I’ve discussed the Beretta CX4 Storm at length here, here and here. I want to finish up this series with a discussion on upgrades and accessories. The Storm is a great performer out of the box but there are few things that will make it even better.
I wouldn't presume to tell anyone how they should set up their gun...but it wouldn't be much of an article if I didn't share my opinion on it.
What you do to the gun depends on how you intend to run it. Rails are easily added that let you mount all manner of lights, lasers, forward grips, and tactical bottle openers. If adding stuff helps you be the best fighter you can possibly be, go for it. Options are a great thing.
However, in my opinion: the defining qualities of the Storm are its light weight, its balance, its small size/length, and its snag-free, "aerodynamic" body. The last article was about how the gun handles; to me that's what differentiates it from other weapons. A minimalist approach here will capitalize on the gun's attributes, keeping it light weight and low drag.
These are my opinions guys, based on how I would run the gun. How you run it and what you want will be up to you; I hope these ideas are helpful to you.
Leave it off
Lasers - To me, lasers make sense as a training tool. There’s a place for them in proactive situations, such as lying in wait for an intruder coming up the hall (setting an ambush). However, I think red dot optics are more useful over a wider variety of situations; to me a laser is just one more thing to keep off the gun.
Pressure switches are convenient, and probably not so bad in a house gun. But for my purposes, cables hanging off the gun are a negative.
Personally I think a better investment is one of Roger Phillips' Point Shooting classes. We should get the best equipment we can, but I always prioritize skill development over gadgets.
Extra rails and VFGs - Unless you have it SBR'd or find that it really enhances the handling for you, I'd leave off the forward grips and the extra rails. No, they're not a lot of weight, but more stuff is more stuff, and they add points to snag. This gun is very svelte. I’d keep it that way.
Spacers - If your name is Gigantor and your arms can reach into the next county, you may need the spacer in the butt stock to shoot it well. But if not, consider removing it. Experiment so you know what works best for you.
In my opinion, for this gun’s niche it should be as short as possible.
The gun to the right has three spacers...that guy must have orangutan arms!
Flash hider - For a pistol caliber? Why?
There's something to be said for a gun that looks cool, but I just can't see adding stuff that doesn't enhance its function.
I’d rather SBR it, thread the barrel, and get a real can. Or have a custom made integral suppressor…now that would be cool.
I guess if you want to add it just because it ticks off "the shoulder thing that goes up" lady, okay, I respect that.
Just my opinion but there's too much stuff on this gun. However, some very nice work has been done on it. The silly thumb-hole strap thing (STHST) has been cut off, as have the stock sights and sight covers. A customized top rail extending the length of the gun has been added, and topped off with back-up folding irons. Not too shabby.
Stick it on
Top rail and optic - Primary fighting weapons should have an optic (backup and/or pocket pistols being the exception).
A quality red dot such as a Trijicon RMR facilitates amazing things if your marksmanship skills are up to it. Eyeball shots at room distance? Consistently fast and easy body shots at 100 yards?
We do that in class with RMR'd Glocks.
Imagine an RMR'd Storm.
One side rail and a light - A close quarter fighting gun should have a light. One side rail instead of the whole tri-rail set up would be sufficient. The retractable rail is an option, though it seems a little flimsy to me. A flashlight in a VLTOR mount on the top rail might also be a good option.
The gun to the right is kept very simple. One side rail for a light, and an optic. Done.
Mag pouch - For the home defense role, consider a mag pouch attached to the gun. I prefer leaving stuff off, but in the home you may not always have the time/ability to grab your fighting bag with the extra mags. Unless you keep a mag pouch on your tactical pajamas, keeping an extra mag or two onboard the gun is a reasonable compromise.
Sling (maybe) - A long gun should almost always have a sling. However, as a niche weapon to be used in the home or particularly in a vehicle, I would rather not have one. I'm usually opposed to quick detach slings because they can come loose when you least want them to, but for the intended purpose here it might be a good compromise.
Pistol - Maybe the best accessory for a Storm is a pistol with matching magazines. Because you needed an excuse to get another pistol.
Ahhh...922r and the joy of Federal regulations. The short story - if you start doing certain things to the gun, you will want to keep the thing compliant with 922r. Much of the information I found on the Storm was conflicting, and BATFE hasn't responded to me yet. The best information I found indicates that BATFE considers the Storm to have ten (the legal limit) of the relevant 922r parts. Depending how you define it, I think it actually has more than that, but the gun was approved for importation into this country "for sporting use," so it seems they pegged it at ten parts.
I would have liked to add definitive information regarding 922r compliance, but a.) I'm not a lawyer, b.) this article is too long already, and c.) write your own damn letter to the BATFE. Based on my research, the modifications below will comply...but it doesn't matter what I tell you, it's what they tell you that matters.
So with that disclaimer, here is what I would consider.
- Absolutely: Add the Sierra Papa trigger/hammer upgrade. This will give you a crisper trigger pull, allowing better marksmanship at longer ranges. The steel hammer and aluminum trigger also count towards compliance with 922r, bringing the number of applicable parts down to eight. This is an absolute necessity if you decide to make some of the modifications below (assuming you care about 922r, and I think it's smartest to do so).
The Sierra Papa parts are well-made. The folks there are friendly and very helpful.
- If you can: SBR it if that is legal in your state. Some folks think getting the tax stamp eliminates the need to comply with 922r, but this is not the case (at least based on some of the BATFE letters I have seen). You're still responsible for compliance.
- Nice to have: Install a charging handle on both sides. We must be able to run the gun ambidextrously regardless of which side the charging handle is on. But with the Storm it's such an easy upgrade, at such low cost, so why not do it? Enhanced functionality...and if you don't like it that way you can always remove it and have a spare.
- It depends: Add the Sierra Papa steel guide rod and buffer upgrade. The polymer guide rod is plenty strong enough for shooting, so if your Storm is simply a dedicated home defense gun then I wouldn't say it's necessary. However, there is the possibility of the guide rod breaking during disassembly/reassembly (an uncocked hammer can potentially catch this piece and snap it - this is why the gun should be cocked prior to disassembly). For those who would consider discretely carrying this gun disassembled, you can imagine the circumstances of reassembly would be stressful. This upgrade is good insurance, and you never have to worry about breaking it while cleaning.
- Do it but be aware of 922r: Cut off the silly thumb-hole strap thing (STHST). It's there for 922r compliance reasons and makes some manipulations a little more difficult than they need to be. This should take your 922r count back up to nine.
Some of the guys I've spoken to don't mind the STHST, and some even like it. If that's you, great. It's one less compliance issue you need to worry about. Me, I think the handling benefits make the effort worthwhile...and if some folks consider a pistol grip an evil feature, well hey that's enough for me just on principle.
- Do it but be aware of 922r: The barrel should be threaded for a suppressor. Assuming you have added the hammer/trigger upgrade and cut off the STHST, threading the barrel should bring you back up to the ten parts for 922r.
If you want to ensure compliance, I suggest that you write the BATFE (you might want to use less sarcasm than I do). If you noticed the weasel word "should" above, that's on purpose. The parts count/legality depends on the judgment of the BATFE agent that writes the response to your letter, and I have seen conflicting information on this point.
More important than how you set it up is how good you become with it. Run it through its paces so that you know for certain what works for you, and what does not. Practice, and become an expert with it...no matter how you set it up.
That was a lot of words on the Beretta CX4 Storm. Given today's political climate, perhaps a few short words would have been better: get one while you still can.