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Beretta PX4 Storm – Embracing the Storm

Photos By RCP Photography and AZPhotoman

ROBAR AND LANGDON TACTICAL UNLOCK THE POTENTIAL OF A MOST UNDERRATED PISTOL

When the folks at Robar told us they had teamed up with Langdon Tactical Technologies to produce a carry-ready package for Beretta’s PX4 Storm, it was pure professional obligation that made us hear them out. The author had no experience with, nor interest in, the PX4 Storm. But he knew the M9 well enough that an Italian-made DA/SA hammer-fired pistol sounded about as enticing as aggressive syphilis. But Robar made us a bet. Shoot the PX4 Storm bone stock. Love it or hate it. Then, let Robar and LTT work their magic, and shoot the gun again. This way we could truly appreciate not only the functional value of the upgrade package, but the potential of the oft-maligned double/single-action trigger, when said trigger is shown the proper care. So, with some trepidation, we agreed and took home an unmodified PX4.

AND NOW, THE REST OF THE STORY

The PX4 Storm is a hybrid design that takes features from both the ubiquitous 92 series as well as their ill-fated 8000 series, also known as the Cougar pistols. The most unusual feature carried over from the Cougar series is the rotating locking barrel mechanism. In this system, the barrel actually rotates along a cam track during recoil in order to unlock from the slide. It’s rare enough to be a remarkable design feature among modern semi-autos, and according to their website, Beretta claims it “directs recoil away from the hand and greatly reduces muzzle flip.” While perceived recoil was about on par with other polymer-framed 9mm pistols, the recoil impulse did seem less snappy and more evenly distributed than some of its competitors.

Beyond the barrel, the PX4 features a more conventional, fully enclosed slide that departs from most of Beretta’s legacy designs. The frame is polymer with a medium texture already molded in the front and backstraps. Said backstrap is also interchangeable, with three different sizes available. The safety/decocking levers (depending on the model) are ambidextrous and the magazine catch is reversible. The safety, slide catch, and mag-release buttons are all interchangeable, and Beretta sells different sizes, shapes, and styles of all three controls.

px4 storm

Robar's finish work gave the PX4 an overall buttery feel with no burrs or hang-ups in the action cycle.

The magazines themselves are metal and designed to drop free. We had 100-percent success with drop-free mag changes, even after two days of shooting in the breezy, dusty deserts of southern Arizona. They even include a Picatinny rail in the frame for weapon light or laser. The full-size version that we tested sported a 4-inch barrel and a 17+1 capacity. Why spend all this ink to just rattle off a bunch of features? Because this laundry list of comes-standard specs is equal to or better than just about any other pistol that might be to the left or right of it in a gun store glass case, leading us directly to our biggest question about the entire PX4 Storm family: Why aren’t they more popular?! On paper, the PX4 Storm seems to be a perfectly viable pistol for self-defense or duty use. But our military-issued Berettas had triggers that would make a staple gun feel match grade. So perhaps it was an atrocious bang switch that has been strangling the PX4. Only one way to find out.

RANGE DAY: TAKE ONE

To make sure we gave the PX4 every chance to succeed or fail, we decided to go above and beyond typical day-at-the-range style testing. We put the gun, in its OEM configuration, through a two-day, 1,000-round pistol class with the HMFIC at Langdon Tactical Technologies, Ernest Langdon. For those unfamiliar, Ernest has been shooting professionally longer than some of our staff has been alive. He has over a decade of active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps, where he taught the Corps’ High Risk Personnel course for several years. Above and beyond his military service, he has 25 years of competitive shooting experience. Throughout his extensive shooting career, he’s become an advocate of DA/SA handguns, and Berettas, in particular — going so far as working directly with Beretta to assist with product development and improvement. This made him a particularly good fit for our task at hand.

px4 storm pistol

For those used to disassembling striker pistols, the PX4 requires a bit more work.


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The Tactical Pistol Skills class is what we’d call a “foundational” class — an excellent meat-and-potatoes course designed to establish a solid baseline in the essential skills for performing under duress. Concealed carry practices, holster draws, multiple target transitions, multi-round engagements, all covered in Tactical Pistol Skills.

We shot the class with the bare essentials: the stock PX4, a CB Kydex holster and pouch set, a Carbon Tactics Badger Strap belt and 1,000 rounds of Quantum Inceptor ammunition. This polymer ammo is an excellent choice for high round count classes. It’s inexpensive, flat-shooting, has a quick recoil impulse, and is safe on steel at close range. It also makes up the bulk of the ammunition we ran through our test gun. The 65-grain slug, running at 1,565 feet per second, fed through the PX4 Storm without a hitch — all thousand times.

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