Range Report: Beretta Storm SubCompact 9mm

By Bob Campbell published on in Firearms, Range Reports

Beretta introduced a handgun a few years ago that was not revolutionary—instead it was evolutionary. The PX4 Storm married the proven Beretta double-action trigger and de-cocking safety to a polymer frame. Those preferring a double-action first-shot pistol had a relatively inexpensive alternative to the Beretta 92, and those wishing a durable and reliable polymer frame handgun had a counterpoint to the Glock. The primary advantage of the pistol is accuracy.

Storm PX4 SubCompact right

The Storm performed well with Federal’s high grade target ammunition.

The Storm features a long, double-action trigger press that cocks and drops the hammer. After the first shot, the slide recoils and cocks the hammer for a light, single-action press. The following shots are single action. The relatively light and short single-action press allows good accuracy even in the short Storm pistol. The long double-action trigger press and manual safety are seen as safety features.

If you wish, you may carry the Storm with the safety off, but some of us believe a manual safety is a real advantage. When the pistol is loaded and the slide racked, the hammer is cocked. By pressing the de-cocking lever, the hammer is safety dropped without any danger of slipping and dropping the hammer on the firing pin. There is also a positive firing pin lock or drop safety. The larger Storm pistols feature a rotating barrel. The sub compact 9mm does not.

I do not recommend carrying any handgun without a holster, but a double-action first-shot pistol with the safety on seems a better bet to stuff in the waistband or jacket pocket than a safe action or single action pistol. Handling is important to concealed carry shooters and may be of more import than performance on a combat course.

The Storm is a pudgy little number in some ways, but easily concealed. The Storm SubCompact features a three-inch barrel. This is a good length for a compact pistol, but velocity will not equal that of a service pistol. As an example, the Federal 124-grain HST, a proven defense load, exits the Beretta 92FS at 1,203 fps, and the Glock 19 at 1,180 fps, but only 1,107 fps from the subcompact Storm. This is simply a trade off in the case of a very small handgun.

safety lever with raised profile on the Beretta PX4 Storm SubCompact pistol

The pistol isn’t difficult to manipulate. Note raised profile safety lever.

The 9mm Luger cartridge burns clean and efficiently even from short barrels and gives good performance, however. The larger Storm handguns feature a rotating barrel, the SubCompact is fixed. The barrel crown is recessed—a nice touch. The steel slide features both forward and rear cocking serrations. The finish is long wearing black Bruniton. The pistol is short with a 6.2 inch OAL, and it is only 4.7 inches tall. It is chubby at 1.5 inches wide counting the wings of the safety. The pistol is rated at 26.1 ounces, while mine actually weighs closer to 25 ounces.

The problem with high-capacity handguns is grip space. They are too large for most hands. The polymer-framed Storm features a pared down grip allowing comfortable levels and a spare grip insert is included in the package along with a spare magazine. The pistol’s slide lock and magazine catch work well in rapid magazine changes and the polymer frame features a light rail that accepts most lights—a short one is desirable.

The sights are a carryover from the Beretta 92. They are excellent examples of combat sights. The pistol is supplied with two 13-round magazines. Thirteen rounds is a lot of capacity for such a short, light handgun with a comfortable grip. The only difficulty with the pistol is loading the magazines to full capacity. It isn’t difficult to load the magazine to 11 rounds, but the last two are difficult. I am lucky to own a Butler Creek magazine loader.

To evaluate the Storm, I collected a supply of ammunition and headed to the pistol range. The firing began with the Federal Syntech 124-grain loading. The coated bullet cuts down on powder ash and lead contamination as well as barrel wear. Function was positive and accuracy was good to excellent. I began by bringing the Storm up quickly from concealed carry and getting a solid X-ring hit. The pistol responded well to a trained shooter.

Box of Federal Premium HST ammunition

The HST from Federal Cartridge Company is a viable loading for personal defense. The 150-grain HST would be ideal as it is purpose designed for short barrel handguns.

I did not extend firing past seven yards and concentrated on a solid first shot hit before advancing to double taps. Recoil simply wasn’t a factor with this well designed handgun. A combination of a well shaped grip, smooth trigger action, and well designed sights made for good hits. I ran through several magazines with the Syntech load with excellent results.

Speed reloads were smooth enough, due to the generous magazine well and tapered magazine. Next up was the Federal 124-grain HST. I have tested this load extensively and found it to be an accurate load with an excellent balance of penetration and expansion. I also fired the 150-grain HST. This loading is purpose designed for maximum performance from short barrel handguns.

