Beretta PX4 DA/SA Range Lessons


I went to the shooting range to practice the single action and double action of the Beretta PX4 Storm, with concealed carry self-defense in mind. I learned a valuable lesson and found out how dirty a pistol can be after shooting 250 rounds. I observed another shooter making 3 critical mistakes.

Practice Double/Single Action

I had two goals in mind for this range trip, to practice single action and double action trigger pulls, and to aim and fire as quickly as possible as would be needed in a self-defense situation.

Theoretically, in the course of firing 250 rounds on a SA/DA gun, you would have one trigger pull DA, and 249 SA. Not a good ratio to learn both!

I used the safety decocker to place the gun into DA mode so I could practice the long and heavy trigger pull. I discovered that I could be accurate, given enough time to slowly squeeze the trigger. This is not good for concealed carry, when you want to be quick and accurate as possible on your first shot. The workaround for this would be to carry the gun with the hammer cocked, which would defeat the design intentions of a SA/DA gun.

Single action was much easier due to the short and light pull. I could aim and fire quickly and accurately. However, sometimes I would throw some shots off my point of aim because my brain was expecting the trigger to be heavier or the reset point different.

I am not a fan of the SA/DA, it’s difficult to have a proper trigger pull. Muscle memory wants to perform the exact same motion everytime, and yet mastering the SA/DA gun requires 2 different sets of memory.

Self-Defense Quickly Aim and Fire

The goal of my practice is to improve my self defense skills. Everyone has the natural right to defend their life. You may only have 1 or 2 seconds to respond to a criminal attacking you. This is why I believe it is critical to practice and train to be able to draw, aim, and fire as quickly as possible while hitting your target.

This is an extremely difficult skill to master. You should shoot as fast as you can make accurate hits, speed will increase gradually over time.

As quickly as possible I aimed at the brain or heart and squeezed off a single round. I repeated that drill on my target set 15 feet downrange. I should have slowed down to tighten up my group, but I did hit the target every time.

Need to clean?

When you see dirt, clean it!
When you see dirt, clean it!

After 250 rounds it was obvious the gun had been fired and there were carbon deposits. Will the gun continue to run without cleaning? Probably, but don’t be lazy and clean your gun. It’s not a matter of if, but when a dirty gun will malfunction. Take care of your pistol by cleaning it after each use and it will last longer and show less signs of wear.

3 Range Mistakes Observed

I observe the range to make sure everyone is acting in a safe manner and to see if there are any outstanding shooters I can learn from. Here are 3 mistakes I observed, are you making any of them?

  1. Standing up straight
    Stance unnatural, knees locked, feet close together, like a wooden toy soldier. Don’t do that, because you won’t be able to control recoil, you will end up on the balls of your feet and leaning backwards, and your accuracy will not be good. This will affect people who are skinny or small stature more than heavier individuals.
  2. Moving head down to sights
    Burying your chin into your chest (tilting head down) in an attempt to see your sights or otherwise contorting your neck. You’ll be so uncomfortable and lost as to why you can’t see your sights properly.
  3. Finger on the trigger
    Keeping your finger on the trigger is a surefire way for an unintended discharge and showing everyone that you are a newb and a danger to others. Keep that finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard unless you intend to destroy something.

Which action do you prefer for concealed carry? Do you clean your gun after each range trip? Let us know in the comments, subscribe to our facebook page, or subscribe to Liberty Carry email newsletter.


2 thoughts on “Beretta PX4 DA/SA Range Lessons”

  1. I actually clean after 2 or 3 trips, firing 150 rounds each.

    Now, because I am a newbie to firearms, I decided to stay away from double action pistols after my online research and conversations with seasoned gun owners and instructors. I figured that, since it would take me a while to become proficient, I wanted hardware that was consistent.

  2. That is very wise of you, proficiency is an acquired skill and is better learned on simpler firearms first as they translate to the more complicated skills once you arrive there!

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