Beretta 80X Cheetah Review [2024]

beretta 80x cheetah

During SHOT 2023, Beretta revealed the 80X Cheetah. Taking cues from the 92 and classic Cheetah series, the 80X shrinks things down a bit. With optics-ready capabilities, modern ergonomics, good capacity, and a reasonable cartridge, the gun was very familiar while also standing out from the crowd. A year later, Beretta sent me a sample to test on the range. Here are my thoughts on the Beretta 80X Cheetah.

Design of the Beretta 80X Cheetah

At first glance, the 80X Cheetah is extremely visually similar to the classic Beretta 92 series. However, once you start to dive a little deeper, some differences begin showing their face. The 80X Cheetah is a hammer fired, DA/SA, alloy framed pistol. Chambered for .380ACP, it feeds from metal 13-round magazines. Being designed from the ground up for .380ACP, the grip circumference is especially small, putting it in a good place for shooters with smaller hands.

beretta 80x cheetah
Controls are traditional Beretta, and that's a good thing

The front and rear straps feature mild checkering to help improve your purchase under rough conditions. Polymer grip panels are (mostly) covered with some mild texturing, with smooth areas near controls to aid with access, including some scalloping near the magazine release. These panels are removable with a flathead screwdriver, allowing you to swap panels to suit  your preference.

An enlarged trigger guard provides room for gloved fingers, though the angle of the trigger reduces spare room a bit. Finally, there is a two-slot picatinny rail on the dustcover for mounting accessories. The Streamlight TLR-7 Sub fit on my rail, but the standard TLR-7 and larger lights proved too large. I used this to attach a Blackhawk Omnivore tab for holster use.

Controls

An ambidextrous safety/decocker is frame mounted, and functions somewhat similarly to a 1911. Swipe the safety lever downward for the "Fire" position. Swipe the lever upward to decock the gun, which also acts as the safety position. Between these two positions is a false click, which has led many to believe the guns can be carried "cocked and locked" like a 1911. This is not the case, and the gun can still fire in this condition. Stay aware when working the lever, as this false position has been present on every 80X Cheetah I've handled. Depending on thumb size/strength, you may want to use your support hand to decock the gun.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The X-Treme S Trigger is very nice, smooth and consistent. The trigger shoe is straighter, similar to what we see on the 92X series of guns. This increases trigger reach a little, while also providing some leverage for the shooter. While not an issue for me, but I could see it becoming a problem for shooters with smaller hands. My wife tried the 80X, and she can get the pad of her finger on the trigger, but no more. Typically she presses a double-action trigger with the crease of the first knuckle for additional power. At slightly above average height for an adult female, I can see this potentially being problematic for shooters with smaller hands. That said, the quality of the trigger helps quite a bit here.

Size Considerations

The magazine release, slide lock, and takedown lever are all classic Beretta. A solid amount of surface is available for use without getting oversized. I found my hands a little crowded around the gun with factory grips, which sometimes led to interference with the slide lock. Swapping to larger LOK Grips helps, and significantly reduced this issue. Again, the gun is designed for those with smaller hands, so I don't slight it here.

Optics and Sights

Every Beretta 80X Cheetah comes optics ready, using a proprietary plate system. From the factory you'll be set up for three-dot iron sights. The front sight is dovetailed in, and varying heights are currently available. The rear sight is integral to the optics mounting cover plate, so remove that and you lose your rear sight. Plates are available for purchase from Beretta, coming in at $40 per plate.

beretta 80x cheetah
Remove the rear sight plate to add your preferred optic footprint

I would love to see a plate with an integral rear sight that corresponds to the higher front sights currently available. That way you can retain your irons along with an optic, which is my preference. I kept the irons on the gun for the duration of this review without issue.

Range Time with the Beretta 80X Cheetah

Over the past several months I've taken the Beretta 80X Cheetah to the range several times, running a variety of drills with the gun. It's been fed a fairly wide variety of practice and duty ammunition, being shot both clean and dirty. Below is a detailed list of the ammunition shot through it, and any stoppages I encountered during testing. In total, I've fired 705 rounds through the 80X Cheetah as of this review.

Round Count:

  • 50x PMC Bronze 90gr FMJ
  • 30x Magtech 95gr FMJ
  • 70x Blazer Brass 95gr FMJ
  • 100x Federal American Eagle 95gr FMJ
  • 150x Fiocchi Training Dynamics 95gr FMJ
  • 50x SIG Sauer 100gr FMJ
  • 50x Ammo Inc 100gr TMC
    • 3x Failure to go into battery
    • 1x Failure to feed
  • 20x Lehigh Defense 68gr  XD
  • 20x Federal Punch 85gr JHP
    • 3x Failure to feed
  • 25x Hornady Critical Defense 90gr XTP
  • 40x Speer Gold Dot 90gr JHP
    • 2x Failure to feed
  • 50x Fiocchi Defense Dynamics 90gr JHP
    • 8x Failure to feed
  • 50x Federal HST 99gr JHP

Overall, the Beretta 80X Cheetah is a really soft shooting pistol. Thanks to the larger size of it, the recoil of .380ACP is really tame compared to typical guns in that chambering. Quick splits are easy, with the gun punching well above its weight class. Where it really stands out is shooting with one hand.

