Gun Of The Week: Beretta APX A1 Compact

This Week's Gun of the Week is the Beretta APX A1 Compact

Welcome to another American Rifleman Gun Of The Week video, and in this episode, we’re checking out the Beretta APX A1 Compact. This is one of the carry-ready models in what’s become an extensive line of handguns, all offshoots of a design Beretta initially developed for the U.S. military. Watch the video below to see this latest compact 9 mm from Beretta in use on the range.

Of all the companies involved in the famous Modular Handgun System trial run by the U.S. Army, Beretta is one of the more prominent. After all, the process was begun to replace the Army’s stock of aging M9 pistols, which had been produced by Beretta. The company initially developed an improved version of the M9, termed the M9A3, to try to meet some of the Army’s demands, but the design was rejected. Beretta was undeterred, though, and submitted an entirely new platform designed to meet military requirements: the Adaptable Pistol X, or APX. While the military ultimately didn’t choose the APX, Beretta made the most of its investment, expanding the APX into a full commercial line.

One of the offerings in the APX family is the A1 Compact, equipped with a 3.7” barrel versus the 4.25” barrel on the full-size model. Height-wise, the gun comes in at almost 0.5" shorter, making it easier to carry and conceal than its duty-size sibling. Magazine capacity suffers a bit, though, with the Compact holding 15 rounds compared to the 17 rounds of the full-size model. On the top end of the gun, Beretta made several changes from the initial iteration of its APX. Gone are the unique, chunky serrations of the original model, and as a result, the A1 Compact, like other A1 models, have more traditional serrations at the front and rear, as well as a narrow cut at the nose of the slide to aid in re-holstering. The top of the slide also features a milled slot for red-dot optics, and the gun comes with a cover plate that blends into the contour of the slide when an optic isn’t in use.

When it came to the frame, Beretta paid special attention to ergonomics and texturing. To ensure an ideal fit, the backstrap on the APX A1 Compact is interchangeable. The inserts provide different palm-filling swells for varying hand sizes, and the insert is well-textured on both the back and sides of the grip. The front strap also has aggressive pinpoint texturing to prevent the gun from shifting in the hand. Further texturing at the top of the grip frame, as well as touch pads above the trigger guard, offer other anchor points for the strong and support hands. A two-slot accessory rail is located on the forward portion of the frame for lights and lasers.

Control-wise, the APX A1 Compact uses a blade-in-trigger safety that must be depressed to fire the gun. Slide-stop levers are mirrored on each side of the frame, and the single-sided magazine-release button can be reversed for left-handed use. One of the on the APX is the generous trigger-guard undercut, combined with an upward-swept beavertail that lowers the gun in the hand, easing felt recoil and making the gun just that much more comfortable to shoot. Given Beretta’s background and the intense development put into the APX A1, it’s hard to think of many more substantially tested defensive platforms that have come out in recent years.

Beretta APX A1 Compact Specifications
Manufacturer: Fabbrica d’Armi Pietro Beretta S.p.A. (Italy)
Importer: Beretta USA
Action Type: single-action, semi-automatic, centerfire pistol
Chambering: 9 mm Luger
Barrel: 3.7"
Receiver: stainless steel chassis
Frame: black polymer
Trigger: striker-fired
Grip: removable backstrap inserts
Magazine: 15-round detachable box
Sights: optic ready; square-notch rear, fiber-optic post front
Overall Length: 6.9"
Height: 5.2"
Width: 1.3"
Weight: 27.7 ozs. (unloaded)
MSRP: $499