Beretta APX A1 Full Size 9mm
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Let’s jump into the Wayback Machine and set the dial for early 2017. Beretta had recently lost out on the Army’s modular handgun system competition. But the Italian gun maker used the product of that process to introduce their first ever full size striker-fired handgun to the commercial market.

The APX full size pistol did everything you want a 9mm striker-fired handgun to do and did it very well. Beretta then expanded the APX line with a range of sizes and features up to and including the APX A1 Carry pistol rolled out last fall.

But one look at the APX Carry pistol made it clear that something was afoot in APX World. The design was clearly different. The slide indentations (the weren’t really serrations) of the line were gone. Instead, the APX Carry had more conventional serrations and Beretta personnel promised more changed to the APX platform were in the works.

Those changes were made clear when Beretta announced the new APX A1 Full Size in the run-up to NRA. While you can see echos of the original APX (Beretta now refers to it as the APX A Zero), the changes to the APX A1 are much more than cosmetic. Beretta says the new gun is the result of five years of evolution and improvements.

Beretta APX A1 Full Size 9mm Pistol

Let’s start with the outside. Like the APX A1 Carry, the new APX A1 Full Size does away with those slide indentations that some liked and some loathed. Instead, Beretta’s given the slide a much more aggressive angled serration pattern that’s more along the lines of other competitors in the APX A1’s class. Beretta says their Aquatech nitride coating is much more corrosion resistant, too.

But there’s more to that new slide. First and foremost, it’s optics-ready, a virtual must-have in any serious new handgun these days. Given the wide array of mounting platforms for pistol optics, Beretta ships the APX A1 without plates…just the standard cover. They sell a wide range of plates (about $50 each) for any RDO mount you can think of including Trijicon, Leupold, Aimpoint, and Burrus/Docter.

Beretta APX A1 Full Size 9mm Pistol
Like the original, the APX A1 is fully ambidextrous (APX A1 above, original APX below)

The APX A1 Full Size slide also sports a tritium night sight on the front and a plain black serrated rear sight. Another good move: the sights are Beretta 92/94 compatible so there’s a world of aftermarket options out there if you want something different.

Beretta APX A1 Full Size 9mm Pistol
The front sight is tritium illuminated. The serrated rear sight frames the front post nicely.

Beretta ships the APX A1 Full Size with two 17-round magazines (unless, of course, you live in one of those states…you poor people get 10-rounders). They’ve also given the APX A1 a recontoured beavertail that gives you a slightly higher grip on the gun

Beretta APX A1 Full Size 9mm
Beretta has extended the texturing on the APX A1 up higher on the frame.

Beretta has updated the frame on the APX A1, too. They’ve added more and different texturing, extending the stippling up onto the index points on the frame. The finger grooves that the original APX sported are gone.

Beretta APX A1 Full Size 9mm The other big improvement Beretta is boasting about is a APX A1’s trigger. The Beretta engineers call it “category redefining” and the “best out-of-the-box” trigger sold. I’m not sure that level of hyperbole is justified, but the APX A1 trigger is very good — as was the the original’s.

The APX A1 Full Size trigger is rated at a 6.5-pound pull weight, but the pistol I tested averaged 5.8 pounds on my Lyman trigger gauge with a clean pull and short reset.

Beretta APX A1 Full Size
The undercut on the APX A1 is slightly deeper than on the original.

Another improvement: the APX A1’s trigger blade safety.

Beretta APX A1 Full Size 9mm
Original APX trigger safety blade (left) and APX A1 safety blade (right)

On the original APX, the trigger blade safety was rounded and raised slightly. When depressed, it stays proud of the trigger shoe (see above), leaving a thin “ridge” against your trigger finger. That’s not a big deal most of he time, but if you’re at the range and shooting a lot, it can wear on your digit.

The APX A1 safety blade is squared off and recedes fully when the trigger is pressed flush with the shoe. It feels flat when pulled, which is noticeably more comfortable.

