The compact and easy to use semi-automatic pistol has sat on the hip of officers and enlisted men for over a century. But the pistol was always a weapon of last resort, something for when the enemy was close and death imminent. And so, from time to time, there was a notion to turn handguns into minute machine pistols. Today, Glock successfully markets their G-18C. But in the 1950s, Italy's legendary Beretta took their M1951 pistol and turned it into the M951R, or Raffica.
The basic M1951 Beretta was a semi-automatic short-recoil operated pistol with a magazine of 8-rounds of 9mm NATO. The magazine was released by pressing a button on the lower grip panel and quickly replaced. Italian special forces of the period liked the pistol, which lives on in the Beretta 92 series, but wanted something with more punch.
The M1951 became the M951R when the 8-round magazine was extended by two rounds and the semi-automatic feature became select-fire. A selector switch on the frame allowed the operator to choose single short (or semi-automatic) or full-automatic.
At a rate of fire of 1,000 rounds per minute, the M951R loosed a hellacious stream of rounds, but it was also notoriously inaccurate due to that high rate of fire. A folding wooden fore-grip was added to aid in controlability However, the grip only did so much. Still, the idea of a full-auto pistol lived on in the halls of Beretta. Eventually, the designers worked out the kinks, managed to tame the full-auto beast a bit and churn out the Beretta M93R (the cosmetically doctored gun used by Robocop if you were wondering what that fire breather was.)