Full Beretta APX A1 review: a new Italian classic?

Based in the hills of northern Italy, Beretta is the oldest firearms company in the world. The company has been making guns for longer (much longer) than there has been the United States of America, and in that time it has learned a thing or two about making a high quality firearm.

Beretta’s history with pistols began during World War I with the Model 15, created for the Italian army, and continued over the following decades with classic models such as the iconic Beretta 92. most of the 80s and 90s, the Beretta 92 defined what a gun should be. Adopted as the M9 pistol, it replaced another iconic pistol, the M1911 chambered in .45 ACP as the standard US Army sidearm. The Model 92 also made dozens of appearances in films of the era, from Chow Yun Fat welding a pair of 92s in “A Better Tomorrow” to Mel Gibson using one in “Lethal Weapon” to Bruce Willis in ” Die Hard”, the Beretta 92 should probably have its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Times are changing, however. The Model 92 is made mostly of metal, and modern polymers are now standard for today’s pistols. The double-action/single-action trigger on the 92 can be a little tricky to overcome, leading to the popularity of striker-triggered actions with constant trigger pull. The U.S. military (and others) saw the benefits of all these features, and in 2017 the Beretta M9 was replaced by the polymer framed, percussion M17/M18 pistols produced by SIG Sauer.

Beretta didn’t just sit on the sidelines, however, and in 2017 came out with the APX line of pistols that encompass the polymer-framed, striker-fire approach to defensive pistols. The original APX range is being redesigned and updated with the APX A1 series, with improved ergonomics and better triggers. We recently reviewed the first model in the series, the APX A1 Carry, and now Beretta has released a bigger gun, the APX A1 Full Size.

The APX A1 Full Size is, as the name suggests, a full size duty pistol that is well suited for military or law enforcement use, but is also very suitable for an armed citizen for concealed carry or home defense. . It is a 9mm pistol that comes with two 17-round magazines, with 10-round magazines available where required by applicable law. Special attention was paid to ergonomics with the A1 update, and it shows in this gun. The controls are right where you’d expect them to be, and there are serrations on the front and back of the slide for easier gun manipulations. In addition to this, the slide trigger and magazine release can be moved to the other side of the gun for left-handed shooters.

Speaking of the slide, while the faded serrations might first catch your eye, the slide is also trimmed from the factory for red dot mounting via one of several adapter plates that can be ordered separately. There’s also a tritium-enhanced white-dot sight on the front and a blacked-out rear sight for those who prefer iron sights.

The APX A1 Full Size frame also features dotted lines on the grip and on the side of the frame where your trigger finger can rest when not on the trigger. The gun comes with two interchangeable back straps, although I found the standard size back strap to work just fine for my (small) hands. The trigger guard is slightly undercut allowing you to place your hands higher on the gun for better recoil control.

And let’s talk a bit about the trigger. One of the knocks against percussion guns is their trigger feel, with words like “feels like a stapler” thrown around by various detractors. However, the APX A1 Full Size’s trigger is terrific. There is about an eighth of an inch of slack and another eighth of an inch of take-up. My test gun’s trigger snapped at just under five pounds, with a very distinct nice wall with a clean break and zero overtravel and a very noticeable reset.

On the range, the gun was very easy to fire, with a nice heavy feel that pointed well. The trigger was very easy to use compared to other “match” triggers on similar weapons, with a short travel and clear, distinct pause. There were no problems handling the weapon and performing basic tasks such as reloading and changing magazines, and everything went as you would expect a well made modern service pistol works.

We fired over 260 rounds of ammunition in our tests without any malfunctions and performed an accuracy test at 15 meters with three types of ammunition: FMJ Winchester 147-grain training ammunition, Remington 147-grain HTP JHP defensive ammunition, and training ammunition. Federal 115 grain FM drive. , with the following results:

Ammunition tested*

Average speed (FPS)

Max. Speed ​​(FPS)

Minimum speed (FPS)

Group size (inches)

Winchester 147 Gr FMJ





Remington 147g HTP JHP





Federal 115 gr FMJ





* Groups of five shots fired 15 yards from a rest and measured from the middle of the furthest bullet holes using a caliper.

Overall, I found the APX A1 Full Size to be a great defensive gun. Its larger size means you’ll need to pay close attention to holster type, carry position and cover garment, but if you do, you’ll be rewarded with a well-made pistol that continues Beretta’s long heritage. in the manufacture of world-renowned firearms. for, and with an MSRP of $529, you won’t need to be a world leader to afford one.

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