I don’t like the way this gun looks. I don’t like the way this gun feels. But man, I sure do like the way the Beretta PX-4 Storm shoots.
Like a lot of folks, and every single action movie ever, I dig the Beretta 92 series. And like every soldier, I hated it when it was my duty pistol. That was because I didn’t know how to shoot it.
One of the things I had to learn was the two trigger pulls of the double action/single action system, and it was a hard lesson.
Too hard, it seems, for most folks. The DA/SA system faded into relative obscurity behind the 1911 and striker fired pistols. Then, in 2000, Ernest Langdon crushed the USPSA Production Division National Championship. Not with a 1911 (heresy!), but a DA/SA pistol. Almost two decades later, we see DA/SA systems making a comeback, and everything old is new again.
There are plenty of tried and true DA/SA guns out there. The SIG SAUER P226 and P229s are still going strong. The Beretta 92s of all varieties are selling better than they have in more than a decade. But here are also some newer players making DA/SA guns using steel slides and polymer lowers. A great example is FN’s excellent FNX series.
But the company that made the pistol John McClane counted on has quietly been making and improving what is one of the best, if not the best DA/SA gun on the market. That gun is the Beretta PX4-Storm.
Beretta makes several different versions of the PX-4 Storm, and TTAG was able to get all three sizes. I decided to review them all at once and put them in a bit of a head-to-head competition against each other.
One of the more interesting features of the PX4-Storm series is its rotating barrel design. Unlike the vast majority of pistols on the market, the PX-4 Storm Full Size and Compact models eschew the venerable cam lock Browning action and instead goes with the rotary barrel action. I first saw this action in use a couple of years ago on the Grand Power X-Calibur. The only other gun around now that I can find it on is the Beretta Cougar.
In theory, some of the recoil energy is dispersed in the rotating motion of the barrel, and that should translate to a more in-line feel of recoil and reduced muzzle flip, at least in comparison to tilt-barrel actions. In theory. In practice, it allows the firearm to have an ever so slightly lower bore axis, which definitely translates to less muzzle rise.
Maybe it works, because this gun is a fast shooter. The lack of muzzle rise on the full-size version was expected, but the same can be said for the sub-compact model as well, which has the more typical Browning action. Every version of this gun humms along, and I could keep a good view of the front sight through the entire recoil cycle.
That heavy slide has to be a big part of it. It works, but man, it ain’t pretty. With all of the features of this pistol — the options, the price, and how it performs — the PX4 Storm should be a lot more common. I think that big slide may have something to do with it, because to my eyes, it’s just plain ugly.
It’s not the finish. No, the proprietary Bruniton coating is a non-glare black, even throughout. There are no tool marks or rough spots anywhere on this gun. It’s a Beretta, so I wouldn’t expect there to be.
But there’s that giant slide on top of that small frame. It gives the gun a sawed-off pit bull look. It makes the pistol look a lot like…dare a say it? I dare.
This Beretta might remind you of a High Point.
To top it off, literally, those wing-like ambidextrous safeties make the otherwise reasonably thin slide too wide. Take a look at the compact model. It’s similar is size to the GLOCK 19. But on the specifications, the Beretta is much wider. That’s solely due to the width of the safeties. The slide width of both guns are almost identical.
The entire top of the PX4 Sorm’s slide is flat. I like a flat top slide, and I feel that it drives my eyes right to the sights. Unfortunately, it also adds to the blocky appearance of this pistol.
The grip on all three models looks a little strange, and it feels a little strange. Compared to that massive metal slide on the 92, that polymer frame hosts a fairly diminutive handle. The grip is narrow, and looks like it juts straight down from the frame. In fact, it’s angled back and does swell a bit at the palm.
Unlike the 92 series, this gun fits small and medium sized hands very well. In fact, if you have large hands you’re likely going to find the grip doesn’t quite fill your mitts, and the length of pull is going to be on the short side.
Beretta addresses this by including a set of backstraps with the pistol, all three sizes. Replacing the backstrap is easy with just a bar pull in the magazine well. It’s definitely worth the short amount time it takes to find the right one for you. Note that the backstraps aren’t really thicker, they effectively just add width to the back of the grip, increasing the length of pull. If you were looking for the same feeling the 92 series in your hand, this isn’t the pistol you are looking for.
That said, the front and back straps are well textured, and all three sizes have plenty of space for three fingers under the gun. Wait, all three you say? Even the subcompact?
Yup, and here’s a little bit of Italian design genius I haven’t seen on other pistols. On the standard Sub Compact’s magazine, the bottom of the magazine base pad has a little ledge. No big deal, many magazines do. This one, however, is hinged. As you grip the pistol and apply pressure with your fingers, the base pad hinges down, giving your pinky that tiny bit of extra room for a solid grip.
