Throwback Thursday—Beretta’s PX4 Storm Pistol

By Bob Campbell published on in Firearms, Reviews

Beretta is our oldest gun maker in continuous production of quality firearms. Having delivered rifles to Napoleon and handguns to our own military, Beretta has developed an excellent reputation for reliable and durable handguns. While excellence of manufacture is always a selling point, so is the price point. The modern polymer frame pistols are inexpensive to manufacture. Beretta could scarcely abrogate this market. The design of the Beretta PX4 Storm serves several purposes. The Storm offers an alternative to the Beretta 92 for those who like the double-action first-shot pistol, but prefer a lighter and more compact pistol for concealed carry.

Beretta Storm PX4 pistol right hand view

The Storm is a fascinating pistol in mechanical terms. Performance is excellent.

The Storm offers a .45 caliber option and a more compact .40 caliber version. However, probably the most popular pistol is the 9mm version.

Intended to compete in the lucrative polymer frame market, police and civilian personal defense sales are the Storm’s target. Beretta claims the Storm is among the most advanced expressions of technological and aesthetic features. The Px4 Storm is a distinctive pistol with good features. The use of a rotating, rather than a tilting, barrel for lockup isn’t a new concept by any means. John Moses Browning patented a rotating barrel design prior to 1900. Browning’s tilting barrel locked breech design became the most common type of lockup in the world, but the rotating barrel has enjoyed some success. There has been a caution that turn-barrel pistols need more lubrication than conventional designs. This has not been my impression and I do keep my personal Storm clean and lubricated. The Storm should be as reliable as any other Beretta when properly maintained.

The Features

The Storm offers better ergonomics than other handguns. The action is basically a Beretta 92; the rotating barrel is taken from the Beretta 8000 pistol and the operating principles are proven. The confluence of design comes off well. Beretta pistols are noted for reliability and the Storm maintains that reputation. The light frame employs modern thermoplastic technology through the use of technopolymer-reinforced fiberglass. Modular structure and the availability of three sizes of grip inserts for different hand sizes make it very versatile.

Beretta Storm PX4 pistol right hand view

The rotating barrel is an interesting, and highly effective, advance.

The Storm uses an integral Picatinny MILSTD-1913 rail for attachment of tactical lights and laser aiming devices. The pistol also features a firing pin block. The front part of the firing pin is blocked from any forward movement until the trigger is pulled completely to the rear. The block is located rearward, far away from the fouling and debris of the breech face. Since the block is visible, you may ascertain its proper operation at any time. Even if the pistol falls and strikes the ground muzzle down, the firing pin will not strike the primer.

The ambidextrous safety lever is spring loaded so it’s either positively “on” or “off.” The safety lever also functions as the pistol’s decocking lever. When depressed, the rear part of the firing pin (striker) rotates out of alignment with the front part of the firing pin. The finish is the battle-proven Bruniton finish. The take down levers are familiar to anyone that has used a Glock pistol.

My personal Storm is chambered for my favorite caliber, the .45 ACP. Despite an ammunition shortage, I have more .45 ACP ammunition than anything else and I spent a considerable amount testing this pistol—I also handload and so should you!

Beretta Storm PX4 Take Down Controls

Take down of the Storm is simple. Note the takedown levers forward of trigger guard. The basic system has been in use in various handguns since the 1950s.

The Storm weighs only 29 ounces, considerably lighter than the Colt 1911 .45 or the Beretta 92 9mm. The bore axis is higher than the 1911—meaning the recoil levers the barrel higher in the air—not a difficult pistol to control, but there is a difference. The Beretta 92 is docile in comparison, but it is a 9mm not a .45. You may take advantage of the wound ballistics of the .45 ACP with the PX4 Storm in .45 ACP. The pistol torques more noticeably than the Model 92. Barrel rotation is counter to the torque of the bullet engaging the rifling. The barrel will rotate right and the torque pushes left as an example.

Beretta Storm PX4

The PX4 comes with two 17-round magazines, two additional interchangeable back straps, speedloader, lock and cleaning kit.

An anomaly of the design is that higher velocity ammunition definitely proved more accurate. While muzzle flip is noticeable, the pistol is comfortable to fire. A 10-shot .45 caliber pistol that is reliable and accurate enough for most chores is an attractive investment. The Beretta rotating barrel pistols have made the grade by offering a viable alternative to competing designs.

