Beretta released its PX4 Storm line in the 1990s without much fanfare, but it since has developed something of a cult-like following. 

It is one of the few modern polymer-framed pistols that is hammer-fired with a traditional double/single-action trigger still being produced today – to say nothing of the fact that is soft-shooting, highly reliable, and accurate.
 

Table of Contents

Video
Impressions
Rotating Barrel
Traditional Double/Single Action
Accuracy & Reliability
Compact Carry
Safety
Models
Accessories
Conclusion

Video

 

 

Impressions

 

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact Carry 9mm Handgun
Beretta's PX4 Storm is a soft-shooting gun that stands out among others in its class. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


I love the Beretta PX4 line for two main reasons: the shootability and the safety features. First off, these guns shoot more softly and accurately than most other guns in their class. This is a result of the overall design and engineering of the gun, but most notably, the rotating barrel action. I can shoot them faster and get better hits on target compared to similar firearms. 

Second, the DA/SA trigger adds a level of safety both in defensive situation and when carrying concealed. More on this later. 

I also like interchangeable backstraps for different hand sizes. This is one of the best ergonomic improvements over its predecessor, the 8000 Series Cougar.
 

Rotating Barrel

 

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact Carry 9mm Handgun
Its soft impulse is attributed to Beretta's unique rotating barrel system. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


The soft impulse of this gun is due to its unique operation system. Full-sized and compact guns in the PX4 Storm line all use Beretta’s proprietary rotating barrel system. 

I go into more detail on this barrel system in my review of the Stoeger Cougar. The PX4 is the upgrade to the 8000 series Cougar design. Without rehashing everything, basically the barrel rotates to unlock after a round is discharged, in contrast to most modern pistols having the barrel tilt up to unlock. This rotating system produces a more accurate and lighter-recoiling gun with less muzzle flip. I’m a big fan of this action because of these traits. 
 

Traditional Double/Single Action

 

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact Carry 9mm Handgun
The double-action trigger break measured 9 pounds on our test gun, with the single-action pull cutting that in half to 4.5 pounds. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


Another nuance of this pistol is that it uses a traditional double/single action trigger. This means the first trigger pull that cocks and then releases the hammer is long and heavy, but once the hammer is cocked, subsequent trigger pulls are light and crisp. 

On the test gun, the double-action pull was a smooth 9 pounds, and the single-action break was a short 4.5 pounds.

I really like the safety concept behind this trigger action. The theory is that in a self-defense situation, one wants a heavier trigger to minimize possibility of accidental discharge. In a life-or-death confrontation, your anxiety will be super high. A light single-action trigger might get pulled inadvertently at any surprise and twitch of the finger. A longer, heavier trigger will decrease the likelihood of a pull that isn’t deliberate.

 
Beretta PX4 Storm Compact Carry 9mm Handgun
After the intial pull, the trigger is lighter and shorter in single action. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


Once the decision to shoot has been made and the first shot is fired, subsequent shots are easier with the lighter and shorter single action. Repeat shots are easy to fire fast and accurately with an easier trigger pull.

I also like this concept for carrying concealed. The most common time someone shoots themselves is during holstering. Clothing or some kind of debris is the usually the culprit that gets lodged into the trigger guard and activates the trigger when holstering. A heavier trigger decreases this possibility, as it is more likely the shooter will feel the engagement of the trigger when pushing against the obstruction.
 

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact Carry 9mm Handgun
An exposed hammer means you can feel any change in position while holstering the gun. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


The exposed hammer also helps with holstering. If you put your thumb on the hammer while holstering, any movement of the hammer will signal a problem so that you can stop your motion before the hammer is fully pulled back and then released.
 

Related: Don Summers' Beretta PX4 Storm Everyday Carry Pistol (VIDEO)
 

Accuracy & Reliability

 

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact Carry 9mm Handgun
My test PX4 lived up to its reputation for accuracy and reliability. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


PX4s – and Berettas in general – have reputations for accuracy and reliability. In fact, Beretta claims PX4s have survived 100,000-round torture tests with no parts breakage. The robust rotating system, cold-hammer-forged barrel, and fully supported chamber may have something to do with this feat. 

My testing, while nowhere close to as intensive, found this reputation to be spot-on. The gun was accurate for a gun of its size and very reliable. I had no issues.
 

