Beretta APX Review (2024 Update)

If you’re considering the Beretta APX as your next (or first) pistol and want to learn more, you’ve come to the right place. 

Beretta is the oldest firearms manufacturer in the world, and has a strong reputation for quality.  The APX currently represents the most modern and advanced addition to Beretta’s handgun lineup, and offers features not present on their previous pistol designs.

In this Beretta APX review, I’ll dive into the development and design of the APX, its pros and cons, how to disassemble it, the main variants that are available, and how it compares to other Beretta handguns on the market.

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Development of the Beretta APX

Cons

The Beretta APX was originally designed for entry in the U.S. Army’s XM17 Modular Handgun System competition. 

This competition was created after the Army announced that they would replace their existing sidearm, the Beretta M9 (the military version of the 92FS). 

Beretta initially submitted an updated M9 called the M9A3 as a potential replacement. But when it was formally rejected by the Department of Defense, Beretta opted to create a new pistol for procurement based on the military’s requirements. 

The result was the Beretta APX. 

In the end, the SIG Sauer M17 (the military designation for the P320 pistol) won the XM17 competition. 

However, that didn’t stop Beretta from marketing the APX to civilians and other military and law enforcement forces across the globe. 

In early 2017, Beretta announced that the APX would be released to the American civilian market.

Design of the Beretta APX

APX Centurion 

APX stands for “Advanced Pistol X.” 

The term ‘X’ in this case refers to any caliber of the user’s choice. As a modular pistol, the APX is designed to switch between calibers easily. 


At present, the APX is available in the 9mm Luger and .40 S&W calibers. 

One of the U.S. military’s requirements in the XM17 program was to create a modular pistol that could switch between different grip sizes. This way, the pistol more easily accommodates shooters with different hand sizes. 

This is why the APX features replaceable grip straps, as well as the ability to switch between different frames. 

For example, you can have a single fire control unit (within a stainless steel chassis) for the APX and alternate it between a full size frame or a smaller Centurion or Compact frame. 

Take note that this chassis is the serialized part of the APX, and thus the only part of the weapon that is subject to a Federal background check. 

The frame to the APX is not serialized and can be purchased independently if you desire. 

One of my favorite design features about the APX is that it has a very low bore axis with a high grip angle, enabling the shooter to easily control the pistol. 

This was another requirement of the XM17 competition, and in my opinion, is the number one factor in why this pistol is so easy to shoot.

I found the APX very easy to keep on target, and recoil is indeed kept to a minimum for faster follow up shots. All in all, it’s a very pleasant gun to shoot and stands out from other makes and models in its same class.

The APX utilizes the traditional Browning tilting-barrel short recoil design, which is the most commonplace design for semi-automatic pistols today. 

However, as we will explore later, this design also contrasts with previous designs used for Beretta pistols. 

As a striker fired pistol, the APX fires utilizing a striker on the inside of the slide to strike the primer of a loaded round. The striker is cocked as the trigger is pulled. 

The striker can be deactivated by pushing the striker deactivation button on the rear of the frame. This enables you to safely disassemble the pistol without having to pull the trigger. 

The APX also features a striker block safety that protrudes from the top of the slide when the trigger is pulled. This indicates to the user that the pistol is functioning properly. 

The APX features no manual external safety, but it does have a drop safety feature. 

This means that if the pistol is dropped and lands over a hard surface, inertia is prevented from allowing the trigger to fire on its own. This greatly reduces the odds of an accidental discharge from happening. 

Pros and Cons of the Beretta APX 

Pros

Here are the primary features to the APX, categorized into pros and cons:

Pros

Low Bore Axis

The distance from the barrel’s axis to the top of the grip on the APX is just 0.83 inches, making it one of the lowest bore axes among semi-automatic pistols made today. 

The benefit to the low bore axis is it helps the shooter to more easily control the pistol because there is less muzzle rise when firing.  

High Grip Angle 

The high grip angle of the APX, combined with its low bore axis, is what makes this gun a joy to shoot and easy to stay on target. In my opinion, this is the best aspect of the APX.

Aggressive Slide Serrations 

Most other pistols on the market only have a few smaller serrations on the rear and sometimes on the front of the pistol. 

But take one look at the APX and you will notice the presence of many wide serrations along the entire length of the slide. 

This makes it very easy to rack the slide and manipulate the weapon in wet or slippery conditions. 

Modular Design

The modular design of the APX makes it easy to transfer the steel chassis across different frame and slide sizes. 

It also means you can use one chassis for both 9mm and .40-caliber versions of the weapon. 

Rust Resistant Finish 

The slide and barrel to the APX are coated in a black nitride finish, which is very rust and corrosion resistant against moisture. 

The exception is the FDE (Flat Dark Earth) model. This model is covered in a Cerakote FDE coat, which is also very rust and corrosion resistant. 

Frame Colors 

The APX frame is available in black, FDE, olive drab, tan, and wolf grey colors. Black is the most common and is used for the standard models. 

Picatinny Rail 

The APX has an MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail installed under the frame for adding lights or lasers. This was also a requirement for the pistol from the XM17 competition. 

Cons

Limited Aftermarket Support

Since it’s a new design, aftermarket support for the APX is limited. This includes sights, holsters, triggers, and magazines. 

However, this may change in the future if the APX proves itself as a long lasting design like the Glock and Smith & Wesson M&P have. 

Proprietary Parts 

The APX also relies on largely proprietary parts, which are harder to find and more expensive. For example, the sight mounting system of the APX is entirely proprietary to the gun.

Other modern pistols are often designed to share commonly available components; the new Walther PDP pistol released earlier this year, for example, is designed to accept sights built for Glock pistols (which are widely available).

Variants of the APX 

APX Combat

In addition to the standard full size duty model, variants of the APX include:

APX Combat

The APX Combat is an enhanced version of the standard full size APX model.

It comes with a 1/2x28TPI threaded barrel installed by the Beretta factory and a cut slide to add mini-red dot optics (as well as a plate that covers the cut slide in the event you don’t want to use a red dot).

APX Centurion 

The APX Centurion is the mid-sized version of the APX-series, having a slightly shorter slide and grip. It can best be compared to the full size APX as the Glock 19 is to the Glock 17.

The APX Centurion accepts a standard 15-round magazine in 9mm or 13-rounds in .40 S&W. It will accept the full size magazines as well, but note they will protrude beneath the base of the grip. 

APX Compact 

The APX Compact is a subcompact version of the APX, and is designed for concealment purposes. 

It accepts 13-round magazines in 9mm or 10-rounds in .40 S&W, but will accept the full size or Centurion magazines as well (they will protrude beneath the base of the grip).

APX Carry

The APX Carry is a subcompact, single stack variant even smaller than the Compact. 

It’s designed as a deep concealment pistol or as a backup weapon. It comes with a 6-round flush fitting magazine or an 8-round extended.

TL;DR: Beretta APX Review

Conclusion

The APX is one of the most overlooked pistols on the market today. If you want a striker fired pistol that’s a little different from a Glock, and if you’ve always been partial to Berettas, give the APX a look.

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