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Old November 20, 2012, 07:11 PM   #1
Rick F
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Quick Question about Beretta PX4 Storm

Hello,
Long story short, one of my female friends whom I've taken shooting a few times got her firearms ID and pistol permit as required by NJ state law, and is now looking for her first pistol for SD and range. She is set on 9mm, as she like my HK P30L, and found it easiest with her very small hands. That would be perfect, but she wants to spend around $600 max. I took her to the shop where she handled, among others, FN FNX, Walther PPQ, Springfield XD, Glock 17/19, Beretta 92FS, and the PX4 Storm. She was convinced that the Storm had the best grip for her small hands, but it was only in stock in .40, so she's waiting for the order to come in.

To me it seemed to have a larger grip circumference than the others, but I have large hands, so it's hard to tell. How does it compare to the rest of the full size (she wants a full size as CC is not allowed in NJ and full size is easier to shoot) market when equipped with the smallest backstrap? It seemed like a decision based on the cosmetics of the weapon. A few people mentioned a 1911 in 9mm, but that was taken off the table due to difficulty to clean and maintain, and better examples were above her price point.

Anyway, thanks for your input.
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Old November 20, 2012, 07:17 PM   #2
MLeake
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She handled several guns, and of those she liked the feel of the PX4 grip best, yet you call it a cosmetic decision? Seems both condescending and inaccurate, as you describe it.

TailGator's daughter has and really likes the PX4. My wife likes the PX4 well enough.

Do you have some unvoiced issue with the pistol?

If not, why would you challenge your friend's choice, that she selected after handling?
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Old November 20, 2012, 08:52 PM   #3
Rick F
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Mleake- In response to your somewhat rude reply, maybe the below info will better paint the situation.

-She dismissed several pistols that she thought were ugly before handling them
-She is brand new to shooting, and needs instruction on proper grip. My opinion on grip feel has evolved as I've done more shooting.
-We live in Manhattan suburbs. Local gun stores are few and far between, and they give you an attitude about handling a bunch of pistols. Asking them to change back straps to sample a different size is out of the question until you buy it. Also there are no ranges nearby that rent guns.
-I have a Sig P220 elite with the fat rosewood grips. She "loved" the feel in hand, but was unable to get 5 rounds on target at 5 yards. I could see the thing is just too big. Meanwhile my thinner grip P30l served her well.
-I have nothing against the Beretta at all. It just felt bigger in my hands than some of the other pistols. I need to go on a forum to see if the small backstrap would accommodate a very small hand because the shops here don't have the hospitality to show you. If the gun is too large for her, rendering it inaccurate, it would be irresponsible, negligent, and dangerous. It would suck for her to buy it and realize after the fact.
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Old November 20, 2012, 10:06 PM   #4
MLeake
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My rude reply?

Here is what you said:

Quote:
I took her to the shop where she handled, among others, FN FNX, Walther PPQ, Springfield XD, Glock 17/19, Beretta 92FS, and the PX4 Storm. She was convinced that the Storm had the best grip for her small hands
So my reply should have come as no surprise. If you found it rude, so be it. By your description, she handled at least six handguns, and liked the PX4 best. (Edit: If her hand size is such an issue, why did she end up handling all double-stack pistols?)

You say it's obvious that your P220 is too big for her hand. That may be true, but what are you basing that on? Can she not align the barrel with her arm, because she has to rotate the grip in order to achieve trigger reach? Can she not get her pad or distal joint onto the trigger? Or are you basing your conclusion on her shooting results?

If you can't test shoot guns before you buy, and in your area that means a drive to some other area, then you are stuck with what feels right to her. There are objective measures by which she can see if the gun fits properly, and by which you can help her evaluate that. Pax has a website, http://corneredcat.com that can help with that.

As far as dismissing "ugly" pistols, people do that all the time, even experienced shooters. (See: Glock; PPQ; LCR; etc) Should aesthetics matter? Not up to me. They do matter to some people. Those of us who find it kind of silly just have to learn to live with it, most of the time.