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Accuracy Results, PX4 .45 Caliber Pistol

Accuracy results/ 5 shot groups/ 25 yards—group measured in inches

Load Average Group Size
Black Hills 185-grain JHP 3.2 inches
Black Hills 185-grain TAC +P 2.6 inches
Black Hills 230-grain JHP 3.0 inches
Cor Bon 165-grain PowRBall 3.8 inches
Cor Bon 185-grain DPX 3.0 inches
Cor Bon 200-grain JHP 2.6 inches
Fiocchi 230-grain FMJ 3.45 inches
Fiocchi 230-grain EXTREMA JHP 3.25 inches
Hornady 230-grain FMJ 3.65 inches
Hornady 200-grain XTP +P 2.8 inches

SLRule

Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

View all articles by Bob Campbell

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Comments (21)

  • Henry F

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    I also have 92 Beretta Sliver, which is a nice weapon, but I am a 45 cal person, I have a Stoeger Cougar 8045 FT Has the same design as the Beretta but only has an 8 round magazine. It’s a nice weapon and I keep this one near the front door. If I could get a larger magazine for it I would use it as back up weapon being a 45 cal. But the 92 the one to have is the one that was used in the Die Hard movies he must have fire over a hundred rounds and only re loaded twice. Very Large MAGAZINE! LOL

    Reply

  • Griz

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    I just wanted to update my previous post. I received my sub-compact back from Beretta and finally got a chance to shoot it. I have about 100 rounds through it so far and not a single issue. It shoots great and is just as accurate as my 92FS. I wish it was a bit smaller but that hasn’t stopped me from using it as my carry gun

    Reply

  • Len

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    I love my PX4 9mm. It is my carry gun. Never had a FTL or FTF. I shoot Blazer Brass very accurately.

    Reply

  • Matt

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    Thank you James! Yep, for a more comfortable IWB CCW! A Full frame XD45 can tend to hit tender areas when you sit down (dependent on position of holster) so something smaller that can be worn more comfortably IWB on my hip, without a lot of printing, is what I’m in the market for. This is exactly the kind of info I need! Much appreciated, thanks!
    (IWB=Inside the WaistBand)

    Reply

  • James H.

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    In response to Matt (Comment #5):
    You asked about polymer, I assume for comfortable concealed carry? I have a PX4 Storm full size 40 S&W for open carry and had a Beretta Tomcat for concealed carry before polymer became popular. I have since tried several CCW’s but have settled on the Kahr P40 (40 S&W) which I wear on my ankle in a WRB soft holster. It is about as large as I care to wear this way but the pistol is a great shooter and very comfortable in the hand. The recoil is negligible for the caliber. I did not have prior experience with Kahr but I like them. My nephew has a CW40 and he has the same opinion for what it is worth. I have a Beretta 92FS (9MM) as well as my PX4. This is apples to oranges but The PX4 does have slightly more “felt” recoil than the 92FS but all in all recoil is not an issue. Beretta makes good stuff! Wife has a Taurus (almost Beretta) PT25 and it is silky as well. Maybe too much info?

    Reply

  • Matt

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    I’m hoping perhaps people have some comments about their preferred polymer carry pistol. Obviously everyone loves their Glocks, but I like Beretta and Springfield myself. Anyone please feel free to comment on any part of this…I may ramble on a bit but I am looking to get a more compact carry pistol and would love your recommendations.
    How does the 9mm version of the PX4 compare to a 92FS in felt recoil? I’ve shot the 8000 (Cougar)in .40SW before and recall that being a bit more of a hand stinger but not terrible(which is to be expected with shorter barrels and heavier loads) but would be interested to hear a comparison when shooting the same loads.
    I’m also considering the new Springfield XD(M) in .45. Do you have any basis for comparison between the gun tested here and the XD(M) by any chance? How do Size and recoil vary? Anyway, I love my Beretta 92 but my full frame .45XD has become my carry pistol of choice (more punch and I worry about sweat with it tucked in the waist or close to my body) I figured a polymer pistol will hold up better to corrosion, but now I’d really like something a little smaller and easier to carry. (The Kel-Tec PF9 I haven’t trusted since the day I took it out of my pocket at the range and it sent the firing pin out the back side after the first shot.)

    Reply

  • Steve Mondul

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    The front sight on my PX4 subcompact kept falling off after a few rounds. Returned to factory, who installed a whole new slide at no cost to me. Have put over 500 rounds through the pistol with no problems since. The PX4 is almost as accurate as my model 92–and a lot sexier. It is my primary carry weapons–the other is a Walther PPK.

    Reply

  • James H

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    I love this pistol! I have a 92FS and a Remington 1911R1 which I like more for sentimental reasons and the 92FS is silky but the Storm in 40S&W is my favorite to shoot. For the money, or at any price for that matter, you cannot get a better buy in that class of gun.

    Reply

  • Griz

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    My PX4 subcompact had to be returned to the factory for defect repairs. The takedown lever was machined incorrectly and the springs that hold the takedown lever in place broke. I never got a chance to shoot the darn thing. Beretta did repair the pistol, at no expense to me. Hoping to finally be able to shoot it soon. I was wondering if anyone else had similar issues with their subcompact? Thanks

    Reply

  • Stormy1

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    Love my Beretta! When I want to pack a lot of rounds, I carry a PX4 sub compact in 9mm. It is a little thick (almost 1.5 inch at the decockers) but a great carry piece and a hoot to shoot even if I am not very accurate with it. The aesthetic features are definitely true. It gets lots of “oohs and ahs” when it is time for show and tell. When I know it is going to be a long day I revert back to my S&W 38+p Airweight. I know…..both are too small, but my buddies call me “American Express” because……….”I never leave home without it.” Better too small in the pocket than too big in the drawer!

    Reply

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