I didn’t see it at first, and I thought something was wrong with the gun. Upon inspection I realized what was happening, and after getting used to it, I really like it. The subcompact base pad tucks in nicely for carry — which would be especially important for appendix carry — and then hinges down for that extra purchase as soon as you grip it. Really, it’s the best of both worlds.
Yes, you can use the full-size magazine in the either the compact or subcompact versions. No, the opposite does not work.
The safety levers are obviously ambidextrous, the magazine release, only partly so. The user can move the magazine release to either side of the gun, with all parts provided in-box.
The trigger on all three version is exactly the same. The shoe is curved, smooth, and surprisingly wide. It looks a whole lot like the trigger on my Smith & Wesson Model 29. It also serves the same purpose, allowing the shooter to stroke that first double-action shot. On the stock gun, that double-action trigger is going to be close to 9lbs, but it feels much lighter than that. There’s a small amount of pause to the front of the pull, but then it’s smooth all the way to the back, with very little stack prior to the release.
But like all SA/DA guns, you’re going to have to master two different pulls to really build up speed and accuracy on the PX-4 Storm. The single action trigger breaks at 5lbs, although again, I would have bet it’s much lighter. You’ll find it has quite a bit of free travel prior to going off.
Put together, the overall experience with the PX-4 Storm trigger tells the tail of exactly why the DA/SA has made a bit of a comeback and is popular in competitive shooting again. It gives you a very fast, precision trigger. It also gives you a trigger you can stage, and start pulling before your sights are fully on the target.
Those sights are standard drift-adjustable white three-dot sights. The front sight is fairly narrow, and provides a wide view of the target on either side of it while looking through the rear sight. I would have preferred something a little larger, and a tritium option. That’s OK, because Beretta offers exactly that, with a tritium option available from the factory.
What I really appreciate is that small flat space on the front of the rear sight. While that may not look as good the long ramp of many other sights, it’s far more functional. That little ledge can easily be used for one-handed slide manipulation, allowing you to rack the gun on a pocket, belt, boot, or object. A ledge rear sight and a bright fiber optic or tritium front sight should be considered standard on any weapon designed for law enforcement or self defense use.
Disassembly is simple. The dual take down levers are pressed down and the slide falls forward. There’s no need to pull the trigger on the gun to safely disassemble it.
The PX4-Storm Full Size was designed as a duty gun, and its size fills that role well. I’d have no problem open carrying this gun all day in a good holster. The texture and shape of the grip let me get right on the gun from an open carry draw. That long grip will give anyone plenty of purchase.
It also makes it pretty difficult to conceal. I had the same problem with the full-size PX4 Storm as I did with the Beretta 92FS. It’s not the slide length, but the length and, more importantly, the shape of the grip that make it such a challenge to conceal. I tried OWB, IWB, and appendix carry with the full size version and found it too obvious or too uncomfortable to carry concealed.
The opposite is the case for either the compact or subcompact models. Either of those hide well IWB or appendix carry. I’m carrying the compact version IWB in the above photo. Make sure you have a thick sweat guard on your holster if you choose to carry either model IWB or appendix carry. I found out first-hand that safety lever will dig into you over time.
One of the biggest complaints leveled against the Beretta 92F series is the slide-mounted safety. Lots of people just can’t get it on and off fast enough. If you have size large hands or bigger, it’s no problem. Getting it back on again, no matter how large your hands are, means a slight shift in your grip or the use of your support hand. The other complaint is that the safety is too easily engaged during reloading of the firearm, especially when under diress.
These two complaints are well founded, and to my great disappointment, were not addressed on any of the standard PX-4 Storm models. The safety is giant. It’s cut in big, sharp angles that reminded me of the steps of some Aztec Ziggurat. That means that you can get to it quickly, and that’s good. But it also means that you can inadvertently put the safety back on very easily.
That’s a pretty big problem. Because if you have to either reload or clear a malfunction under stress, and you inadvertently put the slide on, you probably wouldn’t know it until you pull the trigger and nothing happens. If you are like most folks, you will probably pull the trigger a couple of times before realizing what’s wrong. I got to see this exact problem play out with the PX-4 Storm for this review.
I asked our Editor in Chief, Dan Zimmerman, to feel the double action trigger of the full size PX-4 Storm. I dropped the magazine, cleared the weapon, and handed him the pistol with the slide locked back. Dan inspected the gun, dropped the slide, decocked the gun, put the safety back off, and pulled the trigger on an empty gun. Everything worked great.
He then racked the gun and allowed the slide to come back into battery in order to cock the gun and feel the single action trigger. He pulled the trigger and nothing happened. Again, nothing happened. The hammer was down and the safety was on. He had re-engaged the safety without ever feeling it when he re-racked the pistol.
Of course, everybody knows about this issue with the Beretta 92F, which is why Beretta makes the 92G, which is a de-cock only model. Pull the safety lever down and it allows the hammer to fall safely, putting the pistol back into double action mode. And everyone knows the safety on the 92s, just like on the PX-4 Storm, is just too wide, which is why Beretta makes thinner safety levers, and gun makers like Wilson Combat will make you a flush-cut, single-sided safety like mine, which is also a G model.
Fortunately, Beretta realized all of these things for the PX-4 Storm as well, and offers, direct from Beretta, parts to make the standard model into a de-cock only model, as well as providing “stealth” safety levers that are much thinner than the standard wings.
The slide release is also particularly wide. That’s nice that it’s easy to hit, but it’s just too much, and also creates a pain point for concealed carry. Just like the safety, Beretta sells a thinned, but completely functional version of this as well.
All three versions of the PX4-Storm were fairly accurate, but with a relatively wide range of scores depending on round. As a testament to the adage that “every barrel is an environment unto itself”, each of these pistols shot best with a different round. All groups were shot at 25 yards off bags over two days. All groups were five-round groups, shot four times, and averaged. Every gun shot 100 rounds for accuracy testing.
The average group size for all rounds fired for the full size version was three inches. However, there was a wide spread, primarily depending on the weight of the round. This gun shot heavier rounds better, with the best average group being the Freedom Munitions 135gr Pro Match Hollow Point, printing 2 1/4-inch groups.
The big surprise came from the compact model. The overall average for all of the rounds was actually smaller than the full-size version, and not by a little. The average overall group size for this gun, with a shorter sight radius than the full size, was 2 1/2 inches.
The standard deviation from the different rounds was also tighter, with the exception of one outlier. This was the 115gr Hornady Action Pistol Round from Wilson Combat, which printed 1 3/4-inch groups. Of course, that’s not a common round, and one you will never see in stores. The next best performer was the Freedom Munitions X-DEF 124gr+P round at 2 1/4 inches. I wasn’t at all surprised there, as this has been the most accurate round out of several different 9mm caliber handguns I’ve reviewed.
The subcompact also delivered good accuracy, printing an overall average of 4-inch groups. Like the full size version, the subcompact’s groups size varied widely by ammunition weight. For this one, the best performer was, oddly enough, plain old Winchester White Box 115gr FMJ at 3 1/2 inches.
With the exception of the combination of the Wilson Combat custom loads and the Compact PX-4 Storm, none of the guns shot any particular round amazingly well. But they all shot every round better than well enough.
Generally, smaller guns have a few drawbacks. Recoil, accuracy, and capacity being the most obvious. For these guns, the magazine capacity of even the subcompact version is still an impressive 13 rounds. So what about recoil and accuracy? Well let’s see.
Standing at the low ready, using the Freedom 100gr Frangible rounds at 10 yards, I waited until the timer went off, and then put 5 rounds into the 4″X6″ Action Target PT Tactical Torso steel target. I did this a few times with each pistol, and then averaged the results. Any strike outside of the square added half a second, and the couple of those misses that I had were right on the edge. There were no misses of the entire target.
Just like in the accuracy test, it was actually the compact model that came out on top, with an average time of 1.99 seconds. The full size scored second, with an average time of 2.25 seconds, and the subcompact trailed with a 2.65 second score.
Reliability for all three pistols ranged from really really good to absolutely perfect. Like most pistol reviews, I shot 500 rounds of mixed ammunition through each gun. For this review, I shot a variety of rounds from Freedom Munitions, varying from 100 grains to 135 grains. I also shot hollow points, FMJs, and projectiles of varying types from multiple manufacturers in many different weights.
During the first 50 rounds out of the full size version, I had a few weird failures to feed. The round simply got caught fully outside of the magazine, but hit the outside edge of the barrel prior to entry. This happened with both the IWI Die cut round as well as the Freedom 100gr Frangible round.
However, after that first 50 rounds, I never had the problem again with any round, including those same rounds. I never had any issues of any kind with the either of the other two pistols. I’m chalking that initial hiccup to magazine growing pains.
For those of you paying attention, the compact model actually outperformed — and by not a tiny margin — the other two pistols in all categories. It was faster, more accurate, and concealed well. You’ll also notice that Beretta makes replacement parts for every single one of my gripes about the gun.
Well, it turns out that Ernest Langdon realized that as well, and worked with Beretta to create their PX4-Storm Compact Carry version. It’s a compact, G-model with a slimline safety and slide lock/release and tritium sights. It also has a more heavily textured grip. That has to be the perfect version of this gun, and an excellent choice for everyday carry.
As for the stock models, they still represent a great value. The MSRP of these guns is listed at $650. That’s not bad. But if you look online, or even at your local gun store, you will likely find them selling for far under that, often for less than $500. For a gun that performs this well, that’s an easy sell. With that price, the Compact model now goes on my “must buy” list.
