Firearms

Range Report: AREX Rex Zero 1 9mm

Arex Rex Zero 1 pistol right profile with Insight light mounted to rail

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.

Arex Rex Zero 1 pistol right profile with Insight light mounted to rail
The Rex Zero 1 is an attractive and useful 9mm handgun.

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.

Safety on the Arex Rex Zero 1 pistol
A manual safety is good to have. The Rex Zero 1 safety is ergonomic and positive.

Specifications

Caliber: 9x19mm
Action: DA/SA, semi-automatic
Trigger Pull Weight: 12.5 pounds DA, 4.5 pounds SA
Barrel Length: 4.3 inches
Overall Length: 7.7 inches
Height: 5.7 inches
Weight: 29 ounces
Capacity: 17+1 rounds

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.

Features

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.

Frame of the AREX Rex Zero 1 pistol
A steel insert in the frame prevents the steel slide from battering the aluminum frame. That is powder ash and lead from lots of shooting.

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.

 

Handloads
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.

Are you a SIG fan? Better yet, have you had a chance to shoot the Arex Rex Zero 1? What was your impression? Share your answers in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (22)

  1. I own the Arex Rex Zero 1 and it’s awesome I have never had a jam or any problems for that matter. it’s a wonderfully built weapon and the craftsmanship is amazing . Take one apart and you will see it is not a cheap reproduction of a great gun but a firearm that can stand side by side to Sig and slot less price. Get an Arex and y’all will see what I’m talking about.

  2. this pistol is very similar to the TZ99.which was a take on the CZ99 but made in South Africa..And now Marketed as the CZ999.you can find the TZ99 video on youtube.The company went Bankrupt in the mid 2000 and very few of the guns are around uf you can find one buy it for the price you wont br sorry.

  3. I own and shoot the Rex Zero 1. It shoots well and I like the ergonomics and price. I have shot many pistols in my Military and personal life. I think the Rex holds up to the SIG very well and for the price it’s hard not to own one lol.

  4. Torture tests are just great, but to me the real test is what owners put these guns through everyday, year after year and decade after decade. Things like not keeping them clean, using garbage ammo, hand loads, lack of maintenance, and even where a police officer stands in the rain for 3 hours, soaking his gun, then goes home and hangs his duty belt up to dry and never does disassembly his gun to clean and relube it. I have seen this particular situation many times. How about guns that are subject to a lot of perspiration and dirt in hot and dry parts of the world, day after day. Now that is a good torture test. The real world always beats a controlled torture tests.

    1. The Rex team came to the fun range that I am a member of and demoed the weapon. One of the principals was in the group and told me that the weapon is used by the Slovenia military and police departments. He said that other, surrounding, countries use the weapon in their military and police. (I have no reason to doubt him.) The principal talked with me for 15-20 minutes about the weapon and the different models they had with them. The team was forthright and made a good impression. They were professional in their appearance and demeanor.

      The Rex 9mm is an enjoyable weapon to hold. Seems to be well balanced to me. I did not shoot the weapon though they offered it. Another shooter, an employee of the range did shoot the weapon and was enthusiastic about the weapon’s feel and accuracy. The MSRP was reasonable as were the cost of extra magazines.

    1. Awww…somebody’s feelings are hurt…lol! That’s a nice comment..quite professional and right to the point…haha. I like how you point out the positives and negatives of the tests and articles/reviews of a great up and coming handgun that just happened to crush the Sig Legion in a completely legitimate and fair test…all on camera with no cut aways or unseen shots that would question the testing methods. Why don’t you point out your problem with the test instead on stating ” your test is stupid”, nice touch by another Sig fanboy with hurt feelings because in secret they know they paid a crazy price for a gun made by a reputable company who is now looking for new ways to market the same P series guns but charge more for them. The result is a new Legion tag and logo, a new finish and much higher price tag, your just as well off as buying a Sig extreme model for less money and get the same result in reality. Take care of those feelings ma’am.

  5. I’d take the real Sig P226 over that gun any day. I love how a Sig P226 shoots and feels in the hands. The location of the decocker and slide lock have never given me a problem whatsoever. Though one can only hope this will cause Sig to lower their prices, if only slightly lol.

  6. WOW, how embarrassing for Sig. To be beaten by a gun HALF the price. It’s like how the FMK (I think that’s the companies name) beat out Glock. These Eastern European gun companies are a force to be reckoned with. Do not underestimate them!

