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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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|
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 Shooters 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.