The Beretta Model 8000 emerged from the Italian gun-maker is 1994 and was marketed as a handier version of the full-sized Beretta Model 92 series (the same handgun that became the American military "M9" sidearm). One of the detrimental characteristics of the M92 was its base dimensions which largely precluded it from use in the concealed-carry role - popular with police and security elements. Various models and chamberings were introduced to the line though global adoption was limited.
The M8000 was certainly a very different-looking pistol from its larger brethren - its length measured seven inches with a barrel of 3.5 inches long. Weight was under a pound and the internal action recoil-operated with a locked breech arrangement (double-action trigger). Iron sides were set at the rear and front of the slide in the typical fashion and serrations along the slide aided in gripping the gun for racking purposes. The frame was completed in a lightweight aluminum alloy. The usual controls were present - slide lock, magazine release, safety etc... Ammunition counts varied based on chambering used.
While the M8000 (15-round magazine of 9x19mm Parabellum) began the line, variants included the M8000F in .41 AE, the more compact M8000L with 13-round magazine, the M8000L Type P compact with 15-round magazine, the M8357 in .357 SIG with 11-round magazine, the M8040 in .40 S&W with 11-round magazine and the M8045 in .45 ACP with 8-round magazine. Local European marks supported .41 AE and 9x21mm as well.
The M8045 "Cougar" was a special model of 1998-2004. The Mini Cougar was its special compact form.
The Beretta Model 8000 was adopted by elements in Italy as well as Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Slovenia and the United States. The Los Angeles Police Department took on a stock of Beretta USA-made M8045F models with 4-inch barrels.