Gun Review: Beretta Tomcat 3032 .32ACP

Suggested Retail Price: $435.00 www.berettausa.com

 

The Good The Bad The Ugly Our Rating
The generous grip width on the Tomcat makes this mouse gun easy and comfortable to hold. The sights are all black and not easy to pick up – not great for a defense gun. The double action trigger on this gun can be likened to pulling a brick with a string tied to your finger. Really heavy and and just a tad gritty, but with less brick dust. 3 Nuns Two Nuns!

 

Beretta Tomcat 3032 .32ACP

Beretta Tomcat 3032 .32ACP

While the Tomcat shares some of the classic design principles with others in the Beretta family, like double / single action, open top slide, and extra wide grip, it departs in a few ways. The tip-up barrel, positive frame mounted safety, and location of the magazine release button all differ from classic Beretta 92/96 design. The Beretta Tomcat includes (2) 7 round magazines and can be loaded to 7+1 capacity.

We actually really enjoy the Tomcat overall, but there are a few areas to note before purchasing. Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons.

Beretta Tomcat grip size and comfort

The most unique thing about the Beretta Tomcat is its proportion. For a small pocket gun, it has a really wide and comfortable grip. We like that. While the height of the grip only allows two fingers like most mouse guns, the circumference allows you to get a firm and tight grip without your shooting hand fingertips touching your palm. While the thickness of the grip hurts concealability a bit, the trade off in controllability is well worth it in our opinion.

The Tomcat’s tip-up barrel design

Beretta Tomcat with Altamont Rosewood Grip Panels

Beretta Tomcat with Altamont Rosewood Grip Panels

The Tomcat features a tip-up barrel design to overcome some of the major complaints on very small guns – namely difficulty of operating the slide. In mouse guns, there’s just not much surface area to grab onto. Couple that with a tough spring and slide operation to chamber a round, clear malfunctions, or verify loaded status, and it can be a pain – literally. The tip-up barrel design allows the shooter to load a full magazine, then simply hit the barrel release lever on the left side of the frame and the barrel flips up to expose the chamber. Drop a cartridge in, snap the barrel shut, and you’re ready to go – no slide operation necessary to have the gun ready to shoot in double action mode.

The tip-up barrel offers a secondary benefit. Leaving it open is a great visual indicator of both unloaded status and safe state. We like to store the Tomcat in our gun safe with the barrel opened as an easy visual safety indicator.

Positive Safety

The Tomcat features a frame mounted safety. Not a decocker lever like other Berettas, but a true safety which blocks operation of the trigger. It also prevents the hammer from being cocked if its engaged. The tip-up barrel does operate while the safety is engaged, thereby allowing loading and unloading with the safety on. We like that.

The Beretta Tomcat’s sights

Our Tomcat is the base version with a flat black finish and standard sights. The front site is machined into the top of the barrel and is a relatively thin blade. No dots or other aids to catch one’s eye. The rear sight is a standard notch type, driftable for windage adjustment. It’s also small and does not feature dots or other sight aids. These sights are tough to see and even tougher to pick up quickly. Beretta offers variants of the basic Tomcat that feature a Big Dot Tritium site. We would absolutely go with this option.

Trigger

Ouch. It’s heavy. Really heavy. The trigger itself is mostly flat and does not have much of a rounded face like larger Berettas. It’s also small. This makes for an adventurous double action pull. One can look at that either way for a pocket gun. Maybe it’s a virtue as you really have to mean it to pull this trigger. The single action pull is fairly crisp, although in single action mode the trigger is positioned almost at the very back of the trigger guard area, requiring completely different trigger finger placement than the double action pull. Much of this perception is accentuated by the small dimensions of the gun.

Reliability

Like its bigger brothers, the Tomcat features an open-top slide which appears to have a positive effect on reliability. Particularly unusual is that the Tomcat has no extractor. Gas pressure alone clears the empty shell casing from the chamber. No matter, we’ve found this gun to be exceptionally reliable like its portlier cousins. Standard power practice loads and high-powered self defense loads operate consistently to the point of boring in the Tomcat.

One thing to note with our test gun. After several hundred rounds, the grip panels cracked on both sides. Not a huge deal and we’re confident that Beretta would have helped correct the problem. We elected to try out some aftermarket grip panels instead. As seen in the accompanying photo, we installed Altamont Super Rosewood grip panels. Nice. Fit is perfect and the countours of the grip panels are super comfortable. And of course, our Tomcat looks extra sporty now. Highly recommended.

Baseless and un-scientific impressions

The Tomcat just does not have the smoothness of fit and function that most Beretta’s claim. The slide to frame fit just feels a little on the rough side, even after quality lubing and hundreds of rounds. The other thing that bugs us is the general feel of the slide. It has no support over the top of the barrel given the design on the tip-up barrel. Slide motion is controlled entirely by the slide rails. Yes, technically this is normal, but there is just something flimsy feeling about the slide to frame fit. When the barrel is tipped up, the front of the slide has a tendency to lift completely off the frame. This is in fact how you field strip the Beretta Tomcat – we would just prefer for the gun not to start field stripping itself during loading or unloading. Completely subjective, but we have to mention it.

On the positive slide, this gun is comfortable to shoot, with exception of the double action trigger pull. It fills your hand and even high powered (can you say that with .32 ACP loads?) cartridges are a pleasure to shoot in volume.

All in all, we really like it, subjectively speaking, but given some of the issues, we have to limit this one to a Two Nun rating.

Learn more about the Beretta Tomcat at GunUp.com

He said She said
Even though we can only give it two nuns, I just love this little gun. I think it’s because the size and shape make it a comfortable gun to hold and shoot. The grip fills your hand, which is unusual for a mouse gun. For a pocket or ankle holster gun I also like the positive safety – give me a little extra piece of mind. It’s so cute! I don’t mind the trigger at all. He’s a wimp. It’s very easily concealable in pocket or purse. It’s got some substance to it, unlike other pocket guns. I also like that I can easily operate the safety with my shooting hand. While the safety is firm, it’s very easy to manipulate.

 

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