Beretta APX A1 Full Size 9mm
Original APX (left) APX A1 (right)

Another upgrade Beretta made is a better recoil spring. Beretta’s gone to a lighter weight single coil recoil spring that’s easier to rack.

Beretta APX A1 Full Size 9mm

The change doesn’t seem to have affected reliability at all and should make it a little easier for people with reduced hand strength (not that the original was particularly difficult to rack). The APX A1 reliably cycled all of the rounds I fed it in weights ranging from 115 to 147 grains.

The barrels are exactly the same on both APX versions which means Beretta’s threaded barrels will work just fine.

And yes, the new APX A1 Full Size is still just as modular as the original.

Beretta APX A1 Full Size 9mm
Beretta APX A1 fire control unit

While pulling the Beretta’s fire control unit is slightly more involved than it is on other modular pistols, it’s not difficult. You’ll just have to drift out a pin. That then lets you swap out grip frames if you want.

Beretta APX A1 Full Size 9mm

The magazines are the same for both the original and APX A1 pistols and Beretta says there will be some backward compatibility on holsters.

Beretta APX A1 Full Size 9mm

The dimensions of the APX A1 are…close to those of the original.

Beretta APX A1 Full Size 9mm

That said, I could just get the APX A1 in the Kydex holster I have for the original APX. It’s definitely not a perfect fit, but it’s useable. If you’re upgrading from the APX to the APX A1, definitely try the new pistol in your existing rigs, but my guess is you’ll want to buy a holster molded for the new model.

Beretta APX A1 Full Size 9mm

This is a gun I just happen to shoot really well. With the small backstrap installed, it fits my hand really well and just feels natural.

At a press event for the rollout of the APX A1 we had a competition among the media types who were there. I am by no means a competitive shooter and usually don’t fare well in these things. But somehow I finished in the upper middle of the pack shooting the APX A1 with a Burrus Fast Fire red dot. Your mileage may vary, but my guess is a lot of people will experience similarly good results.

Beretta APX A1 Full Size 9mm

Beretta’s done a lot of good work improving what was already a very competent 9mm handgun. They’ve obviously been listening to their customers over the years and have made a lot of changes — both cosmetic and functional — that make the APX A1 very competitive with literally any other full size 9mm pistol on the market.

Specifications: Beretta APX A1 Full Size Pistol

Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 17+1
Action: Striker fired
Barrel length: 4.25″
Overall length: 7.5″
Overall height: 5.6″
Overall width: 1.3″
Sight Radius: 6.1″
Weight: 20 oz.
MSRP: $529

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style: * * * *
I was a fan of the original APX. As I mentioned to one of the Beretta engineers who were at the rollout event, the original looked like it was designed by Italians. I meant that as a compliment, but I’m not sure he took it that way. Anyway, the new design of the updated APX A1 will appeal to far more users than did the original design. No polymer striker-fired 9mm is beautiful, but to me the APX A1 looks good.

Ergonomics: * * * * *
This is really most of the point of the the upgrades APX A1. The frame has been improved with better texturing a deeper undercut and recontoured beavertail. The slide’s new, more standard and aggressive serrations are easier to grab and far less likely to slip. And the change to the trigger safety blade is a definite plus.

Concealability: * * *
The APX A1 is no harder to conceal than any other full-size 9mm pistol. Which means if you’re willing to pack a full-size gun, it’s OK depending on your rig and cover clothing.

Reliability: * * * * *
I’ve put a lot of rounds through this gun with a wide variety of ammo. I was also at an event where a number of other writers did the same. I experienced zero malfs and didn’t see anyone else have one either. At all.

Customize This: * * * *
It has a rail, three backstraps and it’s optics-ready, so pretty much everything you’d need. The 92/94 compatible sights were a good idea, too. One star off for shipping the pistol without plates.

