Beretta APX: The Gun the US Military Could Have Right Now (But Said No) – Gun trials produce competitions that are difficult to win. Sometimes great designs get overlooked and incumbents do not even get chosen. Such is the case with the Beretta APX pistol that lost the U.S. military’s XM17 Modular Handgun System trials to replace the Beretta M9. Beretta wanted to win so bad that it even made its M9 into an upgrade that it could have entered – called the M9A3. But the Italian gunmaker went with the APX for the contest. This entrant is worth taking a closer look at.
Aspects of the Modular Handgun System Competition
First, let’s explain the competition. The XM17 Modular Handgun System trials were sponsored by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force in an effort to replace the Beretta M9. The Marine Corps played a smaller role in choosing the winner as well. Beretta was enthused early because the House Armed Services Committee offered the simplest solution – they favored going with the Beretta M9A3. This could have stopped the XM17 competition in its tracks. The full House of Representatives disagreed and the Modular Handgun System moved on to the funding stage when it received $5.4 million plan to acquire 7,106 pistols for testing. The XM17 competition of 2015 was going to be worth a whopping $580 million to the winning bidder and several gun makers started licking their chops.
Time to Move on From M9 With a New Design
Beretta had somewhat of an edge because it had been a military supplier of the M9 since 1985. Beretta wanted to originally go with the M9A3 as its nominee, but the Modular Handgun System required a new design. This resulted in the APX or “Advanced Pistol X.” It shoots 9mm or .40 S&W.
Beretta APX Grips Could Fit Several Hand-sizes
Beretta claims the APX has less muzzle rise than competitors so that led to more accuracy for follow-up shots. The polymer design is lightweight with a good feel and balance for a striker-fired pistol. The grip is designed for comfort. One improvement over the M9, which detractors said didn’t allow shooters with different hand sizes to feel comfortable, is the APX offers three different sized hand grip backstraps.
Beretta APX Specifications
The APX weighs 28.2 ounces unloaded and the total length is around eight inches with a four inch barrel. The standard magazine capacity is 17-rounds, but it takes magazines for 15 and 21-bullets.
At Least Two Reviews Are Favorable
The APX has three white dots for sights. A 1945 reviewer said “the barrel itself is built with polygonal rifling, which provides a better gas seal, making the gun shoot with better accuracy.”
Another 1945 reviewer said he shot over a thousand rounds with the APX and had no malfunctions.
Simple Assembly and Disassembly
The pistol is relatively easy to take apart. A striker deactivation button eliminates the chance of an accidental trigger pull during disassembly.
The slide stop is built for righties and lefties. The trigger of the APX has a slightly heavy pull at six pounds of pressure, but it overall creates little difficulty, according to one reviewer.
The APX had many advantages, but it may have faced shortcomings because it was just out of the gate (designed in 2016) and didn’t have a long track record of use and testing like the M9A3. The M9 variants had seen a high amount of combat and the APX was a different design which is what the request for proposals called for, so you can’t fault Beretta for that.
Sadly, the APX lost out to Sig Sauer for the big US military contract. But Beretta could not complain much. They had a long run with the M9, and the company probably knew deep down that the military wanted a new manufacturer for the Modular Handgun System. So, Beretta tested the civilian market and the APX is now being sold at an affordable price of $399.
Now serving as 1945’s Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood.