Beretta has just launched the new APX pistol in .40 S&W. Beretta states this pistol is specifically designed to meet the needs of law enforcement and military uses. Considering the .40 S&W continues to be a dominant caliber in American law enforcement it appears Beretta is hungry to take a bite out of the nearly 1 million pistol law enforcement market.
Recently Beretta lost out to Sig Sauer for the U.S. Army’s MHS pistol competition. After 30 years of supplying the Army with Beretta M9 pistols, there were many who believed Beretta’s APX entry to the Modular Handgun System competition stood a good chance of gaining another large contract. With that source apparently gone, Beretta still stands a good chance of gaining the attention of law enforcement and civilian shooters alike. The features of Beretta’s newest striker-fired pistol is attractive to both Beretta fans and others.
Beretta APX .40 Caliber Pistol
The Beretta APX underwent extensive testing, evaluation, and feedback from professional end-users before the final versions were submitted. From state-of-the-art designs and manufacturing, to rugged and realistic training, the Beretta APX appears to have earned Beretta’s motto for this gun, “Win the Fight.” Development included:
- 4-years of overall research and development
- Firing (1) million rounds through APX pistols
- Soliciting 500 professional shooters for end-user feedback
- Designing the APX to have only 45 parts
- Distributing APX pistols to 21 countries.
The APX is a striker-fired pistol with a steel slide and a polymer frame. Perhaps the greatest feature of the slide is its low bore axis. This means the barrel is kept as close to the frame as possible, thereby allowing the size and height of the slide to be reduced. This design reduces felt recoil as the recoil can now be directed more rearward than upward through a higher grip and lower barrel alignment.
The slide is machined with aggressive serrations in front of and behind the ejection port. These serrations should provide ample texture for performing manual manipulations of the slide for loading and press checks. Part of me likes the serrations, and part of me doesn’t. The serrations are cut-outs from the previous near vertical angled slide side. In some ways they are attractive, and in other ways distracting.
The next excellent feature of the APX is a serialized chassis housing the trigger and trigger mechanism. By serializing the chassis, rather than the frame, an end-user shooter can quickly and legally switch out frames without running afoul of Federal law. This design consideration by Beretta continues a trend also seen in the highly popular Sig Sauer P320 that just so happened to win the U.S. Army’s MHS contract.
There are (2) distinct benefits of utilizing the chassis design. First, as mentioned above, the chassis is the serialized part of the firearm allowing the owner to interchange more parts legally and without concern about violating Federal law. Second, the chassis provides an outstanding and superior frame support system. By using a steel chassis, the polymer frame is much more strongly supported by the steel chassis forming a solid structure in the heart of the frame. Research indicates this design is superior to taming the force and flex from firing.
Beretta outfits the APX in .40 S&W with a standard white 3-dot sighting system. The sights are dovetailed into the top of the slide allowing for minor adjustments to ensure accurate shooting for individual shooters. In addition, Beretta offers a fiber optic front sight with blank U-notch rear sight as a night sight option.
A modular polymer frame is used by Beretta to accomplish strength, durability, and lower overall weight. The frame comes with a 3-position Picatinny rail forward of the trigger guard allowing shooters to mount pistol lights or laser targeting systems. The trigger guard is enlarged to assist with large or gloved hands, and is squared at the front. Beretta designed the slide lock lever and magazine release lever to be tight to the frame to reduce snagging, while also being easily accessible. The slide lock lever is ambidextrous, while the magazine release lever is interchangeable for left-handed shooters.
On the pistol grip there is a generous finger cut-out at the rear of the trigger guard, allowing shooters to acquire a nice, high and comfortable grip on the pistol’s frame. Beretta elected to include (3) very subtle finger grooves on the front of the grip, along with a nicely contoured upper grip to maximize shooter comfort and control of the pistol while shooting. The Beretta APX has (3) interchangeable back-straps providing both optional length of pull and grip width. In addition, Beretta offers the frame in black, OD green, FDE, and Wolf Gray.
The APX grip is angled and contoured to provide excellent ergonomics and comfortable fit. There are mild grip textures on the sides of the interchangeable back straps providing just enough tactile stability without being too aggressive to hands or gloves. The sides of the back straps is also where the famous Beretta emblem is prominently displayed. The front and rear of the grip have a more aggressive raised polymer texture forming a horizontal and vertical criss-cross pattern.
Beretta’s APX uses a 2-part trigger, similar to the Glock trigger. The first part of the trigger is a trigger safety that extends forward and through the middle of the actual trigger. This trigger acts as a form of drop safety as the pistol will not fire unless the trigger safety is disengaged. Once the shooter presses the triggers safety even with the trigger, the safety is disengaged and the pistol can then fire. Beretta has set the trigger pull weight at 6.0 pounds.
In addition, the APX trigger provides the shooter a very short, tactile and audible reset allowing the shooter to rapidly engage an aggressive threat or multiple targets with ease. Trigger reset has been both cheered and jeered in the firearms community, but I can say without doubt the technique has improved my accuracy and decreased the time to place follow-up shots. It is a technique that does require significant training and practice, but once mastered can be a real game changer in firearm proficiency.
Beretta APX .40 Features
- Serialized chassis constitutes firearm
- Low bore axis
- Modular grip frame/receiver (multiple colors)
- 3-dot sights
- Aggressive slide serrations
- Ambidextrous slide stop
- Interchangeable back straps
- Picatinny accessory rail
- Reversible magazine release
- Striker de-activator
Beretta APX .40 Specifications
- Slide Material: Machined steel
- Frame Material: Polymer
- Action: Striker-fired
- Overall Length: 7.55 inches
- Barrel Length: 4.25 inches
- Width: 1.3 inches
- Height: 5.6 inches
- Weight: 28.92 ounces (unloaded)
- Sights: Standard 3-dot
- Capacity: 10 & 15-round magazine options
- MSRP: $575.00.
Beretta is the world’s oldest firearm maker still in production. With nearly 500 years of experience, the folks at Beretta know a thing or two about making high quality firearms. The Beretta 92 has been a widely popular handgun, with a version selected by the U.S. Army to be the standard issued M9 sidearm for over 30 years. Large police agencies like Los Angeles Police and Sheriff’s Department carried the Beretta 92 on duty, and several movies and T.V. shows, like the Lethal Weapon series, memorialized its popularity.
When the U.S. Army started its Modular Handgun System (MHS) testing, Beretta knew it had to reinvent a pistol to meet the Army’s desires. The result of years of research and development led to the introduction of the Beretta APX in 9mm. Though the APX ultimately did not win the Army’s MHS contract, Beretta immediately introduced the APX to the market with high praise.
The final APX product is a well-engineered, ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing pistol, designed to provide shooters with expanded modularity, great fit, and impressive accuracy. From what we’ve seen, the APX has met its expectations and stands as a strong competitor.