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Tested: Arex ReX Delta 9 mm Pistol

Tested: Arex ReX Delta 9 mm Pistol

It's been three years since the ReX Zero 1 series of 9 mm pistols, manufactured by Arex of Slovenia, was introduced into the American marketplace by The FIME Group. In that time, the line-up of these aluminum-framed, hammer-fired semi-automatics inspired by the SIG Sauer P226, has grown to include Standard, Compact, Tactical and Competition models in a variety of finish options.

Last year the company announced it would be breaking away from the ReX Zero 1 pattern in order to introduce a brand new compact polymer-framed striker-fired pistol for concealed carry called the ReX Delta. Although the pistol has been ready to ship for a while, it got caught up in various importation-related snarls of bureaucratic red tape. It has finally broken through, however, and is now shipping out to U.S. distributors. 

The ReX Delta has landed in one of the most competitive corners of the defensive handgun market, but Arex designers took steps to make sure it would thrive, not just survive, in the crowd. First, the company focused on producing a high-quality gun. Next, they incorporated popular features while tacking on a few that other manufacturers leave off. Finally, the ReX Delta has been given visually interesting angular, Art Deco-esque lines that defy the blocky, plain-Jane appearance many polymer pistols sport.

The ReX Delta is a striker-fired, double-action only semi-automatic pistol, with a tilting barrel that draws on design influences from the Safe-Action polymer framed pistols developed by Glock. The carbon steel slide features angled facets instead of bevels, effective triangular front and rear cocking serrations and a matte-black nitrocarburized finish.



The metallic low-profile sight system is dovetailed into the slide with a white dot in front and a serrated, square-notch sight at the rear. Although 3-dot sight systems dominate in the defensive handgun arena, the argument for only having a dot up front is well stated with the ReX Delta's sights. They proved to be quick to acquire and easy to see on target.

The slide sports a beveled ejection port for more reliable function, and an oversized extractor claw. A visible and tactile loaded-chamber indicator lever is located on top of the slide just behind the ejection port. The rear-mounted polymer slide plate is serrated to match the texturing of the rear sight, which is a nice touch. A port in the plate accommodates a red indicator to let the operator know the striker is cocked. If you can't see that red dot it means the pistol is not ready to fire. It's another nice touch that several popular models do not include.

Removing the slide from frame reveals a 4" one-piece barrel. Arex takes pride in its precision-manufactured one-piece pistol barrels. Having seen firsthand the work that goes into making them, the company deserves to keep its bragging rights. Matching serial numbers are clearly stamped on the slide and the barrel's chamber. A third copy of the number is found on a small steel plate molded into the frame just behind the front edge of the trigger guard (it took me a minute to find it).

The barrel is supported by an all-steel guide-rod assembly instead of a polymer rod, or the mixed metal and polymer models found in some pistols. The captured flat-wire spring is secured by a split-steel support cup at the muzzle end that allows the spring to be replaced without the need for tools.

A look inside the polymer frame reveals that the sheet-metal slide rails common to some models have been replaced with front and rear CNC-machined aluminum support blocks, which are pinned into the frame. The ambidextrous takedown lever will be familiar to Glock fans. The ambidextrous slide stop, which locks the slide open when the last round fires, is a machined component with squared extensions that are unobtrusive but easy to operate.

The polymer frame has a 1.5" single-slot accessory rail molded into the dust cover. The square trigger guard is textured along its front and bottom surfaces for added purchase, with a curved undercut where it meets the grip frame for improved comfort. The angled polymer trigger is fitted with an integral safety lever. Its 5-lb. 7-oz. trigger pull nearly eliminates the mushy and gritty feel most factory-installed striker-pistol triggers exhibit. The trigger reset was quite short and crisp. It's still a striker trigger, but it feels like a tuned upgrade instead of a factory standard group.

Touch points, with a texture reminiscent of skateboard tape, are located along the top of the grip and along the sides of the frame where the tip of the trigger finger rests. The grip frame features a more aggressive line and block texturing on all four sides that's suitable for either gloved or bare hands. Some civilian pistols have fairly timid textures that will never offend bare skin, but may not be as effective when hands are cold or sweaty. Personally, I would rather have a little more grip purchase than not enough. It's just fine for daily carry (it won't damage your clothes like sand-paper grips) and typical practice sessions. For extended range time or an all-day class, you may prefer to use light shooting gloves.

