SIG SAUER set the standard for modularity with their P320. Not to be outdone — although they were for the Army’s MHS contract — Beretta has released their first-ever full-size striker-fired pistol: the APX. Like the P320, the Beretta’s APX has an internal serialized chassis that accommodates different external frames of various colors and sizes. Has Beretta taken the trend to the next level?

The APX ships with two 17-round magazines. The package comes complete with small, medium and large backstraps, a branded magazine-loader and the obligatory cable lock.

Reflecting Beretta’s desire to carve out a significant piece of the U.S. law enforcement and operator market, the first APX’s out of the gate are full-sized models chambered in 9mm and .40 S&W. A .45 and a compact frame model will follow. All sport full-length, prominent slide serrations.

Those vertical, widely-spaced stripes are a matter of taste aesthetically, but they’re perfectly practical. The nose-to-tail serrations enable a sure grip no matter how or where you grab the gun. You can also use them against any solid surface — shoe, belt, wooden plank — to cock the pistol. How operator is that?

Less tactical: that little button highlighted above. If you object to having to pull the trigger before field stripping your striker-fired pistol (*cough* GLOCK *cough*) you can depress the APX’s striker de-activation button (using a pen or .223 round or whatever is at hand). That’s not something you’ll be doing in a hurry or under fire. Or when you don’t have a pen or a spare .223 round. Or whatever.

Then again, you could just clear the APX and pull the G-D trigger. And with a glove-friendly take-down lever that’s almost as large as a NAA revolver, the rest of the field stripping process couldn’t be quicker or easier.

Beretta designed those flared mags base plates to make it easier to yank if the gun or mag malfunctions (with its full-size handle, our mags dropped free and clear every time). The gun’s grip texture is just right; suitably sticky, but won’t shred your hands.

While the mag release isn’t ambidextrous (it can easily be reversed for lefties), its extended teardrop shape makes it an easy reach for even the most Tyrion Lannister of small-handed shooters among us. A category that includes your humble correspondent. With the slimmest backstrap installed, the APX was the first full-size pistol where I didn’t have to adjust my grip to reach the release and drop a magazine.

There’s plenty of room inside the trigger guard to operate while wearing gloves. The trigger has a six-pound pull weight with a short, very tactile (and audible) re-set. After 500 rounds of range fun, the APX sports one of the best striker-fired triggers I’ve tried.

The slide and barrel are both nitride finished for durability.

The simple, modular design make takedown exceptionally quick and easy.

The chassis lifts out for easy changes to alternate colored and sized frames. The first options — FDE and OD frames — are priced at $50.

Beretta says their ambidextrous slide catches are also intended for use as slide releases in order to speed reloads. In practice, they work as billed. While staying flush against the frame, the release is positioned within easy reach of your thumb and is easy to engage to let you get quickly back into battery.

Beretta uses a proprietary dovetail to mount their three-dot sights. They’ve made the front sight dot slightly larger than the rear dots for quicker target acquisition. The squared-off rear sight can also be used to rack the slide in a one-handed situation.

I was in Virginia last week for a press event during which 12 writers put the APX through its paces. We ran almost seven thousand rounds through our dozen guns over two days and in that time the only hiccups anyone experienced were two failures to go fully into battery on fresh magazines. No failures to feed, failures to eject, double-feeds or stovepipes.

The only thing we weren’t able to do with our pistols was adequately test them for accuracy (although that didn’t appear to be an issue from as much as seven yards) or fire them with anything but range ammo. We’ve got an APX on the way and will update this review with our findings.

Beretta put years of work into their first duty-sized striker-fired pistol, and the effort shows in virtually every aspect of the gun’s design and performance. This is a supremely reliable, eminently shootable pistol. You have to think it will be an extremely popular new option for law enforcement and other agencies as well as those in the market for an affordable, reliable home defense gun. The APX is bound to give its competitors a serious run for their money.

Specifications: Beretta APX 9mm pistol

Calibers: 9mm
Overall length: 7.56 inches
Barrel length: 4.25 inches
Overall width: 1.3 inches
Overall height: 5.6 inches
Sight radius: 6.3 inches
Magazine capacity: 17+1 rounds
Weight with empty magazine: 26.8 oz.
Trigger pull weight: 6 lbs.
MSRP: $575

Ratings (out of five stars):

Ergonomics: * * * * *
Beretta got input on the APX from literally hundreds of military and LEO types during the design process in an attempt to end up with a gun that works for the vast majority of shooters. Mission accomplished. Everything from trigger performance to grip texture to control placement is spot on.

Style: * * *
It may not win any beauty contests, but what duty-size gun has? Style is very much in the eye of the beholder. Some find those widely spaced serrations not their cup of tea. In the end, who really cares? The APX is a tool designed to do a job.

