Hand-Picked Daily GUN DEALS, and Exclusive Coupons Codes >>>
We select and review products independently. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission, which help support our testing. Learn more.

Beretta APX A1 Review: Best Optics-Ready Full-Size 9mm?

Is the Beretta APX A1 a good budget 9mm for concealed carry? We tested it out to see whether the APX A1 is worth sticking in your holster.

    Price categories are almost like fighting weights when it comes to handguns, and the middleweights are the scene of some fierce competition.

    Coming in around that $400 mark, the Beretta APX A1 is a top contender.

    Beretta APX right hand

    It’s impressive just how many features some companies are willing to pack into firearms to rule this segment, and the APX A1 is a great example of this.

    That said, we aren’t a sucker for some slide serrations and mounted optics!

    We took a full-size APX A1 out to the range to find out if Beretta’s pistol had as much “go” as it did “show.” So keep reading as we run you through its specs, features, and overall performance.

    Table of Contents


    Beretta APX A1 Review at a Glance


    • Affordable
    • Good ergonomics
    • Reliable


    • No co-witness

    The Bottom Line

    The Beretta APX A1 is a great value in this price range. It’s packed with features that show attention to detail and provides good accuracy and solid reliability.

    at Palmetto State Armory

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Beretta APX A1 Specs & Features


    • Caliber: 9mm
    • Action: Semi-auto strike-fired
    • Width: 1.3”
    • Length: 7.5”
    • Barrel Length: 4.25”
    • Height: 5.6”
    • Weight: 29 oz.
    • Capacity: 17+1
    • Comes with: Plastic case, two magazines, magazine loader, owner’s manual, 2 grip modules, lock


    • Optics ready
    • Slide serrations
    • Ambidextrous

    Specification Source: Beretta USA

    Beretta APX shell

    A Little History on the Beretta APX

    In 2016 Beretta released the APX, and while this pistol did well, the APX A1 shows marked improvements.

    For instance, the A1 has improved ergonomics despite the pistols being nearly the same size.

    Beretta APX

    The trigger guard features a deeper undercut, allowing for a higher grip. In addition, there is a substantial beavertail as well as various grip modules to help you customize to your preference.

    Who Is It For?

    Based on the features, you can tell the A1 was designed as a defensive pistol. Combining the feature set with Beretta’s marketing, the A1 is intended for law enforcement or personal security.

    Beretta APX shoot right

    The gun’s performance demonstrated it would serve nicely in either role. With solid reliability and decent accuracy, the A1 is a great value for the price.

    Fit & Feel

    When empty, the A1 feels pretty heavily weighted toward the muzzle, and looking down at the top of the slide, one is reminded of another blocky handgun hailing from Europe. However, the slide serrations make that comparison soon stop.

    Compared to the original A1, these serrations are much closer together and angled, arguably making them more useful. There are also different areas of serrations, distinctly front and rear.

    Beretta APX serrations

    The grip is a good size, somewhat narrow with the base grip module, and ovular in shape. Grip texture is fairly aggressive on the front strap and back strap, though more relaxed on the sides.

    The undercut on the grip allows shooters to place their main shooting hand nice and high on the grip, which helps mitigate recoil. Its beavertail is nicely extended and does a great job of protecting even my 2X hands.

    Beretta APX trigger

    The trigger bow is nicely done, with a wide, flat surface and a gentle curve. Additionally, the trigger broke on an average of 4 pounds, 4 ounces on the Lyman digital gauge.

    I noticed a couple of millimeters of pretravel before hitting a defined wall. The break was crisp, and reset was audible and tactile, occurring after a short distance of release.

    Burris Fastfire 3 view through

    Sights on the APX A1 are metal and consist of a white dot in the front and black rear. I was shooting a packaged gun that came equipped with the Burris Fastfire 3 and could not co-witness the standard height sights as a result.

    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    A1 magazines are metal bodied with plastic base pads.

    Beretta spent some time here as the bottom of the grip features a cut that mirrors a swelling on the base pad of the magazine, allowing shooters to grab the magazine and pull it out with some force if needed.

