Gun Review: Beretta APX Carry 9mm

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Beretta’s APX striker-fired 9mm is a top-tier duty gun; one that I can’t help but feel is oft-overlooked. But not by Jon Wayne Taylor, who liked the RDO, Centurion, and Compact to the tune of a strong 4 stars or by Dan Zimmerman, who gave the Full Size a full-on 5 stars and often carries it while out-and-about.

Though I don’t hear the APX come up in gun shopper conversation often, all other indications are that it’s a strong seller for Beretta. It’s about to get stronger, too, now that the APX Carry adds a single-stack sub-compact to the family.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

In 2019, a full-line pistol almost has to include a model under about an inch thick. The U.S. gun-buying market just can’t get enough of these little carry guns. And for good reason, too; slim fits inside the waistband better. Heck, these little guys will often fit in a pocket. And if it’s comfortable it’s far more likely to get carried. Needless to say, a carried sub-compact beats a left-at-home full-size version every time.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Those distinctive APX aesthetics were obviously high on the list when Beretta designed the APX Carry. What would an APX be without those large slide serrations? Certainly not anything immediately recognizable as a member of the APX tribe.

I must say, though, I’m not the biggest fan of the signature APX slide treatment. The look has grown on me a lot, but it’s the function that I’m not completely sold on. Only the top half of the “lands” are raised enough to provide any real purchase, and obviously the “grooves” are slick. The edges aren’t particularly sharp, either, and the end result is serrations that look extremely aggressive, but provide less traction than most slide serrations. Forget wet or muddy or gun-lubed, just a modicum of moist sweat and you’ll find the slide slippery.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

The grip texture is much better. In keeping with its bigger siblings the APX Carry’s grip texture is pebbled on the sides and more aggressive on the front- and back-strap. Little pyramids, basically. They poke right into your flesh and won’t allow the grip to rotate in your hands. Meanwhile, the pebbled side texture won’t tear up your love handles.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Though skinnier, obviously, the shape of the grip borrows from the rest of the APX line as well. Perhaps a slightly more pronounced hump at the heel, but the grip angle and shape have some clear similarity. Overall the double-stack APX brethren are more comfortable in the hand and more ergonomic than their single-stack baby brother, but that’s to be expected.

Also worth noting: there are no interchangeable backstraps on the APX Carry. It’s one-size-fits-all. And that size is small.

Beretta APX Carry review

APX Carry (L), and APX full size (Jeremy S. for TTAG)

Other similarities abound, such as the serialized internal frame design and the general location and design of the controls — slide stop and magazine release. Though the Carry doesn’t have an ambidextrous slide stop like the big boys, its magazine release, like theirs, is reversible.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

One notable difference is in the take-down. To field strip the APX Carry you’ll need to de-cock the striker. This can be done by dry firing (which some owners object to) or by Beretta’s suggested, preferred means of depressing the striker deactivation button (second “pin” from the far left). With that done, simply rotate the take-down pin 90 degrees counter-clockwise.

The slide then springs forward slightly and can then be pulled off the front of the frame. While too stiff for a fingernail, the rim of a cartridge, a coin, a screwdriver, or many other objects can be used to turn the take-down pin.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

The Beretta APX Carry ships with two stainless steel magazines and three baseplates (“mag bottoms”) — flush, pinky rest, and extended. Capacity with the flush or pinky rest baseplate is 6+1 rounds of 9mm, and with the extended baseplate it’s 8+1 rounds.

For me the pinky rest fell a bit short. Literally. About 1/3 of my pinky fits on it, which felt more awkward than not having it at all. Dan’s pinky finger was half off the thing, too, and he’s always commenting in his reviews about how his hands are on the small side. If it doesn’t fit at least most of your average pinky, it should probably be longer.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

The steel sights are excellent, suiting my tastes for a blacked-out rear and a more highly-visible front. Their shape blends with that of the slide perfectly and their height is more usable than that of many micro pistols’ sights. I also liked the width of the front compared to the notch in the rear — enough light to make the sights fast for self-defense while still capable of precision when desired.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

And precise the APX Carry is. For its size it’s a heck of a shooter, putting up pretty tight 5-round groups for me at 15 yards from standing.

Mechanically, I’m positive the gun is capable of better. Like the three holes in the “DO” seen above. The Carry’s trigger may hold some shooters back from achieving ultmate accuracy.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Mostly, it’s just long. The trigger has to travel basically from where you see it above almost entirely back to the rear of the trigger guard before it breaks. It’s smooth, not gritty at all, but it does transmit the sensation of the striker spring being compressed as you go.

