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I have been cheating on my Beretta 92 for about a year now. The Italian has served me well, but I have found something new. My new love is an awkwardly named Slovenian, the Arex REX zero 1. And it does things my Beretta can only dream of.

Earlier this year a new version was released, the Arex REX Zero 1T. As in all things gun-related the T stands for tactical. If you need a refresher on the Arex or are scratching your head saying “Trex what” Jeremy’s review of the standard version is a good place to start.

The tactical version adds a micro red dot-ready slide, a threaded barrel and dumps the 17-round mags for slightly extended 20-rounders.

AREX Rex zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review
Photo courtesy Chris Heuss for

If it looks like a SIG P226 and feels like a SIG P226 it might be an Arex REX Zero 1. The similarities are uncanny, except the price. To get a threaded barrel SIG P226 you will need to part with $1,359. The threaded barrel Arex REX Zero 1T will run you only $781 and allow you to mount a micro red dot. If you want to put a micro red dot on your SIG you’ll need to have the slide machined which adds more than a little additional expense.

AREX Rex zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review

The Arex REX Zero 1 T features suppressor-friendly high sights. They’re not adjustable or illuminated, but in most situations, the sights do their job well.

AREX Rex zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review

The Arex take-down lever automatically closes when you rack the slide during installation. That’s not a huge plus, but it is a thoughtful design feature.

AREX Rex zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review
Photo courtesy Chris Heuss for

The nitro carburized finish on the slide and barrel is even and tough.

AREX Rex zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review

You will find no tooling marks on the REX zero 1T at all.

AREX Rex zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review

The magazines never failed to lock the slide open on the last round or drop free with authority, even when dirty. The 20-round magazines are very well made. The finish is tough and the springs are powerful enough to ensure reliability while still being easy to load them full.

AREX Rex zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review
Photo courtesy of Chris Heuss for

I’m not a fan of micro red dots on pistols. I find that I’m faster with iron sights. I’ve been practicing and am getting better, but I probably wont be a micro red dot enthusiast anytime soon. However it’s nice to have the option of mounting one.

The four included red dot base plates will allow you to mount any of the popular red dots including the Vortex Venom, Doctor, Shield, Trijicon, Burris, C-More and Meopta. Switching out the plates and installing a sight is fast and simple.

AREX Rex zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review
Photo curtesy of Chris Heuss for

Unscrew the factory-installed plate with the included Allen wrench.

AREX Rex zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review
Photo curtesy of Chris Heuss for

Select the appropriate plate for your micro red dot, screw on your micro red dot and enjoy.

My favorite feature of the Arex series is the slide release/de-cocker lever. With the slide to the rear, depress the lever once and the slide goes into battery, leaving the gun cocked and in single action mode. Press the slide release again and the gun de-cocks and is now in double action.

I really like having options; single action, double action, safety on or off, whatever carry style you prefer, the Arex has you covered.

AREX Rex zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review
Photo courtesy of Chris Heuss for

One unusual aspect of the REX zero 1T is its rail. It’s slightly out of spec which prevents some accessories from staying put. That caused my Streamlight TRL-3 to walk off after about 60 rounds. I tried tightening the light down harder, but it wouldn’t stay put.

AREX Rex zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review

Long term, I will be finding a light that fits the gun better, but for now the TRL-3 works. In a home defense situation I doubt I will be firing 60 rounds. If so a light walking off would be the least of my concerns.

In the photo above, you can see some scratches on the rail. These were caused by my ZRODelta bipod mount. I don’t blame the mount as it hasn’t scratched any other guns I have had it on.

AREX Rex zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review
Photo courtesy of Chris Heuss for

The 4.9” threaded barrel has six grooves and a 1/9.8in twist rate.

Arex REX zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review

The trigger on the REX zero 1T is much the same as on the standard model. In short, nothing to write home about. But it’s smooth with very little grit, it breaks cleanly and has an average reset. It’s more than good enough for a duty pistol.

Arex REX zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review

The Arex REX zero 1T is definitely not a competition gun (AREX will be releasing one soon) but it’s more that accurate enough for duty or home defense purposes. The above target was shot at 15 yards using a Harris bipod in a ZRODelta mount. Not a bad five-round group for a duty pistol.