    1. Yeah, Max…..That FMK is the same size and weight as the Glock 19, and it fits very nicely into a Blackhawk! SERPA holster made for the G19. ‘Fact is, with a bit of sculpting on the slide, the FMK is a much nicer looking piece than any Glock.

  7. Just another spectacular gun review, like all the rest. Nothing negative at all, as usual. The only thing that wasn’t absolutely perfect was the magazine release, which seemed to be a personal preference opinion, “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”.

    1. If you didnt see it he also did a 1000 round torture test on it later,which it passed flawlessly as well

    2. Tim from the Military Arms Channel is full of crap with a bias against certain guns it seems. Funny how certain guns pass other torture tests just fine, but somehow not his. The P226 had to pass the stringent military trials in order to be considered by the military, and is why the Navy SEALs specifically picked that weapon even though Betetta won the contract due to a combination of price & politics.

      I don’t put much stock in MAC or their “torture tests.”

    3. Please take it down a notch. I see no evidence of bias. The Arex passed, the SIG did not. Clearly the SIG has passed countless torture tests. This is neither an indictment of the SIG or a reason for celebration to declare the Arex superior to the SIG. It’s a single anecdote, nothing more. And, for those ready to jump on SIG, consider that this is ultimately a complement to the soundness and reliability of the SIG P220-series design – that a clone did so well.

      Also, check your facts. The Navy selected the P226 not because they were so convinced that it was superior to the Beretta. They did it because the P226 also passed the JSSAP trials and wasn’t breaking slides. Nothing more. The P226 is nonetheless an outstanding combat pistol.

      Tim S.

    4. Correct. The Beretta was breaking slides between 40000 and 50000 rounds. Many people would think that a ridiculous amount and would never be a problem but most people do not understand the round count weapons pick up in the military. Special operations team members can put literally thousands of rounds of ammunition through a weapon per week. Range guns can have the same thing happen.

      I was invited to a “Community “day event once back in 1991 where we went through the average day of a National Guard soldier on a weekend training exercise. All fun but when we shot the .45 for score, I figured all right, Ill be able to show off. Didn’t happen. I looked over the .45s that we were using and ALL of them were WWII issue Rands and Remingtons. The barrels were almost smooth and when there was a stoppage, dunk the pistol in a bucket of break free and keep on shooting.

      A very educational day to say the least and I offered to buy the pistols on the spot! No such luck.

    5. Also– 700 000 SIGS purchased in France.

      228,000 round test by the OSP in America.

      Hard to believe an individual would have resources to begin any such test to rival even the US Military SIG P228/ 15,000 round test.

      The Rex Zero is good but no need tear down one pistol to build up the other. Let the Rex Zero stand on its own considerably merit

    6. Geez, get the sand out of your vagina…your obviously a Sig fanboy not to mention narrow minded demonstrated by the disapproval of Tim and his torture testing methods. He does this all on camera, no cut always or unseen action taking place. Everything is there for you to see so you can’t say it wasn’t fair or was biased in some way. How can it be funny as you say ” certain guns pass and others do not” ? Oh I don’t know.. maybe because some guns simply do not pass! Doesn’t mean they are shitty guns it just means for one reason or another there are issues that cause a failure of some kind. I be thinking if the Sig beat the Arex in his testing you’d be singing a different tune, probably along the lines of ” you can’t beat a Sig, these other companies just can’t compare to the top of the line best in the universe handgun of all time!” Quit being a sore loser and respect an up and coming company that has built an extremely reliable, tough and nice looking handgun at a great price even though they may not be your choice of firearm. Simply put, grow up, and lose the I’m gonna take my toys and leave the sandbox because I don’t like you attitude.

  8. I am a SIG fan, and I have several SIG Sauer pistols and rifles in my collection. That said, I also appreciate good design and craftsmanship in any pieces that I might consider adding to my collection, and this Rex Zero 1 looks like it might be pretty interesting.

    I have had experience with a similar product that was manufactured in Slovakia. I had read about the Grand Power P1 Mk 12 in some of the usual gun magazines, and it sounded very interesting. When I found one at a local gun show, and following my inspection, I had to have it. Aside from the usual DA/SA action, it has a thumb safety and…..the lock-up is a rotary action like those found on the Beretta Cougar, Beretta Storm, Mauser M2 and other similar pieces. I have always been a fan of rotary lock-up on handguns, since such a system provides a low bore axis without the rocking up and down common to most Browning based lock-up systems.

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