Carry and Concealabilty: * * *
This is a big pistol so concealment will, of course, be a challenge. If you’re someone who’s OK toting a G17, M&P9 or 4.5″ XD(M), you won’t have any problem carrying an APX.

Reliability: * * * * *
Along with its ergos, this is where the APX really stood out over two full days of shooting the guns. Thousands of rounds fired with only two failures to go fully into battery.

Overall: * * * * *
All of the extensive design work that went into this gun is on full display in its excellent reliability, ergonomics and shootability. The APX is a top flight duty-size handgun.

Again, we’ll be updating this review with accuracy and JHP-firing performance information. 

Recommended For You

93 Responses to Gun Review: Beretta APX Full-Size Striker Fired Pistol

  1. I can see Yankee crying already. I never expected Beretta, to produce a brick shaped gun… But, there we are. Quite frankly, this little Italian abortion makes my Glock 34 look slick and stylish.

    • I actually think it looks really cool. It has a tough, rugged, tank like, look in my opinion. From what I’ve read those giant slide serrations are not just for looks. Reviewers have stated that they give you an excellent grab on the slide from anywhere on it. I like that alot.

  2. Let’s see if they can clear the hurdle that Sig met with making their P320 compatible with 9/40/45. I would be very interested if this one can do all three calibers, but my hunch is that it’s only a 9/40 compatibility..

    • 9/.40/.45, not to mention the .357 Sig. And I’ve heard rumors of a .380 version in the works, which might make sense on the P320 subcompact.

    • While I won’t go quite that far, I’m not finding it objectionable at all. I think one of these will be finding its way into my paws in the near future.

    • I’m with you there, I have not cared much for Beretta handgun designs really since the 92, but I think this entry looks pretty good. I like the serrations, and for me functionality has it’s own aesthetic.

    • I can picture your ancient Sumerian ancestor right now:

      “What the f*ck is this copper sh*t? You have a spearpoint that BENDS? A proper spearpoint made of stone SHATTERS when it hits something harder. Get this soft weak lightweight shiny sh*t outta here!”
      “JUST ANOTHER COPPER SWORD…YAWN”

  3. As an LE firearms instructor, I can say that its probably way too late to take any sort of dent out of LE firearms market. Glock owns the lions share, with Sig and S&W taking up the majority of the rest.

    It is a huge ordeal to switch firearms, as a training block has to be done, the weapons have to be phased in gradually, and with most departments facing manpower issues due to the lack of quality applicants putting in, the manpower just isn’t there to accomplish a major switch from one pistol to another in most departments. The only way Beretta stands to gain any departments of comparable size is to pretty much do an even swap price wise for the firearms they have now, and throw in an armorers class or something to sweeten the pot. It is hard enough for many departments to have their officers shoot twice a year due to manpower issues (something that is much lamented among instructors). With most departments being satisfied with their current pistols, I just don’t see them grabbing much of the market.

    • I’m curious, do you think could they put a dent the 75% of the LEO market that serves <10,000 populations? Seems like there would be much less trouble transitioning in smaller departments.

      • Its a possibility. It would be a good bit of work reaching out to those departments though for not a whole lot of guaranteed financial payout. My dept. serves 350k and we have 550 sworn officers, so they would be getting 50-100 guns swapped out at a time. Long term maybe they could, but it would take a lot of work

  4. It is “unusual” looking. I might have been interested if it had a longer barrel. Once you go duty sized you might as well get a 4.5″ barrel or longer. At 8.1″ even the 5″ XD Tactical is smaller than a 1911.

  5. I love the way it looks. I’ll add it to the “cool looking guns I’d buy if I had too much money” list right below a Chiappa Rhino.

  6. Not a bad looking gun, except I’m not personally a fan of the slide serrations, but I can see why they designed them that way. You could rack the slide with any one of those serrations on any number of surfaces. Makes sense. I also prefer leather holsters and I fear those large serrations would chew up the edges on it. Minor issue, however. I still prefer the style, looks, and feel of my XD Mod 2 service 9mm over practically any other polymer gun I’ve held (the PPQ being right up there, too, however).

  7. From the writer; “We ran almost seven thousand rounds through our dozen guns over two days…” and “The only thing we weren’t able to do with our pistols was adequately test then for accuracy (although that didn’t appear to be an issue from as much as seven yards)…”

    Why couldn’t an accuracy test be done when the evaluators had 7,000 rounds of ammo??? Even if there was only one type provided, an accuracy test at various distances could have been done with that ammo. Did Beretta prohibit the writer from bringing a box or two of his own ammo or did he just not think to do it over a two day period?

