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Some weapons won a special place in the hall of fame of firearms. A partial list – the Colt-45 , The Uzi and the Beretta model 70. Two of these , are connected to Israel. The Uzi submachine gun was designed and manufactured in Israel The Beretta model 70 won its fame because of the use it had in the hands of Israelis.
The Beretta Model 70 and the functionally identical Model 71, both in .22 LR, have served according to news reports as the weapon of the Mossad, operational squads. The Beretta 70 was also carried by Israeli Sky Marshals.
The Beretta Model 70 and 71 are compact single-action .22-caliber semi-automatic pistols that accommodate an eight-round magazine, weigh 17 ounces with an unloaded magazine and have a 3.5-inch barrel. The Beretta Model 71 and the 70 are basically identical in every respect except that the Beretta Model 70s come equipped with a low-profile, adjustable rear sight. One feature that appears on both models is either a thumb safety or a cross bolt safety. These pistols also have the magazine release on the left side of the grip, near the bottom of the frame.
The .22-caliber Beretta 70 was taken out of service in the mid 1970s and was replaced by 9 mm handguns , first Beretta and later Glock.
One of the most famous incidents involving the use of a .22 caliber Beretta 70 occurred in February of 1969. After the 1968 hijacking of an El Al airliner by Palestinian terrorists, the Israeli government decided to dramatically increase aviation security by placing sky marshals on board.
In February of 1969, Israeli Sky Marshal Mordechai Rachamim engaged several heavily armed Arab terrorists as they attacked an EL Al airliner in Zurich airport. The Israeli security man used his Beretta 70 . He first fired from the cockpit window and then from the tarmac . He killed one of the Palestinian terrorists, moments before the Zurich Police arrived and took the remaining terrorists into custody.
The selection of the model 70 at that time looked logical. Israel selected the Beretta 70/71 because this .22 caliber pistol is a compact, accurate and reliable. It could easily be used to quickly and accurately deliver multiple rounds into vital parts of a human body. The Beretta Model 70/71 in .22 Long Rifle has virtually no recoil and can be easily controlled in rapid fire. There was also little chance that a .22 caliber bullet would cause significant collateral damage inside the crowded cabin of an airliner.
The Beretta 70 & Model 71 are no longer being manufactured.
The .22 caliber Beretta Model 70 & 71 were not designed to serve as a traditional personal defense handgun in a military or police application. However, just like other handguns that have been introduced into government service, the Beretta 70 and 71 proved that at a certain time they were the “right stuff” for performing the tasks.