The Beretta APX is Beretta’s entry into the polymer-frame striker-fired field, and they added a modular design for good measure. The APX is going against stiff competition. While Beretta has brand loyalty, the piece must stand on its own merit.
I have fired the Beretta APX compact extensively and find that it has merit, and the design features are such that some will prefer the handgun to the Glock, SW, and HK offerings. Function, reliability, and handling were the prime considerations, with reliability more important than anything else.
The pistol is supplied with two 13-round magazines, two extra grip inserts, hard plastic box, key lock, and owner’s manual. The Beretta APX compact is light at 26.4 ounces, with a 3.7-inch barrel. The design seems slide heavy but handles and shoots well. The slide is covered in recessed cocking grooves. No matter how sweaty, cold, or bloody your hands are, you will be able to rack the slide.
There is a modular chassis similar in design to the SIG P320 pistol. The chassis itself is serialized. We will have to wait for other housings to become available to enjoy the full advantage of the modular design. The frame design is well thought out.
The handle feels better in the hand than many of its competitors. The combination of serrations and checkering or pebbling makes for excellent abrasion and adhesion. The frame features a square trigger guard and a rail for mounting lights or laser devices. My hands are average to small and the pistol fit my hand well as issued.
The grip straps are changed by use of a tab in the inside of the grip frame. The sights are well designed all steel units. The rear sight is wide, at about .016, so it is fast on target combined with the bold front post. The front post is about .0145 inch.
According to the Lyman Electronic Trigger gauge, trigger compression is 5.5 pounds. The magazine release is positive in operation. The slide lock is large and operates well. The magazine is well made of good material. The steel magazine features a generous base pad.
The combination of a tapered double-column magazine and large magazine well make for rapid reloads. The magazine springs are strong; we needed the magazine loader. Some do not like a handgun that requires the trigger be pressed before disassembly. A frame-mounted button releases tension on the striker.
Disassembly isn’t difficult as far as the manual of arms goes. Remove the magazine and be certain the chamber isn’t loaded as you lock the slide to the rear. If desired, you may depress the decocking button as the slide is ran forward. A takedown lever is pressed in from right to left and rotated to allow the slide to run off of the frame.
The first couple of times, it was difficult to press the take down lever. Even after some use, it is quite tight. Again, this is a service-grade pistol, and it is more about long-term service and reliability than convenience. It is stiff to rack because the recoil spring must harness the recoil of the 9mm +P or +P+ cartridges.
Among the most accurate loadings I have fired is the Ammo Inc. special Jesse James load. Mr. James doesn’t put his name on any junk and these are excellent loads. At just over 1,000 fps with a 124-grain JHP, the load is controllable. The bullet penetrates deep and expansion is modest. Any concerned with 9mm recoil should look hard at this one.
I also fired the Fiocchi 115- and 124-grain Extrema hollow point loads with good results. The single most accurate load tested was the Fiocchi 147-grain JHP. This load provides excellent penetration and offers outstanding accuracy.
Federal Cartridge Company developed a high tech, lead-free loading for general practice and training that I use often. The Syntech loading is now available in a 124-grain loading. This is an accurate loading worth its price. Another Federal Cartridge Company offering that makes a good defense load is the HST 124-grain JHP. This load penetrates to an optimum depth and expansion is excellent. All of these loads were reliable and accurate in the Beretta. There were no break-in malfunctions. In firing for accuracy, groups of three inches at 20 yards were average… some were smaller.
|Barrel Length||3.7 inches|
|Magazine Capacity||13 rounds|
|Safety||Firing block safety, trigger lever, striker deactivation button|
|Sight Radius||5.7 inches|
If the Beretta APX were my issue firearm, I would consider myself well armed with a reliable and effective firearm. The APX strong points are reliability and good accuracy. The takedown lever is stiff, and the magazines require considerable effort to load. This is a trade off against its good features including a crisp trigger action. The Beretta APX is a winner that will serve well.