Which, of course, accounts for much of the APX Carry’s 6- to 7-lb trigger pull weight. I don’t take any exception to this or the travel distance, mind you. For many concealed carry and self-defense situations a longer, heavier trigger pull is the better choice. In fact, the APX Carry’s trigger is very much like that of a typical double action revolver’s, just springier and lighter.

What the APX Carry’s trigger isn’t like is the rest of the APX line. Those pistols have fantastic triggers; extremely short and crisp with a super-short reset and a pull weight a couple of pounds lighter.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

The big APXs also don’t pinch my trigger finger like the little APX does. Due to the diminutive size of the APX Compact and the somewhat forward-raked angle of its trigger when at rest, I found my finger occupying most of the trigger’s real estate, including up near the top. The sides of the trigger opening scraped and scratched some.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

And depending on my finger position, the front of it would pinch. And those edges are sharp.

I compensated by running my finger a little lower on the trigger shoe and made it through the full testing session without any real issue.

So, then, nothing about the trigger makes it my favorite part of the APX Carry. Although I do think having the option of a longer, heavier trigger than what has become more commonplace these days is an important one. It has a place, and is a good choice for many carriers.

In fact, I’ve made this choice before . . .

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

I carried a Beretta Nano for many years. I chose it in part because of that same trigger. I wanted longer and heavier; something I wouldn’t accidentally try to “stage” during a self-defense use.

While maybe not a market favorite, the Nano has a following and it sure suited me well. It’s sleek and slim, surprisingly accurate and soft-shooting. After some initial teething pains it proved itself to be eminently reliable and durable, and my example has fired thousands of rounds of every kind of ammo on the planet and has never hiccuped.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Which is one reason I was glad to see that the APX Compact’s similarity to the Nano is more than just skin deep. Actually, the skin is almost the only difference.

For all intents and purposes, the Beretta Nano and the Beretta APX Compact are effectively the same firearm.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

They share the same magazine, barrel, recoil spring, and so much more. The serialized, internal, modular frame can be swapped (*mostly).

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

The slides swap flawlessly and, yes, they feed, fire, and function as normal this way, too.

The only hitch in this complete interchangeability is the addition of a slide stop on the APX Carry — the Nano doesn’t have an external control. But it does have the internal components. A Nano owner could install his or her serialized frame into an APX Carry grip module and run it as-is, with no slide stop, or could add the slide stop to their frame should that become something Beretta sells separately.

Now this is the modularity we Nano owners were promised. Not just new colors, but different frames entirely. A Nano owner can now upgrade to APX Carry status, whether that’s just a grip module swap or the slide, too.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

And an upgrade, it is! The APX Carry is a much-improved pistol over the Nano, due primarily to its excellent ergonomics. Its grip shape and texture (as in, it actually has some) are far superior, its higher beavertail allows a higher grip and vastly reduces the absurdly high bore axis, the slide stop is a welcome addition and is so well-recessed in the grip module that even fans of the Nano’s sleek sides won’t begrudge it. Oh, and the Carry’s sights are far better, too.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Overall, trigger pinch aside, which you may or may not experience, this is a very good little gun. While I’m no longer wanting that heavier, longer trigger on my CCW piece, I believe it’s a completely valid option and, in a market that has mostly moved in the other direction, the APX Carry fills an important niche with it.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

After chewing up and spitting out hundreds of FMJ and hollow-point rounds — mostly Armscor 147 grain and 115 grain mixed in with some IMI and Federal hollow-point — I found the APX Compact completely and totally reliable. It’s controllable and soft-shooting, especially for a gun its size and weight. It offers even more confidence and comfort than my Nano thanks to much better grip texture and improved ergonomics.

Quality, fit, and finish are very high on this made-in-Tennessee pocket pistol. If you’re interested in a longer, more double-action-like trigger pull from your sub-compact concealed carry piece, the APX Carry is a must-see.

Specifications: Beretta APX Carry

Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 6+1 rounds with flush or pinky magazine, 8+1 with extended magazine
Frame: Technopolymer grip frame available in Black, FDE, ODG, and Wolf Grey
Weight: 19.8 ounces
Length: 5.63 inches
Height: 4.17 inches
Width: 0.9 inches
Barrel Length: 3 inches
Sights: Steel. Serrated black rear, white dot front.
MSRP: $450

Ratings (out of five stars):

Reliability * * * * *
Rock solid.

