In 2019 the US Army adopted their first submachine gun since the M3 Grease Gun. That submachine gun is the APC9K, and it will serve in a personal security detail role among special PSD teams. B&T, the Swiss company that produces the APC9K, was kind enough to produce a pistol variant of the famed APC9K for the everyday shooter.
- Barrel Length 4.3 inches
- Overall Length 13.6 inches (No brace)
- Weight 6.7 pounds
- Caliber 9mm
- Capacity 30
B&T APC9K Background
The B&T APC9K takes the APC and shrinks it. K stands for Kurz, or short has long been the European moniker for super short submachine guns. The weapon was developed from extremely close quarters and to be as compact as possible. The pistol variant lacks a stock and a giggle switch but is still a great representation of the APC9K.
The weapon clones the APC9K almost perfectly other than avoiding that pesky NFA. The variant B&T sent came with a nice collapsing brace that mimics the stock pretty dang well. The pistol variant not only satisfies those curious about what the Army adopted but satisfies those looking for an extremely high-quality subgun designed for extremely close quarters.
Subguns like these can be capable home defense weapons. They tend to be lightweight and handy, with low recoil, muzzle rise, and they tend to be a tiny package. It’s smaller than any shotgun or rifle but much more capable than your standard pistol. The APC9K fitted with a suppressor forms a very hearing-safe, friendly self-defense firearm, and tossing on a can isn’t tough due to the 1/2×28 threaded barrel.
The APC9K forms a very modern and ergonomic platform from which a shooter can dispense round after round of 9mm.
B&T APC9K Features
1 Ambidextrous controls
2 M-LOK slots
3 Full-length optics rail
4 Threaded Barrel
5 Multiple Brace Options
B&T APC9K Review – Our Take
As you’d imagine, from a weapon that costs over two grand and is in use by the United States military, it’s super reliable. The gun has eaten several hundred rounds, with a round count quickly nearing 1,000 rounds. In that time span, I had a couple steel cased rounds fail to fire, but they also failed to fire in a SIG P320, so I’m putting it on the cheap ammo than the gun. It eats hollow points, FMJs, and even some of those nutty 50 grain Liberty Defense loads.
The gun doesn’t seem to be maintenance picky since I certainly haven’t cleaned the gun. It left plenty of filth on my hands when I took it apart to take pictures. The APC9K hasn’t even seen any lubricant beyond my initial out-of-the-box application.
The magazines worked for me without any problems. However, it seems like B&T has some magazine issues. They admittedly feel thin, but they never broke or failed. Even after a fair amount of sand exposure, the magazine didn’t stop. Although, it grits and grinds as I load it.
The 100 Yard Challenge
A 4.63-inch barrel puts this thing on par with a full-sized handgun, so you don’t get some great ballistic advantage that’s commonly attached to a longer barrel. However, sight radius isn’t an issue with a red dot in place. I tossed on an Aimpoint with a low mount and zeroed it at 25 yards.
For fun, I took it out to 100 yards and shot from the standing position. That’s pretty dang far for a 9mm pistol. Bullet drop is about 10 inches or so. I used an IPSC target and aimed at the top of the head with the dot. I applied all the fundamentals I know to maximize accuracy. With each shot fired, I heard that very reassuring ding. I won’t lie. That loud ding gave me a dose of dopamine that made me a very happy man.
Sure, it’s a big target, but it’s also a pistol at 100 yards in 9mm. I’ll take it. Obviously, it’s time to move in, close the distance and use the APC9K at the range it’s intended for. Once we close the gap and get up close and personal, we see that the gun performs exceptionally well at any range.
When I need to place several rounds into a tiny little hole, it’s not too tough to do. The gun barely moves, and the short trigger with its positive reset makes it easy to toss lots of rounds at a target very accurately. I combined speed and accuracy to commit what’s traditionally a rifle drill in the form of the VTAC 1-5. It’s 15 rounds on three targets with five transitions.
I completed the drill in under five seconds and even tipped back to under 4.5 seconds with the APC9K with every round in the proverbial A zone.
