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I reviewed the Arex REX zero 1 S, giving it four stars. Bottom line: it’s every bit as nice as a SIG with more features at just over half the MSRP. While the REX ran flawlessly, I didn’t “torture test” the handgun nor a controlled reliability test against its name-brand compadre, the P226. Tim from the Military Arms Channel did.

The results may surprise you.

Worth mentioning: one of my biggest gripes about the REX was the plastic grips that looked and felt cheap. They were incongruous with the rest of the pistol and just didn’t do it for me.

Hogue has come to the rescue with some of their excellent G10 offerings, available through K-VAR on a special edition REX zero 1 complete with a matching Hogue knife and a holster. Here’s hoping the Hogue the grips will hit their catalog as standalone items.

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  1. I smell a lawsuit coming – big time.
    I love when someone says “it’s just as good as”, then say “half the price”.
    PT Barnum summed it up pretty good.
    There’s a sucker born every minute.
    And i really want to trust my life with a firearm made in Slobovia – remember the Yugo.

    • I guess I will go with the Rex when I resume operational status and operate operationally.

      There is a simple explanation for the test results — tolerances. The SiG is a more precision built firearm so it can’t get too dirty. The Rex probably has that good old fashion East Block sloppiness. So if you spend a lot of time crawling though water, sand, dirt and mud by all means go with the Rex.

      • I was thinking the same thing. But Sig is supposed to be a to hell and back pistol. Not sure if the Legion series is built to tighter tolerances then the other p226s’. I own a 226 combat and got it as a to hell and back pistol. Not a precision target gun. I can’t remember having any malfunctions, but I’ve never even dropped it.

        • I own a P229 Legion as well as a M11A1 and will be the first to admit that the fit on the Legion is a lot tighter. That may be the cause of these issues, but even then, I would expect a $1k+ handgun to be able to survive this test. I’d love to see the same test performed on a more traditional P226, but right now, I am rather happy that my SHTF gun is a Glock 34 rather than my P229 Legion. I’d have hated to find out the results of this test the hard way when my life was on the line.

        • Maybe but on average unmodified sub $1k 1911s are typically more reliable than $3k precision built 1911s. A combat pistol needs to have looser tolerances so it can continue to function under harsh conditions.

        • Yup – the Mk 25 (p226 Navy) is much sloppier than my 229 Legion. I assume that’s by design – and even that slop is “relative”, not particularly sloppy in absolute terms.

        • Second the consideration for probable tighter tolerances on the elite (premium) model. Would have like to see this against a standard 226

      • The explanation is that these tests are very much a crap shoot and are rarely repeatable.

        Even when you increase the sample size in an attempt to factor out the one gun that just happened to get the dirt/sand/grit in the wrong place, the results still often don’t match up. The Army is very good at creating test conditions that are very repeatable. They have temperature controlled rooms, sand blasting cabinets that dispense precisely measured amounts of sand, and even they are concerned about the lack of repeatability of the results for some of their tests. A good example of this is during the Extreme Dust Test series, most people concentrate on the numbers, but few noticed the note of concern by the Army testers that the EDT 3 results for the M4 were completely different from the EDT 2 results for the M4.

        • You make a very good point. When I personally see a gun fail a test like this I can’t help but think about the sample size and what is the test is really telling. Seeing a gun covered in sand/dirt/mud not shoot did we actually learn anything? I don’t think we learned much. There are far too many relevant factors to distill a reliability test down to 4 somewhat controlled variables.

      • I don’t know how often or exactly when the looser tolerances make for a reliable gun is true. In some areas, it seems to me (from watching other ‘torture’ tests), that tighter tolerances may help keep crap out of places where it is problematic.

        • You’re mistaking tolerances and clearances.

          Tolerances are how dimensionally accurate parts are to the drawing and clearances is the ‘slop’ when fitted together.