Overall: * * * * *
Again, I like (and an own) the original APX. I didn’t mind the slide indentations or the pistol’s looks. Not everyone had the same opinion. If you were in the latter group, you should be very happy about the upgrades and re-think Beretta has given their flagship 9mm striker-fired pistol. The updated APX A1 can and does give every other full size 9mm a real run for its money.

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84 COMMENTS

    • This actually happened today here in Los Angeles:

      I was running an errand during lunchtime and was listening to KFI AM640 radio. For the past three decades, it’s been a bastion of center-right conservative talk. Today, however, the show of the hour was discussing the recent Highland Park parade shooting and the gunns the murderer used. They had an “expert” in the studio to describe gunns to the listening audience.

      He said:

      1] an AR-15 was used (I’m still not finding any evidence online that it was an AR) and;

      2] the bullets fired from a typical AR-15 are larger than those fired from a typical handgun. The last time I checked my own gunns and ammo, I was shooting 120g bullets at 1100 fps from a common 9mm handgun and 55g bullets at 2900 fps from a 5.56 AR-15 with standard 18″ barrel. The 5.56 bullets are less than half the mass of the 9mm, not greater.

      If we’re talking about Force (Mass x Velocity = Force), then yes a 5.56 bullet can dispense a greater amount of energy into a target, but the “guest” completely disregarded the additional detail of bullet shape, and how a 9mm JHP is designed to create a large wound cavity and hydrostatic shock, while a typical 5.56 is not. The guy was basically giving the “we don’t need weapons of war in civilians’ hands” diatribe.

      • In the not-distant future (as per the SCotUS orders to grant cert, vacate the verdict, and remand back to the issuing court with instructions to follow the guidance in the ‘Bruin’ decision), AWB are soon to be history, so the whole ‘weapons of war’ whining will fall on deaf ears in the courts.

        They can lie all they want about semi-auto magazine-fed rifles, they won’t be able to do ‘stuff’ about it… 🙂

        • It’s not about Rights it’s about how much it cost to exercise those rights.
          I’m not talking blood, I’m talking money.
          Out of curiosity, what’s the cost to get a concealed carry permit in California?

      • Haz,
        I don’t know if you saw my earlier comment, but yesterday, the top of the hour national news said the shooter had a submachine gun in his car when he was arrested. That’s how they described the Keltec Sub 2000.

        • From what I understand that’s not the gunm used in the shooting though. Supposedly he left an AR on a rooftop, or it fell out of his dress when he was running away.

        • possum,
          There was some confusion with the initial reporting. It used an M&P 15 in the shooting. The Keltec wasn’t used.

  1. Uh, guys… the Model 418 was striker fired. It was also the only Beretta handgun with a grip safety. Just because it’s a .25 doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist; it protected a lot of New York City shopkeepers back in the day.

  2. Basically it’s still an elfin BROWNING and does exactly the same job. Just another marketting exercise that pushes FORm over FUNCTION. I Find it completely laughable that anybody is going to be crawling around in the bloody dark with a Night Sight on a handgun!

    • “Basically it’s still an elfin BROWNING and does exactly the same job.”

      Sod off, wanker.

      No one here cares what a neutered subject of the Crown like you thinks about issues that pertain to us… 🙁

    • “I Find it completely laughable that anybody is going to be crawling around in the bloody dark with a Night Sight on a handgun!”

      I’ve done exactly that multiple times. Both at nighttime courses at a professional training facility, and at home investigating bumps in the night. I’m sure nearly everyone here on TTAG has.

      Once you finally shoot a real gunn, Alberto, you’ll understand. Paper clips and rubber bands don’t count.

      • “Forget it, Jake. It’s Alberttown.”

        While we know that Albert is a complete joke who lacks the mental capacity to respond to anything, let’s prove it once again:

        OK, Albert, what Brownings do you have any experience with? Maybe a Hi-Power? You know, the single action, hammer-fired weapon that was designed almost a century ago, that you apparently confuse with a modern striker fired handgun? (No insult intended to JMB (PBUH) — he Hi-Power is a great weapon, just radically different from a striker fired gat.)

