Gun Review: B&T's APC9K
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I followed the Army’s little subcompact weapon competition closely, and like many, I thought the SIG MPX series would sweep it. SIG seems to be the go-to company with the United States military these days.

In addition to SIG, saw competitors in the subcompact competition including CZ, PTR, HK, Beretta, and B&T. I was pleasantly surprised the B&T APC9K won. I was even more pleasantly surprised by the gun when I got my hands on one.

B&T, or Brugger and Thomet, is a Swiss firm that’s made waves with some very high-quality SMGs and subguns alongside a neat integrally suppressed pistol and a series of carbines. Speaking of Carbines, APC9K stands for Advanced Police Carbine 9mm, Kurz. Kurz means short in German. This is one of those super small subguns that have become popular as of late.

APC9K and Finding Purpose

The barrel is only 4.3 inches long. That gives you the ballistics of a full-sized handgun in a subgun package. The advantage to guns like the APC9K isn’t some kind of extra velocity, but it’s easier to control when fired rapidly and extends your effective range to an impressive degree. With a brace or with a tax stamp and stock, the gun is quite large. Small enough to be easily used in and out of vehicles and in extremely close quarters, but too big for AIWB carry certainly.

Gun Review: B&T's APC9K
Big for a pistol, but small for a subgun (Travis Pike for TTAG)

My wife loves guns like this and uses one for home defense. It’s short and light, and she can handle it with a single arm if need be. Plus, with the addition of a suppressor, it’s still much shorter than a traditional carbine or shotgun. A suppressed subgun makes for a very effective home defense gun. Toss a light, a red dot, and a can on, and you have a very effective weapon for dealing with two-legged vermin.

There is also something to be said about fun guns. PCCs and subguns like this are some of the most fun at the range. I’ve had a blast with the APC9K over several hundred rounds.

What’s Inside

The APC9K won’t light the world on fire with its operating system. It’s a simple straight blowback gun. This requires a hefty bolt and stiff spring for safe function, and you feel it. Without my adornments, the APC9K weighs 6.7 pounds. A lot of that weight is that big heavy bolt and aluminum upper receiver.

The short little handguard offers you some M-LOK slots with rails on the sides and one on the bottom. Just enough room for a light. Over the top, we have plenty of space for an optic and a 12 o clock light if you roll that way.

Gun Review: B&T's APC9K
Not much rail estate, but there is plenty for a few accessories (Travis Pike for TTAG)

B&T serializes the upper receiver, so that’s the legal firearm. If you want, you can swap the lowers, and B&T makes GLOCK and P320 lowers. The aftermarket has also produced a Scorpion lower, and if there’s enough demand, I’ll reach out and try to get one for evaluation. We all love our Scorpion mags.

There is a multitude of brace options, and this one has a telescopic brace with a Tail Hook brace. SB Tactical also makes one. There are numerous adapters out there to use ACR stocks, 1913 rails, and beyond. In short, you have options.

Gun Review: B&T's APC9K
The B&T APC9K pops apart with ease (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Taking this thing apart isn’t hard. Two captive pins hold the upper and lower together. A separate pin holds the bolt inside the gun, and it pops out easily enough. The upper, lower, and rear plate/brace all come apart, and the gun is remarkably simple. Cleaning and lubricating are easy.

Gun Review: B&T's APC9K
The keys to the kingdom lie in this handy buffer (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Inside we see the hydraulic buffer system B&T is famous for. This buffer takes all the sting out of the blowback-operated system. It does so without needing a receiver extension as well.

On the Outside

B&T certainly impressed me with the ergonomics of this gun. It’s completely ambidextrous. I mean truly ambidextrous and not merely reversible. The safety, magazine release, and bolt release are all ambidextrous. The charging handle sits above the barrel, and the handles fold out of the way when they aren’t needed.

Gun Review: B&T's APC9K
Check out that little folding charging handle (Travis Pike for TTAG)

They are non-reciprocating and quite nice. Behind them, we get two sling loops which are also ambidextrous. I read Nick’s review of the APC9, and it looks like they listened and removed most of his gripes. The safety is massive and easy to accentuate. The pistol grip can be swapped with other AR-15 grips, but I see no reason to do so. The bolt lock is also a fair bit different from the old APC9. Ergonomically B&T did a fantastic job.

Gun Review: B&T's APC9K
The lower is completely ambidextrous (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Do looks matter? Well, if they do, the APC9K scores high.

It’s a great-looking weapon and reminds me of early 1990s action flicks. Remember when the bad guys were European terrorists with high-end weaponry? That’s exactly where the APC9K belongs. It’s sleek, stylish, and well put together.

At the Range

Oh my, the trigger on the APC9K is impressive. It’s actually very nice, especially compared to other subguns like the Scorpion. It’s light, smooth, and very short. Such a trigger makes accurate shots easy but also makes quick and easy double-taps a possibility. Short triggers are faster to pull, and light triggers are going to help with dispersion between rounds 1 and 2.

