Beretta now has two polymer and steel pocket pistols—the Px4 Storm Sub-Compact and the Nano, both introduced in 2012. The Px4 Storm Sub-Compact is the smallest version of the Px4, introduced in 2005. Both pistols are chambered for either 9mm or .40 S&W. With a 13-round magazine capacity, the Px4 is the larger, while the smaller Nano gets by with six rounds.
The Px4 shares and adds to the Beretta 92 Series’ features, while the Nano is a new design with only one external control—the magazine release. Both should feel right at home in your concealed-carry arsenal.
The Perfect Storm
The Px4 Storm’s trigger system is familiar, with double- and single-action modes, an ambidextrous manual safety/decocker and a rounded and serrated external hammer. The pistol ships with three changeable backstraps—small, medium and large—and two magazines with removable polymer baseplates, one of which is the Beretta-patented, “extendable” SnapGrip baseplate. In operation, gripping the pistol can allow one’s little finger to press on the lip of the SnapGrip baseplate, releasing it so this now-downward-hinged part becomes a finger rest.
Optional accessories include a lanyard loop, four additional rear sight heights, two additional sizes of magazine release buttons and an extended slide stop. The supplied square-notch rear and ramped front sights have white dots for quick sighting and are adjustable for horizontal sight corrections.
The Px4 Storm uses a modified Browning barrel-slide-and-frame firing system. A captive recoil spring is used, and the barrel chamber hood locks into the wide and ample ejection port. The slide has three matching flats cut into each side and the slide tapers toward the muzzle, with diagonal grasping grooves front and rear.
The dust cover has a short Picatinny rail, and the triggerguard is round, as is the smooth face of the pivoting trigger. The checkered magazine catch is reversible and removable, and can be replaced with two other optional buttons, which gives you a choice of small, medium or large. The supplied slide stop is narrow-grooved, and an extended version is available.
The frontstrap and the removable lower portion of the backstrap are crosshatched, and the grip area is nicely contoured. The changeable backstrap is held to the frame with a U-shaped retaining spring that extends up into the frame. The horizontal base of the “U” faces rearward. After prying out and removing the spring, place the selected replacement backstrap on the frame and press until fully seated, then replace the retaining spring.
The Nano pocket pistol is all business. It is small, thin, lightweight, has no protruding edges and has one external operating control aside from the trigger—the magazine release. A long, double-action-type trigger pull of the curved and smooth trigger operates the striker firing system. The front sight is in a lengthwise cut, while the rear sight is dovetailed into the slide, hence it is windage-adjustable. Three white dots are standard.
The Nano’s magazine capacity is six rounds of 9mm cartridges. Two 6-round, metal magazines are supplied. They have removable and extended baseplates and five cartridge inspection holes on either side. The Nano frame is made of “Technopolymer,” a term for the fiberglass-impregnated resin material used. The Beretta Pronox metal finish treatment is given to the slide and barrel.
The frontstrap and backstrap are checkered, while the rear area of the grip has a very lightly coarsened surface. Matching depressions forward on the frame, past the triggerguard opening, serve as finger-placement indicators. The frame slopes inward and down behind the triggerguard. At the top right rear of the frame is the striker deactivation button, while forward and directly above the triggerguard is the disassembly pin (more on these later).
Beretta compacts the operating controls, including the trigger, into one unit termed the stainless steel “chassis.” This is the serialized “gun” portion of the pistol. While removable, a witness opening is in the top left side of the pistol, allowing the serial number to be seen.
The Nano is 5.63 inches long, 0.9 inches wide and 4.17 inches tall. It has a barrel length of 3.07 inches and a weight of 17.67 ounces unloaded. The trigger pull on my test sample broke at 7.75 pounds. The trigger has a centered drop safety that protrudes from the trigger face. The safety is reflexively disengaged by depressing it with a complete pull of the trigger.
A large external extractor is at the center right rear of the ejection port, with six diagonal grasping grooves at the rear of the tapered slide. The forward face of the captive dual recoil spring is visible in the front face of the slide when the slide is forward.
The Nano has no external slide catch. If you want to lock the slide back, you must use an empty magazine. To release the slide, a slight rearward tug is all that is needed. Extra caution must be used when doing this, as it’s all too easy to forget there’s a round or two in a magazine.
For disassembly, the striker must be lowered to remove the slide, pushing inward on the striker deactivation button on the frame with a narrow pin or the tip of a ballpoint pen. After releasing the striker, then with a coin, cartridge case rim or other such tool, rotate the disassembly pin one quarter-turn counterclockwise; the slide assembly can then be moved forward off the frame. It is not necessary to remove the disassembly pin from the frame. The captive dual recoil spring can be lifted out, as can the barrel.
500 Years of Design
Over multiple visits to the range, my friends Irv Gill, Joe Mulligan and Ted Murphy helped get rounds downrange using Shoot-N-C bullseye and Warren IDPA training targets. We did accuracy work at 7 yards using our shooting bench as a casual rest. The best results were had by Ted, with his first five shots with the Px4 Storm making a 1-inch group for four shots with one flyer, resulting in a 1.75-inch spread. With the Nano, he put all five shots into a 1-inch group.
We all enjoyed free-style ventilation of the Warren targets. With the Nano, Joe found the magazine’s extended baseplate catching on part of his shooting hand when inserting the magazine. This goes along with my finding, yet again, that my normal two-handed shooting grip doesn’t work with a little pocket auto, as my shooting finger eventually winds up digging into my support hand.
Not surprisingly, shooting the Px4 Storm well was easier, what with it being slightly larger and heavier, along with a decent 6-pound single-action and 11-pound double-action trigger pull weights. Also, the sights were easier to pick up.
In review, in overall size, weight and magazine capacity, the Nano holds it own among others of its kind as it is small, light, accurate, reliable, holds enough 9mm ammo for self-defense and does so at a reasonable price.
The Px4 Storm, being larger and offering a shorter and lighter single-action trigger pull, particularly when firing quickly, might be more desirable. However, this comes at the cost of having a larger frame and managing two different trigger pulls. Also, a manual safety is a must for many, which the Nano lacks. Keep in mind, though, when the decocker is used as a manual safety, it is one more movement to perform before the gun can fire—but will you remember to do so when blind-sided by a threat?
Whichever you chose, both pistols are backed by a company with a 500-year history of making quality firearms, something reflected in these products. Experience and longevity do matter! For more information, visit berettausa.com or call 800-929-2901.