(My wife prefers stainless based on looks, not on function; yet she still manages to shoot her S&W 65 3" .357 pretty well.)

If you pressure her to go with a gun she doesn't like, the odds are you won't like the ultimate results. She will be more invested in something she selects; more likely to practice with it; more likely to learn how to maintain it.

So, whether you think it's "somewhat rude" or not, my advice remains to let her choice stand, unless you have an objective, validated reason why it should not. (This assumes that she'd let you influence her decision at this point, which I don't know to be true or not true.)

Edit: Hindsight is 20/20, but it might have been helpful if you'd helped her do some research, first, such as reading the section in Cornered Cat about factors in selecting a handgun, before going to the shop. Your friend might have had different criteria for her selection and handling process.
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Old November 20, 2012, 10:54 PM   #5
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I dont believe the guy was trying deliberately to come across rude, his reply was rather blunt, but reasonable. I think the px4 was a great choice and within her price range . I have one myself, also my first pistol because a g19 was unavailable anywhere at the time. Since then i have bought a few more including that g19 and guess what, the wife has comondered the px4 9mm more or less as her own. All that aside, after much experience with my own id take the pepsi challenge with it against any of the pistols above.I believe its every bit as good and for much less $. A solid first choice id say, and it probably wont be the last.
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Old November 21, 2012, 10:45 AM   #6
Rick F
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Thank you. I guess I should have phrased my question more simply. Does the PX4 Storm work for small hands with the smallest backstrap.

She wants a full size 9mm, not a 1911, so all that was available were dbl stack. The Storm she handled, like most other pistols (shop will not change the backstraps demo'ing) looked visibly too large where she had to rotate her grip so the backstrap is more towards her thumb in order to reach the trigger. I was just a bit concerned that what feels good in the showroom, dry fired, might not feel good fired, especially to someone that shot a gun twice. Hopefully the small backstrap will work for her.
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Old November 21, 2012, 11:03 AM   #7
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Although my PX4 is the subcompact version, I'll chime in on this. My hands aren't very big, but I bought the PX4 because I found it very comfortable. My original intention was to buy the compact, but they were out of stock so I went with the sub instead and have been happy with it ever since. I honestly don't remember if I changed out the backstrap after buying it, or if the grip circumference is the same on the subcompact as on the compact.

However, liking the grip is one thing, but having long enough fingers for proper trigger access is another. This hasn't been a problem for me, and my wife shoots the PX4 (as well as larger semi-autos) just fine, but when you say "very small" hands, I would want to confirm overall finger reach and DA vs. SA trigger pull before spending the money.
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Old November 21, 2012, 11:33 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies- this inspires a bit more confidence.
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Old November 21, 2012, 11:43 AM   #9
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if she preferred the PX4 to all of the others then that is probably the gun she should go with. though I hate the safety locations on berettas I can not deny that I would not mind using a PX4 as a concealed carry piece or home defense gun. IIRC they have replaceable backstraps so that if she needs a smaller grip they should be able make it a little smaller.
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Old November 21, 2012, 11:49 AM   #10
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My ex liked the PX4 storm most too. That rotating barrel helps a lot with recoil too. After we broke up I sold it to my cousin.

Very accurate and easy to shoot.

She'll love it.

And Leake wasn't being rude.
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Old November 21, 2012, 12:31 PM   #11
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Constantine is correct: I can be very blunt, but I don't usually intend to be rude. I will admit to reacting heatedly to one or two provocateurs every so often, but generally my goal is actually to help.

What you are describing, with her rotating the gun, indicates that with the backstrap the gun was wearing at the time it is too big for her. I infer from you mentioning it that you know it could put disproportionate recoil energy directly into her thumb, as opposed to the web of her hand - the question becomes have you explained that to her?