I fired at small targets from 10 to 25 yards and found hit probability to be excellent. The short, crisp, double-action trigger press and good sights allow for good shooting. The SubCompact PX4 Storm 9mm is practically as accurate in slow fire as its larger brethren. Recoil control and recovery, of course, make for a less impressive showing compared to full-sized handguns, but the Storm SubCompact 9mm is a credible defensive handgun. I find the Beretta PX4 Storm SubCompact to be a good choice for hideout use or even primary carry.

10-Yard Groups, Average of Two 5-Shot Groups

Cartridge Group Size
Federal 124-grain Syntech 1.0 inches
Federal 124-grain HST 1.1 inches
Federal 150-grain HST 1.2 inches
Speer 147-grain Gold Dot 1.25 inches

Do you own, or have you fired, the Storm SubCompact? Share your review in the comment section.

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 (22)

  • John

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    Regarding the comments about shooting low and to the left, it looks to me like you can drift the rear sight to the right, and file a little off the top of the front sight to raise the point of impact. I practice pointing without actually using the sights, and holding the gun as if it were in my vest pocket at about a car length. If the threat is very close you would not have time to align the sights. Naturally I shoot targets at 25 yards and more, using the sights.

    Reply

  • John Brown

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    I really enjoy shooting my Storm Sub Compact. Feels good in my hand, easy to operate, very predictive. I like the little touch of the groove for your fingers – very ergonomic. However, after carrying it a bit it was just too bulk and overly heavy for my taste so I moved on to a S&W Shield for everyday carry. I’ve been debating selling the Storm for over a year now but just can’t seem to part with it since it’s such a fun gun to shoot. I have seen some piece swap-outs for the overly large slide release and safety levers. They never seemed to bother me too much though.

    Reply

  • Mike

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    I agree with Steve I have the lower left problem too. I am planning to go to the local range and have one of the owners try it out. I am afraid to use as a carry for that reason Love everything else about the gun

    Reply

    • John

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      It looks like you can adjust the rear sight, and as you are hitting low, file the front.

      Reply

  • Hide Behind

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    Accuracy, in weapons designed for close up and personal self defense?
    There are a bunch of small weapons outand all not that new, that are more than plenty enough in accuracy department for pure self defense.
    There are lots of nice features that when combined make this a great choice for job at hand, even the price is fair.
    With today’s self defense loads even the 9mm is a great man stopper, a 40 better.
    Do not understand this center of mass mentality, when on silhouettes the head is same size as heart area.
    Talking of legal self defense range, not 25 and plus range.
    While not presently owning one in past only ankle holster, but disliked, preferred pocket weapon, inside or out of jacket.
    Too each their own.
    Nice weapon.

    Reply

  • Don Terrien

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    After shooting my brother’s PX-4 Storm compact, I decided to purchase my own for a CCW. I like a little more knock down power then the tried and proven 9mm, so I bought the PX-4 Storm in the Sub-compact 40 S&W cal. I have carried this gun now for two years and LOVE IT for my CCW! It shoots very well with accurate follow up shots.

    Reply

  • Steve

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    I love the fit/feel of my px4 subcompact. But it shoots low left (not only for me) for anyone that shoots it. Does anyone else experience that?

    Reply

  • Charlotte

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    This is my cc weapon of choice. I’m very picky about the feel of a weapon in my hand. I wanted something substantial without being overly large. This fit the bill. I took my cc course with this model and did very good even as a novice. I love the safety features on this gun. It also just looks tough, not all females want the cute little pink camo.

    Reply

  • Bill

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    I’ve shot all the PX4 sizes. I found the Compact a better overall fit but the subcompact is a good gun. The location of the decocker never stopped being awkward for me and the high profile wings always bit my hand when working the slide. I eventually got the CZ P07. Would also recommend CZ RAMI as a great alternative to the PX4 Subcompact. Not better, just different. Both excellent.

    Reply

  • Ed

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    I also chose the PX4 but a different version. I wanted the rotating barrel so I picked the next larger size, about half an inch longer. I also chose the 40 cal. It only has a 12 round mag but at significantly more energy than the 9mm. Loaded with extremely light bullets (less chance to over penetrate), it chronographed at 1900 fps. Really, it did. They also have very little felt recoil and the total package weighs noticeably less than lead bullets would.

    I agree with everything written about ergonomics and accuracy. It’s a sweet gun. Too bad it’s not American.

    Reply

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