There is a current thread about finding an easy to rack handgun . This question arises often. Speaking as someone who has had three hand surgeries I appreciate the concerns.
Though I can rack the slide of my guns now I anticipate a time when it isn't as easy, if not impossible. That is why I have a couple of Beretta 86s.
The tip up barrel allows you to load it without racking the slide . The blow back system is also pretty accurate.
It would appear that the market is ripe for Beretta ,or someone, to produce more of this design.
Why don't they?
Probably because it only lends itself to blowback designs apparently. Blowback 380’s aren’t particularly fun to shoot. I used to own a couple Beretta 380’s. The recoil was sharp and unpleasant, not to mention it’s still just a 380 but with a worse impulse than a more effective 9. Lots of guys, myself included, replace the 380 barrel with a 32 to make a more more enjoyable gun.
Have you tried the S&W EZ series? Those are quite easy to rack.
I don’t think the 86 was ever really popular until it became hard to find one. Now they command a premium price. I still own some tip up 22’s but they aren’t exactly what you call reliable. With the right “formula” they are kinda reliable. Then there is the 32 tip up and they tend to crack their frames on a fairly regular basis, especially if you shoot hot 32, whatever that is. Lol
The 86 is a cool gun but Beretta could make a ton of them and all it would do is cool the hot 86 market that currently exists. They weren’t popular then doubtful they would sell now.
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I actually considered mentioning the 86 in my post in the "easy to rack gun" thread, but decided not to because with it's scarcity and cost, it's not really a viable option anymore. Same with the H&K P7. Both are interesting designs and I wouldn't mind seeing them come back, but I doubt it happens. I'll also echo what Pedro said....it may be easier to rack, but blowback .380s kinda suck to shoot, and if you don't have the hand strength to operate a slide, the snappy recoil of a straight-blowback .380 action isn't going to do you any favors.
IMO a tip-up barrel in a .32 would make more sense for those with limited hand strength, the downside being that you are now shooting a .32. That said, a friend of mine who's in his 80s and has very limited hand strength due to arthritis carries a Keltec P32 daily, and I'd not want to piss him off. His hands may be weak these days, but he can dump a mag from that little Keltec into a quarter-sized group with impressive speed.
Also, while I know there are folks out there who have legitimate medical issues that make it difficult for them to rack slides, many others who complain about it would be just fine if they'd exercise the proper technique. Instead of grasping the slide from behind between the thumb and forefinger and trying to pull it to the rear, I teach those who struggle to cup their hand over the top of the slide and push the gun forward using the opposite hand on the grip. This provides more leverage and resolves the issue 90% of the time, without having to invest in different equipment.
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Even the "push me pull you" approach may not be viable for some folks who've lost physical strength.
I'd love to see the 86 come back. For it's purpose, a little more size and weight (to help deal with recoil) wouldn't be a bad thing. The big deal for me, though, would be an easier to use latch for releasing the back end of the barrel to swivel up that is still perfectly secure unless deliberately manipulated.
BTW, would a tip-up have to be a blow-back?
I think yes since by necessity a tip up design means it is pinned at the front. I’m not sure you could reasonably design a tip up that also moved fore and aft.
To add to 92fs, using his technique and merely cocking the hammer first makes any semi auto a dream to rack. Yes it’s an extra step but it’s an administrative extra step in almost every case. Everyone acts like this is crazy. If I ever develop hand strength issues this will be my initial fall back point. (Most of my guns are decockers so putting hammer back down requires no hand strength whatsoever). So as an even older guy I will use decocker pistols and cock the hammer to load and then decock as I do now. Easy.
Sometimes, regardless of technique, a gun will become nearly impossible to rack. I'm about at that point with my CZ 75's right now. I haven't sold them yet because it's possible surgery might resolve my issue.
I don't find the recoil on the larger Beretta 380's to be uncomfortable, but that's just me. I also have the 22 and 32 versions of the 84 (81 and 87), so in a pinch I can always "step down."
I do wish they would produce the 86 again. I know they're expensive to manufacture, but I would pay a high price for one or two.
I agree with Fredward on this. The 86 is pretty heavy and large for a 380. Now a North American arms pocket 380 is down right hurtful. A P64 9x18M is likewise another uncomfortable blow back.
Also recoil is a different than hand strength and being a little painful is not the same as being unable.
The 86 is an oddball but I think it could be reworked to be more concealable and perhaps would appeal to some of us older folks. The population is getting downright gray.
You guys are missing the point. The recoil on a blowback 380 isn’t unmanageable. It’s just out of proportion to what you are getting out of the front end. I just sold my Beretta 84, it’s big and heavy FOR CALIBER. No one including you two would disagree that the 84 kicks, flips, recoil impulse is more than a smaller and lighter 9mm.
So for more recoil you get a smaller bullet going slower. That math is wonky.
If you are willing to spend a bunch you can still get an 86. They are out there you just have to be willing to spend a bunch.
I see everyone still hates the cocking the hammer idea. Happens every time. If you cock the hammer pretty much every gun becomes a S&W EZ.
OK, Ok, ok, I just tried the hammer cocked vs. uncocked and it does make it easier to start the slide back but after you reach the hammer it is the same. So getting it started it makes it easier.
I don't have much trouble my own self but for others racking the slide is a challenge, hammer back or no.
As I get older, weaker, and even more stubborn I think it could become a problem.
It’s a technique thing. If you rack the slide slowly it takes more effort. Cock the hammer, use the “cupping” method 92fs described, and here’s the important part. Do it at speed. Don’t slowly pull it back to the hammer and try to wrestle it the last inch. Cock, cup, push your strong hand fast. Let inertia be your friend. Everyone I’ve ever seen struggle in this manner always tries to slowly rack the slide. Do it fast. Inertia is settled science.
I have never had a problem racking the slide of any pistol until I got a Kahr PM45. The recoil spring is so heavy and the gripping serrations are hard on finger tips that have gotten thin and lost flesh with age. It can be racked if you pay attention and really put effort into it, but your finger pads pay a price. I got a 'Handi-Racker' which makes it much easier to do.
For my dotage I have two pistols for when my capacities are diminished more. 1) A S&W ShieldEZ in .380. And a Beretta m86 for my dotage. Manual of Arms for the M86: load the magazine using an UPLULA; cock the hammer and put the safety on; pop up the barrel and insert a cartridge and lower the barrel. The gun is now fully loaded with the hammer cocked and locked. If I retain enough strength to deal with a double action trigger pull I can leave the hammer down when loading. The gun is a bit big for a pocket gun, but has real advantages for people who are aged or weak. It will be one of the last guns that leaves me. Age is coming...
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This right here. Don't baby the gun...work that slide with a purpose. You're not going to break it...it's designed to get slammed back and forth by explosions! For some reason we tend to treat firearms like fragile, breakable items. We slowly ride the slide forwards instead of letting the recoil spring slam it positively into battery. And we weak-stroke leverguns and shotguns to the point that it causes ejection issues. I catch strong young shooters doing this all the time...it's not just limited to those with weak hand strength.
I just took my SIL shooting for her first time last week and she was really struggling until she tried this method (minus the "cock" since it was a P320 and didn't have a hammer). My 65+ year-old female office manager at work struggles as well, but can get it done using this technique.
Like I said in my initial post, I realize that there are folks out there who really don't have the hand strength to operate a semi-auto, and this won't work for them. But in my experience utilizing this technique can solve the issue most of the time. However, far be it from me to discourage anyone from buying a Beretta 86. They're cool guns, and if ease of operation helps justify the purchase to yourself or your significant other, by all means go pick one up. I've been guilty of using far weaker justification for spending money on guns .
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