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Review: Beretta APX A1 Full Size Tactical

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The Beretta APX A1 Tactical is a second-generation iteration (available in both Full Size and Compact versions) of the company’s APX pistol line that launched in 2017. The original models, which Beretta now refers to as A0 pistols, were offered in 9 mm Luger and .40 S&W and were intended to win the U.S. Military’s Modular Handgun Systems trials. Though Beretta did not win that competition, the APX line has grown to include a plethora of models spanning most handgunning applications, from concealed carry to target shooting.

The Full Size Tactical—the subject of this review—is made at Beretta’s factory in Gardone, Italy, is chambered in 9 mm Luger and is striker-fired. The trigger mechanism is double-action, whereby a partially cocked striker is fully cocked and then released by the movement of the trigger. The Tactical uses a green striker spring rod, indicating a trigger pull weight between 5 lbs., 11 ozs., and 6 lbs., 4 ozs. A double-column, 21-round extended magazine is used, of which three are included.

Like the APX A0 pistols, A1s use a serial-numbered, stainless-steel chassis containing the fire-control parts inserted into a polymer grip module. This chassis can be removed without tools and then inserted into differently sized, shaped or colored grip modules, allowing users to change the factory style grip to suit their preferences and modify the grip without permanently altering the legally controlled chassis.

Beretta APX A1 features

(l.) Beretta’s A1 pistols utilize the same stainless-steel chassis design employed by the earlier A0 models, so the serialized chassis of one generation can be used interchangeably with the polymer grip modules of either generation as a result. (ctr. & r.) Extra-tall sight elements allow the pistol to be aimed accurately while a suppressor is installed, while also aiding in co-witnessing the sights with a mounted red-dot.

The grip module has an interchangeable backstrap system. Three inserts are included that can enhance user comfort by allowing them to alter grip circumference and optimize trigger reach. Grip modules for A0 and A1 models are interchangeable and sold online.

Both the slide and barrel are milled from carbon steel. The barrel has hammer-forged rifling and a muzzle threaded 1/2×28 TPI. The chamber mouth is throated to increase reliable feeding of cartridges with wider hollow-point and blunt-faced bullets.

The Tactical’s slide is finished with Beretta’s new Aqua Tech Shield treatment instead of the nitride used on A0 models. Our sample pistol’s finish showed what appear to be dust specks in a few areas. Controls consist of bilateral slide-stop levers and a reversible magazine catch. An unusual feature of the APX is a small button on the right side of the frame that deactivates the striker when depressed, allowing the slide to be removed without pulling the trigger during disassembly.

The Tactical uses open-style, dovetail-mounted fixed sights. Their high profile is intended to provide an unobstructed sight picture when using a suppressor. The sights are steel with horizontal serrations to reduce sunlight glare and have square leading edges to enable racking the slide by catching them on a hard surface, should one hand become incapacitated.

micro red-dot mount

A micro red-dot can be mounted to the slide just forward of the rear sight by removing the included cover plate and installing a mounting plate. Beretta sells adapter plates that accommodate the four most common mounting footprints.

A micro red-dot can also be mounted on the slide just forward of the rear sight by removing a cover plate and installing a mounting plate. Beretta sells four different adapter plates that accommodate the four most common mounting footprints. The plates have circular recesses that mate with corresponding raised surfaces on the slide to reduce shear forces on the optical sight’s mounting screws during recoil.

The Full Size Tactical’s construction evinces durability in several areas. The captive recoil spring guide rod and the slide’s optics-cut cover are steel where some other makers use plastic. The extractor is wide, and the slide, barrel hood and sights are more substantial than several similar pistols.

The Tactical was tested for precision by mounting a Holosun HS407C X2 optic and fired from a rest at 25 yards. The average five-shot group of the three loads tested measured 2.05″, with the best single group (1.21″) and best five-group average (1.73″) scored using Black Hills 124-grain +P JHPs.

From the factory, the iron sights were fairly well-regulated, with bullet strikes about 1.75″ right of the point of aim at 17 yards. The front sight is cut at 90 degrees to its base, making it appear darker—and correctly drawing the shooter’s focus to it—than the rear sight, which has an angled face that reflects light.

The trigger’s 6-lb. pull weight feels lighter than that, owing to its wide shoe. It breaks beyond a 90-degree angle to the bore, making a wedge-type support hand grip imperative to ensuring the muzzle is not tilted downward during rapid fire. There is no overtravel, and the reset distance is short.

Because this pistol is intended for use with a suppressor, we also tested its function by firing 20 shots of Winchester 147-grain TMJs through five different suppressors. There were no stoppages or sluggish cycling with any of the five.

Beretta APX A1 shooting results

Even when shooting +P loads, the Full Size Tactical is exceptionally controllable. However, most users preferred the contours of the A0’s grip frame and found the bump on the bottom of the A1’s trigger guard just ahead of the undercut to be objectionable. Sanding down this bump is a quick fix, and an A0-style grip module can be purchased online. Other testers felt that bending the slide stop levers slightly outward would make them easier to operate, especially when wearing gloves.

Distilled to its essence, the Beretta APX A1 Full Size Tactical is an accurate duty-size pistol with a heavy-duty design that isn’t clunky and offers the benefits of added capacity, modular design and compatibility with both a suppressor and an optic. Given all of this functionality, we found its MSRP of $549 to be very reasonable.



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