In 2014, I spent a decent amount of time shooting the Beretta Px4 Storm. I didn’t shoot much in 2014, probably only 7,000 rounds of pistol or so; of that about 2,000 was through the Px4 Storm. I had three posts that covered using the gun, including a review of the Px4 Storm. I shot it in several action pistol matches and at Bianchi Cup, I learned that you can put the “D” spring from a Beretta 8000 series in the Storm to greatly improve the trigger, I discovered that the rotating barrel makes the gun unusually accurate, and that the recoil system is about the most pleasant 9mm I’ve ever shot. In short, I learned that it’s a pretty good gun…and not a lot of people like it.
I understand that in the early going, there were problems with some of the Storms. I’ve heard reports of cop guns locking up and having various issues, but it’s something I’ve never seen. Plus, that was a rather long time ago, because while people tend to think of the Storm as a “new” design, it’s been with us for a decade now. It hasn’t always had the easiest time in government service either, having been adopted by a handful of police departments. It’s hard to call that a failure of the gun itself, because with the exception of big sales in the LA metro area in the 80s, Beretta has never really gone hard in the paint after domestic LE contracts. It has enjoyed success in foreign markets, with buyers in South Africa, Peru, Portugal, Canada, and a bunch of other countries that US readers don’t care about.
But is it really fair to judge a gun based on how many soldiers and cops carry one? Or is that a judgement of the efficacy of the parent company’s sales strategy? An example of that would be the Springfield XD, which has been adopted by even fewer militaries and LE agencies than the Storm, but is widely popular in the US consumer market thanks to an incredibly effective marketing campaign in the United States since Springfield acquired the importation rights to the HS2000. It becomes difficult to separate the gun from its company’s marketing efforts, which can lead to quality guns like the Storm not getting the love they deserve, while guns like the XD become popular because of effective marketing.
Make no mistake, I genuinely believe the Storm is a good gun. It’s made by a reputable manufacturer that has a solid history of quality control; the various Storms I’ve had have all proven to be accurate and reliable, and it’s a genuinely easy to shoot well. It’s also quite reasonably priced, frequently available for less than $500 brand new. But it doesn’t get the love, and I think that’s too bad.
If I had to really think about it, I’d say the Px4 never caught on for two reason:
- It wasn’t a new Beretta 92 Elite: Serious competition and defensive shooters loved the 92 Elites, and rightfully so. They were (and are) great guns. When Beretta brought the Storm out ten years ago, a lot of the 92 line started to go away as Beretta initially pushed the Storm hard. People who were serious shooters wanted a new 92, not a polymer gun with a weird lock-up system.
- It was DA/SA polymer when the market was going to striker fired guns: I think this is the same thing that hurt the Sig SP2022 (or whatever it’s called now). Both the Sig and the Px4 Storm were and are excellent DA/SA guns with polymer frames, and they came right as the entire market was going to polymer framed guns…that were also striker fired. The M&P came out the year after the Storm, the XDm came out in 2006; and the die was pretty much cast. The non-serious shooter, the gun owner wanted striker fired guns.
Now at the end of 2014 and 2015, Beretta has once again started pushing the 92 line-up hard. New models like the M9A3 are coming out in 2015, the G-model has been brought back, and they’ve even collaborated with Wilson Combat to offer a Production/IDPA ready 92 for competition and serious shooters. Make no mistake, I love the 92. I think it is easily one of the top 5 greatest handguns ever produced, and has earned it’s place alongside the Glock 17 and 1911 as icons.
But in all the hoopla, I hope the little Storm doesn’t get blown away. I think it’s a great gun, and at the current market prices of less than $500 delivers a ton of value for what you pay.