In 2015 when the Army final started to get serious about it’s Modular Handgun System, Beretta — along with a number of other companies — stepped up and submitted new handgun designs to be considered for the program. Enter the APX family of firearms.
After the program ended with the Army selecting the Sig P320 — dubbed the M17 by the military — and then Beretta released the APX line of pistols to the civilian market, starting with the full size and moving to smaller pistols from there. Fast forward to 2018 and Beretta released the APX Compact to compete in what is honestly a very full market of compact “duty quality” carry guns, and good news, they did a pretty good job.
The difference between the standard model and the APX Compact are pretty straightforward. The design has a shorter barrel at 3.7 inches, an overall length at 6.97 inches and the height at 4.8 inches. Metal sights and front and rear cocking serrations round out this seemingly simple package, but like many things you need to look deeper to see all the value.
The APX has a modular design, and while that term gets tossed around a lot, in this case I think it is spot on. Almost every part of the APX Compact can be changed out to fit the user’s needs. The modularity lets you pick the barrel, grip/frame and sights all while keeping the only serialized part — the trigger mechanism — thus making it the “firearm” and everything else just parts.
The shooting experience is similar to any polymer-framed duty pistol. The stock 3-dot sights work very well, but as I said they could be changed out for a wide array of aftermarket options to fit anyone’s needs. Recoil is a bit more stiff due to the difference in slide weight and bore axis height, but is very manageable.
At 10 yards, I found it easy to shoot fist sized groups or smaller at my fastest rate of fire. The slide serrations are also very aggressive without being abrasive. Capacity is 13+1 in the 9mm version I tested using the magazines it ships with, however the handgun will accept all APX magazines giving shooters lots of options for how much ammo they want to carry.
With a market flooded with polymer-framed striker-fired pistols of all shapes and sizes, standing out can be hard. At $575 MSRP, the APX Compact is not the cheapest option, but it isn’t the most expensive either. It seems to fit into somewhat of a “Goldilocks” zone for those who want to buy a high quality pistol with the features they want without modifying it.
It may, however, be a bit much for those looking to change a lot about the pistol. Then again, the truly modular nature of this pistol, along with the fantastic aftermarket support by Beretta, may well appeal to someone looking to make the pistol just right for them. Overall the APX Compact is a robust, accurate and ergonomic pistol that will serve civilians and law enforcement well for years to come.