Comfort is a big part of daily carry, and it should be. If packing your favorite handgun feels like you are smuggling a shoebox (or an angry hedgehog), then you will squirm, shift and give away the fact that you are carrying. Hot weather makes it even worse, as light clothing offers less in the way of concealment. When EDC becomes too much of a hassle, some just leave it at home.
Both squirming and leaving your handgun behind are bad.
So, a flat, compact pistol as an EDC choice is often a good one, especially for those who find clothing in their size is not always useful for maintaining concealment. To that end, Beretta has been making and improving its APX line of pistols. The most compact is the APX Carry, and the latest and most-relevant to our considerations here is the APX A1 Carry.
The APX Carry is Beretta’s line of single-stack 9 mm pistols and the A1 Carry comes with two magazine sizes; six- and eight-round variants. The six-round magazines are flush with the frame, while the eight-round offerings are slightly extended. Both feature a baseplate contoured for easy removal, should the rare event of their not dropping free upon actuating the magazine-release button.
The A1 improves on the basic APX Carry in four areas: First, Beretta improved the already good trigger pull, making the A1 lighter in weight and with a shorter pull. The clean break and quick reset are aids both in better accuracy and faster follow-up shots. Second, Beretta engineers machined the slide to be ready for a micro red-dot sight (MRDS). The A1 ships with a filler plate in the recess, so if you are determined to shoot with iron sights only, you don’t have to do anything but remove the A1 from its box and get to work. The filler plate also has the rear sight attached to it, so swapping the A1 slide to a red-dot means giving up the rear sight. One detail to note: Beretta does not ship the A1 with adapter plates. You get an adapter plate to match your choice of red-dot optic when you register your APX A1 Carry with the manufacturer. To install a red-dot optic once you have the plate, use an Allen wrench to remove the two screws on the plate prior to removing it. Press the adapter plate into place while keeping the firing-pin-block spring in place. Then bolt down the optic, and get ready to zero your new MRDS.
Third, Beretta made the A1 modular. You can remove the chassis from the shell/frame, and swap it for a grip-frame housing in a different color. Right now, the choices are
Flat Dark Earth, OD Green and Wolf Grey. The A1 Carry frame does not have an accessory rail on the dustcover, so there is no provision for mounting a light or laser. Finally, Beretta changed the cocking serrations on the APX, and the A1 has serrations that are more aggressive than those on the basic carry models.
With a 3-inch barrel, the APX A1 Carry is not going to churn the highest velocities for a 9 mm pistol. That, however, is the price for a subcompact pistol. No 3-inch 9 mm is going to match the velocities of a 4- or 5-inch pistol. The short barrel also made the muzzle blast have a bit more bark, but that, too, is a cost of something this compact in size.
The grip frame is ergonomically shaped, and fits the hand very well, while the nonslip texturing does an excellent job of keeping the A1 firmly in your hand during recoil. The trigger is clean and crisp for a striker-fired pistol, and fully up to the job of accurate shooting. As a lightweight and compact pistol, the A1 is an excellent carry option. Beretta offers extra magazines online, so you can carry with the short magazine in the A1, and have a couple of eight-shot magazines on your belt for reloads, for a total loadout of 23 rounds on tap.
The A1 Carry does not have an ambidextrous slide stop, but the magazine-release button is swappable, with a bit of work. The six-round magazine shipped with the A1 has an extra baseplate should you want to make it an absolutely flush fit, or use the baseplate with a vestigial finger hook on it. Accuracy work produced better-than-expected groups. The frame fit helps with a consistent grip, and despite the featherweight of the A1, the felt recoil was not as sharp as expected.
Once the manufacturer has a ready supply of adapter plates to offer, putting as Micro red-dot sight on the Beretta APX A1 Carry will make it (once you find the ammo it likes, they all have preferences) a 50-yard pistol despite its compact size. With just the iron sights, plate racks were a piece of cake. The Beretta APX A1 Carry is an EDC pistol that is both comforting to carry for extended periods while being comfortable to shoot, as well as on your wallet.