Arex REX zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review

I shot just over 500 rounds through it with complete reliability. My Arex Standard model has over 1,000 trouble-free rounds through it. While my testing was nowhere near as thorough as the Military Arms Channel’s I can say it’s been noting but reliable. Arex claims the pistol has at least a 30,000 round service life, I believe them and will eventually find out.

The Arex REX zero 1 series has grown considerably over the last couple of years. Originally you had one choice, the black standard model. They now offer 32 SKUs in Compact, standard, tactical or compact tactical with the standard tactical colors available across the product line.

Arex REX zero 1T 9mm Pistol Review

Overall I give the Arex REX zero 1T a full three thumbs up (I am polydactyl or was when I was born anyway). I have now shot three different Arex REX zero 1 pistols extensively and all of them have performed the same: flawlessly. The trigger is smooth and has a decent break and reset. It’s no competition trigger, but it’s a great duty gun trigger. The safety is easy to operate, but somehow still low profile. Aside from the strange, slightly out-of-spec rail, it’s a near-perfect duty pistol. I can honestly say, and frequently do, that the Arex REX zero 1 is the best pistol for the money.

Specifications: Arex REX zero 1T 9mm Pistol

Caliber: 9mm Luger (9x19mm)
Trigger System: Single- and double-action, hammer-fired
Length: 8.1 in
Barrel Length: 4.9 in
Height: 5.9 in
Width : 1.46 in
Weight (without magazine): 30 oz
Magazine Capacity: 20
Trigger Pull SA: 5.5 lb
Trigger Pull DA: 13 lb
Trigger Travel DA: 0.5 in / 13 mm
Reset Travel SA: 0.16 in / 4 mm
Barrel Twist: 6 grooves, right-hand twist
Barrel Twist Rate: 9.8 in
MSRP: $781

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style: * * * * 
It doesn’t have the sexy lines of a nice 1911 or Colt SAA, but it’s pretty in the way that a Land Rover Defender is pretty. It looks good because you know what it can do.

Ergonomics: * * * 
Plenty comfortable for regular use. The double-action trigger pull is looong, but very useable. Small-handed shooters will have a real reach.

Reliability: * * * * *
100%. I’d trust it as much as I trust my Beretta 92.

Customize This: * * * *
Grips and holsters are available, but you won’t find a huge selection. It’s suppressor ready and will take any micro red dot out there, though finding a light that won’t walk off might take some doing. I’ll do some testing with the more popular lights and see what works and doesn’t.

Overall: * * * *  1/2
The Arex REX series are just about perfect duty guns. If the rail was in spec this would be a five-star gun. Even with that quirk, the REX zero 1T is still the best gun for the money on the market.

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  1. Have you contacted Arex about the rail to see if it is a production problem? Maybe they have a specific accessory in mind.

  2. That is an outstanding pistol review. I had planned on purchasing a 9mm, definitely going to give this one a look

    • while i’ve got you fresh (many days later) i sent a bhp into cylinder and slide for their extended safety. i am very satisfied with the product quality and workmanship.
      this looks like a helluva pistol. i lean towards cz stuff, but really am intrigued with that goofy lionheart kokoreeree thing. 2cents.

  3. I have about 5k rounds through my Arex Rex Zero 1 Tactical that I bought a few months ago. I swapped out the springs with the competition set which was a huge improvement and very easy to do. The only thing I disagree with is you mentioned that it “…will take any micro red dot out there” which I was disappointed to find out isn’t exactly correct. I bought the Rex Zero 1T planning to use a Sig Romeo1 but have come to learn that there are no plates available. Otherwise though it really is a great firearm and suppressor host.

    • @ Sich

      No, not a Sig Sauer. Zastava does a pretty good job at cloning too:, at around ~$400-$450, and they work ok, but you don’t have to put many rounds thru them to know that it’s not a Sig Sauer, and it doesn’t matter if it just doesn’t “break” before the advertised life-span round-count.

      You get what you pay for (maybe) but never more than what you pay for (think I read that today at [TFB]).

      • @ Joe R

        As I recall Zastava uses 4140 Grade A2 Tool Steel (Air-Hardened), while Arex uses 1045 Grade 01 Tool Steel (Oil-Hardened). As a Retired Welder, I’ll stick with 1045 Grade…

        • You won’t know from the two, holding them in your hands, but you will know when you insert a mag and shoot them. And your trigger finger won’t even ask you if you can weld.

