/same gun) was that the regular 22lr’s jam on a regular basis. So annoying…..

  10. Daniel M. says:

    I am a fairly strong person, but I find it impossible to pull back the slide.

    The top of the trigger has sharp points on it and pinches my finger against the frame.

    The bottom of the trigger also has sharp corners and irritates my finger.

    The barrel release takes two thumbs to open the barrel.

    I see videos where people are easily manipulating their Bobcat and are not having the problems listed above.

    I just purchased this product yesterday (7/14/12) and I am not very happy.

  11. Rick says:

    I found the gun’s reliabiliy issues stem from what type of ammunition was used. Stinger and mini mags are the best and with those I’ve had no problems with the weapon.
    Any sort of non jacketed bulk ammo causes problems. When it jams which for me has been rarely it is a real problem to correct quickly, and I feel the misfires are due to the quality of the ammo.
    I also used Remington Yellow Jacket HP in which I do not recommend. The weapon does not like this ammo and has feed/jam problems due to the shape of the nose of the bullet. Don’t use this ammo in this gun!
    I find that the weapon itself is of good quality and price it is a very nice firearm, but God forbid if it jams when you need it most there is no quick correctibility. You’ll have to throw it at you’re assailant.

  12. Rick says:

    I forgot to mention it is very accurate for such a small firearm. Coincindentally the ammo that works best stingers are also the least accurate, but the weapon works flawlessly. The mini mags work just as well, and I found to be more accurate though with a slightly lower velocity. Standard bulk ammo is the most accurate, but absolutely unreliable. Too many feed problems,jams and misfires. Just not enough power to cycle properly.

    Also worthy of note if you experience a misfire which is fairly common with .22 ammo flip the barrel up and put a new round in rather than pulling back the slide the clear and reload. This weapon almost always has problems cycling this way no matter the ammo.

  13. Mike Brady says:

    Bought the Bobcat new three weeks ago in 22 cal to carry as my concealed piece. I’ve fired approx 100 rounds through it and has not yet, even once, made it through a full clip w/o a jam. Jams every time. Better w some ammo than with others, but regardless, a gun this finicky is not suitable for its single intended purpose —Concealed personal defense. I can’t even imagine anyone really relying upon this pistol for self defense. Baretta needs to improve on this design significantly or drop it from their line. It has already been back twice to the gun dealer (Baretta Rep) and no significant improvement can be detected. I managed to talk a gun show patron last week in tulsa out of buying this pistol (He was just in the final seconds of making his deal). I sure wish someone had done that for me. Brass hangs in slide. Slide rises out of track. Thumb safety is VERY hard to actuate. Jams are hard to clear. Spent shell sometimes stays in chamber. Tipping up of barrel for first round also assumes a handy loose cartridge providentially emerging clean and dry from the pocket lint and finding its way into the chamber followed by barrel back down, locked in place, all at the proper instant. I have also had it “click” on perfectly good rounds w/o firing. Removed the “dented” round, put it in my Ruger Or my Henry Lever action rifle and it fired just fine.

    The gun is as cute as a Chocolate Lab Puppy, but not nearly as lovable or anxious to please its owner.

  14. Thomas Moe says:

    You just have to use a very high velocity .22 bullet. That’s all. I have owned and shot my bobcat for 20 some years. If you use CCI Stingers (my gun) you will never have any problems. They do not exist. Oh, keep it clean and all that but give the blowback design power, and you will not be dissapointed; ever. BTW, a 22 going 1600 or even 1700 something feet per second is very powerfull. Manson family members used a .22, so was the bullet that killed Robert F. Kennedy. These bullets were old fashioned. Today’s bullets go way faster. Fast is not everything, but the momentum is there and so is the penetration. You are not under-powered carrying a small .22 comfortably in your pocket. You have it all right there. Keep it clean, use fast bullets. You are well protected.

  15. dave says:

    I have found in shooting the .cal. .22 the biggest hangups will be in the choice of ammunition. I experimented with six of the most poplar brands and found that ony one consistently delivered what I expected. For a comparison I shoot my cal. .32 Berrete and experienced no problems at all. The most common problem I have with my .22 is that does not not seem to be enough power when the primer and casing are fired, causing the empty casing to get stuck half way in the chamber and half way sticking out. I have tried about a dozen different brands and all produce the the same problem. As many and as long this particular weapon has been produced, I find it hard to imagine that Berretta is not aware of the problem and cannot recommend a solution.