          AKs have lots of slop and rarely jam…

        • Yes, you are correct, I was conflating the terms. However, in the mud and sand tests I have seen it appeared that the ARs did better than the AKs. ARs generally have both tighter tolerances in manufacturing and smaller clearances, no? It appears to me that, at least partially due to tighter fitting parts (and even with the dust cover open), less outside stuff gets into the ARs action. Maybe the AR eventually makes up for this by running dirty gas through the action, but that is a different issue altogether. I think it was tests, incomplete and flawed as they may be, by both MAC and InRange that influenced my thoughts so.

      • I’m not so sure it’s fair to say that the SIG is more precisely made. The REX is being made on brand spanking new cnc machines and it was not a loose gun. Not at all. Aside from those grips, I was very impressed with the fit and finish.

        • MAC even shared a short Instagram video after the test demonstrating that the SIG was looser than the REX yet still choked!!

          So much for superior Western craftsmanship. I also own other SIG products but I will give credit where credit is due.

    • I picked up my ReX a couple weeks ago and I’m amazed at the quality in this $600. There is absolutely nothing that feels cheap about this pistol.

  2. This popped up on Reddit earlier this week, I impulse bought a Rex Zero 1 shortly thereafter. I don’t plan on abusing it but I will be directly comparing it against my Sig P200-series pistols.

    Shame you can’t get night sights for them. If I could, I would consider using them for more practical purposes. For now it’ll just be a range toy and loaner.

  3. Tim/MAC make some of the best firearms videos on YouTube. He goes to great lengths to be informative and objective, and it definitely shows.

    • He is very thorough and objective with his reviews. His videos are the first place I go when I hear about a new gun I might be interested in.

  4. Not surprised at all. If my experience with my Legion 229 indicative, Sig is resting on its laurels. Another Colt in the making.

  5. I’ve been a regular subscriber to the MAC channel since I found it about four years ago. Almost about the same time I found out about TTAG. I love his objective views. He is not beholden to anyone. Not to advertisers or gun manufactures. He calls it as he sees it.

  6. It was a fair, evenhanded, side by side, controlled comparison with a statistical sampling of 1…. Which by itself means absolutely nothing, beyond a single sample (surprising though it was) . Unlike many of his other torture test which by his own admission were “haphazard”; this time he kept to a uniform, standard testing protocol. It was an interesting test…Nothing more.
    Any number of YOUTUBE “tests” showing Glock, HK’s, 1911, M&P, etc, etc. chocking on less. Chill…

    • I agree with you. However, MAC did indicate this toward the end of the video that it is only one sample. He did also state that it is what it is and to make your own decisions.

  7. Lots of cheap guns perform flawlessly out of the box. That’s what loose tolerances allow.

    There’s nothing wrong with a standard break-in period for a better-made gun.

  8. Somebody asked before which is the most overrated handgun? To me, based on my experience, the answer is Sig. They are terribly overpriced and not all that reliable. I owned two. One regular 226 and one 226 Tac Ops. Both kept failing when dirty. And I’m not talking about dropping it in sand and mud dirty. Just regular at the range usage dirty. Sold both of them and I don’t anticipate buying one in the future. So I’m not surprised at all at Tim’s results. Sig is nothing but hype. I knew years ago that Sig could / should make a better, cheaper 226 pistol, but they chose not to. Somebody else did and Sig should really take notice. Do they still have the tactical bro, a-hole d-bag tribal / diamond plate versions of their guns? Need I say more?

    • Sig P226 Enhanced Elite (6,800 rounds so far) – most rounds through without cleaning was 499
      Zero problems.
      Don’t normally run that many without cleaning, but was at a training course.
      Also have 226R (30,000+ rounds), 229 (7,000+ rounds), 232 (2,400+ rounds)
      Never a fail to “anything” in any of them.

  9. I think Tim goes a little overboard on his reaction in this video. At the end of the video he does mention the fact that probably end up escaping many people while watching this: his test is just one instance.

    It’s entirely possible you could attempt the same tests with another Arex and another Sig and get the opposite results. A sample size of one is very difficult to project on an entire line of pistols.

    I used to work in customer service many years ago, I worked directly with our repair department, we manufactured a product with an exceptionally low return rate, lower than the industry average. Nevertheless, we still got people who had our product and it failed within a month, a week, a day, or never worked out of the box. Almost always got the same reaction, “Why’d this thing break? It’s brand new!” but new doesn’t mean it won’t break, it just means it’s less likely to.

