The new Beretta APX striker-fired pistol hits the market... in a licensed Airsoft replica by UMAREX!
Headquartered in Arnsberg, Germany, the UMAREX company is a well-established manufacturer of airguns whose activities have expanded particularly in the past decade to include airsoft replicas; now, UMAREX is also a global market leader in airsoft products, and is licensed to produce and market replicas of firearms produced by a dozen of major gunmakers worldwide, including Beretta.
An airsoft gun before the real Beretta APX?
Introduced at the 2016 IWA expo, the Umarex replica of the Beretta APX pistol comes at a moment when the real Beretta APX striker-fired handgun is not yet on the market, despite being tested by several potential institutional customers worldwide.
The Umarex Beretta APX airsoft replica is CO₂ operated and feeds from a single-stack magazine holding fifteen 6mm BB pellets. Built around a plastic frame, the UMAREX Beretta APX airsoft replica sports a metal slide with realistic blowback action.
Thanks to its realistic look and feel, it will dub as a good stand-in for the real Beretta APX in the hands of collectors, for handling training, MIL-SIM and simple backyard plinking - and we have to acknowledge, the launch of the airsoft replica before the real firearm can be considered a clever marketing stunt.
The Beretta APX airsoft replica manufactured by Umarex is CO₂-powered: removing the grip backstrap will reveal the seat for a commercial 12-grams CO₂ canister, which is then secured in place through a bottom screw that tightens by hand. The grip also hosts the detachable single-row magazine, which holds up to fifteen 6mm BB pellets.
The Umarex Beretta APX airsoft replica is quite simple in its construction, with no user-adjustable valves - meaning that its power factor is fixed at 1.3 Joules, allowing for a muzzle velocity of up to 115 metres per second (377.29 feet per second) with 0.2g BBs.
According to the instructions manual, the "danger area" reaches up to 300 metres (some Germans really like to terrorize people!) but being honest, so far we still have to see a commercial airsoft that will sting over a 20-metres range.
The Umarex Beretta APX airsoft replica is 190mm/7.48" long overall, weighs 685 grams (24.1oz, approximately) and sports a 106mm/4.2" barrel. This means that in size and weigth, it is basically a 1/1 scale replica of the original Beretta soon-to-be-launched next-generation, striker-fired service pistol.
The Umarex replica is identical to the original Beretta APX down to the markings, although some of those located on the right side give up its true nature. It also replicates the original three-dot sights system - which are dovetailed on the slide and adjustable on the 9mm APX and fixed on the airsoft replica - and the ambidextrous magazine catch and slide release controls, of whose however only those on the left side of the frame are functional.
The original Beretta APX pistol comes without a manual safety system, but the Umarex Beretta APX comes instead with a sliding safety located on the right side above the trigger.
The Umarex replica sports the German "F-in-pentagon" proof marking and is certified by the PTB (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, the German metrology institute) as compliant to all regulations regarding airguns and airsoft replicas in Germany and in the European Union.
Handling the pistol
We at GUNSweek were able to obtain one of the first production samples for test and evaluation in the days immediately following the official market launch of the Umarex Beretta APX airsoft replica. In its construction, the Beretta APX replica is quite reminiscent of Umarex's own Elite Force BP6 CO₂ pistol launched one year ago.
The black polymer frame comes with a slip-proof grip and a MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail under the dust cover. The metal slide instead is probably the only feature that could raise some eyebrows: its design is indeed well detailed in construction, with precise front and rear slide serrations and original factory markings, but it also rattles a little bit - albeit only slightly - possibly due to a weak return spring which also allows the slide to move if the pistol is maneuvered rapidly, e.g. in tactical combat simulation. That doesn't affect the overall functionality or accuracy of the gun at all, but since another side effect is a slow blowback effect, some purists may find it unattractive.
The 106mm metal barrel of the Umarex Beretta APX airsoft pistol performs well in terms of accuracy: we ran a quick indoors test against an A3-size classic target 5 metres away (about 16 feet), using 0,2g BBs and an UMAREX-brand CO₂ canister. Even in rapid fire, all fifteen shots ended up in the bullseye. A very empiric test indeed, but enough to test the performance of an airsoft pistol conceived for leisure plinking and MIL-SIM.
The trigger can be a downside, though, given the double action only setup. The pull is sluggish and the reset is long, and it makes it definitely hard to perform real rapid fire without fatigue - but again, it's nothing that skirmishers and other airsoft enthusiasts haven't seen before.
If necessary, the barrel of the Umarex Beretta APX airsoft replica can be cleaned with a cleaning rod and a piece of cotton soaked in lubricant, but the pistol itself can not be field-stripped by the user. In order to increase service life, owners are encouraged to use the Umarex Walther valve maintenance capsules to remove possible fouling from the system.
Worth the value?
In Europe, the Umarex Beretta APX airsoft replica is currently retailing at a price that floats around €110.00 (~$122.00). All in all, it is definitely worth that price. It's practical and fun enough to suit the needs of leisure airsoft shooters and MIL-SIM skirmishers, and faithful enough to the original to appease collectors and trainers as well. Most important of all, unlike many other pistol designs, the Beretta APX doesn't have another airsoft replica around, and Umarex also makes it in a .177/4,5mm airgun variant.
We accept the idea that the launch of the Umarex airsoft replica before the real firearm could be a marketing stunt to raise hype around Beretta APX next-generation service pistol. However, even if already listed in the Beretta Defense Technologies products catalogue, the Beretta APX is long overdue − its official launch had been hinted for 2015, then for Spring 2016, and now many believe that the APX may be likely to come to the market only after the conclusion of the U.S. military Modular Handgun System competition. Marketing politics... but that's okay.
So, if you can't buy the realone... go for this Umarex replica!