How To Clean A Beretta Px4 Handgun

Px4-Cleaning-Instructions

These detailed instructions are for a Beretta Px4, but if you have a 92/96 series, you can take advantage of this article too. There are a couple of different details, like how the takedown lever works, but everything else is pretty much the same.

The gun I’m using for this demonstration is a .40 S&W Beretta Px4 with a Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro. That’s a combination light and laser unit that works with virtually any gun with a rail – like this Px4. The good thing is that it’s completely out of the way for cleaning and maintenance, as you see here.

First you have to take it apart, or field strip your PX4. There is no need to completely disassemble your pistol unless something is obviously wrong with its function. And even then, full disassembly and inspection is best left to a qualified gunsmith.

When you’ve field stripped your Px4, you will be left with six major assemblies:

  1. Magazine
  2. Frame
  3. Slide
  4. Barrel
  5. Recoil spring
  6. Central block

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All necessary cleaning and lubrication can be done with this level of takedown.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

Even before step 1 of the field stripping process, you need to make sure that your pistol is empty. Remove the magazine. Most importantly, rack the slide multiple times to remove the cartridge in the chamber. Now visually check the chamber. Now do it again. Lock the slide open by pressing upward on the slide lock lever while retracting the slide. When you look through the top, can you see daylight through the magazine well? Can you see that there is no cartridge in the chamber? Good. Now you’re ready to proceed.

How to field strip your Px4

Step 1: Remove the slide.

Your Px4 should be decocked with the hammer in the “down” position. Using one hand, pull down the disassembly latch on both sides of the frame. Now move the entire slide assembly forward and it will come completely off the gun frame. Yes, it’s that easy.

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Step 2: Remove the central block and recoil spring.

The nice thing about a Px4 is that the recoil spring is captive, meaning it won’t go flying off across the room when you remove it. Turn the slide upside down and pull the central block and spring out. These two parts will separate easily as the spring is inserted into a hole in the block.

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Step 3: Remove the barrel from the slide.

Another easy step. With the central block and spring removed, the barrel will lift out of the slide.

All done! With the Px4, you want to be careful with the slide lock / slide release lever. With the slide removed, it’s fairly easy to knock off the frame, and the spring that holds it is a little bit tricky to reinstall. Just be careful and you’ll be fine.

How to clean your Beretta Px4

First you’re going to need some basic supplies. The Px4 includes a cleaning rod with a slotted end for patches and a brush, so technically all you need is cleaning solvent and lubricant.

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My favorite cleaning rig: OTIS Technology

There are dozens of gun oils and cleaning solvents on the market. Fortunately, it’s pretty hard to go too wrong with any gun-specific cleaners and oils. Notice we say gun-specific. What you don’t want to do is use a general purpose penetrating oil like WD-40. We love WD-40 and it’s wonderful for many things, like getting bubble gum out of your hair. You may even use it to clean gun parts. Just don’t rely on it as a preservative and protectant for post-cleaning use. Guns tend to get really hot, hence the need for special oil and lubricant formulations that are designed to stand up to intense heat. Since the Px4 has a polymer frame, be sure not to use solvents than can damage plastic. Generally, only degreasing products will have this issue.

We’re going to pause and put in a plug for what I believe to be the best cleaning system on the market. It’s called the OTIS Technology System.

It’s well worth the money and the kits are designed to accommodate rifles, shotguns and pistols of various calibers. Their most basic kits will handle 9mm, 40 S&W and .45 ACP – all you need to clean the Beretta Px4.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

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Beretta 1301 Tactical Shotgun Review: A “Carbine” Shotgun

The Beretta 1301 Tactical is all business with ghost ring sights and a rail for optics.

The Beretta 1301 Tactical is all business with ghost ring sights and a rail for optics.

Have you ever shot an M1 Garand, followed by an M1 Carbine? Or perhaps a FAL, followed by a Ruger 10/22? Or maybe a full size over and under 12 gauge, followed by a compact coach gun?

If so, then you already have an idea of the relative feel of the Beretta 1301 Tactical shotgun.

What attracted me to this gun for testing and evaluation is its compact size, light weight and super quick handling. You can think of it as a shotgun carbine. With an 18.5 inch barrel and short stock, the entire length is just under 38 inches long. As a comparison, the M1 Carbine of WWII fame is 35.6 inches end to end, while a Ruger Carbine measures 37 inches.

Just the specs…

In standard configuration, you'll be able to fit four 2 ¾ inch shells in the tube, but you'll have to remove the plug first.

In standard configuration, you’ll be able to fit four 2 ¾ inch shells in the tube, but you’ll have to remove the plug first.

The factory configured stock is really, really compact, offering a length of pull of just about 13 inches. As I wanted a compact shotgun, I left it just as is – almost. More on that a bit later. If you prefer a longer stock and length of pull, Beretta includes two spacers that work together or separately. One is ½ inch while the other is 1 inch, so choose the length you want and mix and match accordingly. As with most other Beretta guns, you can also tweak drop and cast, although I had no need – this one fit me out of the box and offered a natural sight line right down the sights.

Offered in 12 gauge only, the 1301 Tactical features a 3-inch chamber, not that you need it. If you want to get thumped, feel free, you can load the big boy shells.

Magazine capacity is a bit of a mystery. Some retailers quote the 1301 Tactical as 4+1 while other say 5+1. Beretta doesn’t exactly say in their website specs, but the owners manual indicates 4+1, so I just tried it. Mine fit four 2 ¾ inch shells plus one in the chamber. Just a heads up, Beretta ships the gun with the magazine plug installed, which limits you to two shells in the tube. Just remove the end cap and pop that out to take advantage of full magazine capacity.

The controls

The controls, bolt handle, bolt release and safety are all oversized and easy to manipulate with or without gloves.

The controls, bolt handle, bolt release and safety are all oversized and easy to manipulate with or without gloves.

The primary controls are all oversized and easy to operate, presumably to enable operation with gloved hands. This also makes it a solid combination home defense and competition shotgun.

The bolt release button is oblong with textured ridges, so operation is easy and positive. The bolt handle is also oversized, and shaped somewhat like a snow cone cup, with the pointy end in the receiver. The shape encourages your fingers to stay on the handle when operating it quickly. The push through safety bar is also oversized and reversible.

Read the rest at GunsAmerica!

Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition 2nd Edition 2014. It’s ON SALE now for a limited time!

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

10 Things You Need To Know About Flying With Guns

How to fly with guns

Here’s a bold statement.

When you fly the friendly skies, you’ll experience more invasion of privacy, groping and unwanted scrutiny when you walk through the TSA checkpoint than when you try to check guns in your baggage.

I fly enough that the majority of currently employed TSA agents are intimately familiar with every square inch of my body. But groping aside, I’ve found checking guns by following the rules to be a simple and straightforward process – as long as you carefully follow the rules.

Be aware that there are always two sets of rules: those set by the TSA and those set by your airline. In a perfect world, they will be consistent with each other, but be aware, that doesn’t always happen.

Let’s review a checklist for hassle-free flying with guns.

1. Buy or borrow a lockable hard case.

Per the regulations, it can be a case with integrated combinations locks, but I prefer a case with multiple holes for heavy duty padlocks of my choosing. Do NOT use TSA locks on your gun case. This is a misunderstood area of the law and, technically speaking, it’s illegal for you to do so. Per the letter of the law, as discussed in the footnotes of this article, you alone must maintain possession of the keys or combination to open your gun case. You cannot lock it in such a way that others have access. By using TSA locks on your gun case, lots of people, just about anyone in fact, technically has access to your guns. TSA locks are NOT secure and not even TSA agents are supposed to have access to your case, once cleared, without you being present to unlock the case.

One more thing about cases. If you travel with a pistol, you might want to get a larger than necessary case, like this one. You can legally place other items besides your gun in the case, like cameras or computer equipment.

2. Check your airline’s website to review their policies.

While most are essentially the same, they don’t have to be. Print out the policy page to bring with you. With all that ticketing agents need to know, not every agent will have a complete understanding of their airline’s gun policy.

3. Review the TSA policy website for the latest information.

It can, and does, change. That’s your tax dollars at work folks. Print this out also, as different TSA agents have different understandings of their own policy. Really.

4. Unload your gun and magazine.

Complete this step while still at home! Check the chamber to make sure that’s empty. I like to pack my guns in the case with cylinder or action locked open so it’s very apparent the gun is in a safe condition. That’s not required, just good manners.

5. Weigh your gun case and ammunition.

Most airlines will allow up to 11 pounds of ammunition. And, like any luggage, you will be charged more for any baggage weighing more than 50 pounds. This sounds like a lot, but when traveling to the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun competition last year, my case with shotgun, rifle, pistol and ammunition tipped the scale past the 50 pound mark.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

Three Gunning for Home Defense?

Two of the pistol choice contenders: Springfield Armory TRP 1911 (left) and Beretta PX4 Storm (right)

Two of the pistol choice contenders: Springfield Armory TRP 1911 with Crimson Trace Master Series Laser Grips and Lightguard (left) and Beretta PX4 Storm with Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro (right)

In a rare fit of advance planning and organization, I’m starting to think about what gear to use at this year’s Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational match. The event takes place August 12th through 17th in the high desert outside of Bend, Oregon, so I’ve got a little time.

As the event title implies, I need to pick, you guessed it, three guns to use – one handgun, shotgun and rifle. Stages are designed in such a way that you must always use at least two, and usually all three guns. Some targets require use of a specific gun type. For example, you might have to obliterate targets 1 through 9 with your pistol and targets 10 through 17 with your rifle. Other targets are optional, meaning that it’s the shooters choice whether to use a shotgun, rifle or pistol.

The event is more fun than should be legal, especially as it takes place in the absolute dark of night. Last year, shooting started sometime after 9pm and finished up some mornings near 5:30am. Who needs sleep?

This year, I’ve already decided to use the Midnight 3 Gun event as a home defense equipment trial of sorts. Rather than picking guns that are perfectly optimized to three gun competition rules, I’m going to pick guns that are reasonable to use in my home for protection of self, family and my ABBA vinyl record collection.

What does that really mean? If I was choosing to optimize for the competition and game the rules, I might select the following:

Tweaked out “competition optimized” guns like the shotgun mentioned above are obviously are not necessarily well suited for home defense. You wouldn’t want to be navigating your home in the middle of the night with a six foot long shotgun complete with magazine tube extending into the next room. A short and compact model would almost certainly be more appropriate – even if it had lower capacity.

With all that said, here’s what I am considering for each gun category:

Pistol

Last year I used a Glock 17 with rear activated laser and front activated light.

Last year I used a Glock 17 with rear activated laser and front activated light.

I’ve got a number of contenders going for the perfect home defense / M3GI pistol. Last year I shot a Glock 17 equipped with Crimson Trace Lasergrips and Crimson Trace Lightguard. It’s certainly no slouch for a home defense gun. 9mm is acceptable as a defensive round, capacity of 17+1 is solid and you can find a holster to fit a geared up Glock. But it’s a new year and a new match. I’ve been there and done that with the Glock, so I’ll be trying something different. Perhaps one of the following:

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

12 Reasons I Carry A Gun

Call-911-you-dont-need-a-gun

1. A fire extinguisher is a lousy self defense weapon.

No one seems to have an issue with folks keeping a fire extinguisher in the house, right? I mean, people don’t question your paranoia level even though there are fire departments just about everywhere. So I thought about just carrying a fire extinguisher for self defense too. I figured I could foam at least three people in the face before it emptied, and then it becomes an excellent impact weapon. After discovering that finding a concealed holster was near impossible, I gave up.

2. I don’t know when I might need it.

While crime rates continue to fall over the long haul, there’s still plenty of evil behavior to go around. Read any paper and you’ll see that crimes happen all over, not just in “high risk” places. Speaking of high risk places, if I ever thought I was going somewhere I might need to use my gun, you can be darn tootin’ sure I wouldn’t be going there in the first place.

3. Because 186,873.

According to USA Carry, that’s the number of warrants outstanding for felons across the US. They walk among us.

4. An Abrams tank gets horrible gas mileage.

Before you write off this idea, think of the benefits. Although a tank has great offensive weaponry, you probably wouldn’t ever need it. You’re pretty well protected from just about anything other than rust. Just drive it into your garage and be sure to shut the garage door with your clicker before exiting the hatch. Be sure to lower the main gun barrel first.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

 

Turn Your Handgun Into An Effective Home Defense Tool

Why not add a light and laser to your nightstand gun?

Why not add a light and laser to your nightstand gun? This Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro gives you both.

When it comes to home defense, cheating is an acceptable, and desirable, strategy. If you’re ever forced to defend your loved ones in your home, and you find yourself in a fair fight, you tactics suck, or so the saying goes.

Put into practical and actionable terms, when preparing your home defense strategy, it makes sense to identify all reasonable advantages and put them into action.

One big advantage you can easily implement is the addition of lights and lasers to your home defense gun. Neither of these tools replaces good gun handling technique nor are they designed to. They are designed to give you more options in a bad situation.

Benefits of a weapon mounted light

Should you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of hearing the proverbial bump in the night, it will be dark. Funny how that works isn’t it?

Darkness and handguns don’t work well together, even if you have fancy tritium night sights on yours. While you might see your sights glowing, you really don’t have a clear view of what you should or, more importantly, should not shoot at. A weapon-mounted light gives you the ability to see clearly what’s in front of your muzzle, and that’s crucial information to have before you pull the trigger. Even though a weapon mounted-light faces forward, it will help you see regular (non-tritium) sights too.

A pistol-mounted light is not intended to replace a handheld light. A handheld light is for searching and a weapon mounted light is for shooting. It’s as simple as that. Remember Rule 3? Never point your gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy. If you’re using your weapon light to look around, you are, by definition, pointing your gun at unknown things. Since they’re unknown, you’re not sure if you’re willing to destroy them, right?

Benefits of a lasers

A laser gives you more aiming options. It’s as simple as that. Especially in low light or dark conditions, you will see exactly where your shot will impact, assuming you pull the trigger correctly.

Use of a laser supports the natural tendency we have to focus on the danger when we’re threatened. Yes, lot’s of training will teach one to revert concentration back to the sights when ready to fire, but the brain’s desire to focus on a threat is a powerful habit to overcome. When using a laser, you can focus on the threat and aim at the same time.

A laser also provides flexibility in shooting positions. When using standard sights, the gun must, by definition, be up high and right in front of your eyes. Using a laser, you can safely and accurately fire from more unconventional positions where the gun is lower and not blocking your direct vision. In night training exercises I’ve done, I’ve found that ability to search, with your gun held lower out of your sight, makes a big difference in overall situational visibility.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

How To Get Started Trap Shooting

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Recently, I wrote The Rookie’s Introduction to Clay Shooting to help new folks get a handle on what the various clay shooting sports are all about.

Now, let’s get serious and take a look at how to get started.

Although you can start your clay target shooting career in any of the primary disciplines – trap, skeet or sporting clays, I might encourage new shotgun shooters to take a run at trap shooting first. It’s not a hard and fast rule, just an opinion from some guy on the internet. (That would be me.)

Here’s why I tend to favor starting with trap shooting first. Because I did. But seriously, while my first foray into the shotgun sports was on the trap field, it was by pure coincidence and not a result of deliberate effort. That turned out to be a good thing.

Here’s why.

In American Trap, you shoot at targets moving away from you at predictable angles. This means they’re easier to hit – especially for beginners. In the singles version of trap, you only get one shot at each target.

At the big regional and national competitions, you will see top shooters hit several hundred targets without a single miss. The competition might only be 200 targets total, but when the tie breakers start, competitors might shoot hundreds more targets before someone misses.

Lest you think becoming a trap shooting expert is easy, think about the mental voodoo games your brain does when you’ve hit 20, 50 or even 100 targets in a row. There’s some serious jinxing going on about hitting the next one. The top trap shooters are absolute masters when it comes to handling pressure and keeping focus on one thing only – the next target. People describe a trap competition as 200 consecutive one-shot competitions.

We’re getting ahead of ourselves talking about serious trap competition, but I only mention that as an illustration. It’s easy to get “sorta good” quickly. After a couple of rounds, with some basic instruction, you’ll be breaking more targets than you miss. That’s satisfying and will keep you coming back for more.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!
Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition 2nd Edition 2014. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

How to Handle A Traffic Stop When Carrying a Concealed Gun

Here’s some useful advice, and straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak, but don’t tell my friend William I mentioned his name and “horse’s mouth” in the same sentence. He spent years in law enforcement and made his share of traffic stops – always a potentially high-risk endeavor. Here are his thoughts on how you, as the concealed carrying driver, can help safely manage the situation for all involved.

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One of the most frequent questions that I get as a CWP instructor and former police officer is what to do if stopped by a police officer while legally carrying a concealed handgun. The answer depends on the local and state laws where you live, but I think that most situations merely call for a little common sense.

You have to understand that when a police officer approaches a vehicle, they have no idea what they are going to encounter. It may be a 16 year old girl crying because it is the first time she has been stopped, or it may be someone who just robbed a bank who has made up his mind that he is not going to jail. Every traffic stop has the potential to be deadly, and every officer has been through hours of training reminding them of just how serious of a situation it can be.
So what does this mean if you get stopped while carrying? The first thing is that you have to do to make the situation easy and clear for the officer. Pull off the side of the road far enough, if possible, to give the officer enough room to approach your vehicle without having to worry about oncoming traffic. Roll your window down, place both hands on the steering wheel and leave them there until told to do otherwise. The first thing the officer is going to want to see is your hands, because that is where any threat is going to come from. If it is dark outside, take the added step of turning on your vehicle’s interior light; it is just one more thing that shows you’re looking out for his safety. I will tell you from experience that approaching a dark car with blackened windows is not fun. It’s common courtesy as a CWP holder to remove as many perceived threats as possible from the situation.

This is not the time to start digging in your glove box or center console for your insurance card or wayward registration. To an approaching officer, that looks surprisingly like someone reaching for a gun. This is especially true in states that allow one to carry a pistol there legally without a carry permit.

This is also not the time to jump out of your vehicle and walk back towards the officer. Although your tag number, vehicle description and location should already have been called in before the blue lights come on, there may be radio communications occupying his or her attention. Seeing a driver exit their vehicle and start walking back raises all kinds of warning alarms as the officer thinks back to their training on how many deadly encounters started that way.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

Customizing Your Beretta Handgun

I used to be a gun purist. I never made any changes to a factory gun. If I did tweak it, swap out parts or add things, then it wouldn’t be original any more, now would it? And that would be… wrong? For some reason, having a perfect, factory-configured gun was important to me. Perhaps for the same reason I’m reluctant to pull that tag off of new mattresses.

A lightly personalized Beretta 3032 Tomcat (left) and a Beretta 92FS customization in progress (right.) Note the stainless steel guide rod and Hogue wrap-around grips.

A lightly personalized Beretta 3032 Tomcat (left) and a Beretta 92FS customization in progress (right.) Note the stainless steel guide rod and Hogue wrap-around grips.

Fortunately, I got over the compulsion to leave my guns as is.

To be honest, part of the reason for my attitude change was that I, umm, dropped my Beretta 3032 Tomcat .32ACP. Hard. So hard, it broke the grips. Oops. As I started to order a factory replacement set, I got a sudden urge to do a little Googling just to see what other options were out there. Just in case.

To make a long story short, I found a beautiful set of wooden grips. I took the plunge and decided it was time to consider going custom.

After all, we’re talking about my handguns. Why not make them my own?

When it comes to customizing, you can make cosmetic changes, performance changes, or both! Your customizations can be internal, external or both!

Just for fun, I’ll share some of the things I’ve done on my Beretta 92FS – and some of my future customization plans.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

A Beretta 92 and the Sounds of Silence…

Here's a happy combination: a Beretta 92FS and SilencerCo Octane

Here’s a happy combination: a Beretta 92FS and SilencerCo Octane

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, there are just under 600,000 silencers registered in the U.S. as required by the National Firearms Act. With the current backlog of 74,000 applications for NFA classified guns, that number is rapidly growing.

Why? Silencers are polite. While they don’t hush gunshots to whispers as depicted in the movies, they do reduce the ear-damaging noise of a gunshot to safer levels. When folks are using silencers at a shooting range or training class, students can easily hear range commands. New shooters avoid the tendency to flinch away from the loud bang when that bang is muffled. Neighboring homes and businesses will also appreciate the reduction of noise.

Depending on your configuration and ammunition choice, you may not need hearing protection at all. As hearing damage is permanent, be sure to carefully review the performance specifications of your silencer and ammunition choice before leaving the hearing protection in your shooting bag.

I’ve got a well used Beretta 92FS that’s been one of my perennial favorites. I love the feel, the weight, the balance and how softly it shoots even +P 9mm loads. You could say it fits me like a glove. It’s also been the most reliable handgun in my safe. It eats any and all types of 9mm ammunition and never jams. Ever.
Whether intentional or not, the Beretta 92 is a perfect handgun for use with a silencer. The barrel naturally extends past the front of the slide – enough for a competent gunsmith to cut threading so a silencer can be mounted. The open-top slide presents even more forgiveness for proper cycling, with which a silencer can interfere.

For these reasons, I decided it was time to suppress this bad boy.

Because of my insatiable need to tinker with gun configurations, I wanted to get a silencer that was multi-purpose – one that could be used on different caliber handguns and even a subsonic rifle. For this reason, I elected to acquire a SilencerCo Octane 45. Getting the .45 caliber version meant that my silencer would be a tad longer and heavier, but on the positive side, I could use it with .45, .40 S&W, 9mm, .380 and even .22LR handguns. This one is even rated for use with a 300 AAC Blackout subsonic rifle. Talk about versatility!

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

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