    Beretta APX magazine

    Additional features include texturing on the forward portion of the frame where thumb tips tend to end up, an accessory rail under the muzzle, and grooves on the front of the trigger guard.

    How Does It Shoot?

    Running through our normal range drills, I found the A1 did a great job. In the beginning, I focused on how the ergonomics affected my use of the gun.

    I enjoyed how the deep beavertail and undercut trigger guard complimented my high grip. The grip texture was strong on the front and rear and allowed me to mitigate recoil pretty well.

    Beretta APX grip

    The slide, although a bit blocky, was very functional, and the serrations made it easy to manipulate for reloading and press checking. I appreciated the textured patches along the frame where my thumb tips rest, further improving stability during recoil.

    During accuracy drills, I liked how the trigger hit a very defined wall before I broke the shot. This enabled me to refine my sight picture before sending the round downrange.

    Beretta APX ambi
    Full ambidextrous controls.

    Additionally, the gentle curve and flat surface of the trigger created a great contact patch for my finger. Even when shooting drills at speed, I never lost my preferred spot on the trigger.

    I would call the recoil impulse average, but the grip angle, texture, and ergonomics worked well to get the A1 back on target after firing. The whole package was impressive for its functionality.

    Beretta APX accuracy

    Accuracy started out decent in the 2- to 3-inch range, shooting 3-shot groups at 7 yards. With short practice, I learned the trigger, and by my third group, I had all rounds touching.

    What Sets It Apart?

    The APX A1 is a feature-packed pistol that performed very well in our testing.

    Beretta APX prone reload

    While there are a few contenders in this category, the fact that you can pick up such a quality handgun for around $400 is something that makes the A1 tough to beat.

    Beretta APX A1 Full SizeBeretta APX A1 CarryBeretta APX
    Barrel Length4.25″3″4.25″
    Overall Length7.5″5.63″7.55″
    Beretta APX A1 Full Size vs. APX A1 Carry vs. APX

    By the Numbers

    Reliability: 5/5

    Over the course of our test, which consisted of approximately 500 rounds of 115 grain and 147 grain in three different brands, the A1 fed, fired, and ejected without failure.

    Ergonomics: 4/5

    The base grip is very well done, and control placement was solid, with everything well within reach. The reversible mag release makes this a true ambidextrous capable pistol.

    Accuracy: 4/5

    The trigger on the A1 is good, and the defined wall contributed greatly to the overall accuracy.

    Customization: 3/5

    This is a relatively new pistol, so the number of custom options is limited, though you can mount up a number of optics on the slide or accessories on the rail. There is a full-size tactical version available, as well as multiple colors of a smaller, carry version.

    Value: 5/5

    MSRP for the A1 is $499 on the Beretta website though I’ve seen them going for $400 on some online retailers. The Fastfire 3 package runs around $500 with the included optic.

    Overall: 4/5

    at Palmetto State Armory

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Upgrades for Beretta APX A1

    We tested out a package deal Beretta is offering, which includes the Burris Fastfire 3 already mounted. However, Beretta does sell additional plates so you can mount up a variety of different optics.

    Beretta APX right close

    We found the Fastfire 3 to be a decent optic with an automatic light adjustment and three manual brightness settings.

    The brightest setting was a bit difficult to see in glaring sun but otherwise did great in all other lighting scenarios.

    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Need more red dot options? We have even more to choose from in the Best Pistol Red Dots.

    Final Verdict

    Beretta has a real winner on its hands.

    The APX A1 Full Size pistol has good ergonomics, slide serrations, grip texture, is optics ready, accurate, and reliable, with good capacity is noteworthy. Selling that handgun at a low price is downright tantalizing.

    Beretta APX left

    We’ll keep testing this one for sure, but as long as the reliability holds up, you can bet the A1 will be a contender for the belt in this weight class!

    Will you be picking up an APX A1 as a budget option? Let us know in the comments below! Be sure to check out Best Affordable Full-Sized Pistols for Under $400 for more options!

    Beretta APX A1

    Compare Prices

    Own this gun? Add your rating!