    I always take failures of a product, especially something you can even pass off as damn near anecdotal, with a grain of salt. I don’t expect MAC to have the funding to put multiple Arex and Sig pistols through the same test, and while this certainly is eyebrow-raising levels of concern among a brand that is known to be reliable (don’t forget the P226 was almost our M9, and passed all the reliability tests for it) especially with a variant that touts itself as being something of a “warrior’s” pistol (for us weekend warriors) it’s not an end-all-be-all.

    • In fact, in many situations, failures are MORE likely to occur right out of the box, or very early on, than farther down the road. It depends on the type of device, and its design/construction. Take a very complex piece of solid-state electronics that requires a very complex manufcturing/assembly process. There’s a good chance that if it was built properly, the “wear and tear” on it, form even continuous use, will be negligible, and it will become obsolete long before it fails in any way. Conversely, it is MUCH more likely that it will suffer from “infant mortality” (failing out of the box, or shortly after first use) due to a latent/undiscovered defect in a specific component that was not revealed by QA, or by improper manufacture/assembly. Contrast that to a very simple mechanical device (lets say a hand-cranked winch). A blacksmith with some coal, a hammer and scrap steel could make one that functions perfectly out of the gate, so “infant mortality” is extremely rare, but due to the nature of the device, it is almost guaranteed that at some point in its life, after much use, it will become worn/broken to the point of unusability.

  10. For my part, I rarely roll around in the mud or walk around in sand storms. This helps all keep sorts of my devices running well.

    • While Tim’s tests can seem a bit extreme, it gives you an idea of how the guns perform. Take one of his previous videos, where he tested the HK VP9. It failed as soon as he got it wet and the mag release broke off when he threw it against a target (if I remember correctly). Sure, most people won’t be throwing their pistols around like that, but what became obvious was that the HK paddle mag release can be fairly easily damaged. You don’t have go to extremes to achieve that type of failure. Seems like poor design to me. I always wanted to get an HK pistol, but something kept telling me not to bother. After Tim’s test I decided that I won’t be buying an HK any time soon.

      • The backlash he got from that particular half-assed test lead directly to this standardized form of testing we now see. His test of the VP9 platform, particularly the “doesn’t work when wet” foolish statements he made have been debunked many, many times since (just google hk vp9 water test videos and see for yourself). He hurled it against trees, 40 feet in the air, fast balled it several times against AR500 steel and oh look the mag release paddle broke, this is obviously substandard polymer quality or a poor design. That kind of junk seriously damaged his credibility. I see this improved testing format and methodology as a direct attempt to rehabilitate his image and credibility. Even his assessments were far more temperate this time as to the nature of this single, individual test vs. the whole product line or brand.

        • He submerged a pistol, pulled it up and it failed to fire. It then had trigger reset issues and that damaged his credibility? Perhaps you mean you think he rigged the test? I always find it humorous how you watch a video of something happening then claim it didn’t happen. The only possible conclusion one can draw from such a statement is that you believe the video is lying. You damage your own credibility with such statements. What he caught hell for was throwing the pistol around and breaking parts off. The water failure is indisputable, at least the ones he had. I also didn’t see any condemnation of the VP9 in his video as you claim. I think you’ve been reading the forums more than actually watching the video you’re talking about.

  11. Seeing as I’m about 50/50 on NIB SIG reliability (I have had both an M11A1 and a P220 that were irredeemable jam-o-matics), I wholly believe the result of this test is not a fluke.

    American-made SIGs are garbage.

    • Must be the shooter or on occasion a bad gun may get through QC. Have had many Sig’s over the past 26 years, currently 13. M11 A1. 225 A1. 226 Scorpion, MK 25 and West German. 220 carry and full size. 228. 229. 1911 Scorpion. 1982 225/P6. RCS 1911 and 224. All are fine weapons some with thousands of rounds fired. Can’t remember the last time their was an issue with any. Have had much trouble with the Glock’s though. Owned 3 in my life and all 3 have been back to the factory for repair. Only own 1 now, Gen III, Glock 19. The only Sig that has ever been back to Sig was the 1911 RCS. Just my experiences, haven’t held the Legion as of yet.

