Brügger & Thomet APC 556/300 Coming in 2015

Brugger__Thomet_BT_APC556_5.56mm_NATO_Select-Fire_Assault_Rifle_Carbine_SBR_and_Semi-Auto_Tactical_Rifle_Carbine_SHOT_Show_2015_David_Crane_DefenseReview.com_DR_2

I’ve kept my eyes open for literature regarding the new Brügger & Thomet carbine family, since I managed to miss their booth at the 2015 SHOT Show. Fortunately, Defense Review covered the rifle at the show, which appears to be essentially similar in operation to the AR-180 and G36 (I haven’t seen any pictures of the bolt yet, but I suspect it’s a Johnson-type multilug design):

As long as we’re on the subject of cool new non-AR-type tactical rifle/carbines we should probably mention the new Brugger & Thomet (B&T) AP556, which, according to DefenseReview’s (DR) understanding, will be available in both select-fire/full-auto assault rifle/carbine/SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) and civilian-legal semi-auto-only tactical rifle/carbine models in the near future. DR recently viewed and handled the B&T AP556 at SHOT Show2015, and it looked pretty good for a short-stroke gas piston/op-rod (push-type operating rod). And, frankly, it’s just nice having another tactical carbine choice out there for the ol’ gun safe. Mo’ choices, mo’ betta’.

Brugger  Thomet BT APC556 5.56mm NATO Select Fire Assault Rifle Carbine SBR and Semi Auto Tactical Rifle Carbine SHOT Show 2015 David Crane DefenseReview.com DR 2 Brugger & Thomet B&T AP556 Select Fire and Semi Auto Only Tactical Rifle/Carbine/SBRs: More Gas Piston/Op Rod Rifle Goodness with Ambi Controls! (Video!)The B&T AP556 (the European civilian-legal version is currently called the AP223) sports ambi (ambidextrous) conrols, including safety/selector switch, magazine release button and bolt carrier release/catch button/lever, as well as a folding stock. However, a telescoping/retractable folding stock is currently in the works, to allow for length-of-pull adjustment. The AP556’s magwell accepts standard AR mags (4179 STANAG), and the rifle currently comes with MagPul PMAG’s, although we don’t yet know how many. The SHOT Show demo gun also featured flip-up front and rear BUIS (Back Up Iron Sights).

The B&T AP556’s charging handle is ambidextrous in that it can be switched to either side. The adjustable gas block has two positions. Barrel length on the carbine variant is 16 inches (16″) (at least on the demo gun), and sports a bird cage-type flash hider/suppressor.

B&T is looking to get the AP556 BATF-complient and imported for sale by summer 2015. Pricing is not yet known.

Defense Review also posted a companion video of the gun at the booth:

The representative says the rifle is expected on the US market later in 2015, and he mentions that a likely early configuration will be the pistol variant (the CZ representatives at SHOT that I talked to also mentioned that pistols are more compatible with ATF import regulations). DR wasn’t the first to cover the APC 556/300; late in January, Aftermath Gun Club also interviewed a B&T rep:

While the rifle is in design another boxy SCAR-esque rifle of the current generation, the design theory behind the gun is a little different than its competitors. For a start, the carbine is intended mainly for law enforcement, to replace 9mm carbines with a more powerful round – namely the .300 Blackout/Whisper – while maintaining the handiness of the sub-machine gun. Such subcarbines are not a new idea, but gearing the weapon specifically to the law enforcement officer is relatively novel.

Second, the rifle isn’t designed to be modular as such – the representative said that conversion is possible, but that since most law enforcement users do not need a convertible rifle, it was not explicitly designed for user-level conversion. Some might consider this a disadvantage of the rifle against competitors like the SCAR or S805 Bren, but I tend to agree more with the B&T rep.

The new APC 556 weighs – according to the brochures available through B&T’s website – a fairly stout 3.57 kilograms (that’s almost eight points) unloaded with a 12″ barrel. Certainly this is heavier than I personally would like, but it’s very typical of new designs in the APC’s class. The APC 300 is a bit lighter, presumably due to its wider bore.

 

Thanks to commenter MPWS for the tip.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Cedar_92

    Saw these on the cover of Recoil mag. Very cool guns coming in this year

    • One thing of note, RECOIL erroneously listed the company as “Brügger + Thomet” on the cover but for a little while now the company has been B&T AG (formerly Brügger & Thomet).

      • Cedar_92

        Brugger + Thomet sounds sweet , maybe that’s why they did it but idk. Love your channel btw, always have sexy girls doing gun reviews 😀

        • Thanks, we haven’t had time for that lately. We were just talking about how the cameras aren’t with us at the range as much as they used to be.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          “Broozer and Toe-may” fwiw

          • FarmerB

            Maybe if you’re a French speaker…

            But without having met the two gentlemen involved, Karl Brügger and Heinrich Thomet, and the fact that the company is registered in Canton Bern, I’m fairly confident they were German speakers.

            Company is formally “B & T AG” – since Feb 2011.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Oh how strange…

            Because that’s how all the reps at B&T’s booths have pronounced it. You know, it being SWISS which has no specific language but just a usage of French, German, and Italian.

            And yes, thanks, I know the company is formally “B&T” now.

          • FarmerB

            I’ll be down there in a couple of weeks, I’ll ask.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Handled both of these last month. I’d have to check my notes but I was most interested in the APC9.

    I had a B&T TP9 SBR that was probably the most disappointing gun I’ve ever owned. Sold it and glad I did. It was a terrible gun to suppress. I have a large volume sub-gun can and it has monstrous blowback. I fully believe the only can for that gun must be the one they make. The parts complexity and availability was also terrible.

    So I went into the APC9 being cautious. I liked a few aspects about it but overall I left feeling like the SIG MPX was the better gun for me.

    The APC9:
    Front heavy. Very.
    Racked nice, good trigger
    But NOT an AR trigger! They had originally intended it to be, but it is not. It’s almost identical but incompatible, unfortunate.
    They had a prototype with a ported barrel with selector for full velocity, this did not make it to production
    Had a cool Swiss logo on the side 🙂
    B&T UMP/MP5 folding stock, obviously
    A little smaller than I’d like, definitely smaller than the MPX or MP5, some people think this is a good thing until you really run one out, I vastly prefer my MP5 fullsize to the K models.
    Mags were TP9 which were fine, but unavailable and expensive which is basically the whole issue with B&T

    They would have to make serious inroads in the US market in terms of availability and pricing. They have a very nice product, the buffer system is good, the gun is made inexpensively (aluminum extrusion), the bolt/carrier are simple, I like this gun. I just probably wouldn’t buy one unless B&T gets their US game together.

    • echelon

      I haven’t handled either, but I agree with you that with the AR market in the US they either have to position this thing for rich dudes who just “have to have one” (which is probably what they’ll do) or as an affordable AR alternative. In either case they should probably have conservative sales estimates out of the gate.

    • My experience with the TP9 is as opposite as can possibly be. After spending more time with it I found it being the first in its class I’d pick up to use. Incredibly reliable, not ammo picky, tolerant of not being cleaned (I was lazy with it awhile), and I have a nice supply of Steyr and B&T magazines. When I bought the TP9, I had to live on ramen for months, as such material things are sort of out of my class – I just make it happen anyhow.

      I don’t think DSA handled the brand well but I was able to buy the spare parts I wanted (pins, springs, extractor). I was even able to get a second extension so I have both mounts (though I use a threaded TROS adapter). Now we have RTG Parts and H&K Parts carrying parts including future plans to keep supply of replacement parts for the TP9 and APC series.

      I prefer the size of the TP9 and APC9. I think that’s where such a gun fits in the niche. When we get to the full size MP5, I ask, why not an HK33? Or an SLR106UR SBR? I want my sub caliber guns to be compact, it should fit in a small range bag or small laptop case. That’s my personal preference.

      I don’t like the weight of the APC223/556 but I don’t like the weight of most of the classic firearms. I think the guns with the best weight and balance, to give you comparative reference to my personal tastes, are the Colt AR15 SP1 full size and the FN SCAR 16S. Those two balance the best for me in that I feel less fatigue at the end of the day. Anecdotes are very subjective.

      Now doubt the price is high, but some of that is the US dollar and the even the recent Franc drop in Switzerland caused a very sudden real change in exchange. There are a lot of factors here and this gun will certainly not be for the average AK or AK crowd. Arguably the practical thing to do is to stick with the standards that have a lot of available parts and third party accessories. We aren’t all looking for a non-AR just to have a non-AR though. The numbers will never be in the ranks of such guns, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a viable market for them.

