With the development of the Model 1931, Beretta had nearly arrived at the first really popular pistol (the 1934/5). The 1931 was the result of taking the exposed-hammer 1923 design, shrinking the frame down to a more compact size and changing the caliber to .32 ACP (7.65mm Browning). This smaller cartridge reduced the need for slide weight and recoil spring strength for the simple blowback system (the recoil buffer from the previous 9mm Glisenti pistols was also rendered unnecessary).
The only step left between the 1931 and the really successful 1934 was to increase the size of the grip slightly to provide better handling. On fact, the 1931 and 1934 slides were identical – some early 1934 pistols can be found with 1931 slides overstamped to read 1934. This particular 1931 is a Royal Navy purchased example made in 1933.