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As I walked onto the range this morning, the RSO asked me what I was shooting. “Just a couple sub guns” was my response. “Show me!” He was a little bored — there was no one else on there given the rainy weather, and I figured he just wanted to talk a little shop. So I plopped down my rifle bag and pulled out the two guns I had with me. He immediately recognized the MPX, but when I pulled out the second one and announced that it was made by Brugger & Thomet he immediately responded, “Who?” I’ve been getting that a lot with this gun, which is unfortunate given how truly awesome it is . . .

Those who know H&K guns know B&T (formerly “Brugger & Thomet” until the T in B&T left recently). The Swiss company manufactures most of the iconic silencers for H&K’s line of military and police firearms, some of which are rebranded as H&K products when they ship out as part of a contract. B&T has mostly been in the business of firearms accessories since their founding in 1991, but starting in 2004 they moved into the design and production of their own line of guns. Their first truly new gun (they previously bought the rights to the Steyr TMP and sold it as the B&T MP9) is the APC9, a pistol caliber sub gun designed to compete against the likes of SIG’s MPX and CZ’s Scorpion EVO 3.

While B&T has a pedigree among those who know their gun companies the way most people know their sports teams, there’s not really a whole lot of brand recognition here in the US market right now. SIG SAUER and CZ are known quantities, but B&T is a recent entry. Their US offices still smell of fresh paint and the shipping containers for their first run of APC9 and APC45 firearms remain mostly untouched. Note the serial number on this gun — the 73rd brought into the country. B&T has an uphill battle if they want to make a splash in the American market, but given the superb quality of their product, that shouldn’t take long.

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I’ve been doing this whole “gun reviewer” thing for a while now, and one of the things I’m starting to realize is that to a certain extent, you can feel the difference between the quality of two firearms just by picking them up. The difference between the Scorpion and MPX, for example, is fairly obvious given that one is made from relatively rough plastic and the other is a more traditional coated aluminum. Working the actions of both you can feel that one is machined with a little more care than the other. For those who thought the difference between those two guns was rather large, the difference between a Scorpion and an APC9 is like the difference between a Model T and a Ferrari F12.

The fit and finish on this gun is exquisite. On every part of the gun, the external coating is silky smooth, even the internal rails that guide the bolt back and forth. The result is that working the action feels like you’re rubbing two pieces of lubricated Teflon against each other — not one bit of grit or roughness whatsoever. Everything comes together in a precise package with zero slop and not a bit of wobble anywhere. It just feels so solid.

The caveat for B&T giving me access to review these guns is that I needed to fire them in full auto. No complaints here! They wanted me to understand why they made certain design decisions, and to do that you need to fire the gun as it was intended to be used. Semi-auto is cool, but this gun was born to run.

That’s where the other interesting design feature comes into play: its hydraulic buffer. Instead of simply relying on the return spring to arrest the heavy straight blowback-activated bolt B&T designed a buffer in the rear of the gun to soak up the remaining recoil. That feature extends the recoil impulse over a longer period of time, which means less felt recoil (and more controllability) for the same amount of energy being transferred. I gotta say…it really does work.

Add to all that the fact that the gun is cool. Really, really cool. But the question is whether she’s worth the price. CZ’s pistol caliber thing is $849 MSRP. SIG’s MP5 replacement is $1,378. For this piece of Swiss mechanical art, B&T is commanding the princely sum of $2,250. You could buy both an MPX and a Scorpion for less than one APC9. Of course the same could be (and frequently is) said of Wilson Combat’s masterpieces or LaRue’s surgical instruments. Is the APC9 worth that extra cash? Stay tuned.

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31 Responses to First Impressions: B&T APC9

  1. I’m interested to hear how the trigger is. I got to shoot one of B&T’s MP9s this weekend and the trigger on that was loo loooooong and heavy.

  2. Way too rich for my blood. Unfortunately, I do not see a market for this what so ever at that price point, especially with pistol caliber carbines. You have to be a serious enthusiast to want to purchase one of those.. and frankly, they just don’t exist.

    • Exactly. The biggest issue is that most of the money goes into controllable full auto. Since that is immediately off the table for, well, everyone, then the added cost is very difficult to justify.

  3. If the Hughes Amendment was repealed tomorrow and we could purchase the full auto version, $2400 would still be steep but would be worth it. However, for a semi-auto that you’d have to SBR to be able to have the requisite forward grip and stock, no thanks.

    I’ve little doubt it’s as wonderfully made as Nick says, but for a range toy, it’s just too much.

  4. At that price, I would only be a buyer in some alternate universe where I could have a full auto version with a stock on it. 2,250 is too much for what amounts to little more than a range toy.

    • Good job! You got an honorable mention!

      I agree with you too. This is a rich mans toy and likely will not operate any more reliable than a lot of semi auto converted WWII SMGs. That said, it does “look” better than a lot of converted WWII SMGs.

  5. Superb quality, exquisite, solid…words usually reserved for describing firearms that are handcrafted from forged steel and hand rubbed select walnut. What are we discussing here, injector molded plastic, metal stamping, CNC machined aluminum? Yea, that’s worth over two grand, especially in the mighty 9mm caliber (sarcasm, in case you weren’t sure).

    • Extruded aluminum, extremely high tolerances and barrels made in heaven…but if you wanna hate go right ahead…just know what you’re hating. 😉

      • No hate involved. I’m simply old enough to remember when these descriptions did not apply to machine made firearms. Fifty years ago there was still a high degree of hands-on human involvement in the process. I understand the practicality of the newer materials and processes, and I use such firearms. But I have never formed the same sort of bond with any polymer pistol as I have with an old Hi Power, Colt, or Luger. The same is true of rifles and shotguns. As for submachine guns, an original Colt Thompson 1921 or Steyr-Solothurn MP34 are virtually works of art, made in a time when craftsmanship was still affordable. I lament the passing of this golden period of firearms manufacture (ditto for airplanes, cars, comic books, movies, and TV shows). I have little doubt that many of the newer guns will outperform the older designs. I simply find myself now identifying with a comment made by Obi-Wan Kenobi, “An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.”

  6. Back in the day, you could pick up a surplus Sten, only slightly deactivated, for $14.95. Quality of build was only slightly better than the average bumper jack, but it was a reliable bullet hose.

  7. Nice piece. However, for $2,400, I would surely prefer to buy semi-auto 12ga HD ($800?), a FNX in 45ACP ($800?) and an AR style rifle (800?). I would then have a useful group, rather than an expensive toy. Just me, but my $$$ conscience will not allow $2,400 to play. Nice piece, too expensive.

    • My $$$ conscience will, but not for semiauto, that is a joke. Short barrel, funny looking 9mm handgun? I don’t think so.

  8. So how did you work out the arrangements to test that piece?

    The USA distributor showed up at the range?

    Or did you do the 200 bux transfer and wait?

  9. I recently rented a car, went online and reserved a car in Atlanta, to be driven one way to Virginia. Picked car type, options (satellite, gps, etc) time and date all without needing to interface with a person. Car was nice, trip was great, turn in was quick and easy. They sent me an email to take an online survey of their service. I gave them a ten on all but one question, ten being the highest rating. The one question was overall satisfaction, I gave them a five. There was a place to put a comment, I said, too expensive.

  10. And the price tag is while they will continue to be a relatively unknown brand in the USA, known only in niche circles.

    • You mean unknown and pricey just like HK right…oh wait. I love it how everyone just bashes the price without any real forethought. Just like the writer says…you want a ford you can buy one…you want a ferrari you can buy one of those too…they both get you from point A to B on wheels. It may be a non starter for those with a smaller wallet…but America is full of high end gun afficionados that are will to spend the extra dollar to get a product that appeals to the high end.

      • I can see I’ve triggered you. My apologies.

        Maybe we should clarify, what is B&T’s goal? If there goal is to sell relatively few units to a select type of client, then you would be correct. If the goal is to bring the gun into the main stream market, then it will be a failure at that price point.

        Also H&K is pretty much a failure on the American Market when it comes to rifles. This is more or less due to German Export laws than anything else.

        • Triggered…I like that! 😉 To your point about HK…they are a failure because they have not imported what the market desires. Can you imagine if HK sold actual single fire MP5, MP5K and MP7 pistols? They could command 3k pricing all day long and people would buy them like hot cakes. To your point again…at what numbers would those weapons sell? I’m no expert at that, but the US gun market is huge, and there are lots of people willing to drop that kind of money for an “exclusive” product. I put that in quotes, because it remains to be seen if this is really all the gun that the writer says it is…

  11. If I didn’t have to kiss uncle sammy’s boot to get one in full auto with a stock I’d be willing to put down two grand… If I had it. Ah… The college life.

  12. Why don’t someone make something like that in 7.62 x 39 OR 5.56 ?? I have the right to protect myself and if you don’t like it tough $hit.
    The 2nd Amendment was put into the Constitution so the people could protect themselves from a corrupt government. No double standards put DC politicians on Obamacare and SS.Thanks for your support and vote.Pass the word. mrpresident2016.com

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