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Beretta The Oldest Gun Manufacturer In the World Has New Guns

Handgun Review Of The APX RDO Centurion and 92X Centurion

I am an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor, a State of Illinois Concealed Carry Instructor, and a Federal Firearm Licensee (FFL).  So needless to say, I come in contact with a lot of guns on any given day. I see the firearms my students bring in for basic pistol training, or to the concealed carry classes on range days, and I am privy to what my customers are buying, as an FFL. There are so many good brands out there. And most times, I’m envious of the newest shiny thing that’s shipped to me when I unpackaged it. What can I say? I love guns, and the cooler they are, the better. How do I define cool for an inanimate object like a gun? Sometimes it’s magazine capacity, the ability to add accessories, a smaller or more unique package or platform, or in some cases, a new twist on a classic that makes it more practical, perform better, or take the original concept to the next level. An interesting brand history counts twice for a cool gun brand.

With that being said, my friends over at Beretta loaned me a couple of their star entrees to test and share with my students to get their feedback. I wanted to wear a test, for comfort with their holsters, put a few rounds down range, and play around with these two firearms before having my students dry fire them, do simulated stoppage drills, with dummy rounds, and finally live fire and qualify with them. I felt it would be doing a disservice to Beretta and my students if I didn’t put these guns through their paces before I could expose my students to them. Over the course of several afternoons, I have been able to get a feel for both of these fine guns. I understand how they shoot, have a good feeling for the fit and comfort, and how I would conceal these packages.

Before I dig in, I wanted to go back and look at this brand, in hopes it would unearth its pedigree, its history and put the renowned craftsmanship in its proper perspective. I first read that Beretta is the oldest Gun Manufacturer in the world, in a post in Handgunmags.com. So I went to the source to verify, and low and behold, Beretta stands by this claim, they were founded in the 16th century making Beretta the oldest active manufacturer of firearm components in the world. Beretta’s roots can be traced back as far as 1521 when they made arquebus barrels that equipped the Venetian Fleet at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. So with this random factoid, I can check off the first box, a new twist on a classic. If this doesn’t count as longevity, I don’t know what will. And Beretta has  history in spades. And what upped the cool factor, they are listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, for being the oldest. This brand has been passed down for 16 generations. Now that we’ve recorded Beretta’s place in history, I want to look at the brand’s pedigree.

 

Beretta Pedigree

The Beretta Pedigree is one of distinction. It’s a dream of mine to travel to the Private Museum to see the first production of the semi-automatic pistol patented in 1915. And yes, you guessed it, it was the 92 Series specifically the 92F model. Beretta is a privately held Italian firearms manufacturer. Their firearms are used worldwide for civilian, law enforcement, and military purposes. 

With 150 years of firearm production under their belt, they are bound to have superior manufacturing capabilities and precision mechanics. The Beretta website asserts that today Beretta produces some 1,500 firearms a day! This impressive feat covers over-under and side by side rifles for hunting and competition. This also includes semi-automatic pistols in every caliber from .22 to .45 cal. and every imaginable finish along with semiauto assault rifles.  Beretta also sells apparel and accessories, which were added in the 1990s. In 2009, Beretta won the most significant contract since WWII to supply the US  Military with 450,000 Handguns. And in 2012 the US  Army announced Beretta would provide an additional 100,000 92F pistols according to the Beretta website.

As I stated at the onset, I am here to get my students trained using these guns. The first, the APX, a full-sized striker-fired duty sized handgun. This versatile pistol is fully modular, and you can change calibers and frame sizes easily. The APX is Beretta’s first foray into the striker-fired-duty –sized handgun market. The other a DA/SA model that is a new twist on a classic. Many of you in Illinois will immediately recognize this pistol as the silhouette for the No Guns Allowed signs in the state. I chuckled out loud typing that, but it’s an observation many have made.

According to Beretta, the Beretta 92 X Centurion takes the proven reliability of the venerable M9 Family of guns to the next level by incorporating more ergonomic features such as a standard backstrap profile but also including wraparound textured grips. Enhanced combat sights, improved fire control, and an extended magazine. All of this out of the box-making it a modern classic. Yes, I do believe that’s another box checked, and I haven’t even told you how it fired.

