I had planned on driving, despite the winter road conditions. I like driving through wintry mountain passes, even if it isn't the wisest thing to do...it provides a little bit of adventure, and I enjoy the solitude. Plus, I wanted to do some vehicle training with my FS2000, and this is more easily accomplished where I was headed.
As it happened, nature didn't agree to my plan. All the mountain passes were closed, so I bought a last minute ticket from Seattle to Boise and counted myself lucky that I got to see my family for Christmas. Long story (and flight, by way of Oakland) short, I made it home.
Unfortunately it was more trouble than it was worth for me to fly with the FS2000...but I got to do a bit of training with something new (for me anyway). My brother got Dad a Beretta CX4 Storm for Christmas…
Guns like the Storm, Uzi, MP5, pretty much any Pistol Caliber Carbine/Submachine Gun (PCC/SMG - I'll use the term PCC because it's more descriptive) never aroused much interest for me. Sure, I had shot them and thought they were fun, but it was just not a platform that I thought I had a use for. I never was and never will be on a SWAT team, kicking down doors and clearing houses. Between my pistols, rifles, and shotguns, I figured I pretty much had every likely situation covered.
At some point however, I began to see wisdom in the use of a PCC – carrying/using in a vehicle, concealed in a lap top bag to respond to active shooter events, and most particularly for home defense.
Much has been written about the benefits of PCCs. Here is a quick summary of why the PCC excels for close contact fighting indoors, and why in my opinion, it’s the best overall weapon for home defense:
- Muzzle blast - Whether you stick with the stock configuration of a 16 inch barrel, or shorten the barrel length after getting your SBR approval (which you should do if your state allows that), the muzzle blast from a PCC just doesn’t compare to a rifle/shotgun. "Tame" is an understatement. I'll trade the devastation of a shotgun blast for retaining my night vision in the fight.
- Noise - It's inconvenient to lose your hearing during a fight. Firing a rifle/shotgun indoors is something best avoided if you can help it. If your hearing isn't important, so be it...but the ability for you and your family to hear and communicate over the roar of shotgun fire might come in handy. If you don't have the opportunity to compare the sound of shotgun/rifle/PCC/pistols indoors, shoot them side-by-side outdoors. It's not at all the same but it will give you some idea. In class I've found that PCCs seem tame even next to suppressed AKs.
- Ease of use - In my opinion, a PCC is easier to shoot than any other platform, pistols included. This is especially true for other family members. The Storm in particular is a very light weapon. It's handy and compact, soft shooting and very gentle to handle. As much as I appreciate the therapeutic properties of the rough edges of an AK, not everyone in my family does. Easier on the hands and body is a shooting and fighting benefit for most people. I would not hand my mom a Remington 870 if I could help it. But a Berretta Storm? You bet. I'd give it to her, get a beer, and watch the fun.
- Recoil - Virtually non-existent when compared to shotguns and many rifles. Easier to get multiple rounds on target. Low recoil also helps with...
- Accuracy - The low recoil in conjunction with the additional points of contact on the stock make the PCC a very accurate platform. In terms of accuracy, anything you can do with a pistol, you can do easier with a PCC. The strength of the pistol is its small size and concealability, which is not an issue with a bedside gun. Accuracy indoors is also easier than a rifle in my opinion, given the points mentioned above.
- Fun - This is a serious consideration in my opinion. Something that's fun to shoot will get more training time, and more training time equals more proficiency. Maybe you prefer shooting a 12 gauge 870 to a PCC...but does your wife? Your kids?
This reasoning led me to start researching PCCs. I had fired a Beretta Storm in the past, and I did like it, but it wasn’t a platform I took very seriously. It seemed to me to be something of a novelty – a nice gun, but not something to put a lot of confidence in.
I decided instead to purchase and train with the Uzi, and when I saw that Suarez International offered an SMG class, I signed up immediately. (And I’m very happy I did, it was a groundbreaking event!)
The Uzi didn’t agree with me at first. The controls are laid out well, and while the gun is very intuitive to some, handling the Uzi just didn’t come naturally to me. There was a short period when I actually regretted buying it, but I was determined to learn a new platform and just kept practicing, a little every day. Then one day everything seemed to change. What at first seemed like a very heavy gun suddenly felt very lively in my hands. Handy, quick on target, murderously easy to point shoot. Mag changes that seemed awkward were now as smooth as with other platforms. Shoulder transfers, transitions to pistol…no problem. Going into the December 2012 SMG class, I was confident with the weapon and had a grand time shooting it. It was a pleasure watching some of the other instructors who were vastly more experienced with it, and learning and sharing ideas with different instructors and students was one of the highlights of the training year.
After learning and becoming confident with the weapon, I came to really love the Uzi. It’s solid, tough, reliable, and easy to shoot. It’s also easy to shoot A LOT - I found that in some drills I fired almost double the number of rounds that I would with an AK. I had brought extra ammo for the class, but found I had used well over half my total round count after day one!
Coming home, the Uzi was promoted to my bedside gun.
But this article was supposed to be about the Beretta CX4 Storm…
Having come to deeply appreciate the Uzi, when I learned that Dad had a Storm on the way, I was excited to pick it up again and give it another try. Only having a few days with the family, I picked it up and handled it at every opportunity.
One thing that quickly became apparent was that the Storm seemed much more intuitive than the Uzi. Weapons are individual things, so perhaps this is only my experience, but in my opinion the Storm is an easier, more approachable and user-friendly gun than the Uzi (and I say that as a big fan of the Israeli 9mm!)
I will share more detailed impressions in Part 2, but in short I was very impressed with the weapon. Light, handy, and much tougher than I originally gave it credit for.
The Storm’s size and weight make it an excellent vehicle weapon. This one would be even better with a shorter Vertical Forward Grip (VFG), or better yet, in my opinion, no VFG at all.
The barrel goes outside the window just a bit holding it in the normal shouldered position. SBR this thing and you could probably keep the whole thing inside the cab.
Modifying to a pistol grip, even a full length barrel doesn’t go outside the truck cab. This technique can be used in any situation where retention is an issue.
Light weight and easy handling aren’t just for vehicles and indoors.
The Beretta CX4 Storm is an excellent example of a gun that combines all the qualities one is looking for in a PCC. In Part Two I will discuss some of the notable features of this fine weapon.