I've owned PX4's, and still have one in Compact mode. I use the large backstrap, but I have size L/XL hands, so I use large backstraps on all my guns that have interchangeables.

The medium backstrap is noticeably smaller. The small is smaller, still. Whether it will work for her is another matter. It seems you know how the gun should fit her (aligned with long bones of forearm; high grip, the recoil set to push into the web of her hand and not the thumb; comfortable trigger finger position from initial DA point through entire pull), so you can help her evaluate whether it really fits.

It may be too late now, or it may not be financially feasible, but you might consider a field trip to VT or CT, where you might be able to find a range with rental guns, and have her shoot a few types and sizes.

In future, what I'd recommend would be start with corneredcat.com or similar, to let the person do some research up front; followed by a trip to a place that rents guns, or a range where a friend can provide sample guns. For NYC folks, that means a trip out of state. For DC folks, that means a trip to Virginia. You get the idea.

If you were in my area, I'd just let her try my PX4 at the LGS range. (If I knew you, I'd just invite you to my place and let her try it on my own range, but I prefer to meet TFLers at a public range first.)

Now, not to pick on you, but it would have changed my initial answer if you would have stated the reason why you thought the gun didn't fit her properly right up front - I would not have felt the need to ask why you thought so.
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Old November 21, 2012, 02:45 PM   #12
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The fit is important

I've spent a lot of time and money getting guns to better fit my hand. I just feel more confident of my shooting when I 'like' the fit better.

On my Px4 I use the largest adapter because I have long fingers, and that size gives me the best reach to the trigger. But it is a good thing that I like that large adapter because I can't get it off! There is no way to grip it well enough to slide it out of the back of the frame.

You have been warned. If you try the large grip adapter it may stay there whether it is the one you like or not. Or you decide to put scratches on it with pliers if you want to get it off.

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Old November 21, 2012, 06:56 PM   #13
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I dont know how small this girls hands are, but mine are not large for a mans by any means and my thumb reaches all the way around the grip of my px4 fs with the smallest backstrap. it is one of the smallest grips on an autopistol with that setup. long as her trigger finger reaches the pad or the first joint, shell be fine. Just be very carefull not to scratch the gun swaping the backstraps, they are tough to change .
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Old November 30, 2012, 07:11 PM   #14
Rick F
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M Leake- thanks for the reply and info. I've been a bit sore and cranky since the outcome of the election, and hearing constant gloating, I suppose I've been taking things personally.

Going on a trip to an out of state range would be very difficult as I work a "9-5" (in reality 8-8) M-F and I work at a restaurant SAT & SUN. She got her permits to purchase a handgun a while ago, after waiting a few months to get them. She let them expire, and the local PD was kind enough to extend them, but I believe they will expire mid DEC. Shes leaving for vacaction a week from now, so she needs to get this done. Rumor is if the police give you a permit, and you never end up using it, they will hold your future requests for as long as possible to teach you a lesson for wasting their time. At this point, I believe she is going to go with the PX4 once the shop gets it in stock in 9mm. When I evaluate grip, I imagine a shock absorber from a car, wanting to line up the backstrap inline with your forearm. I'll swap to the smallest backstrap for her, and go from there.

On a side note, I just purchased a Walther PPS 9mm which fits her hand great, but again, she wants a full size. And please correct me if I'm wrong, but with grip being equal, a full size will be easier for her to learn, correct?


