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Gun Review: The Beretta 30X Tomcat – A New Generation of Tip-Up Pistols

Beretta 30X Tomcat .32 ACP pistol
Travis Pike for SNW

Among the more unique firearms in my collection, the Beretta tip-up pistols hold a special place, particularly their ultra-small tip-up guns. The Beretta 30X Tomcat, one of my top picks from SHOT 2024, stands out with its revised design and numerous improvements tailored for modern audiences.

The Beretta 30X, a straight blowback operated, .32 ACP semi-auto pistol with a tip-up barrel, is a unique piece. Its operation is seamless, as the user never has to manually work the slide to chamber a round or clear the gun.

Beretta 30X Tomcat .32 ACP pistol
The 30X is unquestionably stylish. (Travis pike for SNW)

Just hit the button and the barrel springs upwards. Now you can clear the chamber or directly load a round into the gun. You can choose to manipulate the slide, but its small nature doesn’t give you much to grab.

The gun provides you with eight rounds of .32 ACP in a magazine that extends slightly below the grip. The gun has a DA/SA operating design and a manual safety. While there’s no de-cocker, you can tip the barrel up, guide the hammer downward, and be 100% safe. The little 30X Tomcat resembles the shorter, fatter little brother of Beretta’s 92 series pistols.

What the 30X Does Differently

I only gazed with joy at the gun and didn’t get the opportunity to fire it at SHOT. However, I contacted Beretta shortlay after and got my greedy little hands on one. Beretta produced two different models of the 30X Tomcat. I have the Get Home Bag variant with a threaded barrel and suppressor-height sights. The Just In Case version has a standard barrel and sights.

Beretta 30X Tomcat .32 ACP pistol
A threaded tip-up barrel…what else could you want? (Travis pike for SNW)

The front and rear sights are dovetailed, allowing for easy drifting or sight swapping, and Beretta is producing a plate that allows you to mount an optic. I chose the Get Home Bag version for its adaptability, envisioning a future with a co-witnessed front sight and an optic on this gun.

While adding an optic may challenge the pocket pistol nature of this little mohaska, I love the idea of an optic on a tiny gun. For some reason.

Beretta 30X Tomcat .32 ACP pistol
Eight rounds isn’t a lot, but it’s more than the 3032 Tomcat. (Travis pike for SNW)

The Beretta 30X makes several ergonomic changes over their 3032 model. For one, the magazine release is relocated to a spot behind the trigger rather than on the backside of the grip. That standard placement speeds up reloading, especially since the magazines drop free with the 30X. The lever that tips the barrel upward has been turned into a button (rather than a small lever) on the 30X, which isn’t a big change, but it’s notable.

The Most Meaningful Difference

Beretta went with a flat-faced trigger on the 30X that reduces the space in the trigger guard, so if winter gloves are a concern, you might want to check your fit. Beretta installed some thick, nicely textured wooden grips on the gun, and the frame itself seems thicker.

The 30X is 1.36 inches at its widest (the 3032 was 1.1 inches). For reference, the 9mm SIG P365 holds ten rounds in the same space and is one inch wide. The 30X also weighs 1.8 ounces more than the 3032.

Beretta 30X Tomcat .32 ACP pistol
The magazine release position and the barrel release are both big changes. (Travis pike for SNW)

That seems like a downside…like a problem, like a stupid design. However, has actually Beretta solved a huge problem that many users had with the 3032. The 3032’s frames tended to crack and crack often enough that Beretta tossed in a piece of paper separate from the manual warning you not to shoot any ammo that exceeded 129 foot-pounds. Sadly, the best .32 ammo for defensive use exceeds 129-foot pounds.

According to Beretta, the 30X increases Beretta’s durability by 100%. The box doesn’t include a disclaimer, there’s no extra sheet of paper, and no caution in the manual regarding ammo that can be used. That extra durability seems to adds a little weight and mass to the gun but it seems more than worth it.

Beretta 30X Tomcat .32 ACP pistol
The flat-faced trigger is tough to beat. (Travis pike for SNW)

If you think the 30X Tomcat is too portly, an easy fix would be to produce a set of thinner plastic grips to replace the thicker good-looking wood grips the 30X ships with. I won’t be surprised to see someone like VZ offer those. You could also drop the eight-round magazine for a flush-fitting seven-round option.

It’s Just Cool

I’d be willing to bet that most people who purchase these guns aren’t typically carrying them. I don’t carry any of the eight tip-up guns I own. I think a lot of people just like them, and Beretta went for that market.

Beretta 30X Tomcat .32 ACP pistol
Beretta has made a very good-looking gun. (Travis pike for SNW)

Why else would they include a threaded barrel, suppressor-height sights, and a future optics mount for a pocket pistol? These guns are fun to shoot, interesting novelties, and they’re just cool. Beretta has embraced the Kimber theory of various finishes and styles with the 21A and 3032, not to increase concealment but just because people like these guns.

