Say what you like, people still feel safer and more protected when they have a concealed carry firearm. If numbers don’t lie, then 17 million permits can’t be wrong. But as everyone who cares about self-defense weapons knows, it’s more about quality than quantity.
This is why the APX Carry, the newest release to roll out of Beretta’s assembly lines, stands out. They say good things come in small packages. And if we’re going to go with this old saw, then the APX Carry is a truly solid self-defense weapon in this caliber.
We’re talking, a striker-fired, semi-automatic firearm that you can easily conceal on your person without the embarrassing telltale signs that draw attention to the fact that you’re packing. And when you consider that this is a weapon that was designed for the military and police force, you get an idea why this new release is making ripples among the 2nd Amendment loving populace.
If you’re more of a self-defense handgun person and at one point you considered the .45 ACP your favorite firearm of choice, then you’ll get excited about the APX Carry. Maybe not go all gaga over it, but when you hold it in your hand, you’ll definitely feel something.
The APX Rises
We already mentioned that the APX family was Beretta’s ambitious plan to supply the Armed Forces with a handgun that was both compact and has a lot of power at the same time. That plan fell through and the military’s loss is our gain. Because in 2018 the APX Centurion and APX Compact made a splash on the scene and people became giddy with the new addition to the self-defense firearms market.
Both guns had distinct features that will later be expanded and enhanced in the APX Carry. The first thing that drew your attention was how small they were. Not just in the frame, but both the barrel and the slider were conspicuously small. The APX Compact lived up to its name and was closer to the subcompact genre than the APX Centurion.
Of course, it was only a little leap from there into the concealed carry world. When you have two handguns that impress with their small size and handsome design, then your next step as a gun manufacturer is to target the concealed carry market with a pistol that retains the APX modular design with more focus on the user needs and experience.
It is reported that field researchers at Beretta spent years talking to law enforcement officers, SWAT teams, and members of the Armed Forces to get their feedback about what makes a great handgun. The result was the APX Carry. A single stack, 9mm sub-compact pistol with a lot going for it than meets the eye.
Today the APX handguns are carried by law enforcement officers in France and Italy. They’re also favored by Albania’s famed counter-terrorist department RENA and Poland’s National Police. Both Tennessee and Alabama consider it the top gun to hang from the waistband of some of their police department officers.
Design, Performance, and Safety
So what makes the APX Carry such a sought-after gun by both law enforcement officers on both sides of the Atlantic and the public as well? We’ll have to dive under the surface and take a closer look at its inner workings.
The Carry’s claim to fame is its modular design. At the very heart of it is the chassis. Made of stainless steel, it makes it easy for the gun to be reconfigured in any way you like. The whole frame of the pistol can be swabbed to give it a custom appearance that goes with your specific style in clothes and favorite look. The gun comes in black, gray, tan, and olive shades.
Then comes the small size of the pistol. Not only does it fit in your palm, but it can also even be slipped into your pocket without looking too obvious. From a self-defense point of view, a slim gun in the pocket is worth ten Magnums lying idly back at home.
Back at the surface, you notice the slider serrations and large grooves that make the handgun look intimidating. They do have more aesthetics than functionality however since traction-wise they’re not really there. In damp conditions, a little drizzle, or if your hand gets sweaty, that slider would not yield to your grip easily and might even slip.
One thing that won’t slip though is the handgrip. No matter how big or small your hand, the grip strips are replaceable and will fit in the shape of your palm. Add to that the pebbly texture of the sides of the grip and the pointy patterns on its front and back all make it cozy up to your skin and stick with your hand in thick and thin.
Being a single-stack, on the other hand, makes the grip less ergonomic than the double stack APX pistols. We can’t really complain about that. You can’t have your compact cake and eat it at the same time. A full-sized gun has a better grip and is more substantial, but it’s not really easy to conceal. So it’s a tradeoff.
Accidental discharge is a problem that many firearms have. And that’s something the APX Carry takes care of in three ways.
- Striker Cocked: When you cock the striker, the rear of the slider has a protrusion that makes it clear that the chamber is loaded. Unless you have no experience with firearms at all, you can’t possibly miss that sign and take precautions.
