So about six months ago I purchased a Beretta Nano for $225 from an older gent who sold it because his hands were getting too weak easily hold the tinier pistols. For the excellent condition and price I figured I’d put it against my Kahr CM9 I paid $250 a few years ago to see if I might like it better. These two are about the smallest 9mm’s being only beaten in physical size by maybe the Rorbaugh and a couple others, but those other pistols are also generally over $500 easy, even used, and seem more maintenance intensive with having to change the recoil springs and such more often.
I’ll let other websites/videos get into the nitpicky details of Nano and CM9, as my only concern is size efficiency and comfort for daily carry as they are both reliable and I can keep all shots on a 8” paper plate at 10 yards easy from both and they both feed all the ammo I keep.
Well the Nano, as it comes out of the box, just isn’t as good to me as the CM9. It’s a TINY bit bigger in length, height, and weight but that extra little bit of dimension does not add anything in terms of holding ability or comfort and it’s the same 6+1 configuration.
Here’s the vertical differences between the base of grip and base of inserted mag. Just a little bit taller:
No it’s hardly anything, but that vertical difference on the Nano actually has LESS front strap gripping area than the shorter CM9. Look at when I place the front straps next to each other. The Nano needs the magazine’s big floorplate to basically equal the CM9’s front strap area without a bulky magazine plate.
On the back strap side, they are equal on the frame, with the fat Nano’s magazine plate adding about 1/8” more vertical area.
Of course, everyone will say, but you have a magazine in all the time so they are equal in grip area. Well I have a serious issue with those baseplates that are the same size as the grip. On these tiny 9mm’s, My meaty palms keep empty mags with big base plates from actually falling out without some serious hand contortions. I have short fingers and meaty palms and I CANNOT get the fat base plate to get past my palm while squeezing the magazine release. In this pic, the mag release is being pressed, and you can see the mag is hung against the bottom of my palm. Sure I can violently swing my hand up and down and it will eventually slide past, but the combo of short thumb and fat palm kills any kind of reload speed simply because of how big that magazine base plate is (in “my” odd hands). I’m sure those of you with different hands wouldn’t have a problem, but I do. The CM9 with its small steel magazine base plate never has this palm interference problem.
The Nano lacks a manual slide stop, but it doesn’t really bother me I slingshot both pistols and rarely touch the slide stop manually anyways even on the CM9.
Unfortunately, since it does nothing better than my CM9, it was going to get relegated to Safe duty, but I found something out accidentally. If you try really hard, you can shove 7 round of 9mm into the mag. No it won’t normally work, because the slide cannot depress the rounds down enough for it to slide back, but what if I modified the mag follower!??
So here’s what I did. I cut about a ¼ inch off the rear of the follower and about 1/8 off the front. That gives the follower just enough room to push down a little and allow the slide to go over without binding up. Here’s pics of my shortened follower vs stock. That little bit of room allows SEVEN rounds In the Nano’s mag no harder than it is to top off a full Glock 19 mag (no not super easy, but not super hard)!!
Since I hated the fat stock magazine base plate, I swapped it with one off an extra Sig P6 magazine. Along with the keeper. Here’s a size comparison of the Mag plate dimension to a Glock 19’s. It’s giant for such a little magazine!
I also put a little bend on the front lip of the P6 metal base plate and since it sticks out past the front of the frame it keeps the two fingers from slipping around on the bottom of the frame while firing. This base plate front lip is kinda annoying on a P6, but is great here. Also because the metal base plate does not go back behind the magazine itself, it completely clears my palm when I press the mag release and doesn’t hang up anymore without contorting my hand!!
I’ve put several hundred rounds through it to ensure that there are no modified magazine caused failures like nose diving, not locking slide back, and etc. I also check the spring uncompressed length against the stock uncompressed spring length and it has not changed! I’m happy. Works just a good as the unmodified magazines.
So these minor modifications have made this little pistol much more svelte feeling and looking than it used to be. And since it’s now 7+1 vs 6+1, it compares much more favorably to my old CM9 standby for size efficiency. Yes, it’s only one round difference, but this 7+1 round is now smaller than every other 7+1 (like my Ruger LC9) just like my 6+1 CM9 is smaller than most every other 6+1. It justifies itself in my mind to keep/carry it as something special. It also fixes the main problem I had with it in that I couldn’t easily drop the magazine. Yes I know the P365 hold more, but it’s slightly larger again and not as slim, and definitely not as cheap!
So here is stock (flat base plate) comparison pics versus new base plate next to CM9:
Now it’s like this:
If someone else were to try this, they don’t have to change out the mag base plate can use the stock one.
As to “smithing” the Nano’s not-so-smooth trigger, the two areas that made the biggest difference for me was to polish up the striker safety block (it was notchy moving up and down) and to polish the outside of the striker spring coils as they rub against the insides of the striker, especially as it compresses under a trigger pull. The owner before me had replaced the plastic striker spring rod with a metal one from Galloway Precision. I polished the actual rod just to see if it would make a difference and it didn’t do jack for the trigger pull. Since I couldn’t get inside the striker to polish (too small too deep), I instead polished the outer striker spring coils. CM9’s trigger still blows it away though, but it’s bearable now.
Edit: On a side note, I am trying out this free picture hosting site IMGBB https://imgbb.com/. Seem s quite easy to use and automatically generates BBCode links you can paste in. Easier than Flickr for sure.. Just thought I'd throw it out there for anyone else looking.
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