How It Hits Back
The APC9K uses a traditional blowback system. As such, you expect more recoil than appropriate. Blowback works and works reliably, but it does provide excessive recoil and requires the use of a heavy bolt and return spring. While we do get the heavy bolt and stiff recoil spring, we don’t get the recoil.
The APC9K provides a true blue built-in buffer. This absorbs all that excessive recoil and makes the APC9K handle more akin to a kitten than a blowback pistol. Recoil and the associated muzzle rise are trimmed down significantly, and wielding the weapon is super easy to do. Dropping those rapid strings over fire feels simple and is quite fun.
On the Ergonomic Front
B&T knows a thing or two about people and how hands work. You can see that by how well the B&T APC9K handles. The controls are ambidextrous, and I mean truly ambidextrous. The safety, charging handle, magazine release, and bolt lock and release are all ambidextrous. Each control is easy to reach and activate, and they are all rather large.
The charging handles are brilliant with an ambidextrous, fold-forward design that tucks them out of the way when they aren’t in use. There are two main downsides to the gun ergonomically. First, it weighs 6.7 pounds! That’s almost as much as a modern AR 15 carbine.
Second, that stiff recoil spring means you’re gonna grunt that charging handle to the rear to charge the weapon. It takes a little effort and isn’t smooth. That’s the biggest downside, really.
Oh boy, B&T is proud of their product. It cost about $2,200 bucks. That’s pretty dang steep, but that’s what fine Swedish performance costs. The B&T proprietary magazines also cost about 50 bucks, but you can choose a Glock magazine and a SIG P320 variant if you want more common magazines.
The good news is this is a rock-solid weapon, so it will certainly last a very long life of tossing 9mm rounds downrange.
APC9K Pros and Cons
- Precise and Accurate
- Brilliant Ergonomics
- Great Trigger
- Unbeatable Reliability
I approached this blowback-operated weapon thinking it’d be like any other blowback weapon and feature stiff recoil. I was shocked by how well that internal buffer worked and cut recoil down to a very manageable level.
Not a flaw worth mentioning. Pull the trigger, and the gun goes bang. It extracts, ejects, and cycles everything from high-end defensive ammunition to low-quality steel-cased crap of dubious origin.
It’s tough to talk bad about ergonomics. The controls are fantastic, positioned well, and ambidextrous. The gun is a little heavy, and the recoil spring makes it hard to charge, but those are minor complaints for a great gun.
For a little 9mm, this thing rules. Hitting targets at 100 yards repeatedly with a 9mm isn’t easy, but the gun’s excellent trigger and inherent accuracy make it easy to take down a man-sized target.
Ooh boy, it’s a great gun, but man, 2,200 dollars is a lot of money for a limited-purpose weapon. It’s a tough sell, but it’s a fantastic firearm.
The value really tanks the gun’s scores because it’s truly a fantastic firearm. B&T certainly spared no expense in its construction, and you’ll spare no expense in purchasing it. However, if you choose the APC9K, you know you’re getting a damn fine firearm for the money.
B&T APC9K Gun Deals
B&T APC9K Ammo
B&T APC9K Starter Pack
If you’ve decided to pick up the APC9K, or found another firearm that suits your needs, there are some bare essentials you’re going to need to pick up in order to maximize its potential and your safety regardless of if it’s your first firearm or not.
- Gun Cleaning Kit: Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box on Amazon or build your own personalized cleaning kit with premium components.
- Shooting Glasses: All it takes is one piece of rogue hot brass, and you’ll learn the importance of shooting glasses. But not all glasses are built the same. See our recommendations for the Best Shooting Glasses.
- Hearing Protection: Firing a gun without wearing proper ear pro can be very dangerous and detrimental to your hearing. Find out the best hearing protection for you in our full length review.
- Storage: Check our our article on the Best Biometric Gun Safes
- Targets – If you’re wanting a great resource for shooting practice or zeroing your optics on your optics rifle or pistol, download our FREE Sighting in Targets below.
Upgrades and Accessories
B&T APC9K Accessories
Unboxing the B&T APC9K
It’s critical not only to keep your guns secure, but also to understand how strip it down and care for it. In this video below the B&T APC9K is unboxed and run through of the basic overview.
Important Links and Manuals
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