The Beretta APX Carry: Mighty Mite Makes Good
Beretta is the world’s oldest gun manufacturer. In the hundreds of years they’ve been in business, they’ve learned a thing or two about how to make a good gun. Beretta shotguns are highly prized collectors items, and the Beretta 92 was the U.S. military’s sidearm of choice for over two decades. Beretta recently rolled out a new line of striker-fired pistols, the APX series. The Beretta APX Carry is the newest (and smallest) addition to that series.
The pistols in the APX family all share some common design elements. Their slides have large and very noticeable cutouts on them. These cutouts make it very easy to grip the slide as you manipulate the gun. They also give the pistol a very distinctive appearance. Like the other pistols in the APX line, the APX Carry has interchangeable grip frames. The APX Carry’s fire control group (the stuff inside the gun which makes it go “BANG!”) is packaged together in a chassis inside the pistol. This chassis is removable, and can be installed inside another frame. This allows you to change out the frame color and other features of your gun without having to buy another complete pistol. Interchangeable frames are a common feature on larger pistols such as the Sig Sauer P320. The Beretta APX Carry, though, is one of the first 9mm single stack compact pistols to include it.
Beretta APX Carry First Impressions
I’ve owned both a full size and a compact 9mm APX in the past. I was quite pleased to find out that the APX Carry is just like those other pistols, only smaller. A lot smaller. I could easily get a good firing grip on the shorter six round magazine. The eight round magazine felt great in my hand. The sights on the model I shot had a bright white front dot and a blacked-out rear sight. This is my preferred sight picture. You’ll need a coin or a screwdriver to take the pistol apart for cleaning and maintenance. Other than that, though, everything is set up the way you’d expect a modern striker-fired pistol to be.
The APX Carry is one of the smallest pistols in our test, but with the eight round magazine in place, it didn’t feel small in my hands. If you use the smaller six round magazine, you are not giving up all that much on grip space and controllability. What you gain, however, is the ability to pocket-carry this pistol, which is a rather nice feature. Getting a good grip with both the smaller and larger capacity magazines that come with the pistol is an uncommon feature in a gun this size. It is a reflection of the effort that Beretta has put into this pistol.
The small size of the APX Carry made recoil very noticeable, but I was able to keep the pistol on-target under rapid fire. The trigger on the pistol is long and quite heavy, turning in an average of almost seven pounds. This is the most of any pistol in our test. That heavy trigger didn’t help the pistol in our accuracy tests, but it does provide a nice sense of security. The APX Carry, like many other guns in our test, does not have a frame-mounted external safety. Instead, the gun is set up in much the same way as a revolver. There is an internal trigger safety on the pistol that prevents it from discharging unless the trigger is fully pulled to the rear. As such, a long, heavy trigger pull means that it is slightly harder to have a negligent discharge with this pistol than other pistols we tested (at the cost of a little bit of accuracy). Is that trade-off worth it? That’s for you to decide.
The slide on the pistol is stippled for an easier grip, and the trigger guard is slightly undercut to allow you to get more of your hands on the gun. Overall, the pistol feels a lot bigger than it actually is. This, in turn, gave me a nice confident feeling as I rode the recoil in-between each shot.
The long and heavy trigger on the Beretta APX Carry teamed up to produce some of the largest groups in our accuracy test. However, let’s place those results in context. Our test distance is 15 yards, which is quite far for a gun like this. The APX Carry, like the other compact 9mms in this test, are not meant to be tack-driving competition guns. They are meant to be used to save a life in the most desperate of times. Groups under four inches at 15 yards are more than adequate for such purposes.
Ammo Test Results
Wolf 115 Grain FMJ
Average Group Size: 3.43 inches
Minimum Group Size: 2.6 inches
Maximum Group Size: 4.2 inches
Average Velocity: 1050 fps
Federal 147 Grain HST JHP
Average Group Size: 2.8 inches
Minimum Group Size: 3.0 inches
Maximum Group Size: 4.6 inches
Average Velocity: 987 fps
Overall Average Group Size: 3.63 inches
We tested 300 rounds of a variety of different ammo types and weights in the Beretta APX Carry.
- 100 Rounds of American Eagle 115 grain FMJ
- 100 Rounds of Wolf 115 grain FMJ
- 55 Rounds of Fiocchi 124 grain FMJ
- 25 Rounds of 135 grain Hornady Critical Duty JHP
- 20 Rounds of Federal 147 grain HST JHP
The APX Carry shot all of our test rounds with no problems. All of the rounds loaded, fired, and ejected with no issues.
The APX Carry is the successor to a similar gun, the Beretta Nano. The Nano was about the same size as the APX Carry and held about the amount of rounds. And I hated it. It felt awful in my hands, and I just couldn’t get it to work the way I wanted to on the range.
The Beretta APX Carry, on the other hand, was a lot of fun to shoot. It is suitable for carry on your waistband or in your pocket. With innovative features like interchangeable frame modules, it’s a clear sign that Beretta is still at the very top of the firearms world.