The U.S. Army may have rejected Beretta’s M9A3 as it moves forward with the Modular Handgun System program, but don’t feel pity for the Italian gun dynasty just yet, as they probably have a winner on their hands with the unveiling of the striker-fired APX:
Beretta unveiled its first striker-fired pistol at the IDEX 2015 show in Abu Dhabi, saying it incorporates the latest developments in tactical handguns and will have an “aggressive price vs performance ratio”.
The APX is currently in the pre-series testing phase and the company aims to complete full qualification early in the second quarter of 2015.
It will be available in 9×19 mm, .40 S&W and 9×21 mm IMI calibres with respective magazine capacities of 17, 15 and 15 rounds.
The design is modular with all of the components used in the different calibre weapons identical apart from the barrel, slide and magazine well. The APX is built around a serialised stainless steel chassis that hosts all the mechanical components. To minimise weight, the chassis is encapsulated in a polymer frame reinforced with fibreglass. Its 108 mm-long barrel is cold-hammer forged and all of its steel parts feature a nitriding surface treatment.
The APX is 192 mm long, 33 mm wide and 142 mm high. With an empty magazine loaded, it weighs 760 g in the 9 mm versions and 780 g in the .40 S&W one. Beretta kept the distance between the barrel axis and the top of the grip to a minimum – just 21 mm – to reduce muzzle climb.
If built to Beretta’s usual quality standards, and priced and supported aggressively, the APX is going to be a serious contender in the service pistol market, posing a threat to the fading dominance of the Glock empire that hasn’t seemingly had a new idea (beyond the occasional caliber or barrel-length change) in years. It appears to be designed for the law enforcement and security market, but will also obviously make inroads in the self-defense market for those shooters who prefer a full-sized handgun.
What remains to be seen is if an APX variant might be the company’s offering for the U.S. military’s Modular Handgun System (MHS) program to replace the existing Beretta M9 pistol.
Beretta attempted to derail the MHS program by offering many of the program’s requested features in an upgrade for the M9 that the Army subsequently rejected. While the version of the APX shown in Abu Dhabi doesn’t meet the requirements for the MHS program, we simply don’t know yet if the platform was designed to hide more modularity than it first appears, and if it is coming too late to the game. Industry insiders have suggested that a variant of the PX4 Storm would most likely be Beretta’s entry into the MHS competition.