January 2015

Smith & Wesson M&P40c Vs. Beretta’s Storm Compact Forty

This pair demonstrated first-class reliability, achieved with two different schemes. Also, the Beretta was more accurate from the bench, but the S&W demonstrated superior combat accuracy.

Smith & Wesson M&P40c Vs. Beretta’s Storm Compact Forty

While the handguns are similar in size, we feel the Smith & Wesson, left, makes more efficient use of space. The barrel is longer and the long sight radius makes the speedy shooter more accurate.

What is there to say about two 40-caliber handguns that never stuttered? A lot. There are significant differences between the handguns that lead us to believe one is the superior defensive handgun, at least for our testers. When faced with an attack by a psychopath with no sense of the moral dimension of his crime, we wish to be as well armed as possible. Unfortunately, society frowns on an individual walking around with a shotgun slung over the shoulder. Or, a full-size service pistol may become a drag on the hip. This means that the compact handgun is a popular compromise. Among the most popular concealed-carry types is the compact 40 S&W pistol.

The term subcompact is applied to those handguns with both a short barrel and slide and a shortened grip, both of which have significant downsides. The shorter barrel generates less velocity. The shorter grip prevents an ideal firing grip. The smaller grip helps some shooters, but it depends upon the individual’s hands and determination in practice. So to see how these and other performance factors are handled, we looked at a pair of subcompact handguns: The Smith & Wesson Military & Police Compact M&P40c 109203 40 S&W, which lists for $569, but which we found at CheaperThanDirt.com for $480. The Beretta Px4 Storm SubCompact JXS4F20FC 40 S&W was $511, also from CTD, with a list price of $582.

The primary difference between the two was their actions. The Smith & Wesson is a double action only. The trigger press is reset by the slide, and it is the same press for each trigger pull. The Storm features a double-action-first-shot trigger. A long press of the trigger fires the first shot. The slide cocks the hammer in recoil and the following shots are single action. Notably, the person using a double-action-first-shot handgun must learn two trigger actions. In our view, it takes less training time to master the DAO trigger, but there is an argument for the superior accuracy of the single-action trigger press.

Also notable, these 40-caliber handguns demonstrate more recoil than their 9mm counterparts, due to them expelling more bullet weight and bullet energy. In a self-defense scenario, we always want more energy on the target, if the shooter can put the bullet on the target. However, we recommend that anyone considering the 40-caliber compact handgun should take time to master the 9mm first. We found these handguns are significantly more difficult to use than 9mm compacts we’ve previously tested.

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