    Rating score


    4 ratings

    The Best Gun Deals, Coupons and Finds

    Subscribe to Pew Pew Tactical's sales and deals email.

    13 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      martin edmondson

      The A1 was designed so the sights are 92 compatible which offers a large variety of after market sights to choose from including sights that will co-witness with optics.

      August 2, 2023 11:40 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Who makes a holster for these? Does it fit with orginal APX holsters?

      June 25, 2023 6:21 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        DME holsters. The apx a1 doesn't fit in the previous generation holster. The light rail is taller.

        June 28, 2023 11:33 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Is the trigger heavy

      June 9, 2023 10:46 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      William Wallace

      Stoeger's RDO-ready STR-9 pistols include four adapter plates, no need to order them separately. Replacements are only $5 each versus $29 each. Cabela's has a package that includes the Burris FastFire3 and 2 mags for $400. If you're worried about quality ... Beretta owns Stoeger.

      May 23, 2023 12:31 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      James Stammer

      $399 and a $50 rebate to boot. How they keep these in stock is bwyond me. Super deal on a great handgun. I have the original APX full size and love it. Mine is accurate and smooth for me. Picked.up the A1 Carry before xmas. With the rebate it was $249. Just a great platform and fantastic bang for your buck.

      March 13, 2023 8:25 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      How would you say this compares to the IWI Masada?

      March 12, 2023 5:39 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      So, I wonder if you could compile what the most accurate pistol under 400 is? Something for local matches but yet common enough for everyday carry.

      March 10, 2023 3:11 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Interesting idea! It would be tough to narrow it down to just one aspect. We've got a Best Affordable Full-Sized Pistols for Under $400. https://www.pewpewtactical.com/best-affordable-full-sized-pistols/
        Much of that accuracy is going to depend on the shooter and that's more challenging to pin down.

        March 10, 2023 4:51 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      When I first saw the picture the slide looked like a PDP. I have shot the original and always wondered why it was not more popular. Great price point.

      March 10, 2023 8:31 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Totally agree Bill, they are similar in many ways.

        March 10, 2023 4:53 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      John S Hili

      I have the first gen and love it, wish the trigger was a little better (my vp9 and PDP's) have much better triggers. I have often said this is the best gun you can buy for under $500 and got mine for just under 400! Incredible value and the extended 21 rd mags are under 40 bucks!

      March 9, 2023 8:28 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean Curtis

        Right! These guns are great and I've seen some smoking deals for them out there.

        March 10, 2023 4:54 pm
    Join the community! Log in
    Please provide a valid email address.
    Password is required.
    Please provide a valid display name.
    Please provide a valid email address.
    The password should contain at least 8 characters with at least one number or special character.
    Please accept in order to continue.
    Trouble logging in?
    Type your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.
    Please provide a valid email.
    Type your new password and hit button below to confirm it.
    Field is required.
    Account already exists
    We already have an account registered for email address () which is linked to your Facebook account.
    To log in type your Pew Pew Meter password below.
    Field is required.
    Account already exists
    We noticed that you have previously logged in with your Account which is linked to the same email address () - we can link both of your accounts together.
    In order to link your accounts, hit button below and log in to your Account with the same email as above.

    Account in Pew Pew Tactical means more.

    Login or create a free account to get the following
    Access and save hundreds of reviews, gun guides, and articles!
    Find the best daily deals on guns, gear, and ammo
    Manage your newsletter subscriptions and comments
    pew pew tactical logo

    new here?

    Personalize your experience.
    Select what level shooter you are!

    pew pew tactical logo

    level up your gun knowledge

    Thanks! We'll send you the latest guides and training tips geared towards your level.

    pew pew tactical logo


    You'll now receive newsletters of our best articles on techniques, guns & gear.

    $47 value

    yours free!

    targets targets

    practice targets

    printer icon printable

    our 9 favorite targets and drills


    practice targets

    printer icon printable

    enter your email to download

    We'll only use the information provided according to our privacy policy.

    success icon

    Ready to Download

    Click below to begin your download

    download pdf