A Cocked-And-Locked SIG Clone? Arex Rex Zero 1S 9mm—Full Review.

The Arex Rex Zero 1S is a pistol that combines SIG-style features with a distinctly 1911-style feature. Image courtesy of FIME Group.

For more information, visit http://www.fimegroup.com/Rex-Zero-1S.html.

To purchase on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=Arex.

The Arex Rex Zero 1S pistol is a breath of fresh air for me. And at odds with the polymer trends so prevalent today, it’s made with a full-metal frame. The pistol, imported by Fime Group, looks SIG-inspired in design and configuration and has a blocky industrial look like a modern city in a Soviet satellite country before glasnost.

The Arex pistol is definitely handsome and eye-catching.

The Arex pistol is definitely handsome and eye-catching. Can you spot the 1911-inspired feature?

Not long after firing the Arex Rex Zero 1S I realized there was something unique and pleasing about this pistol. Now that I have spent quality time with the Rex—literally months—this seemingly traditional double-action/single-action (DA/SA) full-size pistol is a well-thought-out design. I have had less than zero failures with the pistol. It hits where I aim it and it is offered at a price that makes the frugal Yankee in me grin.

But, one of the key features of the design may come as a surprise to those who may just write this off as a SIG clone. As I am sure you know, the classic series of SIG pistols feature no manual safety and have a non-ambidextrous decocking lever. The intent of the design is for you to carry it with the hammer down, and shoot a long, heavy, double-action trigger pull for the first shot like a DA revolver. All subsequent shots are single-action with the slide cocking the hammer. When you are done firing, decock the pistol and reholster it.

The author found the Arex Rex Zero to be a breath of fresh air in today's glutted polymer-framed pistol marketplace.

The author found the Arex Rex Zero to be a breath of fresh air in today’s glutted polymer-framed pistol marketplace.

SPECS

  • CHAMBERING: 9mm
  • BARREL: 3 inches
  • OA LENGTH: 7 inches
  • WEIGHT: 32 ounces (empty)
  • GRIP: Textured polymer
  • SIGHTS: Fixed, three-dot
  • ACTION: DA/SA
  • FINISH: Matte black
  • CAPACITY: 17+1
  • MSRP: $599

A NEW TAKE

While the 17+1 9mm Rex may take may design and ergonomic cues from the classic SIG pistols, it operates differently. While it does have the SIG-style non-ambi decocker, it also features an ambidextrous thumb safety located at the rear of the frame similar in location to that of a 1911. Carry the Rex in DA/SA trigger mode or carry it in 1911-style cocked-and-locked trigger mode. The Rex doesn’t care. It was designed to do your bidding.

While the Rex Zero 1 has SIG-like lines, it packs in some unique features.

While the Rex Zero 1S has SIG-like lines, it packs in some unique features.

The frame-mounted, ambidextrous manual safety is one of the more distinctive features on the pistol.

The frame-mounted, ambidextrous manual safety is one of the more distinctive features on the pistol.

The skeleton of the Rex is a lightweight, all-metal T7075-T6 aluminum receiver reminding you of how nice it is to have metal back in your hand in these days of polymer everything. No ding to polymer-frame pistols, I just get nostalgic for metal frame pistols and non-striker firing mechanisms. However, this is not to say that the Rex is in any way old-school or dated. The alloy frame houses a 17-round capacity magazine and has a grip shape that is easy to hold even with an average size hand. None of the fat-grip issues of other double stack pistols—steel frame or polymer frame. The polymer grip panels are flat and dished out where your thumb and trigger finger rest. It feels comfortable in the hand and the grip angle is dead on, so it points naturally.

The Arex Rex Zero is designed to provide combat-ready performance in an affordable package. Image courtesy of FIME Group.

The Arex Rex Zero is designed to provide combat-ready performance in an affordable package. Image courtesy of FIME Group.

The front and rear grip straps are grooved so there is more friction and less slippage when firing Rex. The large triggerguard is squared off and allows for use with gloved hands. The Rex uses a full dust cover and a Picatinny rail to add accessories like a tactical light or laser pointer. The pistol wears an all business matte graphite black finish. Overall fit and finish were superb. Even the interior sections of the pistol were nicely machined and finished. The Rex is clearly a well-manufactured pistol.

