The calibers available are 9x19 (standard 9mm), the slightly longer 9x21 (What can we say? It's a European thing.), the .40 S&W, and the always-popular .45 ACP. Beretta is covering all of the bases.
For all you southpaws out there, the Storm can be handily converted from right to left (or wrong to right, depending upon your point of view). The charging handle, mag release, safety, and, yes, even the direction it ejects the empties, can be customized.
Which means if you do convert your rifle to lefty, it probably had better be your very own, so none of us "regular" people gets confused if we check out an issue Storm and start reaching for all the wrong bits in the dark.
Overall, the workmanship is typical of Beretta. Everything fits nicely and the entire gun has that vaguely "European" feel that's hard to describe. It's sort of like driving a Fiat. It works the same as a Ford, goes the same speed as a Ford, uses the same gasoline as a Ford, but it's "different" when you get behind the wheel. Ditto for the Storm. All those curves and such remind us of a high-performance Italian race car. As a matter of fact, Beretta actually hired a famous designer to make the Storm sexy.
But with all its European fanciness, does the Storm deliver the goods as a patrol rifle?
It was difficult to reach the mag release button while maintaining a firing grip.
While I can say the gun ran fine, digested all the ammo fed to it, nothing broke, and all the buttons and levers performed as advertised, that's just not enough to make this a great patrol rifle, at least not yet.
With its outlandish curves, I wondered if the Storm would feel "right" when used in the real world. A quick throw to the shoulder at a trade show is very different from 700 or so rounds in the dust, heat, and grit of a day at the range, or during the stress of training or a day on patrol.
At the range, the Storm loaded as expected (10 rounds). The mag inserted easily and locked home securely, but that's when I noticed the bolt release was very hard to press down. It was also difficult (and impossible for some other shooters) to manipulate with my firing grip in place. I all found it easier to simply work the charging handle with the left hand (for right-handed shooters) to get the gun charged.
Then it came time to release the magazine, and I found another small problem. When I attempted to maintain a firing grip and reach around to press the mag button with the thumbs of my shooting hand, I found that I couldn't quite reach the button. And you can't simply shift your grip (like on a 1911, SiG, or other gun with a mag release button to the rear of the trigger guard), since the stock cut-out doesn't allow your hand clearance to do so.
I think you could change the mag release so you could punch it with your trigger finger from the right side, and then get used to it. But I'm not sure if pressure from your trigger finger lying alongside the grip when firing or moving in the field might accidentally release the mag. You'd have to give it a serious look before you did it for real.
The trigger pull was hard-my RCBS gauge showed it at 10 to 11 pounds-and a bit on the gritty side. In defense of the test gun, it is a very early sample, indeed only one of a few in the country, and I wonder if such things will be smoothed out down the line as Beretta receives input from users.
The Storm shoulders well and is comfortable to shoot, from standing, sitting, prone, and the bench, and it seems to carry well. It's a lightweight rifle and that will make it a patrolman's darling very quickly.
I took 10 different 9mm loads with us and ran them through the Storm. The best 50-yard group (on an appropriate varmint target) was about four inches, and was shot with the 95-grain PMC Starfire load. The 124-grain Speer Gold Dot came in right at its heels.
Groups from the bench were a bit of a disappointment and the 10-pound trigger pull didn’t help. Here, the author’s wife, Suzi (a San Diego cop), tries out the Storm.
I'll be honest and say I was a bit disappointed in the groups delivered. Some measured up to 8 inches at the 50-yard mark. All were shot from a bench rest. I had cleaned the barrel well before shooting, in case the prior tester had mucked it up, so we can't blame that.
I think a more controllable trigger pull would help things and, frankly, being an early test gun, I'll bet things settle down as production gets underway. To put things into perspective, I shot a 4.6-inch group the same day using the Gold Dot at 50 yards with a Robar-modified Browning Hi-Power pistol.
Its light weight and its ease of carry are only two of the many positive sides of the Storm. However, if my test sample was an indication of how the production guns fare, I'd lean on Beretta to do something about accuracy, the trigger pull, and the ergonomics on the magazine release from a firing grip.
All in all, the Cx4 Storm has some great potential once it gets over a couple of growing pains.
Caliber: 9mm (as tested), .40 S&W, .45 ACP
Magazines: Standard Beretta pistol
Barrel Length: 16.25 inches (chrome-lined)
Overall Length: 29.7 inches
Weight: 5.75 pounds
Stock: Polymer (blue or black)
Sights: Adjustable front and variable rear aperture
Features: Fully ambidextrous controls
Cost: Approx. $600 full retail
Roy Huntington is a long-time member of the Police Advisory Board, a retired San Diego cop, and the editor of American Handgunner.