      Add also that B&T USA has just started, a sister company to B&T
      in Switzerland and not just an importer, with people very keen on making
      the parts available alongside the firearms.

      Of everything shown at SHOT Show 2015, the APC series is what I am most interested in purchasing for myself, for actual use…FAMAE for curio collector pieces.

      I think I’m going to be eating a lot of ramen this year.

      • Ethan

        Who are you?? 😛

        • Dan

          GASP!!!!! Dopplegangers!

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Agreed to disagree 😀 I liked a few aspects about the TP9, but could never justify it over the MP5 that just shot “better”. That it shot terrible suppressed, there was no way to change that, and yea, DSA botched everything about it (such clowns). I don’t miss it, but I understand how it might be different for someone else.

        I’m still interested in the APC, but they somehow dropped complexity, added weight, and I expect the price to be no less than $2k. I just remember not being impressed with the balance and weight.

        • It is certainly subjective and I have some of the same concerns. It is unfortunate that $2,000 has become the new standard for new arms of this sort.

          I’ve already listed the MSRP for the approved APC9 and APC45 on my site, and you are correct, but I expect to pay less than MSRP. The APC’s in rifle cartridges will be more money, but I’m still quite interested.

          As a side note, the bolt catch works like the Robinson Armament style we now see on the ACR/Massada and RRA 308, but it has been moved above the magazine release. I haven’t had any range time yet but just handling it I found I liked this quite a bit. The ergonomics of these locations and order is much more fluid and I look forward to trying it out. Like the H&K and Walther paddle mag release on their pistols, this comes down to preference, some people love it and want all hand guns to be this way and some won’t buy anything that uses it.

  • TreizFaction

    Look at us we can make a SCAR too that also won’t sell… >.>

  • Ian Thorne

    I like it. But being B&T that means it will run somewhere around 4 thousand dollars. I would look at it in the $1500 range,

    • sauerquint

      The MPA is trying to be that gun. With a little patience it could be great at it. I hope some of the failures, I would call them minor, will be dealt with quickly and they are given a chance.

  • MountainKelly

    Very nice. B&T makes great firearms

  • Tom

    How is the clearance on the charging handle for optics? Also why did they not go with a monolithic upper rail?

    • JumpIf NotZero

      The barrel doesn’t touch the rail like it does on an AR at the barrel nut. So what is the difference if the upper is segmented into upper+rail vs one part? At least at two parts you could put different length rails on.

      • Tom

        The rail seems to me milled into the receiver so I do not think you could put different lengths on. I just (and its a much about neatness as anything else) don’t see why they didn’t mill a monolithic rail on and use a ‘u’ shaped handguard with rail attachment points. As you say there is no need for a join at the barrel but so no reason to have the joint.

        • toms

          Its not, the rail is removable. the barrel is easily pulled. it does have adjustable gas which might get in the way of a longer handguard, Its a nice rifle.

          • Tom

            Well that makes sense – if the rail is bolted on rather than milled directly to the receiver.

          • toms

            I think a longer handguard will come but it will have to be a scar style that is not contiguous on top. I really liked the gun. Definitely Swiss rolex type gun. The action is very slick, it also has a nice medium trigger. I suspect it will be Q3 or probably 4 before we see any though.

  • toms

    This carbine was very promising. Its very ergonomic and well put together. Probably accurate but a tad heavy. I would get one if priced under 3K if for no other reason than it’s high on the cool factor.

    • I have early projections, MSRP will be under $3,000 for the APC223.

  • noguncontrol

    monolithic rails only make things heavier, look at the cz 805 bren, now this.

    • I was really surprised with how heavy the 805 pistol was. It appears deceptively lighter.

  • What is your personal opinion on the APC9 weight vs the MP5?

    • FarmerB

      Hmmm, not sure that I thought about it so much when comparing them back-to-back. But my impression (thinking back on this) is that the APC is lighter than the MP-5 (of course, it depends on the stock configuration) but that it’s not well distributed. As I say, having used a number of different versions, I’m probably averaging my impressions. We’ll have to specifically look at this during our next sub-gun get together…