The slide of the pistol is blocky with a flat muzzle. If I could change anything on the Rex, it would be a chiseled nose so it came be inserted into a holster easier. The slide is machined from solid bar stock with rear and forward cocking serrations. High profile steel three-dot sights are dovetailed into the slide and provide a good sight picture. The 4.3-inch barrel is cold hammer forged from solid bar stock and is one-piece. There’s a loaded chamber indicator built into the top of the slide that offers visual and tactile indication that a cartridge or a case is in the chamber. The Rex uses full-length slide rails which help aid accuracy and the recoil spring is a traditional one-coil spring around a one-piece metal guide rod.

The safety allows users to carry the pistol cocked-and-locked like a 1911 if so desired. Note red dot indicating the safety is disengaged.

The safety allows users to carry the pistol cocked-and-locked like a 1911 if so desired. Note red dot indicating the safety is disengaged.

A set of steel, white dot iron sights sit atop the sturdy and somewhat blocky slide of the pistol.

A set of steel, white dot iron sights sit atop the sturdy and somewhat blocky slide of the pistol.

Like most modern centerfire handguns, the Rex uses a locked breech short-recoil system. It is basically a modified Browning linkless locking system where the barrel breech block locks into the slide. The designers at Arex decided not to rebuild the wheel but rather use that and other proven design features in the Rex. The controls like the decocker and thumb safety as well as the hammer are all MIM, which helps keep the price point of the Rex at the $649 MSRP it features while delivering a long life cycle. Claimed service life exceeds 30,000 rounds.

Hands On

The pistol feeds from double-column, 17-round magazines.

The pistol feeds from double-column, 17-round magazines.

When I picked up the Rex Zero 1S for the first time, I realized the decocker was reminiscent of the decocker on a SIG. The decocker on Rex also acts as a slide stop. This and the ambidextrous safety makes Rex a different beast than many other traditional DA/SA platforms with a decocker since you can carry the pistol either cocked and locked in SA mode or in traditional DA/SA mode with the safety either on or off (with pistols like the Taurus Model 92 being an example of one with this somewhat uncommon capability). The decocker and thumb safety are low profile so there is no fear they would snag on anything, yet they allow fast manipulation. They are coarsely serrated and click on and off with confidence.

The trigger is often a key component to a pistol’s shootability, and the trigger on the Rex does not require an average or small-handed user to unduly reach for the trigger. The initial DA trigger press of the Rex is a long DA pull, but it is comfortable and easy to control since the trigger is smooth and wide. The DA trigger press measured 12.9 pounds on my test pistol, but it was smooth and felt less. In SA mode, the Rex broke at 5.6 pounds on average after a bit of take up.

The back- and frontstraps of the pistol feature grooves to enhance gripping and handling characteristics.

The back- and frontstraps of the pistol feature grooves to enhance gripping and handling characteristics.

The Arex Rex Zero 1 breaks down easily into its primary components for cleaning and maintenance.

The Arex Rex Zero 1S breaks down easily into its primary components for cleaning and maintenance.

If you don’t roll with the DA/SA trigger option, the Rex provides another solution. If you are a cock-and-locked type of user, similar to a 1911 platform, the Rex allows you carry the pistol safely cocked and locked. A quick downward swipe of the safety puts the Rex in fire mode, similar to the safety manipulation on a 1911. Part of the beauty of the Rex is it allows you to use the pistol in the method of carry and training with which you are most familiar. The de-cock method is still only right-hand user friendly, but the cocked-and-locked method can be used for both left and right handed users since the thumb safety is ambidextrous. The magazine release button is also ambidextrous and located near the thumb of the shooting hand. It is large and checkered for a sure press.

The author ran a broad selection of ammo through the pistol, without a hiccup.

The author ran a broad selection of ammo through the pistol, without a hiccup.

Magazines are all metal except for the polymer floorplate. Press the magazine release button and empty magazine fall free from the grip area. The magazines use a progressive rate spring, which becomes stiffer or more resistant as it is compressed. This ensures cartridges in the double stack configuration are pushed upward when the slide cycles. Loading magazines was easy. No cut of bruised thumbs or wrestling with the last round. Seventeen witness holes are cut in the back of the magazine so you know exactly what remains in the tank. Magazines are coated inside and out for corrosion resistance and are also easy to disassemble and clean. Two magazines are included with Rex.

The Rex can be field stripped without tools. Lock the slide back, remove the magazine, flip the take down lever 90 degrees downward, then release the slide stop while holding the slide and the slide assembly will pull off the front of the frame.

Rex is rated for 9mm +P ammunition, so I naturally gave it the coffee can test. All the orphan cartridges from previous testing ends up in the can so there are cartridges with bullets of all types, weights and muzzle velocities. I load the magazines with this odd assortment of factory and some handloaded ammo to see what type of performance I could expect. Rex gave me zero malfunctions. It chewed through the ammo not caring what it fed on. Nice.For accuracy testing I used lots of 115-grain XTP American Gunner from Hornady, 115-grain FMJ from Aguila, and SIG V-Crown 115-grain JHP. The Rex really like the Aguila ammo. A best 5-shot group at 25 yards measured 1.17 inches and averaged 1.37 inches. Accuracy for the Hornady XTP JHP ammo was 1.92 inches and the SIG V-Crown came in between with an average accuracy of 1.47.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 4.13.33 PMFor accuracy testing I used lots of 115-grain XTP American Gunner from Hornady, 115-grain FMJ from Aguila, and SIG V-Crown 115-grain JHP. The Rex really like the Aguila ammo. A best 5-shot group at 25 yards measured 1.17 inches and averaged 1.37 inches. Accuracy for the Hornady XTP JHP ammo was 1.92 inches and the SIG V-Crown came in between with an average accuracy of 1.47.

The Rex really like the Aguila ammo. A best 5-shot group at 25 yards measured 1.17 inches and averaged 1.37 inches.

The Rex really like the Aguila ammo. A best 5-shot group at 25 yards measured 1.17 inches and averaged 1.37 inches.

The SIG V-Crown shot an average accuracy of 1.47 from the Arex pistol.

The SIG V-Crown shot an average accuracy of 1.47 from the Arex pistol.

I fired a lot of the ammo using DA mode, decocking the pistol after each shot. I really liked the trigger pull. Of course, in SA mode it was easier to achieve tighter groups. In operation the slide cycled smoothly. Recoil was soft and sights large, proving an optimal sight picture. The Rex was simply easy to shoot.

With the option to carry the Arex Rex Zero 1S in traditional DA/SA mode or cocked and locked, this pistol offers a flexibility that you don’t often come across. It is utterly reliable and accurate. With its MSRP of $649, the Rex is an awfully interesting pistol.

For more information, visit http://www.fimegroup.com/Rex-Zero-1S.html.

To purchase on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=Arex.

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Greg Zimmerman March 3, 2017, 4:25 pm

    I just bought the Arex Rex Zero 1 in FDE. It has proven superior to my Sig M11A1 in every aspect except trigger reset. The machining, fit, finish, sa trigger pull are superior with the Arex. I am done with high priced Sigs as my Stainless two tone SP 2022 shoots much better than my M11A1. Both of these guns combined cost $65 more than my M11A1. Funny that everyone on here who has commented negatively on the Rex Zero 1 has no experience with one and is simply flapping their gums in the wind, The Arex is the real deal wake up Sig owners, I have.

  • Joshua W. February 26, 2017, 4:09 pm

    Anyone that doubts the quality of this weapon should go to the kvar website and watch the product video. Very modern and excellent manufacturing techniques. As a machinist myself it made me drool a bit.

    And I haven’t seen a 226 under $1000.00 so to get this for a little over half? Might have found a reason to stash my lunch money away

  • DAVID February 25, 2017, 8:50 pm

    THIS WILL BE MY NEXT PISTOL….:+)
    Actually; I await the tactical model with threaded barrel, reflex sight addition, g-10 grips….;+)

  • Brian Jay February 6, 2017, 6:47 am

    I did lots of video research on the gun, fortunately my friend who’s looking to buy his first gun and I took him to 4 shops and at the last one he saw this gun and he immediately liked it so we got try it, now we both own one. He has the black I got the fde. Bought the black Hogue grips and painted the sights with Glow-on from amazon. Got an extra mag too. “Life is good ” – Hikock45

  • Glenn January 15, 2017, 4:52 pm

    Well, good luck to K-Var corporation and the Slovenian manufacturer..ANOTHER 9mm pistol..

