Originating in 1865 as gun barrel makers, Bernardelli manufactured service revolvers for the Italian army, 1929-33, and entered the commercial pistol market in 1945. The Bernardelli P-018 pistol was first produced in 1982.
Intended originally as a military and police pistol, the Bernardelli P-018 pistol is most usually found in 9 mm caliber, though it has also been produced in 7.65 mm Parabellum and 9 mm Largo chambering in small numbers. The breach is locked by the familiar Browning dropping barrel, controlled by a shaped cam slot beneath the chamber which engages with the slide stop lever pin. There is an automatic firing pin lock, whereby the hammer cannot drive the pin forward unless the trigger is pulled completely through, the final movement before the release of the hammer raising the safety device and freeing the firing pin.
The pistol can be fired in either single or double-action modes, but there is no hammer-drop function on the safety catch and lowering the hammer on the loaded chamber must be done manually. It reminds of the Beretta 81 pistol.
Versions of Bernardelli P-018
Shortly after the introduction of Bernardelli P-018, requests for something more easily concealed led to the development of the Bernardelli P-018 Compact. This is mechanically the same, but smaller in all dimensions (the barrel is 102 mm, the overall length 198 mm and the weight 950 grams) and with a magazine holding 14 rounds.
A third model is the Bernardelli P-020, which is intended for competition shooting. It is chambered for the 7.65 mm Parabellum round. It is generally the same as the Bernardelli P-018 but has a somewhat more luxurious standard of finish, with checkered walnut grips instead of plastic, and a micro-adjustable rear sight.
Unlike many of today’s weapons, the Bernardelli maintains the tradition of building from steel forgings by machining. As a result, they are strong and reliable weapons and are available in a variety of finishes from highly-polished blue to dull black Parkerised.