Back in May, we saw the roll out of the new Beretta APX A1, the full-size upgrade to the original APX series. This meant that the previous generation of APX pistols are designated as “Legacy models” by Beretta, which is a nice way to say they’re pretty much discontinued. However, there’s still a large volume of the original family of APX pistols available, including my personal favorite, the Beretta APX Centurion.
Beretta APX Centurion Features
The Legacy APX lineup breaks down into the following sizes: Target, Full size, Centurion, and Compact. Like most modern semi-automatic striker fired pistols, the frame houses a modular trigger chassis that is the serialized part. That means you can swap the trigger into various size frames to customize fit to the shooter.
In my opinion, the best frame size was the legacy Centurion frame. This mid-size frame holds 15 rounds in the magazines, and has a 3.7 inch barrel. The sights are fixed, with three white dots. Thankfully, the rear sight notch is nice and wide. If you black out the rear dots, the front white dot gives nice contrast for fast shooting. From the factory, the trigger is a touch heavy, with mine coming in around 5.5-6lbs. You can also use 17 round magazines from the full size APX in the Centurion. In terms of size, the APX Centurion is in between a Glock 19 and a Glock 26. The slide and barrel is shorter than a 19, but the grip is about the same size and the magazines hold the same. As is common, it comes with replaceable backstraps for the Centurion grip module. I went with the largest option to better fill my hand.
All of my APX pistols were upgraded with Beretta’s Competition Firing Pin spring, which reduces the trigger pull by about half a pound. The design of the legacy APX trigger shoots in well, so now after 1955 rounds the trigger is a nice 4.5 pounds. Pulling the trigger gives you a short take-up, and a clean break. An interesting note on the recently released APX A1 full size: it incorporates the Competition Firing Pin spring from the factory, so the gun starts with what I consider a mandatory upgrade for the Beretta APX Centurion as well as the other legacy APX guns.
4 Years with the Beretta APX Centurion
I’ve had a pair of APX Centurions for over four years now. Between the two of them they have a combined round count of 2,586 rounds. I used them to finish in the top 10 of CCP Division at the 2018 IDPA Nationals. I’ve won club matches, shot state level championships with them, and even crashed a Vespa wearing one at the appendix carry position.
Over that time, the Beretta APX Centurion has only failed to feed one round of brass cased ammo. I do need to say that neither of these guns like steel cased ammo. Both Winchester Forged and the now discontinued Hornady Steel Match wouldn’t feed correctly. The simple solution for that? Don’t run steel cased ammo.
Off a bench with high quality ammo, the APX has always produced excellent groups in the 2-3 inch range. Its practical accuracy is also excellent. Thanks to the nice sights, getting hits standing unsupported at 25 yards is easy.
Recoil is no issue. I personally don’t like guns with “slow” recoil impulses, and the APX snaps back on target quickly. That means fast follow up shots are a breeze. I’ve hit sub 2.00 seconds on the Bill Drill using this gun on multiple occasions.
APX Centurion Accessories
You’d be within reason to wonder why I’m writing a review for a legacy model pistol. Well, the simple fact is that even if it’s “legacy” there are still loads of them out there. I looked on Grabagun this morning and you could buy a brand-new one for $400, and they’re all over Gunbroker in the $300-450 range.
Now, here is some bad news. If you want to put a red dot on the APX Centurion you’re kind of out of luck. They offered an RDO version for like two seconds, but finding them is nearly impossible. Will there be an APX A1 Centurion? I certainly hope so. But for now, if you want the Centurion, you’re stuck with the really good iron sights.
For holsters there aren’t a lot of options available, but the ones that you can get are great. I enthusiastically recommend the entire product line from JM Custom Kydex. I was carrying my APX in a Wing Claw 2.0 when I went over the handlebars of my scooter in Miami at 35 mph. The holster and gun were fine, I wasn’t.
As mentioned above, I recommend the Beretta Competition Striker Spring, which is available on Beretta’s website. This dramatically improves the trigger pull while still keeping it above 4 pounds, which is where I want a duty/carry trigger.
Why Buy a Legacy APX?
That’s a fair question, however for the answer I’ll refer to the price point. Due to its legacy status, the Beretta APX Centurion is crazy affordable, as I mentioned above. I was able to find new in the box versions available online for $350. The highest price I saw was $450. If you’re breaking down pistol manufacturers in to quality tiers, there is no question Beretta is a Tier 1 manufacturer. The APX Centurion legacy models are available at Tier 3 prices, but you’re getting Tier 1 quality.
There are also reasons you shouldn’t buy a legacy APX. The lack of holster support from a wide group of manufacturers is one. The rail on the Centurion is too short for a TLR-7 to fit, which is really annoying. While I like the way it looks, the aesthetics of the slide serrations aren’t for everyone. They work really well, though.
It’s highly likely that in the future Beretta will drop an A1 version of the APX Centurion. However, if you don’t care about mounting an optic and you want a reliable, accurate carry gun but don’t want to spend $600, you should definitely check out the Beretta APX Centurion.