  • Ron T September 7, 2016, 1:31 pm

    I also have this Rex, and so far I’m very impressed with it. It’s a very easy pistol to shoot and the accuracy is dead in. So far it too has ate all the different ammo that I fed it.
    The recoil “to me” is very soft, and running with 17+1 that’s a pleasant surprise. Also the mags for this pistol are only $25.00. And the IWB or OWB holster come in under 60.00 from the company
    So far no issues at all with the Rex, Very beefy frame and slide. The DA/SA or cocked and lock is a welcome addition. Coming from 1911’s, I of course like that feature.
    Night sight are coming and are G10 grips, in black, FDE and green.

    • Ron T September 7, 2016, 1:35 pm

      also I paid 579.00 OTD, Great deal.

    • chris settles October 17, 2016, 4:05 pm

      Any word on those G10 grips?

  • Mig September 5, 2016, 8:26 pm

    Seeing as how Sig already makes a single action P226 and P220 I say…meh.
    I also see problems with having a slide lock that doubles as a decocker. I reload using the “slingshot” method but those that hit the slide lock during a speed reload could go too far and decock when they still have “work” to get done.

    • Tony September 5, 2016, 11:17 pm

      Negative, you can’t pull it straight down to decock from releasing the slide.

    • Greg Zimmerman March 3, 2017, 4:35 pm

      Rex Zero 1 FDE is superior to my Sig M11A1, fit finish, trigger, accuracy all much better, M11 only has SRT trigger shorter reset, otherwise it fails in comparison, my Sig So2022 shoots much better than My M11A1 also, superior sa, just not a short reset.Combined both guns ate $65 more than the M11A1, I’m done with high priced Dogs. Sir, Arex is for real and Sig owners better wake up, I did.

  • robert September 5, 2016, 6:30 pm

    Seems pretty expensive for a no name, new kid on the block. When you can get a real Sig for a little more, I think most, like me will pass

  • Larry Glazer September 5, 2016, 3:41 pm

    I have a fan page on facebook. Can you post the article on the above fb fan page?.
    “Cocked and Locked Sig Clone”

  • Charlie Porter September 5, 2016, 3:33 pm

    In many cases when I purchased a clone model trying to save a few bucks it generally cost me more, than the original . This happens when you have a problem with the clone or wanted to change grips or sight to update it. Generally no product support from the maker. or supplier.

  • Larry September 5, 2016, 11:49 am

    Nice clone, but why buy one when you can get the original for $100 more?

    • Tony September 5, 2016, 11:19 pm

      Watch the comparison videos. It performs better than the sig legion series in all testing.

    • Paul November 12, 2016, 9:01 pm

      I’ve owned two Sig P226 9mm pistols, and love them…but my Rex Zero 1S shoots circles around them both! That’s why buy the clone!! One of the easiest pistols to shoot accurately I’ve ever fired. I want the Combat model, but the FIME people told me they have no plans to import the Combat or the Compact models. Might just buy another 1S, then…it really is that good a pistol.
      Paul

  • russ September 5, 2016, 10:16 am

    sounds interesting——–have to see one in person

  • Nick Poppagiorgio September 5, 2016, 8:39 am

    Very interesting, but you lost me at the ambi-safety. No thanks…
    NP

  • Michael Dowdle September 5, 2016, 5:27 am

    Your specs list the barrel length at 3 inches. That is incorrect. It should be 4.3 inches. I’ve owned this pistol since February and it is deadly accurate. The quality is outstanding. This is one of those rare pistols that builds confidence every time I take it to the range. Everyone that sees it at the range wants to try it out. And yes, they come away as impressed as I have been .

    • MagnumOpUS September 5, 2016, 11:33 am

      Good call on the barrel length. Looking at the pics, occurred to me that it can’t have that short of a barrel.
      I’m glad you like yours. I’m intrigued by this pistol, and may regret having seen this article. 😉

  • Warren Canty September 2, 2016, 10:55 am

    I like this 9mm , nice, please send me more updates on this model.

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