- Deactivating Striker: To deactivate the striker during cleaning and maintenance, you just have to press the deactivation button then turn it 90 degrees anti-clockwise. The button is found above the grip on the right side of the gun. This prevents many accidents and keeps you safe while handling a powerful pistol.
- Drop Safety: Many guns such as the Glock tend to discharge if dropped to the ground. The APX Carry, as with the rest of the APX family, has a drop safety feature that prevents the trigger from firing if you accidentally drop the weapon.
The Little Giant
For something so small it fits in the palm of your hand, the APX Carry packs a punch. The 9mm caliber measures 5.63 inches from the tip of the nozzle to the rear sight. Most of this real estate is taken up by the barrel which measures 3.07 inches in total. This is what makes it the perfect concealed carry weapon of choice.
These small dimensions have a modest weight to match. When unloaded, the pistol weighs only 20 ounces. Hardly enough to slow you down or interfere in your daily activities. The accessories make it even more convenient to carry and maintain the APX Carry. The backstraps come in 3 sizes, small, medium, and large. You also get 2 magazines, a magazine loader, and a hard case with a lock.
As for sights, it has 3 white dots at the front and a black notch sight at the rear. The steel sights blend with the slide giving one better front visibility while blocking rear distractions. In self-defense situations, you get fast aim and precision at the same time.
Precision is the operative word here. Despite its diminutive stature, in a pair of steady hands, this pistol delivers high firepower and accuracy. Whether you’re standing, crouching, or lying down, it’s easy to aim, fire, and hit the target.
If you’re wondering about the secret behind this accuracy, it has a lot to do with the trigger.
The Trigger Story
Even the most experienced finger knows that a glitch in the trigger can thwart off one’s aim. So what’s the story of the APX Carry trigger? And why does it account for its success and high sale rates?
Many people admired the reliable trigger out of the box. In fact, in their comments, reviewers were raving about the solid piece of work the trigger was. So it was important we put these claims to the test.
For a small gun, the distance the trigger travels before it breaks is phenomenally long. In situations where a fraction of a second can be the difference between life and death, that distance can be, simply put, just too long. But then again, would one prefer a self-defense weapon to go off on short notice, so to speak? It’s debatable.
The reason behind this lengthy travel is that the trigger has to disappear entirely inside the trigger guard before it releases the striker mechanism. In addition, your finger can feel the tension of the striker spring as you squeeze the trigger.
That said, the trigger motion is fluid and smooth. Some triggers feel clunky and their movement fragile even. But not the Carry. You can almost feel the connection between your finger and the trigger as it yields under your force.
So how much force do you need to exert on the trigger? Between 6 and 7 pounds of trigger pull weight on average. And that’s a good thing for self-defense weapons. And we might have the accidental discharge prevention mechanisms we talked about earlier to thank for this solid performance by the trigger.
Before we leave the trigger and be on our way, it’s worth noting that if you have a big finger, you might find the little trigger a bit tricky to wrap your finger around. But once one finds one’s way around the sharp edges and the front part that pinches, this little logistical hitch will impact neither the aim nor performance of one’s shooting.
In the Field
Taking the Beretta APX Carry for a field test is the best way to know if all these claims of superiority over other handguns of the same caliber and those online raving reviews and Youtube videos were actually telling the truth.
We need to stress a point here. This is a self-defense weapon. When confronted with someone carrying a firearm in a life-threatening situation, you need a reliable handgun to even the score. And that’s where the Carry excels. It’s both controllable and reliable.
Even for a recoil-operated semi-automatic pistol, it is very much manageable and even comfortable to handle. It is evident that a lot of thought was put into the design of this pistol to bring it to this high level of performance.
From the ergonomic grip with its unique texture and shape to the high accuracy which, come to think of it, has a lot to do with the long pull of the trigger, it doesn’t leave much to be desired. Of course, having the controls where you’d expect them is also another factor.
When testing the gun, you might also want to try the extended magazine. This is especially true if you have a big hand and find getting a grip on the Carry a bit tricky. The extra length the 8-round magazine adds a few inches to the grip which is sometimes all you need to improve your aim.
Rumor has it the APX Carry is just the beginning of a long line of what seems to be Beretta’s expansion in the concealed carry market. If the recent enhancements that the Carry features over the Compact, Centurion, and Nano are anything to go by, then we can’t wait to see what Beretta has in store and what will come next.