  12. It’s not really rocket science here folks. It’s the same reason AKs function after horrid care, loose tolerances.
    Another point that nobody as of yet has made that I noticed, the guns are bran new and apparently never fired except for the likely factory test firing.

    I suspect that if the Sig had been broken in and had fired a minimum of several hundred rounds, probably even more, the test could very well, or likely be quite different. Weapons need to be broken in. It doesn’t take a metallurgical examination with a scanning electron microscope to understand and appreciate this.

    A new un-fired weapon with tighter tolerances would clearly be more prone to grit and obstructions in critical areas of the weapon.

    • These assumptions are being thrown around by people with no experience with the REX. It doesn’t have loose clearances. In fact, I found it tighter than some of the SIG’s I’ve shot in the past. Assuming a gun is loose or sloppy because it’s less expensive is a mistake. The REX is extremely nicely made. I’d take that CNC milled then nitrided bar stock slide over a bent sheet metal and welded slide any day.

      • Absolutely right. Anyone saying the ReX has loose tolerances clearly has not handled or fired one. This is a high quality pistol that is inexpensive.

  13. Tim @ MAC mentioned on Instagram that the tolerances of the Rex Zero 1 was actually tighter than the Sig…

    • Glad to hear that. I concur, as I stated above while reading & replying down through the comments. People are making wild assumptions based on price and the test results and they’re simply wrong. The REX is not cheap and it is not loose.

  14. I like his torture test of the Makarov. At one point the gun fell apart. He slapped it back together and kept going. Lots of fun to watch.

  15. The ammo was an interesting choice. He said he wanted something close to military “milspec” ammo, then picked Fiocchi. I would have thought Winchester NATO ammo might be a better choice. The Sig looked like it had weak ejection throughout the video. Hotter “military” ammo might have changed that.

    He should probably add a chronograph test at the beginning of the test so we have a better picture of the ammo being used.

    • In my experience Fiocchi 9mm is a little warmer than average target ammo.

      With that being said, a test with +p ammo might have led to a few less sig failures.

  16. Legion is not for dirt, mad and othe harsh conditions, that is why we have cheap shit Glocks. Legion is for collection, nice to own and shot in normal conditions pistols, expensive pistols. My Legion P229 among other pistols I own shines with lightest trigger, excellent night sights, perfect erginomics and grips etc. I am not planning to dip it into dirt.

    • I guess they better stop marketing towards professionals then. Their Legion website is all about the pros using the top of the line offering from Sig, the Legion… designed for warriors, or so the website claims.

  17. I bought a Zero 1 in April. 2016,I own Sigs and this pistol is there equal at half the price! Except for a mag rattle and those grips I can’t complain! Now all we need is a company to make a decent Kydex holster and grips

    • I agree. We need grip options for the ReX. Other than that there’s not a lot that I would change.

  18. I hold Internet and YouTube “Experts” to a higher level responsibility. So when I see post like this and the accompanying YouTube video coming from someone supposedly as experienced as this, I have to question their transparency…or in this case lack of.

    For example, why not tell your readers/viewers that one of your sponsors is a reseller of the Rex? So you do have a motivation to make sure the Rex comes out looking good. Why not be honest with your readers and viewers and say, “hey, I’m sponsored indirectly by Rex”.

    To the inexperienced, this article and video would lead someone to think the Rex Zero IS just a good if not better. But if you take anything with higher tolerances and fill it with dirt and then do the same thing with something with lower tolerances you would expect (at least an experienced person) the grit to cause something with NO ROOM for dirt to fail first now wouldn’t you. The same thing is true for high dollar high tolerance engines in things like Porsches and Lamborghinis. The motors have to seat and break in. Same is true for custom and semi-custom guns.

    But instead of explaining this to your readers/viewers who may not know better, you setup a test you know full well will allow a lower toleranced gun like the Rex to shine. You better serve yourself and your readers/viewers with transparency. And yes, I do like Sig…and HKs, and Wilson Combat, and Colt.

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