Firearm: Beretta 80X (MSRP: $799)
Introduced at SHOT Show 2023, Beretta’s 80X Cheetah is something old that is new again. Redesigned and updated, the 80X Cheetah evokes the classic mid-size double-stack from the late 1970s/1980s, but with a slimmer grip, adjustable trigger, skeletonized hammer and, as you might expect, with an optics cut for today’s red-dot world. While the 80X Cheetah may share a name and designation with its ‘70s counterpart, it is more than just a reboot.
At an overall length of 6.8 inches, height of 4.9 inches, width of 1.4 inches and a weight of 25 ounces, size-wise the 80X Cheetah is slightly larger than micro-9 mm double-stacks like the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus or Springfield Armory Hellcat. Weight is the most noticeable, with the 80X having a good half-pound or so on most of the polymer-framed 9 mm offerings. This is intentional, though, to give the Cheetah less felt recoil. The target demographic for a mid-size .380 ACP pistol is generally those with smaller hands, limited hand strength and/or recoil aversion.
When you think about it, there’s a fair number of mid-size .380 ACP pistols out there for folks looking for slightly less recoil. Ruger has several models of handguns that were initially offered in 9 mm, then had a .380 variant added, like the Security-380 and LC380. SIG Sauer has the P365-380, while Smith & Wesson offers the Shield EZ. All of these pistols are polymer-frame and lighter than the 80X Cheetah. This is good for carry, but doesn’t really address recoil aversion. The added weight of the metal-frame Cheetah helps make the already milder recoil of the 380 even less, for those who have issues with it.
The Cheetah uses a traditional double-action system, where the first shot is a heavier double-action pull with subsequent shots in the lighter single-action mode. Going back to the limited hand strength rationale for the Cheetah, simply cocking the hammer will decrease the amount of resistance in racking the slide. Additionally, mounting a red-dot sight gives more leverage for charging as well. Rounding out the Cheetah’s features, there’s a safety and decocking lever that decocks the pistol by safely lowering the hammer from the single-action position when pushed up, while disengaging the trigger when pushed down to act as a safety.
Holster: PHLster Skeleton (MSRP: $59)
Okay, I’ll admit it. The Beretta 80X Cheetah is not a pistol for which I expected PHLster to offer one of its excellent Skeleton holsters, yet here we are. I’ve long been a fan of PHLster products, and the Skeleton line represents one of the best values in holster fits out there. The Skeleton offers single-sheet-Kydex, taco-style construction with a polymer belt clip, Modwing to help tuck the rig into the body, mid-size sweatguard and is compatible with mounted optics and suppressor-height sights.
Skeleton holsters are available for numerous handguns from Glock, SIG Sauer, Springfield Armory, Smith & Wesson and Walther. This Beretta option is not currently listed, but should be expected soon. Skeleton holsters are ambidextrous and compatible with the deep concealment Enigma system from PHLster, for those looking for the ultimate in concealment options.
Knife: CRKT Ignitor (MSRP: $64)
Rounding out today’s kit is a pocketknife with retro vibes to match the Beretta 80X Cheetah. Columbia River Knife & Tool’s Ignitor offers a 3.48-inch, 8Cr13MoV steel, drop-point blade, G10 scales, assisted opening with CRKT’s proprietary IKBS ball-bearing system and a handy pocket clip for easy, low-in-the-pocket carry. All this in a knife that weighs only 3.6 ounces and measures 4.26 inches closed.
The Ignitor opens with a flipper mechanism and closes via a liner lock system and can be easily managed with one hand. The blade takes an edge well, opens and closes cleanly and the Ignitor just plain works. There’s even a version in all-black with a partially serrated blade, for folks who prefer that edge for difficult tasks like cutting rope and such. All this in a knife that won’t break the bank—that’s an appealing option indeed.