Related: Ernest Langdon spent a year running up 50K rounds on a Beretta PX4 that just wouldn’t die

 

Compact Carry

 

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact Carry 9mm Handgun
The Compact Carry version features a "G"-type safety, meaning the manual safety has been replaced with a de-cocker-only lever. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


The version I’m reviewing here is the Compact Carry model in 9mm. This is a semi-custom variant that was developed with the assistance of Ernest Langdon and released in 2017. Langdon is a world-class competitor turned gunsmith who made his name customizing Beretta pistols.

The first change made was that the Compact Carry has a “G”-type safety mechanism, which means the manual safety has been deactivated and converted to a de-cocker-only lever. When you engage, the new lower-profile safety levers will only de-cock the gun to double-action mode, and then spring back to the fire position. There is no safe position where the trigger is completely deactivated.

Next, the ambidextrous slide lock levers have been replaced with a low-profile, left-side-only lever. Third, the magazine release was changed to an extended version to aid in engagement. A competition trigger group was also added to improve the weight and feel of the trigger pull. It also comes with three magazines instead of the usual two that come with other models.
 

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact Carry 9mm Handgun
Upgraded AmeriGlo sights offer an excellent sight picture. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)

Finally, the sights were upgraded to AmeriGlo sights that have a bright orange front blade with imbedded tritium and a blacked-out rear sight. The resulting sight picture is outstanding.
 
 
Beretta PX4 Storm Compact Carry 9mm Handgun
My test gun didn't come with the usual Talon grip tape seen on Compact Carry models. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


Compact Carry models also come with aftermarket Talon grip tape to add texture to the gun. My used test gun did not have these grips. I’m assuming it was never installed and was lost, or it was removed by the original buyer.

One easy way to tell the difference between a Compact Carry and a normal Carry PX4 is that the Compact Carry has a gray slide with black frame. But don’t only rely on color difference when shopping for these guns. I’ve seen used guns that are just the Carry model, but owners have had the slide color changed.
 

Safety

 

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact Carry 9mm Handgun
The "G"-type safety can be converted to the standard "F"-type manual safety with a kit sold by Beretta. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


As stated earlier, Compact Carry has a G-type de-cock-only safety mechanism. Most other models of the PX4 line have manual slide-mounted safeties, and it is easy to swap between these two safeties. Beretta sells kits to convert the de-cock-only guns to manual safety “F” models and vice versa. So, one is not locked into only one type of safety.
 

Models

 

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact Carry 9mm Handgun
The PX4 Storm line offers several different varieties, including full, compact, and sub-compact sizes. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)


There are several different models in the PX4 Storm line. Size-wise, they come in full, compact, and sub-compact variants. (Note: The sub-compact does not have a rotating barrel). Caliber-wise, they come in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP

There are also some special editions. The SD Type F version was designed to compete in the Army’s pistol solicitation. It is a tan full-sized, .45-caliber pistol with an extended barrel. 
 

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact Carry 9mm Handgun
The Compact Carry model can be identified by its gray slide and black frame, although some other models may show aftermarket updates to the gray slide. (Photo: Don Summers/Guns.com)

The Compact Carry is also a special model. It was created to be the ultimate CCW package. It’s more expensive than a standard Carry version; however, if you take into account all the upgrades, it’s less expensive to buy a Compact Carry as opposed to buying a Carry and then adding all the upgrades yourself. 
 

But this calculation is assuming that you buy everything new. Used and discounted PX4s are often available on Guns.com. And if there are only certain upgrades you want, you might be able to build your own version of a Compact Carry for less money.
 

Accessories

Luckily, because of the cult following, there is a good accessory market for the PX4. You can find sights, holsters and all manner of parts.

King in the PX4 customization world is the man who designed the Compact Carry, Ernest Langdon. Langdon Tactical will bring your PX4 into the 21st century. He offers trigger jobs, grip texture work, and even an option to add a red dot cut into the PX4 slide. There is nothing stopping the PX4 from being a top-of-the-line carry or competition firearm.
 

Conclusion


I think there is a good reason the PX4 reached cult status. It fills a niche few other guns can. And of course, you also get the nearly 500-year tradition of Beretta.

I am looking into getting a used .45 ACP full-sized PX4 and adding an optic to make it my bowling pin gun.

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