        Or maybe the FN1910? You know, JMB’s single stack mousegun?

        What striker fired handguns have you carried? Shot? Can field strip? Handled?

        We’ll once again see that when asked to state his qualifications, this poseur runs for the hills, because he knows he talking out of his arse, and he knows we know.

    • It is bloody and dark over hear Albert , with all the gunms us Yanks have.
      we’ve done shot out all the street lights and you’ve gotta crawl elsewise you’ll slip in all the blood on the streets.
      And to make matters worse(or better, depending) most 12 year old kids over here have more combat experience then any 20 year career UK Royal Marine.
      Adapt or Die is the motto.
      Its Hell over here Albert
      Bloddy Hell
      Stay where your at
      Much safer.
      .
      I wish blood was oil, I’d get me a squeegee and a shop vac and get rich just cleaning up the streets.

      • possum:
        Shame on you. Albert’s apt to believe you even though your sarcasm is so thick you can cut it with a shive.
        Anyway, ILMAO.

  3. “Another upgrade Beretta made is a better recoil spring. Beretta’s gone to a lighter weight single coil recoil spring that’s easier to rack.”

    Does anyone know how they manufacture those flat-wire slide springs? They can’t stamp them out, drawing and bending while maintaining straightness seems an impossibility, how do they do it for guns like this one and most Glocks?

    • I’ve always wondered that myself. Most coil springs are wound on lathes; I’d guess that with flat wire, one end is fastened to a mandrel to be spun by the headstock, then a tool (kept very close to the mandrel and under tension to prevent the wire kinking sideways) feeds it in vertical orientation while auto-advancing (like in a threading operation).

      • Umm… I always just figured they used nano elves with mini nano hammers pounding away on the flats while running in macro nano circles. Are you saying this is not The Way?

        • It looks like I was only halfway there; Klaus, below, has a video of it being done with power rollers.

          At least, that’s how we have to do it down here. You, being much closer to Santa’s Workshop, have better access to nano-elf technology.

        • Umm… I haven’t received crap for decades now. I’m starting to think that whole santa/elves/reindeer thing is all made up. Stale cookies n sour milk just left there year after year now…

        • I’m not sure if you watch “The Family Guy”, but you’re reminding me of the episode where the baby journeys to the North Pole only to find a dystopian industrial wasteland manned by gruesome, inbred elves who sing “Christmastime is Killing Us”.

        • “I’m starting to think that whole santa/elves/reindeer thing is all made up. Stale cookies n sour milk just left there year after year now…”

          True story –

          We kids left out a six-pack for Santa, and found the empties under the tree on Christmas morning.

          For some reason, we left him dad’s favorite brand of ‘Cheap American Beer’… 🙂

        • Geoff, another true story: as a kid at my grandparents one easter morning a century ago I opened the door to see rabbit tracks in the snow right up to the door and back out into the yard. Full of excitement I followed them out into the field only to find their dog happily chowing down on the remains of said bunny.

      • Ha! Nope, literally haven’t looked at a tv screen in over 20yrs, but that does sound pretty funny. (Somehow didn’t seem right to put Umm… in front of laughter: first time it hasn’t worked!)

        • I respect that a lot. It’s quite the time-waster! Times I’ve lived without one either left me with near-infinite free time, or with reasonable free time despite very unreasonable working hours.

      • Umm… Agreed. I haven’t missed it one iota. Unfortunately the ttag comment section seems to have replaced it 😉.

        • An excellent point that I’m glad you brought up. I was thinking after I wrote about how I don’t really watch that much TV (generally only in the evenings during / after dinner), and where has all the time gone?😉

      • Well, that ‘splains that clearly! They do the bending while it’s still flat…

        Thanks, Klaus!

        This is one of the best things about TTAG, *someone* knows the answer to nearly everything gun-related… 🙂

        • “…in Canada they use nano elves.”

          Possum, were you ever caught with an under-age Nano Elf who claimed she was 18 when you picked her up in that dive bar? 🙂

        • A dive bar is my favorite kind of bar.

          It’s the kind of a place where you are nailed by the stench of fermented spilled beer, urine, and vomit the second you come through the door… 🙂

        • Geoff, ahhh… a microcosm of modern society. An environment replete with hidden risks and dangers, false promises, overly ambitious expectations, high fashion and aroma therapy all rolled into one. Truly a place where one might get lucky after a suitable expenditure of resources…

  4. Remember Beretta’s first polymer frame pistol the 9000S? One of the worst pistols I ever handled & fired. Right up there with the CZ100, S&W Sigma 380 and Colt All American 2000. Every quality company makes at least one mistake.

      • Yeah I’m very surprised and pleased with it. It’s a lot of quality and features for what they’re asking. Glock, Walther, HK, SIG look out.

    • It’s a decent deal until you want to add a red dot. Then, when it’s all said and done, you’ll have an additional $200 plus your time in a plate and taller sights.

      • If you want taller sights you gotta add that to all the other options out there except the newest version of the M&P 2.0. The VP9, Glock, SIG, Walther don’t come with tall sights as standard.

      • And that’s true for any of the competition too. Walther doesn’t ship plates (but they do offer one plate mailed free to you when you write in your serial #). HK doesn’t ship plates.

        The value on the Beretta is still solid. I would have given it a serious look if I hadn’t gotten into Walther already.

  5. I think I need to pick up a quality-made handgun like the Beretta using the serial numbered fire control group scheme.

    It would make a dandy project seeing if I could hand-fabricate a functional fire-control group on my own… 🙂

    • Aren’t these fire control units really the equivalent of an AR-15 trigger group? Seems like this could be another item that could go the 80% route.

  6. The only plastic Beretta I’m interested in is the .40 compact Px4 Storm that’s my daily carry, easy to conceal and it shoots nicely. Probably better with that than my 96-A1 butI have shot the Px4 a lot more. I’d like to get a subcompact Px4 in 9mm but I’m really not in the market for another plastic framed piece.

  7. Hmm… funny how the APX full size sports a 4.25″ barrel, the same as my 92 Compact. I think I’ll stick with the Compact, or better yet one of my revolvers.

    • Prob accommodating us poor barrel limited bastards n bitches (I’m all about inclusivity) up here in the queens colonies, personal fiefdom of the idiot manchild king.

      • Ahhh, moderation. Damn, I was on a roll, musta had a doz comments in a row escape the clutches of the Education Camps. Home sweet home.

      • Well it must be comforting knowing that no criminal is going to shoot you with some 3″ sissy pistol. As far as the Prime Minister of Blackface, well at least he can find the podium and construct a full sentence. And he doesn’t seem to fall down much, so you take what you can get out of your leaders these days.

        • He’s young (highly unfortunately), give him time to acclimatize. And yeah, who wants to get shot with something called a belly gun. Oops, I mean gunm.

  8. I was not a fan of the alligator bumps on the original APX.

    Military Arms Channel reinforced my opinion by being unable to rack the slide easily with wet hands.

    Still, I almost bought one when I saw them for $275 (before the pandemic).

    I have seen this listed well below MSRP. I will probabl get one when they get down to $325.

  9. I do not buy striker fired handguns that have no manual safety for obvious reasons.

    I think too the idea of going to an inferior recoil spring will definitely result in less service life before the slide or frame cracks. I speak from experience on this one. I have had guns crack their frames and its not uncommon and I am not just beating up on Beretta as this was a general statement.

    • I can understand your fear of a recurring accident while appendix carrying, but really, now that you’ve shot your junk off, why the concern with a lack of manual safety? Did you worry for weeks after your pet unicorn flew off about not closing the barn?

