Beretta Model 1915 Semi-Automatic Service Pistol
The Beretta Model 1915 began the illustrious line of Beretta semi-automatic pistols that continues today.
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The Beretta Model of 1915 was the beginning of the long-running Beretta semi-automatic pistol line (their first-ever pistol in fact). In this period of history, the self-loading pistol was just gaining traction though the tried and proven revolver - with all its reliability, robustness and widely accepted action - still proved the sidearm of choice for national armies. Additionally, such weapons were also primarily issued/purchased at the officer level and not issued as a standardized secondary/backup weapon as seen in today's armies. The Beretta Model 1915 was adopted by Italian forces during World War 1 (1914-1918) due to the shortage of small arms encountered there and elsewhere in Europe. The rather no-frills weapon managed a serviceable existence throughout the "interwar" years and was still is circulation by the time of World War 2 (1939-1945). Despite the arrival of the Beretta Model 1915 during The Great War, it did not supplant other offerings of the Italian Army at the time - namely the Bodeo revolver of 1889. The competing Glisenti and Brixia self-loaders also failed in this respect. It was not until the Beretta Model 1934 that the Beretta was firmly entrenched as the standard-issue Italian Army sidearm though, since 1916, Beretta numbers had steadily grown to eventually overtake their competition.
The new Beretta weapon was primarily chambered for the 7.65x17mm Browning SR cartridge and was followed by the limited-run 9x19mm Glisenti Short chambering thereafter. The primary 7.65mm-chambered sidearm relied on a simple blowback design consistent with handguns of these calibers while 9mm marks brought about use of revised and strengthened internals to handle their heavier cartridge loads. Overall design was quite conventional including a fixed grip handle, solid trigger surrounded by a strong ring and slab-sided slide. The slide contained the front and rear iron sights as well as a top-mounted ejection port with grips at the rear for proper management. A forward portion of the slide was also cutaway in true Beretta fashion (this design feature continuing in the modern Model 92). Barrel protrusion was minimal at the muzzle. The slide remained open following the firing of the final cartridge in the magazine to which a new magazine was inserted into the base of the grip as usual - each detachable box holding up to eight cartridges in a spring-loaded design. As the Browning and Glisenti cartridges were generally similar (save for their charge), ammunition counts between the two types did not vary in the standard magazine.
Production of Model 1915 pistols ranged from 1915 into 1945 which allowed them to appear in formidable numbers throughout World War 1 and World War 2. The line was improved through the newer "Model 1915/19" model of 1919 and these were given extended slide cutaways (to incorporate the ejection port in its reach) and revised safety catches. A longer barrel was instituted though the design still came in shorter than the preceding mark. The wooden grip panels of old were replaced by sheet metal types to help lower production costs at the expense of some comfort. Some Model 1915/19 marks were inducted into the Italian Army in 1922 as the "Model 1922" and these were chambered for the 7.65x17mm Browning SR cartridge. Both the Model 1915 and Model 1922 eventually led to the more refined Model 1923 and its 9x19mm Glisenti chambering. Very few of this Beretta model were made.