  16. Steve says:

    As an owner of a Beretta 92FS, I am familiar with Beretta’s quality. So, I recently bought a used Bobcat and shot it at the local gun range using bulk 22 ammo. The gun jammed on the first shot! Then I learned from forums like this that this little gun does not function well with “Walmart bulk ammo”. I will be trying again soon with CCI Stingers and Mini-Mags and report back with my results. I’m confident that the issue with the Bobcat is ammo related and not a design problem.

  17. dave says:

    Bought my Bobcat 21 new,in 2004.Suffered all kinds of jamming with bulk ammo.After trying CCI Stingers ,no more jams occured,none. Than tried federal Bulk Ammo. No jams,but will only use CCI for defensive carry.Have a Ruger 10/22 rifle.Bought a box of Remington Bulk ammo,only time rifle had cycling problems.Was taking the Bobcat to the range.Decided to take the Remington bulk,jamming and all,just to get rid of it.Suprise!Not one jam or misfire in the Bobcat.(Remington bullets, 22lr stand shorter than CCI 22lr.)The Bobcat is one of three carry guns I rotate.What I have learned:always clean once a month,the gun you carry,even if you don’t fire it.The lint and dust are enought to cause a malfunction in any gun.Since doing this,the guns always goes,bang.The Bobcat 21 is an awesome firearm!

  18. thomas moe says:

    Don’t worry about this 22 auto. Keep it clean, use a very light gun grease on the moving parts, use a fast powerful bullet, and it will shoot like crazy. All this stuff I read about non-reliabilty and stuff like that, I can only say one thing, clean little semi-automatics, even the saturday night specials, run like greased lightning when they are treated like they should be. I am a xxxx (can’t tell you), and in case you do not know what that is or who I am; I am one of those guys who, in effect and in legal court proceedings; terminate parental rights. Terminate means final, no visitation, no phone calls, ever, with your kids. Well they deserved it. Anyway, after about a decade of this work, there are some people who hate
    me. And I guess I can see why. Anyway, what do I carry? Sometimes a Glock 36 45, sometimes a Colt Mustang 380, and almost always a Bobcat 21a. I just plain will defend myself with this pistol. It is not the biggest, nor the baddest, but it is in my pocket. I know what I am doing; I hope you do too.

  19. Bonnie says:

    I’ve had my 22A since 1990 (when they came blued with wood grips). Over the years I found it to be reliable with any ‘coated’ .22LR name brand ammunition. For me, it seems the naked lead was the cause of the stove pipes. I never got a ‘jam’ (as I would define it), but the spent casing failed to fully eject, so a ‘stove pipe’, or ‘chimney’. I suspect it was that lead built up in the barrel more quickly with the uncoated bullets. Fast forward 15 years to last week. It has sat in its rug in the safe and I have discovered that it fires the first round fine, but the second round does not feed. The first round ejected and cleared without incident. I have purchased a new magazine for it as I strongly suspect that leaving the magazine fully loaded with the spring under tension all those years was not a good thing to do. I haven’t had a chance to shoot it, but worst case is I have an extra magazine and a mystery to solve. So, don’t fill your magazine to capacity unless you are shooting through the rounds. Leave a little space for the spring so it is not completely compressed for extended periods of time.

    I also caution against use of this gun by someone who can’t at least pull the slide far enough open to clear a stove pipe/chimneyed round. Although the tip-up barrel is great for those with weaker hands, if you can only get one round off and can’t clear the slide in case of a misfeed or stove pipe, then this gun may not be a good choice for you.

    I also have a North American Arms .22 magnum revolver. I find it to be a better pocket pistol because I don’t have to fight an awkward safety. I like my 22A to shoot for fun and as a ‘drawer gun’ (because I don’t need the safety that way). For a carry pocket pistol, I prefer the NAA.

    I also regularly carry a Walther P-5 Compact (9mm) and have recently purchased a Glock 26, which will replace the Walther as my primary carry as it has now become a collectible.


  20. C.A Greene says:

    I bought a used Model 21 that was the gloss finished with wooden stocks.I
    thought with its tip-up design I could carry shotshells while fishing in
    snake territory. I’ve not had any feeding problems as of yet. I have used
    a hundred rounds of CCI Stinger with complete reliability. However at 7 yards
    my pattern looks as if it came out of a shotgun.It looks as if I may have some
    imperfections at the crown which I’ll have a gunsmith look at. My Beretta 950
    .25 auto is so accurate that I can consistantly hit spent shotgun shells at 7
    yards. I even harvested a squirrel at 15 yards during hunting season. I won’t
    get rid of this one but I sure wish that .22 would shoot as well. I’ll keep
    trying. Could be shooter error.

  21. Ryan says:

    The 21A has no extractor. It relies on the blowback of the round to open the slide enough for a little finger that protrudes from the face of the slide to tip the spent casing to the side and out of the way. This works well with the right ammo but with the wrong ammo it will constantly jamb.

    I use cci stingers and have shot hundreds of rounds through mine in 20+ years with good results.

    Is it the right ccw gun? .22s are too light in my opinion but no other gun is more concealable.

  22. Arnie says:

    I own a Baretta 21A. I was going to sell it, as I had excessive failure to feed (FTF) and failure to eject (FTE)problems (see the many complaints on this model in other posts). Am I very glad I didn’t sell this excellent little gun. All issues resolved! First: the gun is “somewhat” ammo sensitive. The CCI Stingers and Mini-Mags will work the best. Why? Because they are higher powered ammo! The gun has no extractor. Remember “for every reaction there is an equal opposite reaction?” You have to hold this gun firmly; almost like you’re pushing forward to insure the gun won’t push you hand back negating the force of ejection. Clean then lubricate it well. I use light gun grease on the rails. You can tell where to use grease from looking at the metal to metal wear marks created by the slide after having fired the gun for a number of rounds. NOW OPERATE THE SLIDE – big difference? I use light oil on the hammer mechanism, and also on the firing pin. I also clean my magazines, and put very light oil on the inside of the magazine – the result – no FTF problems. If I had gotten rid of this gun and later learned the information above I would have been very upset to say the least. It will fire as fast as I can squeeze the trigger as smooth as glass! Again, all issues resolved! Question: Would six (6) 22lr rounds in a perpetrator cause as much tissue trauma as 1 of a larger caliber? Consider: re-sighting (re-aiming) guns with substantial recoil i.e. larger caliber bigger kick; they’re more difficult to keep on target. A 22lr can be held on target easily – negligible recoil. Accuracy? Make an effort to keep your front sight on target before, through, and after the break (fire) point! I target shoot this “belly gun” at 50 feet.

  23. Wade Plymale says:

    I have an older bobcat that shoots .22 shorts only. It also requires high velocity ammo to function properly. I’m thinking about getting a new 21A Inox but the description at the top of this page says that the Bobcat is double-action-only. Mine’s not. Is this true? I know the Taurus knockoff is DOA but has Beretta gone that route also?

  24. Ron Tate says:

    I have sent the 21A back to the factory for warranty service. No change. I have tried mini-mags, stingers, etc. No change. I have lubed it, prayed for it, done everything which I could do. No change. The manual discourages the use of high-powered ammo. Yet, that is all I hear on the reviews. This object is the Yugo of firearms. All it does is fail to feed. It is of no use as a concealed carry gun and no use on the range as all I do is fight it. BTW I am a military veteran and grew up in rural Oklahoma and am familiar with firearms. I have a Ruger Single Six which I love.

  25. N Neumann says:

    I have had a Bobcat 22 caliber for a couple years in the black finish which is a parkerized finish. I could only pull the action back with difficulty and it would not eject all of the different kinds of ammo I had. Being a tool and die maker by trade I took the gun apart and polished areas that the parkerized finish had made the gun difficult to cycle. There are two main springs that are actuated when the gun fires. I cut each spring shorter by an 1/8″. After this work the gun will fire any ammo I put in and I can pull the receiver back half the effort required before I did the work to the gun. I realize this may not be for everyone, but I wanted the pistol to fire at all times which it does now.

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