Accuracy * * * *
Mechanical accuracy is excellent. The long trigger makes practical accuracy more difficult.

Ergonomics * * * *
Great grip texture and shape. Controls are in the right places. Dinged one star for that pinchy trigger slot and the pinky rest that’s a hair too short. At only 0.9-inches thick with a short grip frame to boot, carry ergonomics are excellent.

Customize This * * * *
With the serialized internal chassis, the sky’s the limit on customization. One could make a completely different firearm with it and never step foot in an FFL or gunsmith. But other than grip frames in different colors, different sights, and various holsters, what will actually become available for APX Carry customization? Time will tell.

On The Range * * *
The APX Carry is a very good little shooter. It’s controllable and accurate, as long as you can pull through that trigger while keeping the sights on target. That’s do-able with some practice. There may be a pinch on that trigger finger, but I quickly learned to avoid it. I’d give it four stars here if they managed to shoehorn more rounds into the thing without changing its footprint.

Overall * * * *
For me the Beretta Nano was always a 4-star gun, and the APX Carry is a marked improvement over that gun in nearly every way. It falls short of five stars, though, due to the trigger pinch, the slide serrations, and a lower capacity than some of its competition.

A few comparison photos:

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Clockwise from top left: Beretta APX Carry, SIG SAUER P365, GLOCK G43x, Beretta Nano.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Left-to-right: Beretta Nano, Beretta APX Carry, SIG SAUER P365, GLOCK G43X. For those who are counting, capacities are 6+1, 6+1, 10+1, and 10+1, respectively.

Beretta APX Carry review

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Front-to-back: SIG SAUER P365, Beretta APX Carry, GLOCK G43X.

comments

  1. avatar Michael Martha says:

    Nice gun, however my P365 is in no danger of being replaced.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Someone else really has to try and put out a gun with the tight dimensions and 10+1 of the 365. It’s hard to justify buying something else in that market when you get 2-4(!!) more rounds in a smaller package otherwise.

        1. avatar Salty says:

          Keltec is just too “un-refined”… fondled one recently, but it’s too “utilitarian. I wanted to like it, but couldn’t. Don’t remember why. I was just thinking of all the issues with 365 and the rather high price. Shields can be had for $250, used, with extras typically. And “broke-in” a bit to boot.

      1. avatar Daniel Hoover says:

        They did way back in 1995. The Kel-Tec p11 10+1 capacity

    2. avatar Joel says:

      Wow. Those comparison photos sell the 365 better then anything I’ve read about them so far. The app is ok too I guess…

      1. avatar PWinKY says:

        Mostly agree with this. The extra capacity in the 365 is a game changer considering that it’s still a pocket sized pistol. Plus they come with a decent trigger and night sights.

        I don’t need a new carry gun, but I’ll buy a 365 eventually. It would replace a Kahr pm9 AND a glock 26.

        1. avatar Pocketgunner says:

          Lol, sorry no game changer at all. A lot of people are making comment comparing the Nano/Carry to the 365 without any idea of what they are talking about. For one, there are many that cannot shoot the 365 unless they have a small hand. A very common problem. People riding the slide because of the very Narrow space between the grip and receiver. I have a size large hand and just to easy to ride the slide and the bulky take down lever is problematic. The Nano and Carry have a fine grip for this. One 365 poster said he is only able to shoot the 365 one handed. Heck, many are reporting that they found out they could not even shoot the gun with a glove on. This is unacceptable. Bulky take down, narrow grip space and too many problems do not make the 365 a game changer. And Please do not compare both guns unless you actually shoot both of them and compare side by side.
          I have tested the 365 and can tell you that the Nano is a much better shooter. Very mild. Handles plus P much better than the 365. And not everyone or every manufacturer even cares about the couple of extra rounds in a micro 9mm. No, the 365 is no game changer. z

      2. avatar Bear says:

        It is mainly the poorly proportioned glock (with its poorly fitted magazine) that causes the 365 to look that much smaller. Remove the glock and place another sub-compact there and the size difference will shrink.