Gun Review: B&T's APC9K
The APC9K is a smooth shooter with an awesome trigger (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Speaking of accuracy, I was remarkably impressed with the gun. With an Aimpoint TL mounted, I reached started at 25 yards and moved all the way to 100 yards. Even at 100 yards, I was constantly dinging steel targets. I typically consider these to be 50-yard guns, but the APC9K makes it easy to hit a 10-inch gong at 100 yards.

Gun Review: B&T's APC9K
No ear pro needed with a suppressor and 147 grain rounds (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Typically a blowback-operated gun has some serious recoil, well nit serious, but more than you’d expect from a 9mm. However, I think the B&T’s internal hydraulic recoil buffer system does a fantastic job of reducing recoil. The gun doesn’t move and barely bucks.

Gun Review: B&T's APC9K
The brace is a must have (Travis Pike for TTAG)

6.7 pounds of gun helps keep the gun quite controllable. I could rapidly fire with the APC9K, and the red dot barely moved between shots. I could keep a string of rapid-fire in the A-zone of an IPSC target easily.

Bang and Pew

All those ambidextrous ergonomics are nice once it goes live fire. You can swap shoulders and play operator without missing a beat. My left-handed friend certainly appreciated feeling like a normal person at the range with the APC9K.

Gun Review: B&T's APC9K
It’s a sweet little gun (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I tossed a Hybrid 46M on the threaded barrel and lit off a few hundred rounds. Not a single issue. Heck, the gun still felt well balanced, with a can hanging off the end of the gun. I had zero issues with gas blowback in my face, and the gun ran reliably. Admittedly inside the gun, the magazine was absolutely filthy after some time with a suppressor.

Gun Review: B&T's APC9K
Suppressors make smile (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Honestly, guns this short are natural suppressor hosts. In fact, if you don’t plan on suppressing the gun, the longer APC9 might be for you. It gives a little more oomph to the little 9mm round with its longer barrel. However, if you are like me and love guns that are short and sweet, you might just like it for that reason. I know I do. I love this little gun and think B&T did an amazing job compacting the APC9.

Specifications: B&T APC9K

Barrel Length – 4.3 inches (5.4 with tri lug adapter)
Overall Length – 13.6 inches
Weight – 6.7 pounds
Caliber – 9mm
Capacity – 30 rounds
MSRP – $ 2,505 (about $2,200 street price)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Ergonomics * * * * *
Hot dog did B&T do a fantastic job designing the weapon. They’ve made some real improvements to the old B&T APC9K. The fully ambidextrous controls, the massive size, and the easily accessible nature make these a winner.

Accuracy * * * * * 
I’d argue the B&T ACP9K is the most accurate subgun I’ve ever handled. Not just at long range, but with rapid-fire. You can hit targets easily out to 100 yards in an unsupported standing position. When you get up, close the buffer system reduces recoil and makes staying on target easily.

Reliability * * * * *
Not a single issue with the gun, the mag, or when running with a suppressor. It’s an extremely well-made gun, and it shows. Regardless of the ammo type, it goes bang when the trigger is pulled.

Bang For Your Buck * * *
Ooh boy, it’s a great gun, but man, oh man, is it an expensive gun. At 2,200 bucks, it won’t be for everyone. Yet, you do get a fantastic gun.

Overall * * * * ½
The APC9K is a great gun that’s held back only by a big price tag. However, after my time demo-ing and testing the gun, I love it regardless of the price point and will likely buy one. And the one I buy might be the GLOCK model for the cheaper mags. I’d gladly trust it for home defense and would feel comfortable using it in that role with a suppressor and a mag full of 147-grain JHPs.

 

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49 COMMENTS

  1. I’d say something derogatory about this gunm except people who have these kinds of gunms drive by your house and shoot at it.

      • If you’re a 1 gun man. But you likely have dozens of firearms. I’m sure you have more useless examples in your collection? Sometimes, some guns, are just for the fun in life.

  2. Buy it, and be forced to buy a stamp for it in the near future?

    • A stamp for what? And who will force you, as you stated in the near future? The only stamps you need is for mailing an envelope through the usps. This is a gun forum.

  3. I always think these things look cool, but the reality is, I’ll probably never have a PCC. If I want some cheap plinking fun, I’ll break out the .22 LR.

  4. If you want braced-Glock performance but double bulk, 3x cost, 3x weight (but kicking about the same, because blowback); with two narrow rails instead of a soft, rounded cheek interface; and without intuitive mag-in-grip ergos – B&T has you covered!

    • Let me guess, you have a huge pet rock collection, and it’s worth millions of dollars you claim.

      • Trollboy,
        -Locked breech is better than derp blowback, unless blowback is really cheap.

        -$800 is better than $2505.

        -Compact is better than bulky.

        -2.2lb is better than 6.7lb.

        -Ubiquitous, reliable, affordable magazines are better than expensive proprietary magazines.

        -Reloading by “hand finds hand” is more intuitive than training to find a magwell elsewhere in the dark, under stress, etc.

        -A brace top shaped identical to a stock (except softer) is better for resting one’s cheek than a pair of narrow steel rails.

        Which of those statements do you find “dumb”? Which is even controversial? They’re simple, obvious facts.