Non-Traditional Uses

With hardly any muzzle rise, and a good trigger, strong hand only (SHO) work comes easy. As someone who is about to find a child attached to their hip for the next several years, this really appeals to me. I may not have the opportunity to make a traditional grip in an emergency when carrying my children or a niece/nephew. Those with hand injuries may also want to consider this option as well. The ability to perform rapid and accurate hits with my one available hand could literally be a life saver. Sure, .380ACP is regarded as a pocket pistol round by today's standard, but it's still nothing to scoff at.

Triggered

I'm not too upset about ammunition selectivity in a gun, especially when there is still a wide variety of loads that work without issue. However, I did have one issue fairly consistently across the board. This is a dead trigger. After firing, the trigger would intermittently fail to reset, even when manually pressing the trigger forward. Curious, I checked the manual and it recommended cleaning the gun after every range session, or monthly if not shooting. With that in mind, I stepped up my cleaning and lubing schedule. No dice, the problems kept occurring.

beretta 80x cheetah
These LOK grips help my larger hands avoid crowding the controls

In total, I have had at least 15 examples of a dead trigger within my 705 round review process. Cleaning and lubing did not seem to impact the likelihood of this happening, nor did ammunition selection. Each range trip contained between 50-100 rounds through the gun, with at least two dead triggers roughly every other trip. A simple tap/rack usually reset the trigger, but on at least one trip a few racks were necessary.

Searching for a Solution

I reached out to a Beretta contact and some others I know with experience on the 80X. No other Cheetah shooters had experienced this problem, nor had the rep heard of this issue. Disassembling the gun, I believe I found the culprit. First, I noticed wear on the rear of the trigger bar underneath the grips, and some on the grips themselves. Later, I observed some peening on the front of the trigger bar, likely from impacting on the "drum" of the takedown lever. This peening is curling upwards, and may be rubbing against the underside of the takedown lever.

I believe that the trigger bar is out of spec. One end is rubbing against the underside of the grip panels, both with factory and LOK grips. The other end is beating itself into a curl, which is then rubbing against the takedown lever. Both of these are likely increasing friction during movement, impacting the trigger bar's ability to properly reciprocate.

beretta 80x cheetah
Here you can see bright metal rolled back from the trigger bar, after removing some of the peening metal

In an attempt to remedy these issues, I filed the underside of the grips, along with some of the peening metal. The idea here is to provide a channel for the rear of the bar to move through, and to reduce the size of the curled metal up front to give it space between it and the takedown lever. While the frequency of dead triggers did shrink after filing, it has not yet disappeared. I'm not a gunsmith, so I'm not willing to do much more work than what I have already done.

Hand Size Considerations

I've spoken a little about size considerations here, but I'll mention it once more. The 80X is a compact pistol. As such, you may need to make some modifications to your technique to fit the gun. The smaller slide can cause some challenges when clearing stoppages rapidly, especially with a high grip. The 80X may be a candidate for pinching the slide rather than an overhand rack depending on the shooter's hand size.

Five Yard Roundup
Two recent attempts at the Five Yard Roundup using the Beretta 80X Cheetah

One issue that I experienced was failure of the slide to go into battery. Inboard pressure on the slide prevents it from returning to battery. Releasing pressure finishes the cycle without additional issue. This was done freestyle, as well as SHO with a locked down thumb. I did not record instances of stoppages where releasing pressure on the slide remedied the issue. However, this accounts for approximately 15 additional stoppages throughout the course of this review. I am curious if a stronger recoil spring could help fix this issue without impacting other aspects of reliability, though this was not tested. A modification to your grip could be in order here.

Final Thoughts on the Beretta 80X Cheetah

Overall, I like the Beretta 80X Cheetah. It hasn't been perfect, but the pistol is mostly reliable. I don't fault the gun for issues regarding hand size, since I'm not the target market for this pistol. Sometimes we fit the mold to us, and other times we must fit the mold we're trying to fill.

While the trigger issues are a source for concern, I am calmed a little by the lack of similar stories. Beretta has done a good job taking care of me when bringing up these concerns, and I imagine a quick parts swap would likely fix this issue. Sometimes you get that one, and it goes to show that everything needs to be validated. If this was my personal gun, I would swap the part, and continue my evaluation.

If you're looking for a pistol for smaller handed shooters, or something easy to handle with one hand, give the Beretta 80X Cheetah consideration.

[Update 01JUL2024] MSRP on the Beretta 80X Cheetah is $649 as of this writing. you can find yours >>HERE<<

Author's Note: Beretta provided me with the 80X Cheetah on loan for purposes of this review. No expectations of positive commentary or other compensation were provided by either party.

Support My Work

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! Writing isn't my full-time profession, and nearly everything I do comes out of my own pocket. Between ammunition, tuition, range fees and more, expenses add up fast. If you like what I have to offer, consider making a donation to my Patreon.

Every bit helps bring more work like this to you, and contributes to shortened timelines or more in-depth work on my part. You'll also have more direct access to me, offering suggestions for future projects, looking behind the scenes, and getting early access to some content. You can find my Patreon >>HERE<<

About Daniel Reedy 399 Articles
Daniel holds instructor certifications from Rangemaster, Agile Training & Consulting, and the NRA. He has received training from Craig Douglas, Tom Givens, and Steve Fisher among others. He also has experience competing in USPSA, CAS, 3 Gun, and Steel Challenge. In his free time Daniel enjoys petting puppies and reading the Constitution. His work is also published by AmmoLand, Recoil Concealment, and Air Force Times. Daniel has also written and edited for The Kommando Blog.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*