To The Range With the 30X

Those bigger, wider grips and the pinky extension make shooting this gun easier. They fill your hand and help reduce the already low recoil from the .32 ACP. The straight blowback offers more recoil than short recoil designs, but you’ll barely notice it with the 30X. I can shoot the gun insanely quickly while maintaining complete control over it.

Beretta 30X Tomcat .32 ACP pistol
The Beretta 30X is a sweet shooter. (Travis pike for SNW)

At one point, I shot the gun fast enough to have four cases in the air at the same time. I delivered six shots on target from the draw in two seconds. Sure, the .32 ACP is a smaller-than-average projectile, but being able to put half a dozen into a threat is no joke.

When you shoot the 30X, you’ll quickly learn to unlearn the habit of choking up on the grip. At the same time, it’s common knowledge that the higher your grip, the less felt recoil. That, however, goes out the window with the 30X. A good high grip on this little pistol will result in a nice case of slide bite and that slide is sharp. Ask my bleeding hands how I know. If you keep that in mind, though, you’ll be fine.

Ringing Steel

Let’s talk accuracy. The suppressor-height sights and the short sight radius on the Beretta 30X don’t get along all that well. The gun shot consistently low at every range. You could blame that on me, but I can shoot my 3032 straight. The further you got from the target, the more the drop was emphasized.

At 25 yards, I was aiming at the top of my 10-inch gong to hit the very bottom. At seven yards, the difference was about an inch and a half. If we pause and rewind, we establish that this pocket pistol can hit a 10-inch gong at 25 yards, so there’s that.

Beretta 30X Tomcat .32 ACP pistol
This thing is thick. (Travis pike for SNW)

That’s pretty darn accurate for a little pocket-sized pistol. If I applied that offset, I could hit it over and over. I can’t wait until the red dot mount is available, as that should fix the offset issue and give me a crazy-accurate pocket rocket.

Beretta did a great job refining the trigger. The old Tomcat’s trigger was heavy enough to make me question how this gun was ever intended for folks with poor hand strength. According to Beretta, the 30X reduces the trigger pull weight by 35%. That feels like an accurate assessment. The single action pull is super light and short. It makes those fast, accurate shots much easier than with the old 3032.

Beretta 30X Tomcat .32 ACP pistol
The sights create an interesting offset. (Travis pike for SNW)

The gun proved reliable with FMJs, lead rounds, and a hundred rounds of JHPs. That’s important to consider because .32 ACP can suffer from rim lock with .32 ACP hollowpoints due to overall length issues. In the 100 rounds of PMC JHPs, I had zero issues. I’d still carry 71-grain FMJs for their penetrative performance, but JHPs are an option.

The 30X – A Tomcat Reborn

The Beretta 30X Tomcat fixes a few problems that plagued the older 3032…namely the durability concerns. That was a huge reason why I rarely suggested the gun to others. For those looking for a pocket pistol, the 30X might feel a little on the large side. The thicker grips and eight-round extended magazine add some girth and length to the gun. Luckily, that’s potentially an elementary problem to solve. It will fit in most men’s pockets, but skinny jeans guys will probably feel left out.

Beretta 30X Tomcat .32 ACP pistol
I just love barrels that tip up barrel…what can I say? (Travis Pike for SNW)

Due to the magazine release redesign, the 30X isn’t compatible with 3032 magazines and grips, so it’s up to Beretta and the aftermarket to create some useable alternatives. I’d bet they’ll make another, more concealable model soon. However, the 30X is a great shooter. The offset issues are certainly a hill to climb with suppressor-height sights, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem with the Just In Case model. I patiently await the red dot mount.

I don’t carry this gun, but I would feel confident if I chose to do so. If I were pursuing a concealed carry option, it would be the Just In Case model with standard sights and barrel. I think the 30X is a big step up from the 3032 Tomcat, and the few problems the gun has are easily fixable.

Specifications

Caliber: 32 ACP
Capacity: 8+1
Barrel Length: 2.8 inches
Overall Length: 5.3 inches
Width: 1.3 inches
Weight: 16.3 oz (unloaded)
MSRP: $599

6 Responses

  1. As small as that gun already is (I just so happen to happily own the .22 lr ‘Covert’ version with a threaded barrel), I bet it looks quite ungainly with a .30 cal can parked on the muzzle, those sights will need to be a inch tall to be true suppressor-height sights…

    1. Oh, yeah, and ammo is gonna be *eye-watering* expensive to feed the tiny beastie…

      1. Geoff,

        True, but with manufacturers seemingly on a roll to reintroduce the .32 as a defensive carry caliber, who knows what the future will hold? Personally not a big .32 fan (although I did used to own a Walther PPK, lo those many years ago, which I loved for its size. Still not my favorite carry caliber, but if I were a small person? With the newer .32 defensive rounds, it’s certainly more of a viable option than it used to be. And as numbers increase, basic Economics says supply will increase, and then prices will go down.

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