Just when you think you have seen it all, someone manages to clone a popular handgun and make it even better. The AREX Rex Zero 1 9mm is an interesting handgun that has proven reliable, accurate, and ergonomic. The pistol is the first handgun manufactured solely in Slovenia. Although AREX is a company with much manufacturing experience, its first pistol is a clone of the SIG Sauer P226 with certain modifications. Some may even say upgrades.
The pistol is a double-action first-shot 9mm fired with a long trigger press that cocks and drops the hammer. The pistol fires, and the hammer is cocked by the recoiling slide for subsequent single-action fire. When the hammer is cocked, the hammer may be safely lowered by actuating a frame-mounted decock lever. This is the same as the SIG, but the Rex Zero is quite different in mechanics.
The Rex Zero differs significantly from the SIG in that the decock lever performs dual functions. The decocker acts as a slide lock. Combining this function has several advantages. First, the decocker is as handy as the SIG, no problem there. Second, the slide lock of the SIG is in a spot that sometimes invites the shooter to ride the thumb when firing. As a result, the thumb continues to ride the slide lock, causing the slide not to lock open on the last shot with some shooters and some grip styles. The Rex Zero will not have this problem.
When dropping the slide with the multipurpose lever, I never accidentally dropped the hammer. Hit the slide lock and the slide drops. Next, if desired, hit the same lever and it now operates as a decocker. I like this a lot. The spot on the frame normally occupied by the slide lock of the SIG now houses a positive manual safety. While the safety is a good addition, unlike the 1911 slide lock safety, the Rex Zero safety is simply a safety. It does not lock the slide. You may use or ignore this safety; I like the option.
The pistol disassembles easily by use of a frame mounted take down lever. This is simply a continuation of the SIG design. I like the magazine release OK, however, it is a not quite as handy as some due to the girth of the Rex Zero frame. I had to shift my grip when actuating the magazine release. However, by using my forefinger—an advantage of an ambidextrous magazine release—I was able to actuate the release smartly.
The slide is well fitted and finished. The slide features forward cocking serrations. The sights have three white dots drilled into the front and rear faces. There is a loaded chamber indicator activated by the cartridge case. The frame is aluminum and features an accessory rail. This rail is similar to the MK 25 SIG. However, the pistol will not fit holsters molded for the SIG P226R (Rail) pistol. The magazines are well made and finished. Each holds 17 cartridges.
Ergonomics and Feel
There are gripping grooves on both the front and rear straps. The molded plastic grips are pebbled and supply good purchase. The pistol’s fit, including the fit of the barrel to the slide, was good.
The trigger action was smooth in the double-action mode but typically long. The single-action trigger broke clean at just over 4.5 pounds. Reset was fast. The truth is in the firing, and the handgun proved reliable with every load fed it. These loads included lead bullet handloads, FMJs, hollow point defense, and +P loads.
The Rex Zero provided not only good reliability but good practical accuracy. The handgun was controllable in offhand fire and in fast combat shooting. Firing from a solid bench rest, the Rex Zero 1 gave good accuracy. This handgun is a winner, and well worth its price.
Accuracy Testing From a Braced Barricade, 15 yards
|Load Velocity||5-shot group||15 yards|
|DoubleTap 77-grain Lead Free||1414 fps||2.3 in.|
|Double Tap 115-grain all copper||1240 fps||2.25 in.|
|Hornady 115-grain XTP||1149 fps||2.0 in.|
|Hornady 115-grain Critical Defense||1170 fps||2.5 in.|
|Hornady 124-grain XTP||1090 fps||1.8 in.|
|Hornady American Gunner 124-grain XTP +P||1189 fps||2.25 in.|
|Winchester 115-grain Silvertip||1170 fps||2.4 in.|
|Winchester USA Forged 9mm 115-grain FMJ||1140 fps||2.5 in.|
|Winchester 124-grain PDX +P||1199 fps||1.75 in.|
|124-grain TCB||Bayou Bullets||WW WSF powder||1005 fps||2.2 in.|
|147-grain FB||Bayou Bullets||WW W213 powder||850 fps||1.5 in.|