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Review: Beretta CX4 Storm (.40S&W)
A small pistol caliber carbine designed for police use and civilian self-defense, the CX4 Storm uses magazines that are interchangeable with handguns of the same series. The CX4 is available in 9mm, .40S&W, and .45acp -- but in general only the 40S&W has enough punch to take advantage of the extra barrel length. There are a few .45acp and 9mm loads that have enough horsepower to get a good performance boost out of a rifle barrel (Corbon, 9mm 90gr JHP at 1780 fps and the Corbon .45acp 165gr JHP - 1482) but those are the outliers and the bullets don't hold up well under the extra velocity. The .40 S&W rounds, on the other hand, tend to get a good boost AND hold together. My favorite is another Corbon 135 grain load which came out at a blistering 1740 fps and held together in wet newspaper. The Buffalo Bore 155 JHP was just a at a tad over 1700 fps and also held together. With extra weight, extra velocity, and solid construction, the .40 S&W in my choice for the CX4 Storm.
And speaking of the CX4 Storm, at just under 30 inches long the weapon is almost too short for the average shooter to fire comfortably. Luckily, there are spacers available to substantially lengthen the stock. With the spacers installed the weapon shoulders well for me, but I'm not very tall (although I do have long arms). If you're over 6 feet tall I suggest you look at larger rifles where you can get a better cheek weld. Oddly enough, despite the CX4's pistol caliber chambering the recoil impulse of the weapon went directly backwards and actually painful and left a nice bruise on my shoulder along with some skin abrasions. This has more to do with the design of the rifle than the actual amount of recoil and will be different for everyone and as rifle stocks fit everyone differently, I expect that most people won't have this problems. I eventually put a jacket which solved the problem, but I was pretty disappointed because I spent nearly a $1000 to to be one of the first people in the US to get my hands on a CX4 with the expectation of shooting it a lot. Getting pinched by your rifle every time you pull the trigger takes a lot of the fun out of it.
Pinching and scraping problem aside, the CX4 is well made and futuristic looking, with an abundance of points to add accessory rails and gadgets that should appeal to the PS3 generation. It was also dead on out to 50 yards - certainly better than expected and I was absolutely shocked when the CX4 was giving just over 1 inch groups at 50 yards. That's pretty damn impressive. This gun runs with everything put through it and runs well. The trigger, however, is too heavy and feels like something is grinding inside (plastic against plastic which never smoothed out). The ergonomics of the CX4 are superb and I wish the same amount of thought went into more rifles.
In general, I have no love for pistol caliber rifles and believe that rifles should be chambered in proper rifle cartridges (or at least magnum pistol cartridges), but if magazine and ammunition commonality are of importance than the CX4 Storm is about the best pistol caliber rifle available on the market. I have no quibbles with the rifle other than the short length and reliability has been superb.
Pros: More accurate than it has a right to be. Small and handy using commonly available pistol magazines. Reliable with everything we put thru it. Reversible ejection pattern is good for lefties.
Cons: Too much felt recoil for what amounts to an anemic cartridge -- too much plastic for a premium price.
Model: CX4 Storm (.40 S&W)
Caliber: 9mm / .40 S&W / .45 ACP
Overall length: 29.7 inches
Barrel length: 16.6 inches
Magazine capacity: 8, 10, 11, 15, 20