Tested: Arex ReX Zero 1TC Tactical Compact Pistol

posted on November 26, 2018

It was two years ago that I first had the opportunity to review an Arex ReX Zero 1 semi-automatic pistol chambered in 9 mm. Manufactured in a state-of-the-art facility by Arex of Slovenia, and imported to the U.S. by The FIME Group, these aluminum-frame pistols have quickly gained a loyal following among American shooting enthusiasts due to their high quality and fair price. The company has been busily introducing new frame colors for the Standard and Compact models, a full-size tactical model, the Alpha race pistol and, most recently, the ReX Zero 1TC Tactical Compact. Here is a closer look at this latest offering.

The ReX Zero 1TC (TC for short) is a trimmed down version of the company's Tactical model, built around the company's Compact frame and slide. This gives the TC a .4" shorter barrel, a .5" shorter grip frame and makes it 3.3 ozs lighter. While the Tactical model ships with extended 20-round magazines, the TC leaves the factory with one flush-fit 15-round magazine and one 17-round magazine fitted with a polymer grip adapter. However, the TC will accept all ReX Zero 1 Compact, Standard and extended 20-round double-stack magazines. 

This semi-automatic takes its design cues from the classic SIG Sauer design. The action employs a modified Browning linkless locking system, with a barrel that locks into the ejection port. The milled chrome-moly steel slide features beveled top edges, front and rear cocking serrations and a Nitrocarburized matte-black finish.

Like the Tactical model, the TC arrives with the Rex Optics Ready (ROR) mounting system installed. The top of the slide, in between the ejection port and rear sight, has been milled, drilled, tapped and fitted with a matching filler plate. Removing this plate allows one of the four provided scope bases to be installed. The plate set will support a variety of compact handgun optics including models made by Burris, C-More, Docter, EoTech, Insight, Jpoint, Meopta, Shield, Trijicon and Vortex. The dovetailed metallic 3-dot sight system is noticeably taller than standard sights so as to allow a red dot sight to be co-witnessed with them. Arex also offers night sights for this model.

Arex takes pride in the fact that the company’s in-house pistol barrels are milled from a single piece of cold-hammer-forged steel instead of using the less expensive (and less accurate) production process of pressing a chamber section onto a rifled bore. Like the slide, the threaded 4.5" barrel and thread protector receive a matte-black Nitrocarburized finish. The muzzle is threaded at ½ x 28 TPI so sound suppressors and other muzzle devices can be attached. The recoil assembly consists of a full-length steel guide rod and a single round wire recoil spring.

A common feature of popular polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols is a set of rather stubby metal rail extensions to support the slide. The design is certainly functional, but Arex opted to make the most of its hard-anodized T7075 aluminum frames by providing two integral slide rails running the full length of the dust cover along with two more rails next to the exposed hammer.

These frames are not cast, but CNC machined from solid bar stock and fitted with a steel locking block insert. As with other Arex products, I continue to be impressed by the quality of craftsmanship throughout the pistols, but especially on the inside where some companies think folks will never look. The frame is wholly free of dings, dips, scratches or machine marks.

The dust cover sports a milled-in 1.5" accessory rail for lights and lasers, while the trigger guard is oversized for gloved hands with a textured finger rest. Where the trigger guard meets the frame is an intentionally placed divot to make more room for the middle finger of the shooting hand. The front and back straps of the grip are grooved for improved purchase.

The Gen 2 polymer grip panels shipped with this model are definitely a solid step up from the original grips. They are thicker, stronger, nicely contoured and the texturing is much better. The original grips felt a bit too slick for me, especially for a double-stack grip frame. The new panels are grabbier without being abrasive to bare hands. The magazine well is lightly beveled for improved loading and the rounded grip heel is fitted with a military-type lanyard attachment point. The anodized frame color option shown here is the Gunsmoke Grey, which gives it a classic two-tone look. The additional color options include frames in OD Green, Flat Dark Earth and Graphite Black (to match the slide).

The external control configuration will look familiar to SIG Sauer fans. They are all metallic with grooved or checkered surfaces for easier manipulation. The one exception is the smooth face of the steel bow trigger. A takedown lever and combination slide stop/de-cocker are located on the left side of the frame. The thumb safety and magazine release are both ambidextrous. One of the advantages of the "old school" double-action/single-action trigger and exposed hammer configuration is that the pistol's owner has a selection of carry modes.

