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Thread: First Impressions: Beretta CX4 9mm carbine

  1. #1
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    First Impressions: Beretta CX4 9mm carbine

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This lead hose is very close to my idea of what a home-defense firearm should be.

    The Beretta CX4 has been around since 2003, but has never really caught on. I don’t know why. To shoot one is to want one. They are made in 9mm and .40 S&W. They are now scarce indeed; I think that’s because Beretta is fulfilling law enforcement contracts with the select fire SMG version. They were previously made also in .45 ACP, but those are now discontinued. I found one online in 9mm and bought it. The .40 versions are cheaper when you find them. With .40 ammo almost as cheap as 9mm, it’s tempting, but as we will see, mag capacity is limited.

    EXTERIOR: The plastic stock looks like it was designed for Darth Vader’s personal bodyguard. The gun weighs only about 5.5 pounds and is a bit less than 30 inches long. The barrel is 16” and is chrome lined, like an AR-15, but the end is not threaded. The magazine fits into the grip, like an Uzi; it is thus halfway between a standard design and a bullpup. The gun is extremely ergonomic. All the controls fall right under your hands, with the possible exception of the magazine release button, which is in the location it would be on a pistol. If you have a long thumb you can press it with ease. If not, maybe not. All the controls save the cross-bolt safety are easily reversible. [Correction: the bolt release is what's not reversible.] I as a right-hander opted to have it eject right, but I put the charging handle on the left (which is where it belongs, NOT on the right as in the AK, Mini-14, and many others). This lets you hold the gun continuously in the dominant hand and charge it with the left. As stated, the safety is not reversible, but who needs a safety on a home-defense gun? The gun handles most excellently. It begs to be fired.

    MAGAZINE: CX4 ships in two flavors, one that takes 92 series magazines, and one that takes PX4 style. Mine came in 92 (good!) but two parts available for $50 from Beretta’s website will let you convert. The .45 is limited to 10, and the .40 I believe maxes out at 17. The PX4 version in 9mm is also limited; but the 92 version takes Beretta’s 30 round 92 series mags. These appear to be of excellent quality – Made In Italy – and have more than a whiff of Mec-Gar about them. They are blued steel. They cost in the low-$30 range new. I tried two of the thirties and both functioned flawlessly. You’ll need a Lula mag loader to save your thumb. The magazine strips down with ease for cleaning.

    SIGHTS: Here’s where I think Beretta blew it, to an extent. There are plastic “ears” molded into the upper which house a post front sight and peep rear sights. Sights are adjustable for elevation and windage. The rear sights have two peeps which “flip” like those of the M16A1 for near or far. The iron sights are not entirely useless but it would have been better if Beretta had left them off and instead extended the picatinny rail from front to back, and let the customer select the sights. This would have allowed for something like Magpul BUIS or any other kind of picatinny-mounting iron sights. The big Picatinny rail demands an optic, and I threw a red dot on there. With the standard AR-height riser, it’s just right.


    INSIDE: This is a blowback design; in place of a locking breech, the pressure of the cartridge works against the recoil spring and the heavy bolt. The bolt is a “telescoping” design, like the Uzi. Push out one pin, and the upper and lower separate. The gun can be field-stripped in seconds and cleans easily; this is good because blowback designs run much dirtier than locking breech guns. The guide rod is plastic and this can be changed with aftermarket parts if needed. The rails the bolt slides on are molded extensions of the stock. I expected to find a steel frame holding steel rails but not so. The hammer and trigger are plastic but unlike some other examples, mine's trigger breaks cleanly at 8 pounds.