  8. Not a fan of the slide serrations or the billboard sized Beretta logo on the slide. But whatever, I’m quite happy with the current selection of striker fired pistols and variety is the spice of life. Hopefully it ends up being a good handgun that serves some people well.

    • Stick it next to the 7 tool cordless kit that comes with only 2 batteries so Bubba can turn to his wife and say, ‘look honey, it’s cheaper than the DeWalt. And it comes with 3 maga zines!’

  9. Sig Sauer set the standard for modularity with the P320__not. The hammer-fired, modular Sig P250 appeared in 2007, some 7 years before the P320. It has fewer parts than the original Colt SAA and yet is a self-loading pistol. It was (and is) the most innovative pistol since the 1911. I believe that TTAG even reviewed it at some late date. It is the gun the military should have picked.

      • Even though the SIG P250 was hammer fired, the idea was great. The modular design was and remains a fantastic idea. The problem with the P250 was execution. Being a huge fan of SIGs, I waited impatiently for the 250 to finally hit the market. It was the biggest disappointment imaginable. I suppose for the crowd that loves DAO revolvers and the like that trigger was usable. For the rest of us that was the one gun that SIG has built that was nearly unshootable. The proof of this is the fact that the P250 never caught on with the shooting public. They’ve been steadily dropping the price for at least 7 years and they still can’t sell enough P250s to justify building them. The P320, on the other hand, is a great shooter that only needs a little trigger work to make it one of the best striker fired pistols around. I don’t mind the looks of the new Beretta and I’m anxious to try it out.

  10. “Then again, you could just clear the APX and pull the G-D trigger. ”

    What if you have a malfunction or some other issue?

    Also, if you’re gonna use profanity then maybe actually do it.

  11. Absolutely love this gun. I will definitely get one when they offer it with a factory slide cut to mount a red dot optic.

  12. ” proprietary dovetail to mount their three-dot sights”

    Why? There’s very little after-market for Beretta’s in general as there is – so if I want different sights I’d have to take what Beretta offers, if/when there’s anything at all?

    • Why Beretta why?? Did the world need another dovetail size? Only thing that would fit on the slide? Wanted to corner the market on replacement sights? Seriously dumb.

      The slide looks a little odd, but I can’t argue with it functionally. The rest looks like that took all the weirdest ideas from CZ, Ruger, and DiamondBack to make one ghastly looking mutt. So much for Italian style. At least they didn’t use that stupid take down release design that everyone copies from Glock.

    • Only standard I know of for sight dovetails is everyone’s but Beretta’s enters from/exits to the right. Not new.

    • We already have far too many different dovetails. To me that’s a huge strike against this gun. We desperately need to standardize on just a couple different dovetail designs. The sight companies would then be free to serve all shooters instead of just the small slice that use the one or two dovetails that they offer.

  13. Oh snap, a black polymer framed pistol with a trigger that looks like a tiny pair of scissors. Sorry, I meant “Safe Action Trigger.” Yes, I’m sure it fires reliably.

    Ladies and Gentlemen it’s time to start working on personal plasma weapons. We’re well into the 21st century. Next up, flying cars. It’s time.

    • I’m with you on liking hammers. I love my 92. Double action is the way to go. They can be safely carried, and yet ready for action with only a trigger pull. No bother with fumbling with a safety, or cocking the gun by using your thumb on the hammer.
      I also like “hammered” wheel guns for the same reason, but, to each his own.

      • Hate to burst your bubble, but a Glock can be safely carried and yet ready for action with just a (consistent) trigger pull. Also, no fumbling with a safety. So what’s not to like?

  14. I have serious doubts about the magazine release button. I keep dropping magazines on guns other than Glocks and XDs – EVEN WHEN shooting with left hand. I would much prefer if Beretta molded some kind of a fence around it. They added fencing to AR-15s, you know.

  15. The looks are fine, better than a Glock, a lot like a Walther, but, who cares, if the trigger is good, it goes bang every time the trigger is pulled and the round hit where aimed, it will be good. Coming from Beretta, it’s pretty likely to do just that.

  16. Why do they design all striker fired handguns to look like handgun frame with a 4×4 piece of wood on top? They could round them off and make them look better but must be some contest for the ugliest. I’m going to stick to hammer fired thank you, 1911 style.

  17. What a hideous pistol. Usually Beretta does a really great job of producing really nice looking firearms, but this is just SO VERY WRONG on quite a few levels. The slide is just beyond…words. The lower looks okay, though I think that most people could probably do without the squared-off trigger guard. I wonder how long until Beretta releases the APX A-1. This thing had to be designed somewhere other than Italy.

    Edited to add that I have not actually read the article yet. This was just a response to the photo.