Barrel length (in): 4
Caliber: 9×19 (PARA)
Overall height(in): 5.51
Overall length(in): 7.55
Overall width(in): 1.42
Sight radius(in): 5.75
MSRP: $650 (under $500 online)
Barrel length(in): 3.27
Overall height(in): 5
Overall length(in): 6.8
Overall width(in): 1.42
Sight radius(in): 5.2
Weight unloaded(OZ): 27.2
MSRP: $650 (under $500 online)
Barrel length (in): 3
Caliber: 9×19 (PARA)
Overall height (in): 4.8
Overall length (in): 6.22
Overall width (in):1.42
Sight radius (in):4.8
Weight unloaded (OZ):26.1
MSRP: $650 (under $500 online)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Style and Appearance * * *
Practical. Industrial. Kinda weird. All of the finish has been done well, and you can see Beretta’s flair for style desperately trying to get out. With that massive slide, no can do.
Customization * * * *
Pay close attention to Beretta’s website, because they offer just about everything there is to change this gun.
Reliability * * * * 9/10th
I had to take something off for one of the guns not running right during the first 50 rounds. But seriously, I’d bet my life any day on any of these guns…and yours twice as often as that.
Accuracy * * * *
With the right round, any of these guns outperform the competition. With any round, they hold their own.
Overall * * * *
These are great guns at a phenomenal price. I didn’t realize they were selling for under $500 new online. I checked and my local Academy has the full size and compact versions for $479. That is a fantastic buy. They are reliable, easily customizable, and very accurate firearms. Drop a bit of cash on a G model shaved safety. No, they aren’t pretty, at least to me. These aren’t the guns you date, these are the guns you marry.
Great write up! Always been curious about the PX4 line.
Thanks for sharing.
Do you mix the ammo in the mags? I also do gun reviews and that is one of my test.
I do, but only out of convenience, but I’ve found no test value in it.
I have one of these, the full size model. It was my second purchase. I love it because the recoil is so easy that I can stand there and shoot for 15 minutes straight, and the weight is balanced so it doesn’t hurt my arm. It’s never malfunctioned, there was no break-in period. My old man didn’t like it as much because the trigger pull is longer than most and it’s spongy, not an issue for me though. I think reviewers problem was using freedom munitions ammo, it’s not that great. And despite what this review says, I think it’s a very attractive pistol, I would trust my life with it and the company has been handed down from one generation to the next for the last 500 years. It also doesn’t cost $650, it’s only $480 here in California (where everything is more expensive) and it goes on sale all the time.
I tried – the grip is not grippy.
Two words: Talon Grips.
There is too much smooth plastic on the grips – $17.99 later, that problem is solved. (It is the same solution that Ernest Langdon employed on the Beretta Px4 Compact Carry.)
I’ve held the compact model. Not comfortable at all. Haven’t shot it though.
I felt the same way. If I had not shot these guns I would have never considered buying them. I certainly have a different experience now.
The grips on the Langdon Compact Carry are the same as the regular models, but they ship with Talon grips in the box. And the Sub Compact has a standard Browning tilting barrel, not the rotating barrel of the Compact and the Full Size. And you do not need a punch to change the backstraps. You just need to remove the retaining bar from the handle and the backstrap slides off. You only need a punch if you are changing out the hammer spring or removing the chassis as a whole.
As for making it a G Type. You can do it with the standard batwing safety levers just by removing the detent ball and spring in the safety lever. Instant decocker only and takes about 15 mins.
All around, it is one on the most underrated DA/SA handguns out there. I still love my 92’s, but my PX4 Compact is my constant EDC companion. With it being just a hair smaller than a G19, with the same capacity, it should become the benchmark for what other makers try to do for size.
Are you sure about the Compact being a different barrel action?
Also, I changed the “pull-pin” to correctly identify the bar, thanks for that. I had it right in the photo caption but not at all explained right in the text.
Whoah, sorry, I need to pay more attention. You said Sub Compact, not Compact. That is very briefly noted in the article.
Sorry, I must have missed that part noting the barrel difference.
Do they sell a model without all the lawyerese engraved on it?
I’d Fing sign a million waivers.
Like the PX series, am a total 92 / 96 fan with emphasis on the 96. It’s like the old joke,
Q: how many OFWG’s does it take to transition from the 92 / 96 to the PX ?
A: 12. One to transition to the PX. 11 to stand around talking about how great the 92 / 96 still are.
Can’t do suppressors with the PX Series (rotating barrels)???
Yes, you absolutely can do a suppressor with a rotating barrel. It just REALLY limits your options. (Think Bond Arms Bullpup) Also, Beretta doesn’t sell a threaded barrel.
I remember someone trying to run a suppressor on the PX4 .45 SD, but depending on how it was threaded, the can would either over tighten or come loose. It’s doable, but you would need to find a company that makes a threaded 9mm barrel (or .40 if that is the PX4 you own)
I have a LE trade-in in 40 S&W. The rotating barrel seems to mitigate the “snappy” recoil to me. Also, to convert the safety to decock-only, all that is required is to remove the safety and pop out a detent ball and spring. (oops! someone beat me to this!)
