Beretta Tx4 Storm Review

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Steve Says: We welcome Nathan on board as our newest TFB staff writer. This product review was made possible by GunsForSale.com.  To get up-to-date information on where to find Beretta firearms for sale, please visit GunsForSale.com.


Introduced at SHOT 2010, the Beretta Tx4 Storm rounds out Beretta’s Storm line of defensive weapons. It is a lightweight, gas-operated semi-automatic 12 gauge shotgun, with an 18″ barrel, based off the A400 line of hunting shotguns. Recently, Beretta sent me one to review.

Impressions

The first thing I remarked upon opening the case while waiting for my transfer to go through at J&E Guns in Bellefonte, PA was the Tx4′s diminutive size. Just a hair over 39″ in overall length, with an 18″ barrel and a 13-14″ length of pull, this shotgun is very maneuverable, even in the close quarters of a home. The second thing I noticed was the weight of this shotgun, at 6.4 lb, it is very light, and with that I expected to see a snappy and powerful recoil impulse. The fit and finish of this shotgun is spectacular, everything is tightly fitted, and the firearm has no perceptible rattle at all.

Field Stripped

The stock and forend are black polymer with rubber inlays in the grip surfaces, providing a solid grip on the weapon. The trigger group is polymer as well, with a cross bolt safety at an excellent position to flick off with the trigger finger when it is indexed along the trigger guard. The trigger is one of my few gripes with this gun. It is not bad, but it is also not as good as other Beretta shotguns I have fired. It is definitely passable, and I didn’t notice it at the range, but when dry-firing, it had a good bit of creep to it. The reset of the trigger, however, was incredibly crisp, one of the best I’ve felt.

The action is Beretta’s Blink system, which is also featured on the A400. It features a self-adjusting exhaust valve, allowing it to cycle all types of loads, from low power birdshot, to high pressure buckshot loads without adjustment, replacement of pistons, or damage to the action. The action spring is in front of the receiver, allowing room in the stock for a Kick-Off unit, an optional recoil reduction system. The spring is captured in a sleeve, so when disassembling, it will not fly across the room. The bolt handle is small, but adequate. I personally love huge, over-sized bolt handles on shotguns, and would love to see a larger model available for sale in the future.

The magazine tube is advertised at 5 rounds capacity for 2 3/4 shells, however the ammo I was using in it (Rio Royal Buckshot) was a little too long, and would only fit 4 in the tube. An extension would not be missed on this gun. Unfortunately, Beretta only sells their extensions to LEO/Military, however some searching of gun boards reveals that the extensions for the Benelli Nova may work on it. A +1 or +2 extension on this gun would make it even better.

EDIT: Thanks to Chuck and btr for pointing out that since this shotgun is made in Italy and imported into the United States, it cannot legally have a tube extension without replacement of other parts to be 922r compliant.

A very nice feature, which I have only seen before on Benelli shotguns, is the Shell Release button, which is located at the rear of the shell lifter. This shotgun will not load a round from the tube unless the trigger is pulled or this release is pressed, allowing the user to empty the chamber without having to mess with a second shell plopping out onto the lifter. This makes quick changes of ammunition types, such as from buckshot to slugs, very easy and fast.

The sights are a set of 3-dot ghost rings from LPA, which are mounted atop the barrel in front, and to the optics rail in the rear. They are very fast to pick up and provide excellent alignment, especially for shooting slugs at longer ranges. I’ve made the comment before, while shooting other shotguns with ghost rings in competition, that they are effectively cheating, I find it very hard to miss a shot with these style of sights.

LPA 3-dot Ghost Ring Sights

The addition of a factory threaded barrel to allow chokes right out of the box is an excellent addition to a home defense gun. This gives the user the ability to tune the patterns of his/her gun to exactly what they want. Personally, in a home defense situation, I would want the tightest patterns as possible, to prevent collateral damage to my home or family, and thus I found myself using the full choke on this gun when testing it much more than the cylinder choke.

The muzzle with cylinder choke in place

Range Time

At the range, the Tx4 ate anything we could feed it, from low velocity target birdshot, to 3″ magnum buckshot without a single hint of a hiccup. The Blink action is incredibly fast cycling, and offers a very soft recoil impulse. I hinted earlier that I was worried about the recoil on such a light gun, but I was proven very wrong after firing it. Bulk birdshot loads are remarkably gentle, I could fire them all day long and not be even close to sore. Low recoil and Standard recoil 00 buckshot definitely kick more, but are still easily manageable. 3″ 00 Buck is more punishing, but not uncontrollable, 1oz Slugs are the same way.

Beretta Tx4 Storm Firing and Field Stripping

Patterns

Patterning of the Beretta Tx4 Storm. Click here to zoom in.

In my time at the range, I patterned the Tx4 with 3 different types of ammo, Rio Royal Low Recoil and Standard Recoil 00 Buckshot, and Winchester Super X 3″ (76mm) Magnum 00 Buckshot. The resulting patterns are shown above, from 5, 10, and 15 yards using cylinder and full chokes. The Winchester was only patterned using the Full Choke.

The weapon patterns quite well with Rio Buckshot out to 10 yards, while the 15 yard patterns from it are a little bit larger than I would like to see. The Winchester loads, which are buffered for better patterning, patterned much tighter, with impressive patterns out to 15 yards, and presumably beyond. Personally, The Rio buckshot, while inexpensive, I feel does not pattern well enough to be used as defensive ammo, however, it is still very reliable and clean firing, and is still great ammo for blasting about at the range. For home defense use, I would recommend a buffered 2 3/4″ (70mm) 00 buckshot load, to tighten patterns and prevent fliers from missing the intended target and causing collateral damage.

Final Thoughts

The Beretta Tx4 Storm is an excellent shotgun for the home defense role for which it was intended. It is also quite fun to shoot at the range. As a side note, the cartouches and proof marks on many of the parts of this weapon make the inner history buff in me smile.

Reliability: *****
Not a single malfunction in all of the rounds I fired, ranging from low to high pressure rounds, without any adjustment of the gas system needed.

Ergonomics: ****1/2
Comfortable to hold and shoot, controls are well placed. Recoil is present, but very soft. Half-star off for small bolt handle and mediocre trigger.

Customizability: ****
Swappable chokes, optics rail, and an available recoil reducing stock add-on. 1 star off for lack of availability of Magazine extensions to Non-LEO/Mil, it’d be nice to have 1 or 2 more rounds as a factory option.

Overall ****1/2
An excellent choice for an autoloading home defense gun, and a solid offering by Beretta for their Storm home defense line.

Specifications:
Caliber: 12 gauge, 76mm (3″) Chamber
Barrel length: 18″
Action: Gas-Operated, rotating bolt
Capacity: 5+1, 4+1 with longer 2 3/4″ and 3″ loads
Choke: OptimaChoke Interchangeable – Supplied with Cylinder
Sights: LPA 3-dot Ghost Rings
MSRP: $1,450

[ Special thanks to J&E Guns, Inc. in Bellefonte, PA for helping us out with the transfer. These guys are really great, I never hesitate to go in and see what they have. ]

Related

Nathan B

Nathan B is a software engineer living in Maryland. He graduated from Penn State University in 2012 with a BS in Information Sciences and Technology. He has been shooting for most of his life, is a sucker for a good .22 rifle, and shoots competitively in IDPA and local 3-gun matches.


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  • Dave

    “Unfortunately, Beretta only sells their extensions to LEO/Military”
    Non-government customers are 2nd class now? Now there’s some fine customer service. I’d like to see their explanation of why one more round od ammunition makes this fine shotgun that I won’t be buying anytime soon too dangerous for a mere citizen to own.

  • Kyle

    Great review I love semi auto shot guns, I just have a problem warming up to the prices they go for. Either way great review and from the sound of if great shotgun.

  • Woodroez

    Not coming from the factory with a tube that matches the length of the barrel is already a dealbreaker for me, but they don’t even have them available in the aftermarket? Baffling.

    Mossberg’s 930 Special Purpose comes in a similar configuration (model #85360): minimum length barrel, LPA Ghost Rings, but a capacity of 7+1 with 2 3/4″ loads. It’s MSRP ($786) is almost literally half of the Tx4′s, and I’ve personally only read high praise for the 930SPX models.

  • btr

    If the gun is imported to the USA, it is ILLEGAL to put an extended tube mag on it (without subsituting american-made compliance parts, which probably don’t exist).

    If Beretta is making this in the USA, this does not apply of course.

  • Chuck

    Before anyone starts going after Beretta for magazine issue, remember that manufacturers of shotguns outside the US have to deal with BS “sporting arms” import restrictions, as well as 922r issues. This is almost definitely the source of the “extended mag tube for LEO only” policy.

    That said, I have always wished there was a way to get a 390/391 series gun set up as a defensive gun.

    • http://www.guns.com Max Slowik

      In my research I’ve found this not likely to be true; 922r compliance only applies to imported shotguns that are “non-sporting”. Without a pistol grip, this shotgun is still sporting, even though it is imported. Beretta-sponsored competitors get extended magazine tubes.

      I’ve asked Beretta about this and received conflicting answers. But the clearest reply from them was along the lines of “The ATF asked us to stop exporting shotgun magazines to the US so we stopped.”

  • Tyson Chandler

    Great review and a through write up. I really enjoyed reading it. As far as the gun goes, there is no way I would pay $1400 MSRP for that gun when the 930 SPX can be had for half as much.

  • Nathan B

    Chuck and btr have an excellent point about 922r. I completely forgot that since this gun is in fact manufactured in Italy, it cannot be imported with more than a magazine capacity of 5 rounds, unless US-made parts are incorporated into the gun.

    From my inspection of the applicable law (NOTE: I am not a lawyer, or even close to one), it appears that the Tx4 has 13 of the 20 parts that apply to 922r, 14 if you add a foreign magazine extension. So in order to add an extension, three (or four, with a foreign made tube extension) of the following parts would have to be replaced:

    Receiver
    Barrel
    Bolt
    Bolt carrier
    Gas piston
    Trigger housing
    Trigger
    Hammer
    Disconnector
    Buttstock
    Forearm
    Magazine body
    Follower

    Of which, I am not sure if there are any made in the USA.

  • kvalseth

    This review was a lot better than those Century Arms puff pieces we’ve gotten lately

  • Reg

    For inside the home defense I’d like to suggest the smallest birdshot you can get, loaded so that the shot at a range of 10 ft won’t penetrate two layers of 1/2″ sheetrock spaced by a 2×4.

    I was advised that #6 would not penetrate a wall, but range testing showed that there was lots of penetration. I’ve recently gotten loading equipment so I can load a round that meets the criteria. Even small shot going through the wall can blind a family member in the next room.

    With a tight pattern it would be highly effective. Also by working up different loads and keeping them in bandoliers the 12 gauge can be tamed for use by smaller members of the household.

    • Cymond

      Unfortunately, anything that will penetrate an attacker will also penetrate a wall, and anything that won’t penetrate a wall won’t penetrate an attacker. A firearm without penetration is just a thrown bludgeon. The impact may dissuade the attacker, but it won’t force him to stop.

      Below is taken from http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot3_2.htm

      Birdshot as a Defense Load
      I have had a lot of questions, summed up as follows: How effective is birdshot (#4, #6, #8, etc.) as a defense load?

      We have done tests with various birdshot loads. Birdshot penetrated through two pieces of drywall (representing one wall) and was stopped in the paper on the front of the second wall. The problem with birdshot is that it does not penetrate enough to be effective as a defense round. Birdshot is designed to bring down little birds.

      A policeman told of seeing a guy shot at close range with a load of 12 gauge birdshot, and was not even knocked down. He was still walking around when the EMTs got there. It was an ugly, shallow wound, but did not STOP the guy. And that is what we want… to STOP the bad guy from whatever he is doing. To do this, you must have a load that will reach the vitals of the bad guy. Birdshot will not do this.

      In fact, tests have shown that even #4 Buckshot lacks the necessary penetration to reach the vital organs. Only 0 Buck, 00 Buck, and 000 Buck penetrate enough to reach the vital organs.

      Unless you expect to be attacked by little birds, do not use birdshot. Use 00 Buck. It will do the job.

      But doesn’t 00 Buck penetrate too much in interior walls to be a “safe” load in a home?

      Yes, it does penetrate a lot. But any load that is going to be effective will need to penetrate walls to have enough power to penetrate bad guys. If our only concern was to be sure we didn’t penetrate walls, we would use BB guns. However, BB guns will not stop bad guys.

      Therefore, we must use loads that will STOP bad guys, and this means that they will also penetrate walls. So, be sure you hit the bad guy and do not shoot into walls where loved ones are on the other side.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

        “Birdshot is for birds”

      • cc19

        +1

        One of my cousins got peppered pheasant hunting and was far from dead or incapacitated.

        Poke around theboxotruth site some more; he also proves that rock salt and spare change loads are bad ideas if you want to stop bad guy(s).

    • Komrad

      You shouldn’t be missing your target anyway.
      Birdshot is not effective enough for HD use when better options are available.
      If you’re worried about over-penetration, get a handgun and shoot Glaser stuff through it, but even that doesn’t penetrate in flesh as much as it should.

  • Sid

    The price is a deal-breaker for me. There are similarly equipped shotguns for half that price. I like the gun. From the photos, it seems well put-together. Beretta had purchased Benelli so I would hope that the expertise in shotgun manufacturing is till intact.

    But the gun has been priced out of my range. I can get a similar shotgun and a nice pistol for the price.

  • Josef

    I’d have my trusty Mossberg 590 than this. If I ever decide I need a semi-auto shotgun, i’d probably buy a Saiga-12 for half this instead.
    I’m sure it’s a fine and well crafted shotgun, but I am still of ht opinion that semi-auto doesn’t add much for a home defense situation and still costs considerably more, is less reliable (generally), and more complex.

    I also disagree with the writer about using a full choke for home defense. While a full choke will create a smaller shot pattern less likely to miss whatever you’re shooting at, it does have disadvantages and I believe the author’s decision is based off of some misinformation.
    First of all, if you are aiming center mass even with an open choke, no shot should escape the torso area. The spread is not great enough at the short distances of home defense situations to make this a concern as much as over-penetration if you miss entirely.
    If you miss in a home with an open choke, you might get a spread a few inches in diameter. This group is still very small, but the pellets are pretty much hitting independently (assuming between #4 and 00 buck), while you will get a smaller group with a full choke where pellets will hit within a much smaller area. You can see this in the author’s photo where at 5 yards the largest hole from open chokes is from the wad while the full choke has a much larger single hole from the wad and a few pellets hitting in nearly the same place.
    This would mean that the few pellets and wad that hit together would, for lack of a better description, act as a slug and penetrate further because the first pellet through did most of the work in compromising the drywall and the others would just go through the new hole.

    • Other Steve

      You most likely missed the days of Siagas being half this.

      I have a siaga-12, converted to pistol grip that takes AR mags. I like it quite a bit. An Autoplug regulator on it and it cycles bulk bird shot to 3″ slugs no issue.

      However… The Siaga in theory is great. In practice though… The mags are very difficult to change out quickly. You’ll notice 3-Gun guys are all running mag wells. This is something I had initially dismissed, but am now thinking might be a nice addition. Likewise, putting in a full mag with the bolt closed is extremely difficult. The gun is also very heavy, not heavy compared to a tacticool-AK, but way heavier than my ARs. I even have a light fixed stock, 18.1″ barrel, plastic forearm, etc. It’s as light as it’ll get without being an SBS and it’s still a little heavy.

      I like my Siaga, but I do think a lot of my issues with it could be resolved if I bought a Benelli M4 instead.

      • Josef

        A quick search on gunbroker reveals several Saiga-12s with “buy now” prices of $700 or less. It would be more than half the cost of this Tx4 to soup them up with pistol grips and hi-cap mags, but stock definitely is less than half the cost of the Tx4.

        I still would rather have a Saiga-12, but I suppose more than a bit of that desire is the novelty of an AK shotgun.

    • Alex-mac

      Semi auto is the way to go for home defense. For starters it doesn’t require the coordinated action of two hands to cycle a shell, very important under stress. Having an extra hand free for grappling purposes is also useful. Reliability is greater considering short stroking a pump is not unusual. Reliability is also greatly exaggerated in importance, as long as you keep it clean and test the ammo you’ll be using you shouldn’t have a problem. It’s not like your taking the weapon to Afghanistan where it will be filled with dust.

      • http://utahgunpermits.com Kevan

        I’m not sure I agree with you. Pumping a shotgun is a gross motor skill, one not normally of concern in a stressful situation. Reloading a gun, or clearing a malfunction are fine motor skills that need to be practiced. I’ve never had a pump malfunction on me, but I have had every auto-loader jam up.

        Also, I don’t believe firing a straight grip stock one-handed in a stressful situation is very wise, let alone advisable. Besides, if you find yourself grappling it had better be because you are out of ammo, and in that case if you aren’t using your shotgun as a bat or club it should be on the floor while you use both hands to get the bad guy. I have decent length arms, and I can only reach a couple inches beyond the bore of my 870 Defense.

        One last thought: most (and I said MOST) bad guys piss their pants at the unmistakable sound of the action being cycled on a pump. I’d rather scare them off without having to fire a shot if I can.

      • Kyle

        Just about everything you do is a fine motor skill. The only gross motor skills are moving your arms and legs. If you can hold onto a gun, that’s a fine motor skill. If you can pull a trigger, that’s also a fine motor skill. Pumping a shotgun is a debatable gross motor skill. Yes, it uses the large muscle groups in your arms, but to hold onto the pump itself uses your fingers, which use fine motor skills. So I would say it’s a combination of both. In any case, using a gun is a matter of fine motor skills entirely.

      • Komrad

        @Kyle
        I think that the physical action of moving the forearm would be a gross motor skill. You say that holding on is a fine motor skill, and I think I agree with you, but you also have to hold onto a semi-auto. I don’t think many people have trouble holding onto their shotguns an d any issues with short stroking would result from lack of practice. I have never personally short stroked My Mossberg 500 even when doing a “mag dump” into viscous lines of pumpkins and I’ve never done any training with it except pinking and sporting clays.

        @Kevan
        While a pump gun is scary, it wont do much to someone on and LSD trip or heading towards withdrawal on on stuff like meth, crack/cocaine, PCP, heroin, or painkillers and it wont scare intruders who are armed as much. It’s a nice bonus, but it’s not something I’d bet my life on.

      • http://utahgunpermits.com Kevan

        You’re absolutely right, Komrad. However, I did day MOST bad guys. I wouldn’t bet my life on the sound of and action being cycled, however I would bet my life on my shotgun. The sound effects are just an added bonus. :-)

  • Other Steve

    I would have to be VERY pushed into thinking this was a better buy than the Benelli M4 or even M1 or M2. Yet the cost isn’t all that far off.

  • Seamus

    Great review. Comprehensive and well thought-out. I look forward to reading more.

  • counsel

    Is it possible for the mobile version of the blog NOT display the full first article?

  • Southerner

    Addressing only the “ghost ring” sights:

    - One of my core concerns with using ghost ring equipped shotguns is the high line of sight. The prime advantage of conventional shotguns is the near “instinctive” pointing characteristics of the low line of sight and stock design combination. That said, some visual reference via a bead/vent rib, ultra low patridge or ghost ring can enhance pattern placement. Simply mountng a high line of sight ghost ring sight system negates the pointing advantage of a conventional shotguns layout.

    -I was however, pleased to see the side dots for low light elevation index on the ghost ring itself. In my personal experience the plain ghost ring concept provides no index of elevation and is useless in low light situations with the rear sight in virtual darkness, ( such as from a box stand when deer hunting or similar circumstance)

  • http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com Robert Farago

    Love the new format!

    • Nathan B

      Thanks RF, look a little familiar? I love TTAG’s review format :)

  • JT

    Another gun to add to my list. Looks really nifty and I like a nice, light versatile gun.

    Still, it would be great to see a home defense comparo between something like this gun, a 500 persuader, a Remington 870, etc. Something that goes over maneuverability, ease of use, and the like.

    I’d really like a sort of box-o-truth/mythbusters segment for 18″ rifled shotguns using shot in an HD situation of 5-15 yards. Some say they spiral out of control, but then they’re using buckshot at 25 yards, which would be the wrong load and distance. It would be interesting if someone with a personal range would do #4 buckshot in a 2 3/4 and 3 inch shell out of a 18″ rifled barrel at 7 yards. Just throwing it out there.

    • JT

      I forgot, and test slugs simultaneously for when accuracy is required for 5-25 yards

    • Nathan B

      JT, I might just see if I could do this. The range I did this review at has a specific range set aside for patterning, I think it would be a great thing to test out.

      • JT

        Great. Many thanks if you do. I’ve heard of people cutting down slug barrels to legal 18″ , but I always wondered if it would pattern like some sort of dream gun for close-up home defense distances. Like a longer barrel than an SBS, more rapid expansion than an sbs, and ability for accurate shots with slugs. Probably have to use smaller buckshot than 00 though

  • Southerner

    RE: Buckshot and choke tubes:

    I am happy to see defensive oriented shotguns set up for choke tubes.

    The old adage of “one inch of spread for each yard of range” for small pellet buckshot is old 1950′s news in the South.

    Using a well tested choke and load combination can easily place and entire small pellet buckshot (00B) load into a <10" pattern at 25 yards.

    The key is well tested, that is finding the load and choke combination that delivers the pattern strike and penetration needed for the job at hand.

    • Nathan B

      Southerner, just like getting shot 9 times with a pistol. In my opinion, and contrary to some’s beliefs, spread is actually the enemy of a good defensive gun. I tend to agree with the points brought up by Magpul’s shotgun video.

      • Southerner

        Nathan B.

        Remember, available commercial buckshot loads are available with pellets that range from .20″ (T) to the massive three pellet .60″ Tri-Ball loads.
        So don’t limit your view of buckshot applications and penetration to 00B (.315″ to .345″ SAAMI Spec.) – think outside the box!

  • Josh

    Anyone know if this is specifically cali legal? Been looking to get a shotty for HD, and this one looks pretty much perfect for it.

    • Nathan B

      Josh, from looking over the laws involved, (note, once again, I am NOT a lawyer), An ‘assault shotgun’ has:

      Less than 26″ OAL
      or
      Less than 18″ barrel
      or
      A detachable magazine on a semi auto
      or
      a revolving cylinder (no circuit judges, welp)
      or
      A semi-auto with pistol grip AND a collapsing stock (one or the other is fine)

      So it looks like the Tx4 would be cali-legal, good news for you :)

      Source:http://gunwiki.net/Gunwiki/LegalCaliforniaShotgunGuide

  • http://www.thefirearmblog.com robert

    I have this gun and it is excellent. Although one does have to be a little careful with reduced recoil buck. Regarding magazine capacity, even with most two and three quarter inch shells the magazine only holds four. I spoke to Beretta customer service and they recommended getting an extension from surecycle. I have ordered a two round extension tube and will see how that works.