The Truth About The Beretta APX A1 Carry
Recently there was a substantial rebate on the Beretta APX A1 Carry pistol. I already have a number of subcompact and compact pistols suitable for concealed carry, so I wasn’t really looking for anything in that size range, but I still had a use for it.
Why Another Subcompact
Often, part of teaching new shooters is helping them find the gun that fits their needs and mechanics best. We all have different preferences, hand sizes, budgets and what have you. That means one size doesn’t fit all. Sometimes I see instructors push a student toward a certain brand or model because it’s what they like. If I have a student who has yet to settle on a pistol, I like to give them a number of options from reputable companies and let them tell me what feels (and shoots) best for them. This rebate gave me the opportunity to add a Beretta to that mix.
The Beretta APX A1 Carry
The Beretta APX A1 Carry is a striker-fired, subcompact 9mm. This single-stack pistol comes standard with a 6-round and an 8-round magazine. The 6-rounder has a pinky extension on it, as well as a flush-fit base plate that can be put on instead. The 8-round has the usual +2 look and feel. Both have front checkering and indents on the side in case the mag needs stripped out.
The magazine release is reversible and the slide has good, usable serrations at the front and rear. The fit and finish on the gun out of the box were average/good. The grip texture is very noticeable, similar to the Smith and Wesson Shield 2.0. It’s tacky and good at controlling the recoil of a micro pistol. For me, living in South Florida, the topic of sweat on the hands or gun is a necessary consideration. The APX A1 Carry solves that.
Unlike many pistols in this size and price range, the A1 Carry is an optics-ready pistol as a standard configuration. The pistol does not ship with adapter plates. Instead, when you register the gun for the warranty, you are given a voucher to get a plate of your choosing. Beretta has adapters in all the popular patterns.
The sights on this pistol are pretty good. The standard configuration is a blacked-out rear sight and a white dot front sight. Similar to some of the Sig pistols, the APX fire control unit is the serial numbered part and it can be swapped to other frames. Beretta does make this frame in a few other colors if you’re into that sort of thing.
Shooting the APX A1 Carry is an interesting mixed bag. Let’s start with the positives. I put about 200 rounds through the gun to start. All 115-grain FMJ factory ammo from CCI, Remington and Norma. There were no hiccups or malfunctions at all. I expect further shooting will be just as reliable. The gun feels solid.
The sights were very useable and easy to pick up. The gun itself is quite accurate. I was able to consistently shoot tight groups with it. The recoil was less than I expected from a gun this size. I shoot a lot of subcompacts and the grip texture makes a difference here. So do the pinky and +2 extensions. Both have checkering on the front that aids in controlling the pistol.
Both of the mostly metal magazines functioned well. I’ve never had an issue with an OEM magazine from Beretta, so I fully expected these to be up to the task.
That Trigger Though…..
Now, for some of the not-great points… The biggest complaint I have with this pistol is the trigger. Saying that it has a long trigger pull is an understatement. It is loooooong. So long that it becomes a hindrance. The appearance of the trigger makes one think of the Glock, but that’s where the similarity ends. It’s no secret that the Glock triggers aren’t amazing, so when I say that the trigger on the Beretta APX A1 Carry is worse, that’s saying something. Not only is it long and heavy, but there is also no clean break.
I get the thinking behind this. Some people will pocket carry this gun, so the long and heavy trigger helps mitigate potential issues that could come up in court. The problem is, the trigger makes shooting the gun effectively harder. I found myself having to really be intentional about working the trigger. I let some other shooters, including a fellow instructor, shoot the gun and several stopped about ¾ of the way through the trigger squeeze, thinking that they’d forgotten to chamber a round. It was that long. Not a single one of them wanted to shoot it beyond the 5 rounds I put in the mag for them. I mean who passes up free ammo and shooting a gun they don’t have to clean? People who aren’t enjoying the gun.
The long, heavy pull and the almost equally long trigger reset make it very difficult to run the gun quickly. I found myself having to be very intentional about working the trigger.
The second issue I had with the gun is the finish. By 150 rounds, I was seeing significant wear on the top of the barrel assembly. I’ve included some pictures of it. I paid a visit to a Beretta owners’ group on Facebook and asked if others were having that experience. The group administrator’s response was that the APX A1 Carry is a “budget gun” and that you get what you pay for. I find that answer unacceptable. When I pushed back, citing other “budget guns” that I have owned that had no finish issues, I was removed from the group. Apparently, thou shalt not talk bad about Beretta, even when your defense is “you get what you pay for.”
If someone told me my daily carry Sig P365 had to have something done to it and I had to carry the APX A1 Carry for a week, would I feel under-equipped? No. The gun was reliable and accurate…when you managed the trigger. Would I ever replace my P365 with this? No, I would not.
For a micro-compact, the Beretta APX A1 Carry is a bit big. As you can see from the picture, it is as big as my P365 but has fewer rounds and an inferior trigger. There are just too many better options in this price and size range to make the APX a viable option for me.
All of that said, shoot one yourself and see. You may be one who wants a super long trigger, and the grip surfaces are quite good. It’s just not going to be a choice for me.
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