I shoot Beretta pistols very well in single action but the first pull, which in a DGU is the most important pull, is a challenge for me. But obsticle for me is thay the safety goes the wrong way. If you carry a 1911 your instinct is to push the safety down when you draw. It’s too complicated to switch. The G-modrl does solve that problem but the first pull makes it a non starter for me.
I have the 9mm Compact and the full-size .45 PX4s. I understand what you’re saying. The way I corrected that was to get some snap caps and then practice regularly pulling with DA-only. This really helped. I used my Compact in an Active Shooter defense course, and after all the snap cap practice, I was just as accurate in DA as SA at self-defense distances under 21′.
Practice makes perfect with DA triggers, at the range with my Px4 Compact I run double taps and Mozambique drills, decocking the trigger in between. The DA to SA transition is natural to me now. I can see the learning curve if all your use to is 1911’s, but for most men with average hand strength a good smooth double action > striker fired slush trigger most guns in this price range have (Springfield’s, Gen 1M&P, my fathers SD9VE). I got mine new from my LGS in 2015 with 3 mags for $400 cash. Running Trijicon HD’s and “type D” trigger spring. The double action feels great second only to my 70’s Smith.
And I did the homebrew type G conversion, which completely eliminates the chance of inadvertently activating the safety.
Most anyone can master the DA trigger at typical self defense range – usually 3-10′. If you need to engage at longer distances it can’t take more than a quarter second to thumb back the hammer. The upside is that there isn’t a safer (from NDs) system than an 11# DA trigger with a slide safety. I found with my 92 I could pretty easily sweep off the safety on the draw. I do have large hands though so YMMV.
I have one of the Sub-Compacts in 40 S&W that I bought off a Friend moving to Commifornia (couldn’t talk him out of it). and It is the only sub compact 40 that I have shot that was fairly pleasant to shoot.
But it is still to wide for carry and I carry a RAMI !
That would probably be the only way. Now to find someone to make a barrel to accept a three lug, or pin a muzzle adapter on. It would look pretty sweet, but would become a BITCH to completely take down.
never liked Beratta’s, of any kind. don’t know why, kinda like glocks, just don’t like ’em.
The Px4 Storm (fulll size) jams all the time. I sent it back brand new after 1 trial at the range. I had problems with it jamming, sent it in twice. After they worked on the magazine each time, it continued to jam. I oiled the rail, and it still would jam, especially using hollow points. I am totally disappointed in the performance of this pistol. I would never use this gun for protection at home. If you want a pistol that consitantly jam using hollow points, this gun is for you.
You just like an uglier gun
” I first saw this action in use a couple of years ago on the Grand Power X-Calibur. The only other gun around now that I can find it on is the Beretta Cougar.”
There are more than a good handful of guns with rotating barrels. Grand Power makes several (7 IIRC), even crusty Tupperware Glock has one coming (the 46). Hell, even JMB did a few designs with it.
Crank out a decent quality review, then negate it all with sloth and lack of desire to make an effort to actually, you know, gather information about the subject at hand.
So the company that I listed also makes other rotating barrels, all based on the same model. Glock has not actually released one, and Browning designed some that are no longer produced.
That was a lot of your whining to say the same thing I did: “The only other gun around now…”
Since you mentioned them and it’s still fresh in your mind, maybe you could get your hands on some of the non-racegun models of the Grand Power line and compare them to the Beretta PX4s. They alleviate a few of your issues, like the slide mounted safety and have decockers once you get to the carry models.
So, once again, write a decent review, get called out on some sloppy (very incomplete) journalism. All those electrons, and not even a short para on the history of the action, it’s benefits, drawbacks, purveyors, future. Or, why any of that matters to this gun.
But I’m very sorry for pointing that out. It was mean, and poopy of me. Here’s your participation certificate. Everybody gets an “A”!
“the pistol John McClane counted on”
You say McClane, I always thing of Riggs when movie 92Fs are mentioned 🙂
Nice write up; I have a PX4 Inox in .40SW, PX4 Type D in .40SW, PX4 Type C in .45Auto and a PX4 SC Type C in .40SW…my only complaint is the magazine base can work its way loose it is easily fixed at least on the .40SW but Beretta refuses to still sell the part the locking baseplate retainer… see here http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/11/daniel-zimmerman/julians-unresolved-beretta-magazine-issues/
Santa brought us a pair of these in full size in 2016, with retention holsters, for Texas going open carry. They’ve been thoroughly reliable and enjoyable ever since.
As a bonus, if this sort of thing appeals to you, is that this handgun shares magazines with Beretta’s Storm pistol caliber carbine. If you’re already a little shaky on the pistol’s appearance, the carbine probably isn’t going to do much better. It’s an assault rifle in the sense that it assaults your visual senses. I don’t own one, myself, but it is popular. So there is that.
