Target and Beretta PX4 Compact
I liked the picture I took of the Desert Eagle with a target, so I thought I’d take another similar picture, this time with my Beretta PX4. Despite looking a lot smaller than the Desert Eagle it is actually almost the same size. However, having a polymer frame the Beretta is a whole lot lighter.
There’s been a lot written in the media about how easy it is to purchase firearms (especially in Missouri). I thought I’d mention that it’s not quite as easy as they make out.
There is a very long and tedious form to complete, which needs your driver’s license details, Social Security number, and includes a long list of questions which almost, but not quite, includes your inside leg measurement. Then you have to have to pass a computerized FBI background check.
If you are a dubious character like myself (that’s sarcasm by the way), this means you also have to complete additional forms and have a manual background check. So contrary to what you may have read, it is not as simple as just handing over some cash. That said, I have never had to prove that I know the basic safety rules. There is, of course, lots of safety information included in the paperwork; if anyone actually reads it.
Why I bought a Beretta
I have tried a lot of handguns, and I went with the old adage, “The right gun for you is the one you can consistently hit the target with.” And the Beretta fitted that bill nicely. It also met my other requirements, which were: Preferably hammer-fired, Double/Single Action1, de-cocker, and a safety switch. For whatever reason, I’m not keen on striker-fired guns, and I do not trust trigger-based safeties any further than I could throw them. So a Glock and many others were out of the question. Too many people have had negligent discharges by getting the supposedly safe trigger caught in clothing. A 1911 would have met my requirements, but they’re expensive, big, and heavy, likewise the Beretta 92. However, I’d still like one (or more) of each! The Smith and Wesson M&P was also high on my list – but I couldn’t hit anything with it. The Beretta was one of the ‘safest’ guns I looked at — that is, the least likely for me to have a negligent discharge while carrying it.
I have experienced – and heard – first hand and close-up, a negligent discharge
Why do I think safeties are important? Because I have experienced – and heard – first hand and close-up, a negligent discharge (nothing to do with me I should hasten to add). Fortunately, only furniture was harmed. The bullet passed through a chair I’d only recently vacated, through a wall and lodged in the frame of a chair in the adjacent room. It could have been very nasty. Alcohol was not a factor in this event, or even in the building. It was a simple mistake. Witnessing an incident like that makes you keenly aware of the care you need to take, and as a consequence, you become even more safety-conscious when handling firearms. I don’t remember how long I waited after the event before I told Ginger about it.
So I’ve opted for the Beretta with three separate safeties:
- Safety/decocker. Putting on the safety also decocks the hammer. It still disconcerts me to have the hammer drop knowing there is a round in the chamber, but it is much safer than lowering the hammer with your thumb. When the safety is engaged the trigger does nothing.
- Double Action trigger pull, this gives the gun a 10lb first-round trigger pull, which makes it hard to accidentally catch or pull the trigger.
- Striker block, unless the trigger is pulled you can bash the hammer all you want, it is not going to fire – likewise if it is dropped it won’t fire.
Of course, the most important safety device is the operator, don’t pull the trigger unless you mean to destroy whatever you are aiming at. There is also the optional additional safety precaution of not keeping a round in the chamber. This is not something I do. I keep the gun holstered, loaded, safety on, and ready for use.
Full disclosure – Just in case you were wondering as I work part-time for the church. Following statements by The Episcopal Church on its position regarding gun violence, firearms, and their licensing, the bishop of the diocese is aware that I own firearms2.
1 Double/Single Action: With a Double/Single action mechanism, pulling the trigger cocks the hammer (if it isn’t already cocked), and then fires the weapon. That is, the trigger has a double purpose, cocking & firing the weapon. With a Single Action mechanism the trigger just fires the gun, so you have to rack the slide, or pull back the hammer by hand to cock it ready to fire and get the first round off (assuming, of course, the hammer/striker isn’t already cocked). The hammer/striker is automatically cocked after the first round is fired in both a Double/Single Action or Single Action weapon, and subsequent pulls on the trigger just release the hammer/striker firing the gun. Some guns are designed to be Double Action only (revolvers for example), and the weapon is not cocked until each time you pull the trigger.
With a double/Single Action weapon the amount of ‘pull’ on the trigger varies, with a long heavy pull needed to cock the hammer (8-10lbs on the Beretta), and thereafter a shorter and lighter pull (5lbs) will keep it firing. The key advantage of this arrangement is that you can safely carry the gun with a round in the chamber and when you need it, pulling the trigger makes it go bang. Consequently less thinking is required in what will be a stressful situation. The combination of the Long heavy trigger pull and the safety makes the weapon a lot less likely to be fired unintentionally
2 In March 2020, I started working full-time for the church. In November 2021, a new bishop was elected. She is also aware that I own firearms.
Copyright © 2015 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.