    FIRING: I used new 30 round Beretta factory mags. Ammo was Winchester 115 grain bulk white box, Winchester Q4318 NATO 124 grain, and Federal black box bulk 115. The NATO and Federal gave a spicier recoil than the Win. White box. Firing was without issue, except around the 20th round out of the first magazine. It failed to extract. Inspection revealed that I had reassembled the bolt with the extractor bone dry. Generous lubrication with CLP cured the problem and almost 300 more rounds were fired without incident. This gun seems to like to run wet and other CX4 owners concur. Accuracy is acceptable for a personal defense carbine at 25 yards. Recoil is quite a bit lighter than my Sub 2000 or my Colt AR-9. You can hammer out accurate shots very quickly. It’s like a video game. Move and shoot, run and gun, it feels like a part of you. There is an optional $100 barrel weight that looks like a sound suppressor. This reduces muzzle rise but adds to the weight of the gun. I’ve fired CX4 with this attached. I probably won’t be getting one for myself.

    Niggles: This gun could be updated and improved by stippling the forend for a better grip. Also, putting M-Lok holes in the forend would result in more places to hang tactical stuff, and would also serve as vent-holes to keep the barrel cooler. Finally, get rid of the sights and just have a rail.

    I recently acquired the Colt AR6951 “AR-9” carbine for home protection, replacing the good old 7 round pump shotgun. I’m keeping the AR-9, definitely, but the CX4 is going to be the designated home invader repellent starting now.
    Last edited by Uni-Vibe; 12-29-19 at 10:52.

  2. #2
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    I’ll +1 this, I bought a gen 1 years ago and it’s never failed me.

    Accurate with all rounds from cheap 115 gr. Blazer to truncated 147gr. or hollow points.

    It’s an older design that lacks some modern features but it works. As an AK guy I like being able to set it up for right side charging & ejection.

    While the irons are kind of small and require a factory tool to adjust they work well with a dab of paint on the front post. But it’s accurate enough for a PCC to make use of a compact 4x scope.

  3. #3
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    Excellent review. I have one that, believe it or not, I got from Botach several years ago. It came with the PX4 magazine well, but I converted it to take 92 magazines. It has a Mepro red dot on it. I like the way it shoots and it has been 100% reliable. It would be nice if it was available with a folding stock and threaded. That would likely increase sales too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bret View Post
    Excellent review. I have one that, believe it or not, I got from Botach several years ago. It came with the PX4 magazine well, but I converted it to take 92 magazines. It has a Mepro red dot on it. I like the way it shoots and it has been 100% reliable. It would be nice if it was available with a folding stock and threaded. That would likely increase sales too.
    Imagine if they offered it with a pistol brace and the military barrel.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    I don't think it sells well enough for them to make US parts. Without US parts they can't make those tacticool configurations that might sell better.

    I can't get past the cross bolt safety myself. And the stock looks too long, without any easy way to shorten.

  6. #6
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    if they offered a "pistol" variant with threaded barrel they'd sell enough to justify the costs IMO. It's a solid design.

  7. #7
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    These are definite "sleepers". Just enough flexibility to configure it to ones liking. In the 92 config, mags are easy to aquire and as noted its easty to shoot, accurate. Im suprised they dont have more of a following.
    Last edited by GNXII; 12-29-19 at 22:02.

  8. #8
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    Had one.

    Needed stock / grip options and the sight towers were not good and not removable without serious surgery.

    Didnt like the crossbolt safety, either.

    It was light, short, very reliable. (Wolf, blazer, 115 gr +p+ jhp's, 147 gr jhp's, whatever, it ate it) Cheap to shoot.

    But I couldn't get past the negatives I described above and sold it.

  9. #9
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    I've been interested in these off an on over the years but handling one I found on the used rack at Cabela's is the closest I ever got.
    I'm somewhat in the market for a PCC right now so my interest in the CX4 is rekindled a bit. I think if I got one I would likely SBR it eventually.

  10. #10
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    I've had one of these for a while. It runs great! I stuck an RMR in a low mount on it and it makes for a pretty handy little blaster...Especially with the 20rd Mec-Gar mags.

    I'm not a big fan of the safety, or the bolt release, though. They're hard for me to work normally, so I usually result to lefty-operation of those controls. Not a total deal breaker for me, but annoying none the less.

    Now, having said all that, I find myself shooting the Ruger PC more than the CX4 these days...

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