In Part One, I discussed the rationale for the PCC, and started a conversation on why the Beretta CX4 Storm is an excellent choice.
In Part Two, I shared some impressions about the gun, some noteworthy features, and briefly discussed shooting it.
Let's turn to what I think is the most interesting aspect of the Storm: how it handles.
Lighter and easier to use one handed than the Uzi
Lightweight and Well-Balanced - I've already mentioned the weight; lower weight means easier handling in general. The weight and short overall length make this gun very handy in a vehicle. Ditching the VFG and SBRing the barrel would help even more.
Perhaps even more important than weight is balance. I have an AK74 that is very light, but its balance makes it difficult for me to run to my maximum ability. My FS2000 is heavier, but its balance allows me to do almost everything easier. The Storm is lightweight and balanced. These attributes alone make it a winner in my book.
Intuitive - Every weapon has a learning curve, but the Storm is very natural and easy to learn and use. The faster you learn how to use it, the faster you can become fight-focused rather than weapon-focused.
The controls are laid out well, very similar to where they are on a pistol. The pull of the charging handle is easy, a real benefit to family members. It's not as satisfying as yanking on the charging handle of an AK, but it's an improvement over the Uzi in my opinion.
Virtually all the controls can be reversed, allowing you to customize the gun to you. This is a handling advantage. No matter how you set the gun up, you still need to train with it and make those skills second nature...but the more natural it is from the start, the better you'll be with it.
Moving and Shooting - Some guns are easier to use while moving and shooting, particularly with challenging footing such as the snow we shot these pictures in. The Storm just goes where your hands go, very easily, and allows you to focus on keeping your footing and hitting your target.
Mag Changes - Another handling advantage is that mag changes are almost identical to your pistol. However, as with any weapon, you need to practice this skill A LOT, and some of the mags are easier than others. The standard 15 rounder of the 92 for example, and the 8 round 45 pictured here, are shorter than the pistol grip, making it more difficult to handle. The longer mags for the .40 and 9mm are easier, but you'll need additional practice with them as well because they're longer than your standard pistol mag. Still, for most people I think this is probably easier than mag changes with an AK.
Streamlined - Look at this photo:
As much as I love the Uzi, it's almost all rough edges. Look, I'm an AK guy, so I can appreciate a gun that leaves a few love marks (Seriously Honey! These are from my AK!!). But it's refreshing to see a gun that was obviously designed to not snag anything. For the niche this gun is likely to be employed - close-quarters, indoors, vehicle operations, pulling out of a sneaky bag in response to an active shooter event - aerodynamic is a handling advantage.
Completely ambidextrous - Even without changing any of the controls, this is a very easy gun to run on both sides. One skill I practice a lot is shoulder transfers, changing the gun from right side to left and back again. The way I had Dad's Storm set up it was THE easiest and fastest carbine I've ever practiced transfers with.
The gun I handled started out with long Vertical Forward Grip (VFG). We didn't get any pictures of it, but later we removed the grip and front rails, and I found that transfers were even easier without the VFG. Transfer the butt stock to the left shoulder, maintain backward pressure with your left hand...and just slide it back into the firing grip as your right hand grabs the fore-end. It is much easier to use this "sliding" method with the Storm than with other guns such as the Uzi. (Try the same thing with an FS2000 vs. an AK or AR.)
Yes, preferably you'd be stepping on the gas instead of shooting if you can help it...
You're not going to hit anything this way but the Storm easily allows the option for suppressive fire as you get away.
I prefer the Storm without a VFG, but if it improves your handling of the gun then go for it. If the gun is SBR'd like the one above, it becomes a safety issue and I'd recommend a very short VFG. No sense shooting your support hand.
Different from a "Rifle" - Although the Storm isn't a bullpup, its balance and light weight make it handle like one. In some ways it's like a scaled down FS2000. There are some movement patterns and shooting positions where you can treat it like a big pistol.
Transition to the left shoulder is even easier if you handle it like a pistol.
In the WT after-action discussion on the recent SMG class in Prescott, SI Instructor Greg Nichols commented:
"I believe the Uzi to be faster in operation than the HK (MP5) and easier to one hand shoot. I believe that having the mag and well at the balance point of the HK makes it slightly easier to [shoulder] transfer than the Uzi."
Comparing the Storm to the Uzi - even with a full-length barrel the Storm is easier to shoot one-handed than an SBR'd Uzi, and it's certainly easier to transfer shoulders. As to which is faster in operation, I think it's something of a toss-up, and really depends on which platform you are more comfortable with.
The Storm is an excellent tool at bad breath distance...
It handles like a pistol, allowing for easy one-handed manipulation and allows the other hand freedom to block and strike.
Once again, the Storm's design allows you to handle it like a pistol.
A better example for pictures would have been to go to the 7 o'clock.
Going to the 7 o'clock with a rifle like an AK or an AR requires a transfer to the left shoulder, as well as moving the left hand to the pistol grip. With the Storm, simply transfer the gun to the left shoulder but leave your right hand on the pistol grip...much faster and easier than with a traditional rifle set up.
Dropping to Spetsnaz Prone doesn't make as much sense in an open field like this...unless it's slick and you can't get off the X quickly. Dropping straight down, fast, out of the bad guy's sight may be your only option.
I intended to write one simple article on this gun...and it grew into four (really, that's it, no more!) Next time I will talk about accessories and potential upgrades.