Ever since I first fired the Beretta PX4 in 9mm, I was amazed by the pistol. This pistol is amazingly easy to shoot and apparently is that way will all calibers. Now Beretta claims that the rotating barrel design is the cause of this. It is said that recoil is transferred to the sides instead of straight back into the shooters hand like in the more common Browning style lock up system. Well, after breaking down the pistol and looking at the rotating barrel system, I came up with my own reason for why the rotating barrel system is so nice to shoot.
First thing we need to realize is the fact that all semi-auto guns depend on one thing to ensure safe and reliable functioning. Without a proper amount of dwell time before unlock, the pressures of the bullet being fired will not have the time to drain off the pressure that had built up in the barrel. The dwell time offered by the recoil spring and lockup system offers the barrel just enough time for the pressure to drop to a safe level. The key here is to not have too much pressure bleed off to where the cycling of the action becomes unreliable, but not so much that you are pulling the cartridge out too early, further causing unreliable extraction and ejection.
With all this in mind, I think you will find the rotating barrel design to perhaps provide that beautiful middle ground that many manufacturers are looking for to make their actions reliable and durable. It isn’t just the Beretta pistols which have used the rotating barrel design to great affect. With current manufacturing methods and technologies, I think that some of these classic lockup designs should be dusted off and given a second look. The rotating barrel was a good choice for Beretta to show how good it is at making unique pistols without compromising on reliability and style.