Saturday, October 12, 2013

Hypocrisy And Other Fine Hobbies

If you're one of the seven or eight people who reads this blog regularly, you'll know I don't have much nice to say about Beretta handguns. They're too big, too needlessly complex, and generally very heavy. So I went out and bought a new Beretta PX4 Storm Compact in 9x19mm to serve as my new concealed carry gun.

The Storm combines what I liked from the M9 (decent DA trigger, reliability, accuracy) and got rid of the stuff I wasn't so fond of (exposed barrel, MASSIVE size, enormous bulk). I had the opportunity to put about 200 rounds through it last weekend and the results were very good. I fed it 150 rounds of Federal 115gr FMJ and 50 rounds of Winchester Ranger T 147gr JHP. There were no malfunctions, and no real difference in accuracy between the two loads. In fact, accuracy was the real highlight of the day. I was able to put the whole 15-round magazine into a hand-sized group at 25-30 yards (I didn't measure it, but my uncle says the stand is "at least 25 yards from the porch".) and I even launched three of those rounds from DA.

And that's what hooked me at the gun store. That double-action trigger is very good. The single-action is also very good, but the DA is what matters because that's your first shot. I was able to draw from concealment and fire into a 3" circle at 7-15 yards every time. The ergonomics, combined with that trigger, is really impressive.

Also, the Storm features a unique twist-lock barrel that Beretta swears makes it more accurate. Maybe it does, but I have my doubts. It does, however, handle very quickly (as does the M9) and the short reset of the SA trigger combined with the front sight's adamant refusal to leave the target encouraged me to shoot a little faster than I should have, and turned what I intended to be double-taps into strings of sustained fire. Maybe that's down to my form (I've done a LOT of snap caps in the past eight months...) or maybe that twist-lock barrel redirects recoil to create less muzzle rise, or maybe I'm on crack. But it really did seem like there was not nearly as much muzzle rise as you'd expect on a pistol of this size.

Onward to comparables, the PX4 Compact is spot-on the same size as a Glock 19 in length, height, and weight, but the Beretta is nearly half an inch wider--which is an issue. It is about the biggest gun I could hope to conceal, and is not very comfortable to wear AIWB.

PX4 vs M&P9C

The PX4 also has some faults. The sights are an oddball size, so if you want to upgrade, you'll have to do some homework. Also, the interchangeable backstraps use the most idiotic system I've ever seen. They are held in place by a wire clip that must be pried out with a flat screwdriver and then *hammered* back in place (the use of a hammer is recommended in the manual, I shit you not). It is blatantly stupid and someone at Beretta needs to go back to engineering school. A gun this good deserves better. And, as with most of my favourite handguns, the PX4 doesn't have as many bespoke holsters available as Glock/XD/M&P, though there are some decent IWB choices out there.

The bottom line: If you like traditional DA/SA pistols, you will like the PX4 Storm. If you don't, well, there's the Glock 19.


James said...

Glock 19 it is.

Really, I want a 34, 19, and 26. But now that I'm AR10 poor, I might have to settle for 34 and 26. Or whatever random and arbitrary numbers mean "longslide 9mm" and "subcompact 9mm."

The Flatland Gun Nut said...

I'd do it the boring and practical way and skip the 34 and 26. The 19 will do everything pretty well. I almost bought a G19 the day I got the PX4.The Beretta has more hipster points, so I got it.