Those who have been with the channel a long time may remember one of the earliest videos was on a new gun from a new (to the US) company, Arex. That name would go unknown by many until Military Arms Channel made a video about the Zero 1 pistol. Slovenia may be a country most Americans can't find on a map, but in Europe their manufacturing is highly respected, especially since their self-liberation from Yugoslavia.
One of the companies to flourish in Slovenia is Arex. With ultra-modern production facilities, ISO certification, and absolute internal control (even their tooling is made in house), Arex is one of few firearm brands that not only makes all their own stuff, but is also a source for third-party defense manufacturers. Arex doesn't just manufacture, they also provide pre-project design, engineering, prototyping, documentation, verification, and final production for themselves and others. In short, just because you may not have heard of them doesn't mean they're not a substantial company.
The Zero line of pistols is recognizable to many Americans has having inspiration from the Sig P226 line. What shouldn't be ignored, however is that this is not just a "next step" from the P226, but in my eyes an evolution of Zastava's own improvements of the P226 in the form of the Zastava CZ99, CZ999, and EZ9. The Zero line from Arex is more like a 5th evolution from the P226. While the Zastava pistols were nice duty guns, they lacked consistency in production quality. One feature the Zastava pistols brought us is the combination of the slide lock/release and decocking lever and that brilliance continues with the Arex Zero line.
The Zero 2S is a refresh of the Zero 1. The same impeccable manufacturing to create a truly ambidextrous, Double-action/Single-action (DA/SA) hammer-fired gun, but now with some slight aesthetic tweaks and ergonomics that, despite my experience with hundreds of pistols, I didn't think was possible. Having sent back my original Zero 1 years ago, I couldn't compare the "new" to the "old", but take a look at this pistol's construction and features in the tabletop video below:
Cleaning kits or tools included with pistols are rarely something to be excited about or even mention, but Arex has done a fine job with this one: Bore mop, two brushes, and jag are all contained in what becomes a handle with pivot after constructing the cleaning rod.
Specifications for the Arex Zero 2S:
Barrel Length: 4.2″
Weight w/magazine 32oz
That uncommon grip shape and size made me think the Zero 2S would be like the Zero 1 and Zastava pistols before; a bit chonky in the hand. Having extra breadth creates more surface area of contact between user and pistol. This contract is an opportunity for traction, and also more area distributing recoil energy resulting in less pressure per square inch of contact. More hand on gun to control what is effectively less need for control per area. It can feel broad in the hand, but that breadth also makes the shooting experience more comfortable. Think of it like sitting on a folding chair versus an over-stuffed couch. Either can be comfortable for a short while, and the folding chair sure is convenient, but if you're going to be spending any length of time using it the sofa is a lot more comfortable.
I was concerned with how Teya's smaller hands might find what for my hand was a work of art. That leads us to the range video where Arex's new ergonomic design of the Zero 2S would be tested by both hand sizes.
Ammunition seen in our Shooting Impressions video was made possible by our Patrons and supporters of our ammunition savings account through Ammo Squared. Additional, on-demand ammunition through True Shot Gun Club.
Range performance was as expected, but what I didn't expect was that clever ergonomic hack that Arex has figured out. Somehow this 18+1 capacity pistol fits my hand about like most good-sized compacts, yet my thumb stays clear of controls. At the same time Teya had no trouble with it and didn't feel like she was holding a 2x4. Part of the trick is the clever hump on the left side of the grip. It's sized, shaped, and placed just so that it keeps my thumb out of the way and for Teya helps fill the gap smaller hands typically experience on larger guns. The "giraffe's neck" texture patterning (my term, not an official name) also holds nicely to the skin; enough for traction, but not exfoliation.
Conclusion: The MSRP might cause some sticker-shock for those accustomed to polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols, but for a European-made, all-metal, DA/SA pistol with the option to operate the gun as a single-action-only or as a true DA/SA, the price is quite fair. The Arex Zero 2 S is an absolute pleasure to shoot, and the more enjoyable a gun is to shoot the more likely you are to train with it. More time training (ideally) turns into better proficiency which can win a match or save your life. To me that makes the price a deal.
We got our Arex Zero 2S from Global Ordnance, with time they may be found elsewhere too.