The APX: Beretta’s 21st Century Service Sidearm

Beretta’s venerable M9 pistol—a version of its still-popular Model 92 FS—served the United States military with distinction for roughly three decades. It thrived in the varied climates and rigorous conditions demanded by the Global War on Terror, evolved when needed and, to the dismay of many, brought 9 mm cartridges to our front lines instead of .45 ACP.

When the Army began searching for a replacement for its aging fleet of M9s, Beretta offered a several clever solutions, but ultimately submitted a version for consideration as part of the new Modular Handgun System. The company didn’t win the lucrative contract, but civilian enthusiasts came out victorious in that 2017 decision, because Beretta now offers versions of the striker-fired semi-automatic handguns commercially. Each feature same cutting-edge design and all the performance demanded by the military. There are differences, no doubt, but none are discernible at the range or for self-defense.

The standard version of the Beretta APX is available in either 9 mm or .40 S&W chambering. Both have 4.25″ barrels and overall length comes in at 7.55″. Magazine capacities are 15 rounds and unloaded weights are 28.21 and 28.92 ozs., respectively.

Both models feature a light and durable synthetic frame reinforced with a fiberglass technopolmyer. The grip frame can be changed to accommodate different hand sizes—thanks to the serialized chassis frame and internal chassis—and the pistols ship with three different sized, easily interchanged backstraps to further customize fit. Naturally, a Pictatinny rail on the dustcover is ideal for mounting weaponlights or lasers.

The APX magazine release can be swapped for southpaws, the slide catch is ambidextrous and the handgun features an innovative striker deactivation button, which allows for disassembly without a trigger pull. There is no manual safety, but the gun features a trigger safety and an automatic striker block safety that requires sufficient trigger travel before disengagement. The combination is an ideal one, tailored for preventing jolts so common in combat from causing a discharge. Beretta doesn’t publish MSRPs on the APX line, although prices currently run slightly less than $400 at some big box store website.

For a more military finish the company also offers the FDE Tactical with all the same advantages. It’s also available in the same chamberings, but magazine capacities run 10, 15 or 17, depending on model.

There’s also an optics-ready APX RDO. The company hasn’t forgotten concealed carry, where models include Centurion, Compact, Carry and others. The Carry Grey Wolf is only available in 9 mm, but with a 3″ barrel, overall length of 5.63″ and empty weight of 19.8 ozs., it’s a serious contender for anyone with a permit looking to lighten the load.

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