  2. avatar mlk18 says:

    If the trigger is even close to the Nano I will take a hard pass. The Nano has one of the worst factory triggers ever put out. I was waiting for this gun but I was hoping for a desperately needed redesign not just a cosmetic upgrade.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      It’s good if you’re looking for double action revolver type trigger. It isn’t bad in that they were going for something different and got this. It’s what it was meant to be and it’s just fine at it, but that either fits what you want or not.

      1. avatar Rusty Shackleford says:

        Would you say it is similar to the trigger on the S&W Sigma/SVDE since both use the same philosophy of a DAO revolver-like trigger on a striker-fired semi?

        1. avatar mlk18 says:

          I would say it is very similar to a 15 amp breaker in an old musty basement. Only a little more gritty and with a weirder pivot point. I much preferred the pull of the old Sigma series. That pull is just heavy. The Nano is all over the place… AND heavy.

      2. avatar Setarip says:

        I respectfully disagree. The nano is far from a decent revolver DA trigger. Revolvers generally have a smooth pull all the way through, yes they have heavier pull weights, but smooth and consistent. The nano is a stack-o-matic. The only DA trigger that I’ve owned that was worse than the nano was my USP .45. Terrible triggers indeed.

      3. avatar Pocketgunner says:

        Lol, seems a lot of posters never heard of a DAO trigger. You can always tell when they call it a terrible trigger. Too many newbies and listening to too many YOUTUBE vids. Love the trigger on the Nano. Moved away from light striker fired triggers and never looked back. Love the Nano. One great Micro9mm. Built to last.

  3. avatar Thixotropic says:

    Interesting offering. Lots to like and dislike.

    Still prefer my G43 with upgraded OverWatch Precision DAT trigger, Ghost Edge Connector, and TFO tritium fiber optic sights. I use the Pearce +1 mag extensions and Speer +p+ 115gr. GDHP.

    Keep your P365.

    1. avatar Steve says:

      “Glock perfection” at its finest, lol.

    2. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      I will. Plus my 10/12 round mags, factory night sights and a nicer trigger.

    3. avatar Gregolas says:

      Question, Sir. How is your G43 holding up with +P+ ammo ? I didn’t think it was approved for +P, let alone the really hot stuff. I’sd like to run +P in my G43, but am afraid to. Please share your experience

      1. avatar ‘liljoe says:

        I run +p in my g43 all the time and it’s fine shooting every 2-3 months or so for 3 years (100-150 rounds per range session). Doesn’t beat up my wrists or pinch my pinky like the g26 (extended mags have a slight gap that is just in the wrong place, the flat mags are fine). I imagine +p+ would just be unpleasant to shoot.

        Having said that, and being a glock fanboy, I just had a chance to try the p365 at the range and it is the next carry gun I’m buying 🙂

    4. avatar Bigus Dickus says:

      LOL, Glock. Get the perfect pistol to upgrade to make it something you like. If Glock were so perfect the upgrades wouldn’t be needed.

      Keep your Glock, I’ll keep my Shield….which is stock….no “upgrades”.

      1. avatar Salty says:

        To be fair, it doesn’t need em, folks just like “primping” their stuff to “fix it”. Yep I just stick my shield in the holster and go. Wipe some lint off it every once in a while. Maybe add some night sights or a threaded barrel if they get cheap enough

  4. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Looks like a true upgrade from the Nano. And nice looking as well.

    The Nano always felt unstable and top heavy to me.

    I like them bigger trigger guard but it sounds like it may have issues with pinch.

    Not in the market right now anyway….enjoying the Glock 48. It has its own trigger issues though.

  5. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    It’s a shame when a 500 year old Italian arms maker makes such an ugly gun. Kind of like watching the Notre Dame cathedral burning down. Just seems like a terrible waste.

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Or burn….

      1. avatar ‘liljoe says:

        I happen to be the proud owner of a beretta arx 100… they’ve already hit the fugly tree once 🙂

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “Kind of like watching the Notre Dame cathedral burning down. Just seems like a terrible waste.”

      There’s very good news in that department –

      Years back, they feared something like this, so they built stone ‘vaults’ to protect the interior of the cathedral. It is those vaults that give it its outstanding interior acoustics.

      Early reports are, only one of the vaults had a partial collapse, so most of the interior has survived in good shape. Even better, since the scaffolding was in place outdoors, the outdoor statues were removed and not at the location of the fire.

      The bad news is, halfway up in the spire that burned was mounted a piece of wood believed to be a remnant of the cross Christ was crucified on.