“It’s an assault rifle in the sense that it assaults your visual senses.”
I’ve been a big fan of the little ugly subcompact since I held it. I really liked the grip (including the little divots in the front). However, it’s big and heavy. When I got my CCL here in NC I got a nice, light, narrow Smith & Wession M&P Shield. Which I’ve carried for a couple years.
Just recently started shooting the Storm again and just love it. So, I decided to give it a try as an everyday carry and it’s great. With my Stealth Gear Ventcore holster (fantastic) I carry every day (5 o’clock) for hours and never notice the Storm.
I recently swapped out the D spring and it has a noticeably softer trigger pull. I’ve got the low-profile safety/decockers but haven’t done that quite yet.
I’m a little disappointed in the sights. For a carry gun I’d prefer something brighter so that will probably be the next investment.
All that said, my buddy (Glock guy) likes how it shoots but hates the gangly look.
I was seriously considering getting a PX-4 a while back since Cabela’s had inexpensive agency turn ins and they are cheaper than a 92. The grip fits my hand really well, but a full size M&P 9 also fits me really well, and last summer I got a new S&W for $399 plus the rebate pack of 2 extra magazines and a magazine loader. It’s also a lot easier to find holsters, sights and so on. I still like Beretta, and the PX4, but not right now.
They are good guns. I have a friend with the subcompact and out of about 10 pistols he owns it’s the one he’s most accurate with. Having said that, I wouldn’t buy one or recommend it because of the slide mounted safety. Even Taurus figured out it doesn’t belong there and moved it to the frame when they copied it.
Cool. Another PX4 review. Never been done befo.
I own a PX4 Storm full-size (my second PX4 Storm, as I also owned a PX4 Compact), and I actually like they look, very futuristic. But then again, I also like the looks of the Beretta U22 Neos, which most people complain looks too much like something out of Star Wars.
I also like the way the PX4 shoots, as it has a much better trigger than my Beretta 92A1 had, so I sold my 92A1 because of its awful trigger and kept the PX4.
However, as is usually my experience with semiauto pistols, there’s some ammo that the PX4 will not cycle reliably, as in 50% of the time it fails to load the next round, which is unacceptable in a defensive gun, which is one reason why I prefer revolvers. I don’t know why gun testers always have 100% reliability, and then I test the same gun with three different types of ammo, and one type of ammo fails to function 50% of the time. I can’t use hollow-points because I live behind the iron curtain in NEW JERSEY, so I only buy FMJ (ball), which is supposed to be the most reliable ammo, so it should be reliable 100% of the time, not 50% of the time if you happen to buy a brand your pistol doesn’t like! With the PX4, the ammo that refused to function reliably was EXPENSIVE ammo, Federal Guard Dog defensive ammo, which is EXPANDING full metal jacket (EFMJ) that’s designed specifically for home defense (because it’s designed to NOT penetrate walls), and is also compliant with iron-curtain states like NEW JERSEY that are hostile to hollow-point bullets. I was very disappointed that the PX4 wouldn’t function with Federal Guard Dog, especially since my old Beretta 92A1 had no problem digesting Federal Guard Dog. So now, as usual, I have several boxes of EXPENSIVE ammo that are only good for drilling myself in how to clear a jammed gun.
P.S.: Yes, I know New Jersey has two specific exceptions to their ban on hollow-point ammo, but those exceptions are so limited that people have been thrown in jail for having one hollow-point bullet in the trunk of their car, a bullet that the NJ cops probably carry in their pocket to plant on anyone they don’t like and want to lock up! That’s how dumb New Jersey gun laws are. In other states, cops who want to frame someone have to plant drugs in their car, but in NJ, cops only have to pretend they found a single hollow-point bullet in your car or your trunk, and then they can lock you up on felony charges! So I never buy hollow-point ammo, even though it’s not illegal to own in NJ, just illegal to carry in your car or on your person or in your trunk or possess anywhere other than your house or the gun club.
Guess it’s time you move out of New Jersey. I have relatives that still live there and have always called New Jersey “The Armpit of America”. Love my PX4 FS 9mm. No problems with it whatsoever. Good luck!
This is my HD pistol… in duty size, stock with night sights and a rubber sleeve. I endorse… my random thoughts:
1. Who gives a FF how it looks? It’s a polymer/steel tool, that is all. Every other paragraph, looks looks looks– what, are you are a 1911 guy? Having said that, yeah it’s ugly. Moving on…
2. Slide safety SUCKS. Slide safeties in general suck… but this one was designed for idiot masochists, by idiot masochists. I have never, ever come across anyone on Earth who likes it, and Beretta KNOWS this… so like, why? Fix it– this pistol has been out over a decade now… FIX IT. I have trained myself to tolerate it (and it worked “in action” once hopping out of bed cold at 545 in the morning to a Mexican illegal mistakenly wandering into my apartment, so yeah it is a matter of muscle memory familiarity fixed with training… yes, he is alive, last I saw when I said vamoose, dude…).