    • KGC had P226 9mm for $699 last month (Talo stainless). Add in a $105 for SiCo threaded barrel (when they are on sale at Brownells, plus coupon). $804 all-in. (before transfer, etc.)

      Good prices are out there. You just have to keep a weather eye.

    • @ Shire-man

      According to a March 02, 2016 article in “The Truth About Guns”, NO. Not interchangeable with Sig Magazines. But than again that was a Two Year Old article, so things might have changed.

  4. I’m all for affordable guns, but if you want a P226, buy a P226. Don’t buy a poor man’s knock off with some slightly different features.

    • Agreed, especially with the prices on used pistols these days. I have seen some really nice German made/proofed P226’s at my local gun store for under $600.

      For those so inclined it is easy to install the short reset trigger kit in a P226. I bought the SRT kit for $43 not that long ago.

  5. The Rex proved more reliable in a video of a mud test when tested against the Sig P226. Considering how much the workmanship has fallen off with the American made Sig’s paying all the extra money for a Sig does not make a whole lot of sense unless you are want to shell out the big bucks for the “extra snob appeal” at the shooting range.

    • The Sig and its clones are all top heavy and point about as well as a brick in the hand. Their controls are way to close and the slide release lever is often accidentally hit when the gun recoils. Also the decocker is often accidentally hit instead of the slide release lever when the gun runs dry because its about the same distance as that of the slide release lever on a 1911 pistol. People used to hitting the slide release lever on a 1911 almost always hit the decocker on a Sig when trying to actually hit the slide release lever.

  6. Nice review, but if I were planning on purchasing a 9mm on which to mount a red dot, it would likely be the Canik TP9 SFX. I can pick one of those up already equipped with a Vortex Viper red dot for @ $700 (which includes the transfer fee). In fact, now that I think of it, I might be able to get it for even less since Century Arms has a military/LE discount program.

  7. I bought the competition spring set for $18 and did a little trigger polishing on my T Rex. Silky smooth trigger pull registering at 3.5lbSA and 10lb DA.
    Trigger actually feels better than my fully cajunized CZ P-07.

  8. All I know is that my Rex Zero 1S is doing its best to make me broke buying ammo. Eats everything and my God, if ya run out of ammo you can beat someone to death with the gun and the gun wont mind. A more rugged pistol you will NOT find and a better facility than the armory where the pistols are made does not exist.
    Check out some of the torture tests on these handguns…..and yes, a spring job works wonders on the trigger pull, its cheap and easy to install, just remember when polishing trigger contact surfaces to go slow, check then continue slowly, recheck…….ya cant put metal back. Awesome guns. Screw Sig and their socialist unionized shop workers.

  9. Interesting gun. As much as I Iike my P229, still an excellent price, I’d prefer a CZ P10C or an S. But if you want to stay with dressed up Sig’s But don’t want to pay the price, this is a good alternative.

  10. I have 2 Glocks, a 27 & 30. I’m personally not in love with either but won’t kick them out either. I had a Glock 20 in the past as well. I’ve owned & shot the S&W ******. I like several newer pistols, want(ed) a Canik & not given up yet. I own a Rock Island 2011 in 9mm/22tcm & really like it – I know its not Colt, Kimber or Sig but I like it & it wasn’t cheap. For me, when the shit hits the fan there’s just something about a metal gun Vs. plastic. I think about that scene in Terminator when Sara takes the boy & Arnold to see the guy with the bus & all the guns under ground. She’s sleeping on the table, dreaming out of body & looking at herself & John as a young child. She shakes the fence, screams, the bomb goes off & all kinds of stuff melts. I might have enough plastic guns – not sure. 1 thing for sure is my 1911/2011. That 22TCM just looks like it’s going to create a wound cavity due to speed, not size. Either way, I have 2 barrels & several Hi-Cap mags. For you new folks coming into this as gun owners, I don’t think you can go wrong as long as you choose to own but don’t carry just for status. Please, please, stay away from hi-point – the cheap, turned sideways bangers gun that is known to jam – maybe that’s also limp wristed shooters, don’t know & WONT. I think its hard to buy a bad Tv or DVD player today & guns almost totally hit that nail on the head – ALMOST. Just have fun shooting, be careful, be protective & keep it downrange. Many of you above have good points – maybe not all?


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