American Rifleman - August 2017 - 68
Three included wraparound grip inserts help adapt the APX to different hand sizes and can be changed out using an on-board tool
(arrow) that serves double duty as a lanyard attachment point.
potential exists for Beretta to further follow SIG's lead and
develop a full suite of differently sized, multi-chambering
grip frame housings to fully take advantage of this flexibility. Here's hoping that it does.
The APX's slide and barrel are both made of a highstrength steel alloy and have undergone a black nitride
treatment that diffuses carbon and nitrogen into the surface
of ferrous metals, increasing their fatigue strength, lubricity,
and wear- and corrosion-resistance. Sights on the APX follow
the modern three-dot pattern, and a slightly enlarged front
dot results in a sight picture that appears to feature three
identically sized elements, which should translate into more
intuitive aiming and faster target acquisition. The dovetailed, drift-adjustable inserts provide a relatively long 6.25"
sight radius. A standard feature on most fighting handguns
these days is a rear sight with a flat enough front surface in
order to facilitate one-handed charging of the pistol against
a sturdy surface like a countertop or a gun belt, and this
feature has likewise been incorporated into the APX.
The most visually distinct aspect of the APX is its
unconventionally broad slide serrations, which run the
entire length of the gun's top end. The aesthetics of these
finger-width ribs will no doubt be polarizing, but they are
unquestionably functional. Not only do they allow easy
racking of the slide at any point along its 7" span, but they
are even deep enough to allow one-handed manipulation of
the slide-in the aforementioned manner as with the rear
sight-should a tactical situation arise that requires it. I can
think of no other handguns on the market today with cocking
serrations substantial enough to allow this operation.
Beretta molds the APX's frame, which the company calls
the grip frame housing, from a rigid, glass-filled polymer,
and, judging from the magazine well's lack of flex when
squeezed in the hand, it appears to be quite sturdy. A
three-slot section of Picatinny rail is formed into the pistol's
dustcover for the installation of any compatible accessory,
and the APX's squared-off trigger guard was designed to be
spacious enough to accommodate a gloved finger. The gun's
textured, almond-shaped magazine release ships from the
factory configured for right-handed use, but can be reversed
for use by the southpaw minority. Slight indentations have
also been cut into the magazine well to allow a firm grip on
the magazine's flared baseplate to be achieved should it need
to be forcefully removed from the gun in order to clear a
malfunction. Magazines for the new model are not compatible with any existing Beretta handgun designs.
The APX makes use of a replaceable backstrap system
that allows the shape and circumference of the grip to be
altered in order to fit the hands of multiple users. Each
insert not only incorporates the backstrap, but also wraps
around the sides of the frame to a significant degree. The
gun ships with the Medium insert installed, as denoted by
the small "M" molded into its interior, however, Small and
Large replacements are also included. An internal backstrap
retainer, which must be removed in order to change backstraps, features a hole for the optional use of a lanyard.
Three finger grooves are molded into the frame's frontstrap,
the shallows of which bear stippling comprised of rows of
small, relatively sharp, pyramids. Along each side of the frame
are two panels with moderately rough skateboard-tape-like
texturing, the bottom two of which bear Beretta's three arrow
logo, and the stippling on the backstrap matches that found
on the frontstrap. All told, the texturing on the APX is fairly
aggressive, which really helps the shooter maintain purchase
on the gun during firing, even while wearing gloves.
Located toward the rear on the right side of the frame
is a striker-deactivation button. This device allows fieldstripping of the APX to be accomplished without it being
necessary to pull the trigger, offering additional peace of
mind to those who desire it. To disassemble the handgun
using this feature, first remove the magazine and confirm
that the chamber is empty. Next, retract the slide slightly
and press in on the striker-deactivation button with a
small punch or the tip of a ball-point pen until a click is
heard. Finally, rotate the takedown lever downward 90
degrees and push the slide assembly forward off the rails.
For those not averse to pulling the trigger during disassembly, fieldstripping can more simply be accomplished
by: checking that the gun is unloaded, rotating the takedown lever to the downward position, pulling the trigger
and pushing the slide free of the frame.
Evaluation of the APX took place in two phases. First, I
was among a group of writers invited to a Beretta tactical
summit at the O'Gara Training Center in Montross, Va., where
we ran the pistol through two days of square-range drills-
including low-light maneuvers with a hand-held light and
no-light exercises with the assistance of Steiner AN/PVS-21
night vision goggles. We were also given the opportunity to
use the gun on paper targets while working with a partner to
clear a live-fire shoot house. I tallied somewhere in the vicinity of 600 rounds through one APX at the O'Gara facility.
Later, upon receiving a test sample from Beretta, I ran
the second gun through American Rifleman's standard
battery of accuracy and function testing. Through approximately 1,100 rounds between the two test guns, only two
malfunctions were encountered-in both instances the APX
failed to return to battery after the slide was "slingshot"
with the support hand to close the action on a fresh magazine. No issues occurred when the slide release was instead
used to accomplish the same action-which, fortunately,
does not require much force on this handgun. Apart from
continued on p. 95