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Bernardelli P018S: A Hipster’s Service Pistol

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Bernardelli is (was) an Italian firearms manufacturer in the Val Tromp dating back to the 1600s…but whom few people have ever heard of. They produced 1889 Bodeo revolvers between the World Wars, and after World War Two they had a line of pocket pistols that were never particular popular or respectable in the US.

In 1982, the company released the P018, its effort to create a military and police service pistol. On paper, it was basically completely average for the time. It used a Browning tilting-barrel system, DA/SA firing mechanism, right-handed manual safety and magazine release, steel frame, and double-stack 15-round magazines. It was quite well made, and worked very well. It just never managed to be at the right place and the right time, and was never adopted by any organizations of significance.

A series of pistols followed the original P018, including the P018 Compact, P018S (this example; with a decoder and simple plastic grips), P.ONE regular, P.ONE Compact, and VB Practical (and IPSC competition model). Early models were offered in 7.65mm Parabellum (for maximum hipster points), 9mm Parabellum (for normal people), and 9x21mm (for the Italian civilian market). With the P.ONE, .40 S&W was also added to the offerings. None were bad guns, but none were commercial successful and only a few thousand of all types were made before production ceased in the 1990s.

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