A few tests for a renewal in this market segment showed up a few years ago with the Beretta MX4 submachine gun, a full-auto version of the CX4 Storm, produced in 2011 for the Indian border police.
But the most attentive analysts had guessed that it could not be the heir to the PM12 and in fact at the Milipol recently held in Paris, the Company of Gardone (Italy) introduced the new PMX submachine gun that also in the physical appearance recalls its famous predecessor from which it nonetheless clearly differs for the extensive use of light alloys and polymers to reduce weight.
Features of the Beretta PMX submachine gun
Barrel and bolt are machined from a special high-strength steel that can withstand without problem the intense firing stress typical of a full-auto weapon. The finishing of surfaces has also been thoroughly taken care of to protect the weapon's mechanisms from the rigors of hostile environments, without these finishes negatively influencing friction and reciprocal movements of moving parts.
All this involves a substantial reduction in time and frequency of weapon maintenance operations.
The PMX is equipped with an ambidextrous three-position fire selector (safe, single shot, full auto), located on the lower receiver, easy to operate by both right-handed and left-handed shooters. The selector safety blocks the sear and an automatic firing pin block prevents forward movement of the firing pin unless the trigger is fully pulled or in case the submachine gun is accidentally dropped.
The PMX is based on a blow-back system design with closed-bolt firing mode. When it fires the last round the bolt remains open, allowing the operator an immediate and intuitive inspection of the cartridge chamber.
The rate of fire in full-auto mode is about 900 rounds per minute.
The oversized magazine release buttons are positioned on both sides of the weapon, guaranteeing an easy and immediate operation even when wearing tactical gloves. The double stack magazine with a capacity of thirty rounds is made of translucent polymer and allows easy counting of the rounds left, while still ensuring great robustness.
The cocking lever is easily reversible from one side of the weapon to the other, to adapt to the physical complexion or the needs of the operator.
The Beretta PMX submachine gun is equipped with four Picatinny rails (MIL-STD-1913) located above, below and on each side of the receiver, allowing the installation of illuminators, pointers and other accessories such as an additional front grip.
The stock is very light and ergonomic and can be folded down simply by pressing a button, bringing the length of the weapon from 640 to 418 mm, thus facilitating carrying and concealment.
An aluminum telescopic stock with a synthetic rubber recoil pad is also available as an option, allowing better control of the recoil and enhancing stability on the shooter's shoulder. A pair of swivels at both ends of the gun allow the use of a tactical sling.
The metal sights of the Beretta PMX are attached directly to the upper Picatinny rail and are easily adjustable and removable, if optical or electronic aiming systems are preferred. The sight radius measures 250 mm.
Like every weapon designed for modern professional uses, modularity and flexibility of use have been considered as essential features. The field stripping procedures have been reduced to a minimum in order to take down the PMX submachine gun in a few seconds without the use of tools.
The Beretta PMX can also be equipped with a sound suppressor that can be employed with both subsonic and supersonic ammunition. The weight of the Beretta PMX with an empty magazine is 2.5 kilograms (88.18 oz). Since this is a weapon intended exclusively for law enforcement, the price to the public is reserved.
As a last reflection point, it remains to be seen if the new Beretta submachine gun comes at the right time. The military and law enforcement agencies today are more and more oriented to equip their men and women with compact assault rifles chambered in 5.56mm - like the FN SCAR-SC, to name one - to confront ever-growing menaces. So, is the submachine gun in 9mm still a valid proposition in the present context and market? Time will be the judge.