This pistol can be carried with the hammer forward for a longer, heavier double-action trigger pull and the thumb safety engaged. Once the first round in the gun is fired, the trigger switches to single-action mode resulting in a lighter, shorter trigger stroke. Carrying with the hammer forward and the safety off means the pistol still has a heavier trigger pull on the first shot, but one less step to fire. The third option is to go cocked-and-locked with the hammer fully cocked and the safety engaged. This method allows the trigger to be in single-action mode for every shot fired. 

Arex makes clean, smooth triggers that are enjoyable to work with. The trigger reset is short with a distinctive, audible and tangible “click.” The TC's double-action trigger proved to be just over 12 lbs. (which is over the limit of my digital trigger gauge) making it about three ounces heavier than the Tactical model I worked with previously. However, the single-action trigger broke at 5 lbs. even, making it 5 ozs. lighter than the Tactical. Given a choice, I'll go with the slightly lighter single-action mode. 

Using Arex's ROR optics mounting system, the TC was outfitted with a Trijicon model RM05 RMR dual-illuminated sight. The 9.0 MOA amber dot reticle requires no batteries to shine. Instead, a tritium lamp provides illumination in low and no light situations while a set of fiber optics collect ambient light in daylight situations. As a result, the optic's brightness levels are self adjusting depending on the situation.

At the shooting range, the TC proved to be as utterly reliable and enjoyable to work with as other ReX Zero 1 models. It fed, fired and ejected all of the test ammunition, from practice grade full-metal jacket loads to high quality hollow points. Formal accuracy testing was conducted at 25 yards from a bench rest using the Trijicon RMR sight.

DoubleTap's Colt Defense 124-gr. jacketed hollow points printed a best single 5-shot group of 2.75" with a five group average of 2.93". Super Vel Ammunition’s 90-gr. +P jacketed hollow points yielded a best group of 2.82" with a best group of 3.04". Winchester's W Train 147-gr. full-metal jacket tapped out a best group of 2.97" with an average of 3.13".

In making the new ReX Zero 1TC Tactical Compact, Arex trimmed the pistol down without lopping off the desirable features of the full-size version. As an optics-ready, milled aluminum framed 9 mm semi-automatic fully tricked out for competition or defensive applications, it's hard to beat this pistol's affordable price. It's another model that has lived up to the high standards one can expect Arex products to meet. 

U.S. ImporterFIME Group
Manufacturer: Arex of Slovenia
Model: ReX Zero 1TC Tactical Compact (REXZERO1TCGG)
Action: Semi-Automatic, Modified Browning Linkless Locking System
Caliber: 9 mm Luger (9x19 mm), Approved for SAAMI Specification +P Loads
Trigger System: Single- and Double-Action, Hammer Fired
Slide: Rex Optics Ready (ROR), Nitrocarburized Milled Steel Barstock
Optical Mounts: 1-Trijicon; 2-C-More; 3-Shield/Jpoint; 4-Eotech/Vortex/Burris/Docter/Insight/Meopta
Barrel: Single-Piece Cold-Hammer-Forged Barstock, Nitrocarburized Finish
Muzzle: Threaded with Thread Protector, ½ x 28 TPI
Frame: Milled T7075 Aluminum, Hard Anodized with Steel Locking Block
Frame Color: Gunsmoke Grey (GG)
Dust Cover: Full Length with Integral 1.5" Accessory Rail
Grip Panels: Slim Profile Textured Black Polymer
Sights: Dovetailed Metallic 3-Dot, Tall Profile
Thumb Safety: Ambidextrous
Barrel Length: 4.5"
Overall Length: 7.8"
Height: 5.4"
Slide Width: 1"
Weight: 31.2 oz. with Empty 15-Round Magazine
Single-Action Trigger Pull: Over 12 lbs. (as tested)
Double-Action Trigger Pull: 5 lbs. (as tested)
Capacity: 15+1 or 17+1 Rounds
Twist: 1:9.8” RH
Rifle Grooves: 6
Accessories: Two Magazines, Four ROR Optical Mount Plates, Hard Case, Lock, Owner’s Manual
MSRP: $869.99

Optic: Trijicon RMR Dual-Illuminated Sight ( RM05), 9.0 MOA Amber Dot: $577


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