All things makes me glad my girlfriend has large hands for her size. She personally owns a SW 686+ PC 5" and has no problems gripping any of my guns (no pun intended).
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Old November 30, 2012, 08:23 PM   #15
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Rick,

A lot of other folks have chimed in but I'll add my $.02. I own a PX4 and many other handguns, and I don't have large hands by any means (but I don't have small carny hands either). I find the PX4 to be very manageable for smaller hands and don't see it as being overly large for anyone. I personally like my PPQ's grip the best out of any of my 9's and you may want to have her look at that again. And, of course, the type of action she prefers (striker fired w/o a manual safety, DA/SA w/ decocker, DA/SA w/ safety, etc.) would drive the decision in my mind as well.
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Old November 30, 2012, 10:39 PM   #16
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My hands are on the small side and with the small backstrap installed it fits me perfect. Even the middle size is very comforatable but the small is just right. PX4 is a great gun, by the way!
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Old December 1, 2012, 12:46 AM   #17
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Quote:
A solid first choice id say, and it probably wont be the last.
We gun guys get far too caught up in helping others with their first purchase. While our experiences with what we like cause us to form very personal, strong opinions on what is best for us, we need to step back and let new folks stumble around a bit as we all did starting out. The sheer amount of advice I got when buying my first gun was the hardest part. Let the gal start shooting regularly with something servicible before we attempt to fit the perfect glass slipper. All the better if it's something she takes an initial shine to.

The PX4 is a legit choice, and in a size range a person with smaller hands is capable of shooting safely. Done.

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Old December 1, 2012, 12:54 AM   #18
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I have the full size px4 in 9mm and have the medium backstrap on it. My girlfriend has shot it a few times and didn't have any problems with it being too big. She's 5'0" and has pretty small hands. It is the only gun she's fired so she has nothing to compare it to, but she says it is comfortable to hold.
I'd say as long as your friend liked the gun and after at least dry firing it has no problem reaching the trigger then she should go for it. It's a great pistol, I love mine.
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Old December 1, 2012, 04:00 AM   #19
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Rick F, it so happens I also own a PPS. It is one of the more controllable and accurate small guns I've encountered. (Of course, mine has the large backstrap installed, and a LimbSaver grip sleeve over that...)

It really is too bad you guys aren't down my way, odds are I'd have a few things you'd like to have her try.

But I suspect she may be happy with the PX4, with the smaller backstrap installed.

In answer to your question about ease of learning, and full-size advantages:

1) More mass (assuming similar platforms, but in different sizes) = less recoil.
2) More mass forward (longer slide and barrel) = less muzzle flip tendency.
3) Longer sight radius makes aiming easier (though theoretical accuracy is the same with shorter barrels, practical accuracy often is not).
4) More mass = better ratio of inertia/stability for leverage against trigger pull.
5) Longer barrel = more powder burned before bullet leaves muzzle, = less unburned powder exiting muzzle, = less flash and noise.

The flip-side is that more mass = more weight to carry around, and more length and grip height = more effort required to conceal.

And, one other thing to consider, mass and length affect balance and pointability. Some people prefer longer guns; I find with revolvers that I prefer 3" or 4" barrels, and with autos I tend to prefer 4" to 5" barrels.

IE, there are subjective factors that each individual will have to decide on for themselves.
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Old December 16, 2012, 10:09 PM   #20
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When I look for a pistol, I like to find one that allows my thumbnail and middle finger to overlap when wrapped about the handle. One that I can hold out in front of me with one hand for at least 30 seconds on target and still feel comfortable and not having any difficulty aiming. I also face a target using the isosceles two hand thumbs forward stance with the left hand filling the void on the handle left by my RH (RH shooter). Pistol placed pointing out but next to chest. Close eyes and push the pistol out to the target. Open eyes and see if I am pretty good on target and not too high or too low. Not all guns fit both couples well. It was mentioned in one of the threads to go to a range, pay the bucks to test out other guns. That is good advice. Think of what you want to test before you go. Think of things like, recoil, cost of ammo, will it be fun to practice, price of gun, etc, etc. If this is a gun for just home defense when in bed. But a 18.5" barrel shot gun with #4 if no other rooms are a problem in line. Back that up with one of the on line alarms for about 275$ (ie alarm sellout has a good reliable one http://alarmsellout.com/home.php) to ensure you wake up in time to actually get a gun. If you sleep hard, you are only arming someone else.
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