        • Thank you! I really don’t see how this is better than a regular pistol. And I don’t see how this is better than the Copperhead. I can see people wanting it because it is smaller than an MP5, but other than that, I’m at a loss as to how it won any procurement trials.

        • It’s an upscale TEC-9, which isn’t really fair – to the TEC, which is actually much less bulky and heavy.

          OTOH, it lets people feel cool about having a “real” SMG / PC carbine, even though those sold to US civilians are neither SMGs nor carbines.

  5. Sounds like nice quality to have around if you can afford it and the ammo. I spent 120 rds sighting in two ARs that shoot under 5/8″ 5 shot groups with scopes but were finicky sighting in with night sight converted carry handles/front sights. Nonetheless bad guy should fall down @100 meters:)

    • You have 2 ar15 rifles that shoot 5 shot groups at 100 meters, that are under 5/8” grouping? And it took 120 rounds to sight that in? What ammo do you use to get that great accuracy? And do both rifles use the same ammo recipe for that accuracy?

    • I shootz one bullet at the target then walk down and stick a pencil in it 4 times.
      My rifles shootz so good it looks almost like one hole

  6. I dont even know why Im reading this since Ill never be able to afford this gun without massive guilt or a winning lottery ticket.

    • Sell some of your Star Trek collection. Where there is will, there is a way. It’s a $2500 gun. I’m sure you have far more than that in your emergency fund. I mean what if you only won $1 on lottery ticket? Come on Yvan

    • Yeah, that’s a ridiculous name. Especially coming from Austria where they actually call .380 9mm Kurz or whatever.

      Please don’t tell me the “longer” version is 38 super.

  7. It’s double the price of a CZ scorpion .
    Yes seems to be an exactly equivalent gun.
    Is there any reason to buy this instead of scorpion?

  8. Nice write up Travis. But tell us more about the older white Ford truck in the picture where you are shooting behind your workshop. Oh and clean the vines off your shop building, and the weeds growing in the gutters. Causes expensive damage later on. That’s a nice gun though bub.

    • Heavy duty price for a toy. Give it a giggle switch. And don’t charge 10000bucks. That’d be worth a tax stamp. Oh we just saw Eternals. Horrific is a compliment but my son paid for our tickets. Yer welcome🙃

  9. In a world of really short Ar pattern guns and twenty round magazines for issued pistols I struggle to understand why the U.S. Army wants/needs this.

    • MP5’s for personal security detail teams were getting worn through over a decade ago so replace/upgrade with a more modular platform maybe? Wouldn’t be my first choice but 9mm is a bit more ubiquitous than the other NATO pistol calibers.

  10. I put 3-4 mags through a B&T GHM9 with a binary trigger and I wasn’t that impressed with how the gun shot. I guess I was expecting more from the hydraulic buffer. Recoil was understandably much harsher than a MP5k. But even the straight blowback Kalashnikov USA KP9 was much smoother.

    I was also disappointed in the quality of the magazines. The person who had the GHM9 isn’t a high volume shooter, but the feed lips on his mags had deep nicks that will probably turn into cracks in a short period of time. The thick rubber base plates B&T sells to protect their magazines also doesn’t engender confidence. The build quality of the B&T guns is very high, then need up their game on the magazines.

  11. The APC9K….the “K” is not “Kurz” a 9mm Kurz is a .380acp
    The “K” actually stands for “kompakt” or in English….”compact”

  12. According to the American Heritage College Dictionary: accentuate: transitive verb. 1. To stress or emphasize, intensify. 2. To, pronounce with a stress or an accent. 3. To mark with an accent.

    Didn’t you really mean “actuate?”

    • A good copy editor is worth his weight in gold. Unfortunately these days, authors (they usually are not writers) prefer to rely on the spell check bug that inhabits their devices. This results in correct spelling, but also improper word choice of various sorts. There are a number of examples in the article.

      However, consider the phrase “rail estate” in its context. I can dig it.

      • Another gun blog advertised for some jobs a few months ago, noting “Attention to detail is an important part of all positions (hint: consider using spell-check or Grammarly, etc. before submitting a resume).”

        My comment “Your ‘hint’ contradicts your stated objective – a bit like saying ‘Applicants shall prove marksmanship skills by submitting a 500yd target (hint: consider moving from the 500 to the 5yd line before squeezing the trigger).'” received only downvotes and a whiny response. Too bad you weren’t in charge of hiring.

        • Yes, and it’s unfortunate. Call me what you will, but this is a true story. As a youngster, it was more than my interest in firearms that led me to support the NRA. The writing in their magazines was flawless. This was an earlier era, when people cared about such things. Not so today, and it hasn’t been so for years.

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  14. These pdw/pcc type guns are cool and I don’t have anything against 9×19. But I’m ready for these weapons to come in some different chamberings. Everybody just keeps coming out with their own version of 9mm pistols and pdw’s, it’s getting boring. I’d like to see something in maybe .45, 5.7, .22 tcm, .40, 10mm, 7.62×25, .380, .32. Something different.

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