 

How I train

I use a substantial portion of my classes, familiarizing my students with guns. Many are brand new shooters who have never held a gun, let alone fired one. My last class January 25th and 26th was filled with more new shooters than I had ever had at one time, probably courtesy of Groupon. My learning from that class was that it was my responsibility to shape everything these newbies knew about guns. I was their foundation. The experiences with the firearms I selected to train them with, my opinions, and my teaching techniques were paramount to their future encounters with firearms.

With this, I spend a considerable amount of time with training guns, then only after mastery do we proceed to real guns with dummy rounds. We practice with malfunctions, failures to feed, and getting them accustomed to being self-sufficient and making sure they do everything safely, with safety at the forefront. So the ease of use, reliability, and accuracy are at a premium. Again, many have never held a gun. I train mostly new shooters; my main customer avatar is an elderly man, or secondarily an elderly couple, and lastly, a woman. Many of my students feared guns and never wanted one in the house until some traumatic experience or revelations in the news that things aren’t safe, and they come to the fateful conclusion that they need one.  I say all of this to make a clear mental picture of who I am training with these weapons and why they need to meet narrow criteria.

The Stats For The APX RDO And 92X Centurion

Beretta APX RDO Centurion

Beretta APX RDO Centurion

 

Beretta APX RDO Centurion

 

Type Striker Fired
Cartridge 9mm
Capacity 17 +1
Barrel 4.25″
Length 7.55″
Weight 1lbs.
Width 1.32″
Grips Modules w/ Interchangeable backstraps
Sights Steel, 3-dot Red front
Trigger 6lbs.
MSRP $575

 

Beretta 92X Centurion

Beretta 92X Centurion

 

Beretta 92X Centurion

 

Type Single/Double Decocker Model
Cartridge 9mm
Capacity 17
Barrel 4.3″
Length 7.75″
Weight 28.5 oz
Height 5.4″
Width 1.5″
Grips Modules w/ Interchangeable backstraps
Sights Steel, 3-dot Red front
Rail Yes
Trigger 6.5 lbs.
MSRP $899

 

How They Fared At The Range On My Trips

Both guns performed as expected at the range, with no malfunctions and very accurate. I shot both guns at 5, 7, and 10 yards. I would put my targets up against anyones. I am a decent shot, and having great tools highlighted that skill.

Feedback From My Students

Student feedback:

Chris

  • Is an Intermediate
  • Rated the 92X Centurion Excellent
  • He liked the grip/feel
  • Used the APX RDO Centurion
  • Was likely to purchase a Beretta Firearm

Charlene

  • Is an Intermediate
  • Rated the 92X Centurion Excellent
  • She loved the overall feel
  • Used the APX RDO Centurion
  • The comment was a great job!
  • Was likely to purchase a Beretta Firearm
  • Is an Intermediate

Kristine

  • Is an Intermediate
  • Rated the 92X Centurion as very good
  • She said the 92X was much too big for her
  • Used the APX RDO Centurion
  • Said the APX Kept jamming on her. And that the slide was too difficult to rack. APX was a better size for her hands.
  • Was somewhat likely to purchase a Beretta Firearm

Dale

  • Is an Intermediate
  • Rated the 92X Centurion as excellent
  • Said, “He’s shot the 92F ‘s—and this felt like an old friend.”
  • Used the APX RDO Centurion
  • Said the APX was nice—the slide is harder to grab.”
  • Was likely to purchase a Beretta Firearm

 

Anthony

 

  • Is advanced
  • Rated the 92X Centurion as very good
  • He said the 92X has the same feel as the original with the compatibility with a smaller gun.
  • Used the APX RDO Centurion
  • Said of the APX, “Liked the overall size and feel.
  • Was likely to purchase a Beretta Firearm

My overall reviews are positive after students used these two guns in class and after carrying and shooting at the range. I am a fan of the brand and these two guns. I intend to purchase the Beretta 92X Centurion model in the next few weeks. I liked both guns, they were different, but the common denominator was the quality and workmanship that comes standard from the Beretta Brand. They shot straight and true, the recoil management was superb, and the hand fit and feel on both were good, even though they are very different. They were well balanced and cycled well without incident.

