In today’s downsized and crowded patrol car, a long gun that carries its own spare ammunition on board, comes out of the cruiser door in a hurry, and readily takes tight corners inside buildings is naturally going to have some appeal for everyone from marked patrol units to plainclothes details. Toss in a very light package, easy operation with one hand, high magazine capacity, light recoil, commonality of caliber and magazine with certain pistols, very respectable accuracy, and the ability to customize to individual user’s needs and sizes, and you have the Beretta CX4 Storm carbine.
The Storm is a very handy 16.6-inch carbine that uses a simple and reliable straight blowback action in a lightweight polymer stock and receiver, and Beretta’s design team has incorporated several useful features into the CX4 that make it a candidate for private purchase use on the job.
With an overall length of 29.7 inches and an unloaded weight of 5.7 pounds, the compact carbine carries, handles, and maneuvers through cramped confines quite well. Sights are amply protected from impacts inside substantial polymer “ears,” with the front post adjustable for windage and elevation using a tool supplied with the carbine, and the rear adjustable for short and long range by flipping up the appropriate “S” and “L” aperture. Both front and rear sights can be folded down completely for use with any optical sight that can be installed on, or adapted to, the standard full-length Picatinny rail on top of the gun, and there are other short rail options available from Beretta for side-mounted accessories besides the standard retractable fore-end rail under the barrel.
The Storm carries its magazine Uzi-style, inside the pistolgrip, where it’s a natural hand-meets-hand orientation for quick reloads in any lighting without having to divert the eyes from more critical things like threats, moving to cover, and so on. The CX4 carbine comes in three calibers, 9mm, .40, and .45ACP, and accepts Beretta magazines from the 92/96, Cougar, and PX4 series.
Main controls like the safety, magazine release, cocking handle, and ejector are reversible for lefties, and takedown is a matter of pushing the latch pin out and sliding off the front part of the carbine for access to the internals. The carbine also features four sling attachment points, a crossbolt safety, a rubberized stock cheekpiece, and a rubber recoil pad with removable stock spacer.
On The Range
I chose the newer 9mm version that accepts the 17-round PX4 pistol magazines for review here. The 17-shot PX4 magazine can also be increased to 20 rounds using a “+3 round” magazine extender. Beretta also offers 17- or 20-round extended magazines for the Model 92/90-Two variant of the CX4. Since the 9mm is cheap to train with, offers the highest capacity of any of the CX4 versions with Beretta factory magazines, and recoil is toler-
able by almost any shooter.
The cold-forged chrome-lined barrel is no shortcut on the Storm, and accuracy off the bench at 50 yards using the short-range aperture was perfectly adequate for typical engagements at and inside that distance. Three different test bullet weights all produced five-shot groups less than 3 inches, with the inexpensive UMC practice round surprisingly coming in as best-of-session.
Introduced in 2003, the Storm carbine is unconventional in many ways, and the durability of a non-steel material in a high-impact part like the polymer hammer raised a question regarding long-term durability. The question seems to have been answered since then, and the hammers are holding up to the point where the Storm is inching into the LE market with recent contracts signed by the University of North Alabama and the College of William & Mary for their campus police organizations.
In previous testing with a .40-caliber version and with this 9mm, the CX4 has been entirely reliable in my hands, extremely portable, very easy to fire one-handed with either hand, accurate enough to reach out to 100 yards if necessary (although I wouldn’t expect too much of the projectile when it gets there), and it does not appear to be particularly ammunition sensitive. As a relatively affordable car gun there are few other pistol-calibered packages that can match it in performance, compactness, and overall shootability. For right-handers, the left-side cocking handle allows bolt operation without losing the strong-hand firing grip, and reversing the controls does the same for lefties.
A couple of details need attention. The heavy two-stage trigger pull registers just over 8 pounds on my scale, and the bottom of the magazine well has sharpish edges that are a nuisance when locking a magazine in under speed.
Beretta has done their best to cater to the trend to dress up carbines with the number of rail options and other accessories that can be ordered for the Storm. I see no need to take a very totable gun as it comes and bog it down with extraneous gear and weight. The fore-end light of your choice, a Beretta Storm sling, the DeSantis Buttstock Double Mag Pouch, and merely filing off the bottom of the polymer magazine well flush with the magazine, makes one of the handiest grab ’n-go on the market.
The CX4 comes with fitted hard case, cleaning rod, magazine loading tool, spare magazine, short accessory rail, and screwdriver tool, for a price of $825.