      Extensive precision digital measurements were made of the wood roof structure, so it can be reconstructed accurately…

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        There were a lot of ‘pieces of the true cross’ that came back from the Crusades.

        1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          Oh, yeah, I know, why I said “believed”.

          A French billionaire has pledged 350 million for reconstruction.

          Check out the Ars article, some real interesting stuff in there, especially in the comment section :

          “YetAnotherAnonymousAppellation wrote:
          Whatever else it is, this church is a monument to the effective financial and cultural enslavement of the peasants in pre-Revolution France by the Catholic church and the suppression of science for a millennium. It is a monument to evil, in my opinion, and no effort should be wasted on rebuilding it.

          Did Karl Marx crap in your cereal this morning?”

          *snicker* 😉

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          I just heard $700 million has now been pledged. It’s not just a Catholic symbol, it’s a French symbol. I doubt even French atheists would oppose it’s rebuilding.

          I highly doubt any pieces of the true cross exist because I don’t believe the first century Christians would have had any interest in it. It would be like venerating the bullet that went through JFK’s head. The cross would not only represent Christ’s death but also Roman oppression at the time. Now something like the Shroud of Turin is more believable, if for no other reason than the burial cloth that was entombed with Christ wouldn’t have been recovered until his resurrection, so that would make a powerful symbol at that time.

  6. avatar former water walker says:

    Choice is good. And there’s a helluva lot of little 9mm choices. It seems everyone is emulating the Glock 43 dimensions. Or 365…I’ll keep my lowly Taurus 709 for now.

  7. avatar Neil says:

    Nice, but not spectacular
    I love the shield.
    Tempted by the 365.
    Why no shield to compare?
    Shouldn’t this be compared to the regular G43?

    The competition yawned.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      They’re what I had. I don’t own *every* gun, unfortunately haha

      1. avatar Neil says:

        You missed out on the shield mania?
        Yet have a 365 and 43x?
        Tell us about the deployment in 2013-2018. 😉

        Buy what you like. I once asked someone, will you pay for that gun or are you going to try to make me buy it? Interesting facial expressions.

  8. avatar DAL says:

    Is it just me, or does the Nano slide on the APX frame look far better than the APX slide on the APX frame (or the APX slide on the Nano frame, for that matter)?

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Agreed. It looks much better and may be more comfortable to carry.

  9. avatar Setarip says:

    I freaking knew it! As soon as I saw the apx carry I could tell it was basically a nano with a different skin. I had the nano and thoroughly hated it. Absolutely awful trigger. And not that small compared to other options these days.

    1. avatar mlk18 says:

      Yep, a “cosmetic” makeover without any real substantive changes. Beretta could have come out with a true competitor to the Sig P365 or even something different, but they didn’t and that’s not going to help them win over any market share.

  10. avatar Mark N. says:

    Still have to go with the Sig out of this grouping. Same basic size with better capacity and a better trigger.

    1. avatar Pocketgunner says:

      Lol, the Sig does not even fit a size large hand for many. The grip to receiver is too small and folks riding the slide. You need to do some homework. I have shot and compared both.

  11. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Yawn!

  12. avatar Tom says:

    In the interest of full disclosure, I like Beretta’s, but that is overridden in favor of wanting the best firearm for any particular purpose. I also have Springfield; Ruger and S&W.

    While the Sig looks great on paper, Sig’s scare me away. Too much like Microsoft — buggy out of the gate (when there’s no excuse for that) — and not inexpensive which might rationalize the deficient development / quality control.

    I’m just not interested in paying waaayyyy premium prices only to find out I’ve been a beta tester.

  13. avatar Xanderbach says:

    So, I have a Shield… Advantages over a Shield? There are… Nope. Shield it is.

  14. avatar WI Patriot says:

    Just not convinced…

  15. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Since I wasted a lot of time and money buying a ton of and getting rid of a bunch of plastic fantastic compacts last year.
    Till I take a look someday maybe at the Sig 365. At a much lower price.
    Ill keep my Walther PPQ-SC.

  16. avatar possum says:

    , TTAG should do a HiPoint review.

    1. avatar Joseph says:

      This Beretta could compete with Highpoint in the UGLY department.

  17. avatar raptor jesus says:

    Cool. Another plastic striker fired subcompact gun that I won’t buy or carry.

  18. avatar GlockMeAmadeus says:

    Ruger LC9S still the best of single stack 9 bunch.

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