    • Dacian:
      From the American Heritage Collage Dictionary:
      Da-ci-a (da’ she-a, -sha.) An ancient region and Roman province corresponding roughly to present-day Romania; abandoned to the Goths after A.D. 270. Da’ci-an adj. & n.

      Note: In the pronunciation guide (above in the parenthesis), the dictionary uses an upside down “e” to represent the sound in she-a and -sha, which I cannot reproduce on my computer. So, I have substituted an “a” in both cases, which comes fairly close. Also, as shown in the dictionary, “Dacian” should be capitalized.

        • Commonly known as having been ‘trebuchéd’ in the parlance of the time. It would explain much…

        • Hey R/S, I don’t think that trebuchet flight falls under the “twelve-hour bottle to throttle rule”. The air part would be quite fun, but the ground part is gonna leave a mark !

        • PB, especially if one experiences the dreaded ‘delayed release failure’ so common in the earlier models. Sort of like a partial failure to fire and a partial failure to eject all rolled into one. Took awhile I guess to get the timing down right.

    • Not only have you likely never been allowed to hold a firearm much less own one, I highly doubt you are eligible to purchase one as well.

    • Those obvious reasons being you don’t understand how a striker fire system works and you don’t know how to safely handle a handgun?

  10. them grooves would slow down my lightning fast draw.
    I suppose you could fill them full of mud, that might help ease the friction. You’d wanna use good mud though, swamp mud would be better then river mud. River muds got sand and grit in it, and that might cause a failure. Swamp mud is kinda like gumbo mud around here, but it stinks more.
    Gumbo mud would be the best in my opinion, ymmv.

    • You must have freakishly large paws to handle all these gunms, bein a possum n all. (Setting you up at da net and leaving it wide open for anatomical rejoinders regarding depth and width of any trailing marks left in the mud… )

  11. I dont talk about astronomical rejoinders, the elf bee eyes are getting to close. Talking about my invasion of the planet Slugg will have them guarding the oceans and salt mines.

    • Pretty damn sure yer already under surveillance bud. How much ice do you need? I have a gravel truck. Are you in the northwest?

      • Negative, smack dab in the middle of the USA.
        Yes more ice. If I cant catch neutrinos at least we’ll have cold beer.

        • Well there ya go, still worth the run. Have yer people call my people, we can make this happen.

  12. To me a full-size pistol is not for concealed carry, but fine for recreation shooting or home defense. For those purposes, my Beretta 92X is just ducky and prettier too.

  13. Looks promising. I coul’d not stand the looks of the original version nor could I shoot it worth a darn durning a short test flight but with a bigger frame I am bigger grip I am sure I could do a lot better. I test fired a Langdon 92 right after it and loved shooting it.

    But nice improvments on this upgraded model and a good price point too. I hope I have a chance to try one out soon. I don’t own a “modular” poly frame pistol yet.

    Been looking to get an upgraded optics ready slide for my VP9, which I adore, but dang the long slide optics ready upgrade kit alone costs as much as this new Beretta APX A1 when they are available.

    CZ has $50 rebate on their P10 series right now and I am seeing some really nice options for new striker fired pistols at around or just under $400 these days including this Beretta, M&P 2.0,, CZ P10, and Canik which are far better than the G2/G3 Taurus models for not that much more.

    Good times again for those looking top purchase some quality poly frame auto loading pistols even during these times of high inflation probably due to high supply and intense competition.

    Been shooting a lot more 22LR these days to stretch out my 9MM ammo supply and loving it, especially with the Browning Buckmark.

    Can’t say the same for 9MM practice ammo yet and now pretty convinced we are at or near new normal pricing for that.

  14. I have the original as well. I wish you would have said if we could switch the grip modules from the old one to the new one. I think the new frame is superior. I do not care about the new slide that much. I don’t suppose you know and could update us?

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