The Beretta Px4 Storm is one of the smoothest operating handguns offered in the defensive handgun arena. Many more handguns have been offered in that market segment since the Px4 Storm made its debut, including more by Beretta. Sadly, the Px4 sometimes gets lost in the mix. That’s a shame.
The Beretta Storm is offered in nine different configurations: Px4 Storm Compact Carry, Px4 Compact FDE, Px4 Compact Grey, Px4 Storm Carry, Px4 Storm Compact, Px4 Storm Full, Px4 Storm SubCompact, Px4 Storm SD Type F, and Px4 Storm Inox. Each one can be purchased as a Type C, Type D, Type F, or Type G, but are primarily offered in the civilian market as Type F.
Type C is a single-action-only pistol. The C stands for “Constant Action” — the spurless hammer is in the half-cocked position. There is no decocker or safety. This configuration is primarily sold into the police market. Type D is double-action-only, with a spurless hammer, no decocker and no safety. The popular Type F is familiar to most of us. It is a SA/DA gun with a decocker and manual safety. Type G is SA/DA with the safety feature removed so that the safety lever works only as a decocker. Mine is the full-size version Type G, which I find to be a delightful, concealed carry gun.
The Px4 Storm SD .45 ACP semi-auto pistol was developed to meet the very demanding requirements issued by the U.S. Special Forces Command (SOCOM) for its Joint Combat Pistol. SOCOM called for superior weather resistance, extended threaded barrel, dark earth frame, tactical case, and additional accessories. Beretta answered the call successfully by redesigning the Storm’s internal components to meet or exceed all requirements.
The result was a pistol that satisfies not only SOCOM’s requirements but the most demanding shooter looking for the absolute best and most reliable pistol for personal defense, competition, or carry. All Beretta Px4 Storm pistols were designed to meet or exceed NATO requirements and have been reported to have fired over 150,000 rounds with zero failures. The Px4 is in use by police departments and military organizations around the world. Here in the United States, according to press releases, the Storm is in use by multiple police departments.
Beretta Px4 Storm Features
While the compact and subcompact models are very popular, I like my full-size model and find it comfortable to shoot and carry. Size-wise it is 7.5 inches long, 5.5 inches high, 1.22 inches wide, and weighs 28 ounces. The barrel is 4 inches long. The Beretta website stretches these measurements a bit. Maybe my gun has shrunk over the years, but I’m giving you exactly what the ruler says. I think it’s probably more an issue of translating from metric to U.S. measurements.
The heft is comfortable in my hands and not at all uncomfortable to carry in a good IWB holster. The slide is rounded everywhere there’s an edge, pronouncedly so on the top edges. Mounted on the slide are tritium night sights. I honestly don’t remember if the gun came that way or if it’s something I added later.
There are serrations on the flat part of the slide, which is the lower half, just above the rather hefty slide lock lever. On the back of the slide is an ambidextrous lever that doubles as a safety and a decocker. On models that have the safety, it totally disables the hammer and trigger.
The mag release button is in the customary place behind the trigger. Pressing it results in an aggressive drop of the magazine. The magazine is a 15-rounder, steel and strongly made. The grip frame is very comfortable to me. The Storm comes with interchangeable backstraps. I’m using the medium size on my gun.
One of the unique features of the Beretta Px4 Storm is the barrel operating system. While the Storm is a locked-breech operating semi-automatic pistol, the way the barrel locks up is different. There is a locking block that the recoil spring and rod go through. The block has a pin on it that fits inside a groove on the portion of the barrel that supports the “lock-up.”
The groove wraps around the barrel so the pin travels in a rotational manner around approximately one-fourth of the barrel when the gun is fired. This occurs at the start of the cycle to eject the just-fired cartridge and load another one. The end result of this action is that the first one-fourth of the recoil cycle is rotational and does not present any kind of “kick” to the shooter. Does the Storm have recoil? Yes, but it is diminished somewhat by the unique operating system.
One of the really cool aspects of the Px4 is the trigger. It has one of the smoothest triggers of any hammer-fired handgun I’ve shot, with a 7-pound double-action and 3-pound single-action trigger press. It’s an amazing trigger, which for me results in consistent accuracy.
Disassembly for cleaning or other maintenance is slightly different with this kind of barrel/recoil spring combo, but not at all complicated. After dropping the magazine, locking the slide back, and checking to ensure the chamber is empty, the slide is released by pulling two tabs on the frame downward just ahead and above the trigger guard — similar to take-down on a Glock.
Release the slide lock, and the slide will come off the front. No trigger pull is required. The recoil spring and locking block can be lifted from the barrel, the barrel removed and everything about cleaning, lubricating, and reassembling the gun is standard with one exception. You must maneuver the locking block over the barrel to get the pin into the groove. That requires a slight compression of the recoil spring. It’s not much different than the way you compress the recoil spring on any semi-automatic to get it to drop into place on the barrel.
At the Range
Prior to writing this review, I had not shot my Storm in some time. So, when I took it to the range, I picked seven types of ammo that did not exist when I last shot the gun. I had Speer’s new Carry Gun 135-grain 9mm, two of Hornady’s Custom FTX loads (one 115-grain, the other 124-grain), Inceptor’s 65-grain +P ARX, Hornady’s Subsonic 147-grain, Underwood Xtreme Defender 90-grain with Lehigh fluted bullets, and the new Norma 108-grain MHP. The Storm operated flawlessly, was easy to get on target, and get good hits. The Norma MHP rounds grouped tighter than any of the other rounds. It was almost a toss-up because the Underwood Xtreme Defender rounds literally obliterated the center of the target.
I’ve had my Storm since 2009, and because of the nature of my business, I have acquired several guns since then. After shooting a few rounds with the Storm on my recent range trip, I asked myself the question, “What have I gotten in recent years that’s better than this?” I have some nice guns, but the Storm will hold its own against any of them, except perhaps the match-grade Walther. But that gun is too heavy and bulky to carry. The Storm is not.
If you are in the market for a mid-size carry gun, the Beretta Px4 Storm will not disappoint you. I think any size would work fine. The Px4 is a seasoned carry gun with many fans and many accolades.
Have you fired the Beretta Px4 Storm? How does your experience compare with the author’s? Which self-defense ammunition do carry? Share your answers in the comment section.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April of 2022. It has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and clarity.
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