The grip provides room for all three fingers and has an interchangeable backstrap system. The pin that serves as a lanyard attachment point is tapped out, so the factory installed backstrap can be traded out for one of the additional three straps shipped with the gun. The backstrap extends below the grip just enough to protect the shooting hand from being pinched by the magazine base plate. The ReX Delta ships with two proprietary steel-body double-stack magazines with orange polymer followers (they are not compatible or interchangeable with the ReX Zero 1 magazines). One magazine has a flush-fit polymer baseplate for a 15-round capacity while the other is fitted with an extended baseplate which increases the capacity to 17 rounds.

The design issue that is regularly discussed with striker pistols is the need to press the trigger when field stripping the gun. Arex built the ReX Delta so that it can be dismantled quickly and easily without touching the trigger. After removing the magazine and verifying the pistol is completely unloaded, start with the slide in the closed (forward) position. Press the slide back about 0.25" and, while holding the slide in place, pull down on both sides of the takedown lever. While holding the takedown lever, press the slide forward about half an inch. You'll hear a click as the slide lifts up and off the frame. The barrel and recoil assembly can then be removed from the slide. That's all there is to it.

At the range, the ReX Delta proved to be utterly reliable with all of the ammunition tested. Like other Arex 9 mms, the ReX Delta can safely handle +P loads but constant use will speed up wear and tear on the gun. There were no malfunctions, from bulk-box plinking loads to unique defensive loads like the Black Hills Honey Badger copper solids loaded to +P pressure levels. Felt recoil was on par with other polymer-framed compacts—moderate with standard loads while feeling a bit snappy with hot loads. Of all the top-notch features this pistol has to offer, the improved trigger pull is what folks will probably appreciate the most.

Accuracy testing was conducted at 25 yards from a bench rest using the factory-installed iron sights. Black Hills 100-gr. +P Honey Badger copper solid tapped out a best single five-shot group of 3.26" with a five group average of 3.38". Hornady's American Gunner 115-gr. XTP jacketed hollow points printed a best group of 3.41" with an average of 3.53". Sig Sauer Elite Performance V-Crown 124-gr. jacketed hollow points yielded a best group of 3.11" with an average of 3.26".

Like the Arex ReX Zero 1 series of aluminum-framed pistols, the new polymer-framed ReX Delta is not a   ground-breaking design. However, the company has thoughtfully cherry picked several best-of-class striker pistol features concealed-carry practitioners will appreciate, and executed them with a high level of quality and attention to detail. The trigger is a step up from many of the factory triggers on the market. The Delta is that just-right size for comfortable concealed carry and enjoyable practice sessions at the shooting range. The 15+1 to 17+1 capacity also makes it a solid choice for home defense. The useful sight system and interchangeable back straps allow it to fit a variety of hand shapes and skill levels.

Arex has kept the Delta's price affordable, just like the company's other offerings. It can easily go toe to toe with established makes and models with price tags in the $600 price range. But it’s shipping with a suggested retail price of $479.99 that's translating into real-world prices closer to $425 making it a more-than-you-pay-for investment



Specifications:
U.S. Importer:
The FIME Group
Manufacturer: Arex of Slovenia
Model: Rex Delta
Action: Striker-Fired Double-Action Only Semi-Automatic
Caliber: 9 mm
Slide: Nitrocarborized Carbon Steel, Matte Black
Frame: Black Polymer
Backstrap: Interchangeable
Front Sight: Steel White Dot, Low Profile
Rear Sight: Serrated Steel Square Notch, Drift Adjustable
Trigger: Polymer with Integral Safety Lever
Trigger Pull: 5-lbs. 7-oz. As Tested
Barrel Length: 4"
Overall Length: 7"
Height: 5"
Width: 1.18"
Weight:  22.2-oz. with Empty 17-Round Magazine
Capacity: 15+1 or 17+1 Rounds
Twist: 1:9.8” RH
Rifle Grooves: 6
Accessories: Hard Case, Two Magazines, Four Backstraps, Lock, Owner's Manual
Suggested Retail: $479.99

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