 

I would say there wasn’t a negative review in the lot. I and all of the students and friends that tested the firearms thought they were quality, well made, had excellent workmanship, and fired and performed very well.

Reviews from the Experts

Chris Eger authored a piece on the 92X in Guns.com, he offered up a not so captain obvious – obvious comment. He said,   “Many more diminutive “carry” style versions of full-sized guns are not enjoyable to shoot, the 92X Compact does not suffer from the same problem”, and I couldn’t agree more. He goes on to say, “the 92X gives the modern shooter a reliable handgun that stands on 40 plus years of legacy while having lots of features-DA/SA hammer-fired action, all-metal construction, slide-mounted safety/decocker- that you aren’t going to find on the average plastic fantastic.” I had to laugh when he called the popular polymers plastic fantastic. He goes on to say, the 92X series may not get people to drop their polymer striker-fired handguns. Still, it does give those familiar with or prefer the 92 families a more contemporary pistol that is both fun to shoot and dependable.

I have to admit I was a plastic fanatic until I tried this firearm. It is still a little heavy in hand, but its substantial and the hand feel is good. I am about results, and this thing delivered. My groupings were really tight. Once I got used to the larger frame and weight I was sold on it.

Tom Mchale wrote a piece in Ammooland, reviewing the APX RDO and it was comprehensive. Tom states that Beretta developed the APX to compete for the AMHS award (the prized military contracts). It was introduced in 2016 but revised several times, according to Beretta. This is Beretta’s first mainstream striker-fired pistol, but it shares a lot of characteristics with others in this space:

  • Tilt-barrel
  • Locked Breach Operation

According to Tom, Beretta took some liberties with styling and design to appeal to civilians and to also meet the stringent requirements of the Army contract.

Tom went on to state some things I also noticed, like it being a Striker –fired pistol every trigger pull is like the previous one. He stated the range of motion is smooth with no grit, and the break is a surprise. I always tell my students that the trigger break should surprise them; this gun makes that easy; it is very hard to anticipate with the APX. The article APX review listed stats from the top competitors that I won’t bore you with, but the important point to take away is the APX RDO Centurion was right in the thick of it with firing at a 4″ target 50 meters away, 90% of their lifespan. Tom, flatly states, “that based on the results, I’m confident the APX is plenty accurate.” My final point I’ll share that Tom made was that the APX is easy and soft to shoot. A comment echoed by a student or two and myself.

I think Tom was also spot on. This was a very accurate firearm, and the design was more familiar with what I am accustomed to.

What the Industry Thinks

Every gun magazine and firearm blogger I could find who penned anything on the Beretta APX and Beretta 92X were generally positive. The most neutral comments were something to the effect of a great gun, reliable Beretta quality, yada yada yada, but it’s not enough to make a dent in a crowded space of the Polymer, striker-fired midsized gun world. But no one out and out criticized the gun. On the 92X, it was more of the same; those comments were along the lines of, if a metal gun and exposed hammer, DA/SA gun is your cup of tea, then you will love the Beretta 92X. But again, nothing negative knocking the quality, workmanship, or accuracy.

Parting Thoughts

As a reformed “Plastic Fanatic,” I must say I was genuinely surprised at how much I loved the 92X. This beauty has upset the apple cart for me. I enjoyed shooting it, I got used to the excess weight and heft, and I got good with the exposed hammer and SA/DA action. As I said in the video, I want one! I enjoyed the APX RDO Centurion also, just not nearly as much as I did the Beretta 92X Centurion. The 100-year-old history, reputation for quality, and performance standards make these both great selections. You really can not go wrong with either. I think as with any gun purchase, it comes down to preferences. But I believe if you try either of these fine guns, you would be hard-pressed not to like them. I’m going to agree with the experts, and give these Beretta’s two enthusiastic thumbs up.

Compensated Affiliate Disclaimer

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you buy the product I may receive some monetary compensation. I only recommend products I use and love!

Follow this link and my friends at Beretta will give you 15% off of gear and accessories.

Use the Coupon Code: PEW

 

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