3. The grip is ridiculously slippery, and seems designed for fascist militarized police gloves. So, put a rubber sleeve on it, unless you like slippery polymer. Because otherwise it will rotate in your hand, and you will blame the gun (which is technically correct, but really, it’s you… because you didn’t listen).
4. People make WAYYYYYYYYYYY WAYYY WAAYYYYYY too big a deal out of the “first shot traumatic experience difference” of a DA/SA. Seriously. Just pull the trigger… and then it gets magically-even-more-better from there. If you’re really that concerned, just decock every time you shoot at the range, and train it yourself to feel it (on ONE shot… big deal). Solved. But what is better than a good SA hammer trigger? Nothing. No… nothing.
5. 3-dots sights are a little narrow… old, complain complain, old old, complain… you can change them.
6. Good pistol. Easy to clean, never a hiccup (…roughly 1000-1500 rounds of variety, from garbage reloads to garbage factory to “premium” JHP stuff. But I usually keep it loaded with Hornady Critical Duty 135g or Hornady 124g XTP AmGunner/Custom, or Federal 135g Hydra-Shok… the cheapie stuffs off dept store shelves… so I can spontaneously shoot it when I feel like it and not feel all miserly guilty… I am sure HST or Gold Dot would make this pistol more uber deadly and awesome, maybe, probably….)
7. The PX4 “Sub Compact” is not a PX4. It just isn’t… it is a physical kinda-sorta looking exterior copy that is a basically a totally different gun… a tilting barrel locked-breech conventional pistol, with a different takedown– not the PX4 rotating barrel system, which is what makes it a PX4. Just a different concealed carry pistol, physically resembling the PX4… piggybacking off of marketing familiarity and line familiarity, etc. It really should be called the PXWeenie. Or something. Compact– good to go. Sub-Compact… PXWeenie.
Other than that… it’s a Beretta 9×19 pistol. I like it. It’s not perfect. It has replaced my ancient West German railless Sig P226 as the 365 HD pistol… (which I recently threw in the lake, to hide it so that when the apocalypse comes, I can go get mucky water AND and an extra pistol, all in the same convenient place….) Really it’s because the Trijicons faded away after a couple decades… and I was too cheap to buy new night sights for my awesome flawless Sig, so I just bought a new gun instead. Because the logic of gun nuts always prevails. 🙂
Be safe. Enjoy the PX4… but, if you have a PXWeenie, you’re like, not part of our secret club… just sayin’
Bonus, 8: Mine didn’t come with backstraps. And I bought it new. Lame. They’re $5-10 bucks on the Beretta site. But, ya know….
Best comment ever.
They did fix the safety, it’s called a G conversion. If you don’t like the stock levers, in addition to the stealth levers, you can add 92 levers, and Ernest Langdon is getting ready to release a low pro version that offers better purchase.
Great write up & very detailed. Like you, I never got past the ugly so I never really considered purchasing one. Well, that and having fondled the 92 many times (and I love the look of those!) it just doesn’t fit my medium sized hands and feels like gripping a Hi-Point.
However, I will give you extra points for the Monster Hunter International logo patch in the 2nd photo. Larry Corriea puts out some unbelievably great fiction with heavy gun content… and monsters.
In any case, I’m sticking with my CZ’s & 1911’s for now.
I have had the PX4 in a .45 for over 10 years. I have large hands and love how it fits in my hand with the larger back strap. It is the full size, and I carry it concealed, usually on my side with no issue. I’m a large guy too, so that helps.
Overall I’d say I’ve shot 500-700 rounds through it and have never had a jam. Mag release, slide release, and safety are easy for me to reach with my thumb.
I think she’s a pretty fun too. Great design.
‘Almost two decades later, we see DA/SA systems making a comeback, and everything old is new again.’
Good, now somebody tell S,R&Co to start the P series back up.
My wife has the sub-compact and the trigger, especially in DA is significantly better than the one on the 92 I had despite the fact that I dropped the hammerspring weight on the 92 from the stock 20# to 17#. She wanted a compact 9 for purse carry that would be fun at the range. Even for purse carry it’s a tad heavy but I think it filled the bill. Not an easy weapon for a woman to carry on body though.
I can see why DA/SA pistols would be problematic for competition shooters, but I don’t see the problem for self defense. Like my beloved revolvers, DA is just fine for 10 or 15 yards and in the extremely rare chance a longer, more accurate shot is necessary it only takes a quarter second to thumb back the hammer. Personally I like the safety of the DA trigger with the option of the accuracy of the SA.
I’ve had this weapon since the start, I have the sub compact 9mm and the full size .45, I love them. There isn’t another weapon that let’s me shoot like it and I’ve tried a ton, it’s smooth and accurate, not to mention I’ve upgraded parts from the .45 and it’s even better, a lot smoother and crisp, my friends hate that I have it cause it’s better than theirs.
What upgrades have you done on the .45? thanks!
Funny you would mention the barrel action of the Cougar. The px4 not only borrows that, but obviously some styling queues as well. What’s odd is that I like the look of the Cougar; the px4’s not so much, although they have been growing on me as the years go on (minus that subcompact…kill it with fire).
Yes, the PX4 is the updated Cougar. I have one of those as well, I think of it as a metal version of the PX4; but I do like the grip a bit better on the PX4 (once you put on Talon grips).
Langdon tactical is a great resource for creating the perfect storm. He offers “a trigger job in a bag” which cleans the trigger up nicely, and an 11 lb hammer spring which is reported to have brought the weight down to 6 pounds while still functioning reliably. He also offers a low profile ambidextrous slide release for the compact, the ameriglo sights for the compact carry, and although he’s out of stock, at one point a spurless hammer. He also does conversion work where he’ll bring your compact or full sized up to the specs of the carry.
I’ve had the compact version for a few years now and have never had a malfunction. This article is right about a few things for sure. I got rid of those ridiculous wings after and installed the slim ones and removed the ambidextrous slide release to make it as slim as possible. This quickly became my favorite hand gun I own. I also installed night sights but, there was nothing wrong with the factory ones, just my preference.
PASS PASS PASS on these. We were issued them and I went through three in short order. The good, it was the most accurate I ever was with a duty pistol. For some reason, we clicked, and I shot it really well. Hollow points chewed up the feed ramp cause they dug into polymer, so, the more you shot hollow points, the less reliable it becomes. If you’re running ball, it wont happen, and/or you wont notice till you feed it JHP’s. Also, if you leave the mags loaded extended periods of time, they expand, which means they wont drop free and you have to strip them out. There was a third issue that I can’t recall off hand cause I didn’t personally experience it. Pass on the PX4.
I have a PX4 full size Type G in 40 S&W with Trijicon night sights and love it! It’s appearance or looks is not weird; it is called state-of-the-art. The Browning tilt barrel design is so early 20th century. Don’t misconstrue my words; the Browning design is still a great desighn, but Beretta took pistol design to the next level. I can hit volleyball size metal targets at 15 yards all day long with the very mild recoil. It soaks up the 40 S&W recoil very well – better than probably any 40 S&W out there. My only caveats with it is 1) width 2)decockers. The engineers must have been drinking too much Italian wine when they designed those decockers. Overall, I love it!!!
I found the PX4 last year; excellent pistol! I have a full-size, compact, and subcompact in 9mm; great shooters all of them. Interestingly, I find I shoot the compact and subcompact better than the full-size; like the review. Highly recommend this line of underappreciated DA/SA pistols.
Great review and perspective. Like the Glock, the PX4 will win more gunfights than beauty contests! I carried Glocks for many years before transitioning to the Beretta. Once you learn & master the gunsmithing, this TDA pistol becomes a smooth double and superb single action shooter. Reliable, accurate and if you carry AIWB, an easy “EDC”.
Full Size PX4 “F” is my favorite Gun! I put up with the Wings because I like the Hammer Drop Safety.I
I don’t understand the “Ugly” stuff – it is a Pistol, not a French Poodle! It fits my hand, I can reach all the Controls, and, rather important to me, I can actually hit what I am aiming at!
Being a “Southpaw,” I’m more than impressed with the PX4 J model. Straight out of the box it’s completely ambidextrous. Just swap the mag release to the other side and I’m good to go. I own both the full size .40 and the compact 9mm. The compact has been my EDC since I purchased it in March of ‘20. I agree with your assessment of the full sized models when it comes to conceal ability. That’s probably why it’s been in my safe for the past 3yrs. The compact 9mm with its 15 round mags is definitely the way to go for concealment, accuracy, and ambidextrous feel. It’s perfect for my hand and for me. As for it being “ugly,” beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I like it, and it tends to attract attention on the range. Especially after double tapping the head and heart.
PX4 Storm is the first gun I’ve ever owned, and I can say, I’m definitely not disappointed, but I don’t carry.
I got the FS92 stainless compact several years ago. That gun is going with me when I pass. There has never been a better gun made…IMHO. I just recently got the Storm px4 Sub Compact. Yes, I agree I was a little late. I bought the name not the gun. And again I have not been bothered by any of the complaints I just read. Ya see, the Italians are not really comfortable with the term “compact”. They tried to make the 92 fs compact and failed at that thank God. I purchased the Urban Carry all leather (leatherlock) holster and it is a match for this little gun.
Will I take it with me when I go…probably not…only gonna be room for one. Besides, my grandson has his eye on it
This gun is on my buy list for January 1 2022 I limit myself to two guns a year I think I am going with the full size i own a beretta FS 92 I like the fact it break down so easy and the rotating barrel I like and definitely in a9 mm not 40
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