    • I guess you missed the ‘made in Italy’ markings on the slide. Where do you think it was designed; Bolivia?

  18. I like it. I can see this in my collection providing it proves to be reliable, and the trigger is near as nice as the PPQ or VP9.

  19. FWIW, I recently acquired a Magnum Research(Kahr) MR9 with the 4.5″ barrel. It has the Walther PPQ frame and a slide engineered by MR. It has the best non-target-1911 trigger I’ve ever shot (going back over 50 years) and the trigger reset is phenomenal (around a 1/4″). With my 70-year old eyes it will consistently shoot inside 2″ at 50′ and that’s good enough for me.

    • Actually it’s a modified P99 frame.
      The P99AS is arguably the one of the best handguns ever made and makes Glock seem like a toy.

  20. I think this pistol design is SEXY….I like it and it’s a different look then most other pistols on the market. It’s a beretta so you can count on the reliability and customer service. I like the bold look and design…sh!t is tight!!!!

  21. “While the mag release isn’t ambidextrous (it can easily be reversed for lefties)”

    No! It can be easily reversed for right handed shooters so they can hit it with their trigger finger and not have to break their grip.

  22. I handled one of these yesterday at a LGS and was disappointed in only one area, but for me I think it’s a deal killer. The base of the grip/magwell IMO is just too big around or maybe in its front to back dimension. For me, it was reminiscent of a pre-Gen4 Glock, i.e., there is a “hump” there that in combination with the grip angle causes the pistol to aim high for me, and consequently I have to can’t my wrist downward to align the front sights with the rear. I was quite surprised by this, and can’t figure why the need for such a “big” grip base/magwell since it looks like the backstrap is mostly dead space. Anyway, everything otherwise seemed solid and the slide serrations seem less exaggerated than they do in pictures. But the grip just wasn’t particularly ergonomic for me. Changing the grip insert would not change the circumference of the base of the grip/magwell as that part is solid and not included in the insert coverage. Perhaps the largest grip would make the angle better for me, but I didn’t have a chance to swap those out.

  23. “Then again, you could just clear the APX and pull the G-D trigger. ”

    Then again, you could try writing like A GOD DAMN adult.

    Thanks for giving me a reason to skip the rest of the review.

  24. I love my Glock 21SF and have been thinking about getting a Glock 19 but now since I’ve seen this I might have to wait and check it out. The trigger is said to be better than the Glock and that’s something I’ll have to see for myself. This also has more room around the trigger for wearing gloves than the Glock. I don’t care what the gun looks like as long as it performs properly. I hated the Glock until I fired it. I also like the grip, it looks more comfortable than other semi auto’s I own. Going to give it a try for sure.

  25. I’ll pass. 1. I’m getting sick of striker fired pistols. Each and striker fired pistol I have shot feels like a freaking toy compared to my hammer fired CZ75b, 1911 or GP100. 2. I didn’t think it was possible to genetically cross a Hi-Point, a brick and a Glock.

  26. Lot’s of negativity in the comments section.
    Some of you old, grumpy bastards need to get laid or something.

    • What else is new? It’s no different than motorcycle review comments sections where every low I.Q. bonehead identifies themselves by using the term “fugly.” I’ve yet to see any of their designs hit the market. Probably because they’ve never done anything beyond the coloring book stage.

  27. I like the concept of a modular handgun and currently own a Sig P320 but I’ve always been a Beretta guy so the APX seems like a natural to me. Unfortunately, the aesthetics of this gun remind me very much of a Hi-Point and that’s not good. On the other hand the Ruger American is a pretty good looking gun but for some reason they’re not flying off the shelves around these parts. After the FTE fiasco I went through with my Nano I’m not sure I’m ready to buy this ugly stick but damn I sure like my 92FS!

  28. A friend and I went to my club today, as he had just bought a new Beretta APX and we both wanted to try it. First, we did a 25 yard group size test, off of a pistol rest and we were both amazed that it shot sub-2 inch groups, right to POA, just like my Q5 does, using AE124 grain ammo. The trigger had a nice, clean break at 5.5 pounds. It didn’t have the pre-travel gritty feeling of the PPQ’s. Grip felt just like my Q5/PPQ, very comfortable. Mag release easy to reach and use. Price; $450. If I didn’t already have my Q5, I’d run right out and buy one today. It was fantastic and every bit the gun a PPQ is, in all ways. Before I tried it, I had my doubts, but I’m now a believer.

  29. Aesthetically speaking, this is a major step away from the style of firearms I am used to seeing from Beretta. While incorporating a full slide length serrations and a flared handgrip I believe I COULD learn to like and even love these new features. But it is not love at first sight. I prefer my Glocks for their minimalistic look, simplicity of design, and above all, reliability!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *