The Good
This is one of the softest shooting guns we’ve tried
The Bad
Slide tension is very heavy which is compounded by the de-cocker switch design
The Ugly
Our monthly cost spend on .40 S&W ammo is now totally out of control
Our Rating
3 Nuns Three Nuns

Beretta PX4 Storm .40 S&W Pistol

Approximate Retail Price: $550

The Beretta PX4 is an exceptionally soft shooting gun in terms of feel. The model tested was a .40S&W double / single action model. Even with fairly stout self defense loads the perceived recoil impulse was gentle. I think the combination of well rounded design, rotating barrel recoil mechanism, and weight make for a great feel. The trigger and trigger guard are also smooth and well polished, so high volume shooting does not tend to irritate your hand and fingers like other polymer framed pistols. An additional nice touch is the shaping of the rear of the trigger guard area. There is a cutout area where the trigger guard and grip meet that allows a little extra breathing room for your trigger finger – reducing the likelihood of interference during trigger pull.

To really test the comfort factor of the Beretta pX4, I shot a Steel Challenge match with it. Steel Challenge has a fairly high round count due to multiple stages with each stage being repeated 5 times – and you shoot until you hit. A perfect competitor shoots a minimum of 125+ rounds in short order. That’s assuming no missed targets. In my case, I go through a 10 or 20 thousand by the time all the steel is hit. The comfortable design of the PX4 Storm, combined with low felt recoil, made for a pleasant match. No blisters, blood, or broken digits.

Laserlyte Pistol Bayonet

The Laserlyte Pistol Bayonet Can Attach Easily

Like most polymer pistols on the market, the Beretta PX4 features a Picatinny Milstd-1913 rail for attachment of lights, lasers, and even a Laserlyte Pistol Bayonet if you’re so inclined. Other now common features include three different backstraps to accommodate different hand sizes, 14 round magazine capacity (17 round extended magazines are available) and a reversible magazine release button to serve righties and lefties.

Field stripping for cleaning is a snap. Just pull down on the release lever and the slide glides right off the front of the frame. The recoil spring is captive so nothing goes flying.

One thing to be aware of in the PX4 is the heavy tension on the slide. It takes some serious muscle to rack the slide. With proper technique – using your strong hand to push the frame forward, rather than using the weak hand to pull it back – it’s manageable though. I think the heavily beveled and smooth slide makes it feel more difficult than it actually is. The design and shape of the safety/decocker switch adds a little grief to the process as the lever is just big enough to tear up your hand and just small enough to be a bit of a challenge to engage and disengage with a thumb-flick. Like the Beretta 92FS, the safety/de-cocker lever de-cocks the gun back to double action and disables the trigger connector so the trigger swings freely.

The “night sights” cause me a little grief as they require pre-charging with a light source prior to use. For certain law enforcement tactical applications I suppose this *might* be a workable solution…

“Hey, hang a sec, before we break down this dirtbags door, I need to charge up my sights!”

For home use, I think it’s even more of a stretch. Consider this scene:

Setting: 3am, master bedroom. There’s a bump in the night…

My wife: Hey, wake up, someone has been beating on the front door for the past 20 minutes!

Me: Can’t you deal with it? Oh, OK, hang on a sec.

(fumbles in nightstand for gun)

Me: Hey, you at the front door, can you wait a sec? I can’t see the sights on my gun so I need to shine a flashlight on them for a bit. Be right with you.

Dude breaking into the house: Sure, no sweat, I’ve got about 20 minutes before my next home invasion.

Me: Awesome. Thanks, I really appreciate it. Honey, have you seen the flashlight?

My wife: Hey will you shut up? Can’t a girl get any sleep around here?

In summary, I love the Beretta PX4 – it’s one of my favorites. Yes, there are a couple of minor annoyances like the safety lever. I can’t really fault Beretta for those Super-LumiNova ‘chargeable’ night-sights though. Adding tritium sights would bump the retail price up another hundred bucks easily. I just don’t really see the point in them. The PX4 is a gun that’s really enjoyable to shoot – comfortable, nice perceived recoil, and it’s not bad on the eyes!

More detailed information on the PX4 Storm is available at

He said She said
I don’t see a lot of these at the range. That’s OK though, I am secure in my manhood. It’s a big gun, although I have no problem carrying it. Weight is more than some of the other pure plastic guns out there, but I like that. Same reason I still like the Beretta 92FS I suppose – it just feels good. Holster availability isn’t bad – you can generally find what you need. It’s not bad – for one of ‘his’ guns. The grip is still a little large for me. I also found the slide to be *very* heavy to operate. Personally, I liked the operation of the safety / de-cocker. I found it easy to reach and operate.


Accessories available at Brownells

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Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters