The B&T USW – Universal Service Weapon and Aimpoint Nano in detail (many pictures)

From Switzerland to Las Vegas and back, B&T seem to have had an excellent SHOT Show with a booth flooded by visitors.

The latest version of the USW was one of the attractions at SHOT, and it also made the cover of the Shot Show newspaper.

Some of the information has been told before, some not, and some pictures have been shown before but some are brand new. For instance the USW vs. other pistols and their sizes at the bottom.

They way B&T sees it, the USW is not just a new weapon but an entire new category of weapon that fills the gap between Pistol, Submachine Gun and Police Carbine.

Please note they are not called Brugger & Thomet any longer, just B&T.

The background is that the USW was designed for European and other Police agencies that do not normally carry or have access to a long arm or a carbine, but still require the capabilities to engage targets
beyond normal handgun ranges.

This may sound strange to Americans, but access “heavy firepower” is a bit controversial in some European countries, even for the Police. Remember that there are some Police Forces in Europe that remain unarmed, and also those who have to show “special needs” to have other firearms than a pistol with them.

B&T’s target customers for this kind of firearm is “any plain clothes Law Enforcement
or security personnel who do not have access to a long arm. This includes but is not limited to:

– VIP protection/security detail
– Intelligence services
– Counter-Intelligence groups
– Surveillance Teams
– Security personnel who work in civilian clothing (common in Europe)

The US civilian or concealed carry market is not a target market for B&T, but it’s not like the MP7 forbidden for sale (as I understand) as long as you can afford it.

So if the price level (which I don’t know) may be seen as “Swiss” (very high), it may be seen differently when tax-Euros are being used to pay.

Design-wise, the USW is made to enable the shooter to engage targets effectively out to about 75 meters (80 yards).

In terms of accuracy, expect the USW to deliver 10 cm (4″) groups at 25 meters (30 yards), when using the Aimpoint Nano Red Dot and stock.

The USW A1 comes with a DA/SA trigger, but there will be a new version in 2017 with striker trigger.

Below: The bridge of the receiver which mounts the Aimpoint is fixed, so the Aimpoint Nano does not move and stays stationary during the cycling process. This is quite different from other pistols which typically have iron sights or the red dot mounted on the slide, so it moves as the gun cycles.

 

Later in 2017 there will another version with a polymer grip and a striker type trigger.

 

The USW is a Swiss designed, Swiss engineered, Swiss produced and patented service weapon that combines the size of a normal duty pistol but extends the range and accuracy to that of a 9 mm police carbine.
The weapon is a system. It is delivered with a B&T designed Level 3 retention holster and the new, state of the art, Aimpoint NANO micro red dot sight, the newest and most modern sight produced by the well-known Swedish company.

The kit also includes the B&T Advanced Pistol Light (APL), 3 magazines (17, 19, 30 rounds), a single point sling with sling loop, a cleaning kit and a polymer transportation box. The various types of attachments for the holster (belt/thigh/MOLLE) will provide safe and reliable portage of the weapon during all missions. The user does not require any further investment to put the weapon into service.

 

 

When pressing the release button, the spring loaded stock pops up for fast deployment.

 

 

Compared to most popular service pistols, the
USW only extends them in size at the folding stock
attachement point, which is negligible in use.

The frame come with a Picatinny rail, so that any type of light or laser can be mounted.

To facilitate the operation of the USW, the top slide has flared “ears” to help racking the slide.

A great view of the Aimpoint Nano, which has been a bit shy to say the least.

The folding stock is integrated into the polymer-alumnium hybrid receiver.

Below: A sound suppressor is available, which uses the same technology as the well known B&T Impuls-II A suppressor.

Compared to most popular service pistols, the USW only extends them in size at the folding stock attachement point, which is negligible in use.

Magazines are available in a 17, 19 and 30 round version.

A Level 3 holster for the USW with attached light is available.

 

Here you can see the B&T USW compared to other handguns, these pictures are completely new (to me at least). Beretta for starters.

USW vs. Glock 17 (with threaded barrel)

Walther P99

HK P30

 

In the previous TFB article some people commented on the USW being similar to design to some other concepts. This is correct, and quite interesting so I’ve included pictures of these for you to compare.

Below: VBR Belgium

 

 

 

Colt SCAMP – (Small CAliber Machine Pistol) 

 

I welcome new concepts and products, even if they take old discoveries and make the new. Previous concepts didn’t seem to have taken off, and the B&T USW might no fly either but the chances seem more likely this time.

It will be interesting to see if other producers take on the same idea, or if we will see “add ons” similar to the USW and Aimpoint Nano concept for other brands as well?



Eric B

Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with an European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatic firearms, optics and sound suppressors. Owning the night would be nice too.


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  • Timmybadshoes

    I like the concept but is size the main reason to chose this over the TP9? Feel as though they are filling the same role.

    • Harry’s Holsters

      A little less bulky.

    • thedonn007

      The TP9 has some kind of funky rotating barrel, and you have to use a proprietary sound suppressor if you want to suppress it.

    • guest

      TP9 is too big for concealed carry, open carry in uniform, maybe.

      • Sam

        Why does every pistol thread always end around concealed carry? This is not a concealed carry gun. At all.

  • Ray

    Wait why are they not called Brugger & Thomet anymore?

    • GD Ajax

      To cash in on the popularity of shorter names in Europe.

    • Harry’s Holsters

      No they switched it a while back. Interesting fact. The shady Swiss arms dealer in War Dogs was one of the founders. Good timing on the name change.

  • CS

    When the army asked for a modular pistol, the USW is what they should have received. Too little, too late.

    • Harry’s Holsters

      Agreed. This concept would be much more usable. My buddy’s sister is an MP and the amount of pistol rounds she has shot in training and quals is extremely yet the tests seem pretty easy to pass and she always does well. I doubt that would happen if she ever really needed to use the gun. The stock and optic could make a huge difference.

    • JRo

      I disagree; I think the handgun 100% has a place in a modern military.

      That said, this layout has merit as a PDW in the original sense of a small and light primary weapon for support troops with greater effective range (and greater accuracy for marginally trained troops) than a pistol. Compared to other attempts like the MP7, it offers the critical logistical/cost advantage of using a standard round. This weapon might be enough for Motor T operators, mortarmen etc. in most combat circumstances.

      I wonder if SIG engineers or the aftermarket could come up with a frame for the P320 with a side-folding stock and a solid optic mount…

      • noob

        for the Civilian (think competition gun) market having a few grip frames for the p320 with that solid optic mount only might be a real boon to help you reacquire the dot quickly. put some thumb shelves on it fore and aft to help you hold it on target, and a slide with ears…

        all you need to do is pop in your serialized trigger pack, barrel and recoil spring unit and you are good to stick in a mag and compete.

        You wouldn’t be able to take the stock to the match anyway unless it was a subgun match and that’s a whole nother sport.

    • Joe Gamer

      Too heavy, too complex, too expensive, too made in a foreign country for a barely used backup weapon platform.

    • CavScout

      You have to be kidding me… this is only a good idea because Europeans don’t want to give their cops the guns that work best.

      This is huge, and the Army should have gotten all S&W M&P full sized, compacts, and Shields.

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    1.) Will it actually be available as an SBR in the US? and,
    2.) What is the MSRP?

    • Wang Chung Tonight

      9 Trillion Swiss Krugerrands

      • noob

        so about half a F35?

    • Chris

      I can’t remember where I heard or saw it, but I think it’s MSRP is $2500.

  • Treyh007

    1st I’ve heard of a Aimpoint Nano……. is this a new Optic coming to the market?

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      I heard (from a decent source, though not fool-proof) that Aimpoint is under contract w/ B&T to produce the Nano exclusively for them. Once B&T has purchased an amount of optics named in the contract, then Aimpoint can openly market and sell them to all consumers.

  • cwp

    To riff on James’ “What if Calibers Were Famous” video, the USW is Kim Kardashian: all over the news, but to me they just look top-heavy and awkward.

    (Fortunately, I’m pretty sure I’m not the intended market. For either one.)

  • USMC03Vet

    Why not just go mp7?

    • M.

      The MP7 is much bulkier with the stock collapsed

    • Because the MP7 is a huge, expensive, poodle-poking piece of garbage? The terminal effects of 4.6mm are comparable to the terminal effects of rude language.

      • Tinkerer

        Nowadays, rude language is considered just a step below weapons grade plutonium.

      • USMC03Vet

        Good enough for SF to kill terrorists with. Good enough to restriction it’s caliber from civilians.

        • How many terrorists are actually getting killed with it? From what I’ve heard the MP7 isn’t very well liked by the soldiers to whom it’s issued, because it’s too big and heavy for what it is and if they ever have to use it the weensy li’l bullets pretty much require half a magazine in one target to end the threat. The places where 4.6mm is restricted it has nothing to do with any kind of effectiveness– real or imagined– it’s because either AP ammo is illegal or because all calibers used in military applications are prohibited from civilian sale.

          • USMC03Vet

            What SF uses > Some random guy on the internet

  • GD Ajax

    What ever happened to VBR Belgium. Did they go under or something?
    Their website looks like something out of the 90s.

    • hikerguy

      The designer didn’t have the manufacturing potiential nor the capital needed to get it off and running. Some weird Belgian law also made it where he couldn’t really advertise on the net due to some strange reason. Vaun Brauner, the designer, could have gotten a major manufacturer to further develop it, it could have been a competitor to the MP9 and MP7.

      • roguetechie

        The interesting thing is the 7.92×24 vbr-b as cool as it was, was literally one single item of the crap ton of pretty interesting designs for weapons he came up with.

        Not to mention the ammunition concepts…

  • Wang Chung Tonight

    10 cm (4″) groups at 25 meters (30 yards), YIKES. I wonder what the 100yd target looks like? Because, with a dot and a shoulder stock the capability is there. But the true mechanical accuracy may not be there.

    • AD

      Yeah, I would have hoped for better than 4″ groups at that distance. Perhaps that’s not a measure of the mechanical accuracy of the weapon, but of average groups when fired from a standing position or something? Maybe we just need more info.

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      It looks like a modified Sphinx pistol, which should be much more accurate than ~12.5 MoA. I wonder if that’s actually the pistol’s performance, or a poor shooter.

  • Ranger Rick

    I checked this out at SHOT, interesting concept, especially as multiple accessories are being developed for it including holsters. As I understand it the Swiss Railway police arr currently utilizing it on patrol.

  • Young Freud

    The discussion about the Aimpoint Nano reminded me of something. Wasn’t there someone working on a flip-up red dot sight? I remember seeing something at a SHOT show awhile back, probably 2009-2011, but it was to help solve the problem of having optics with a concealed and/or holstered weapon. Can’t find anything on it since, so I’m guessing it didn’t take off, but can’t find anything on the original release either.

  • Aurélien Morel

    The USW is based on the Sphinx 3000 (itself based on the CZ-75).

    It’s kind of coming back to the early-1900s “let’s put stocks on evey pistol” craze that died down before WWII.

    • tts

      Yuuup.

      This thing gives off real throwback vibes to me. In a somewhat good way.

      I think if it was affordable it would be a awesome range toy but as a weapon for actual operator types their needs would be better served by already existing designs.

      • It’s not intended for “actual operator types”, though, it’s intended for beat cops.

        • tts

          I realize ‘actual operator types’ is a vague term but these don’t sound very ‘beat cop’ to me:

          – VIP protection/security detail
          – Intelligence services
          – Counter-Intelligence groups
          – Surveillance Teams

          I don’t think it’d make much sense for the cop role unfortunately vs existing equipment.

          • Sunshine_Shooter

            How much of that “VIP protection”, “Intelligence Services”, and “Counter-Intelligence” is pure marketing to make the beat cop (their intended consumer) want to buy it?

          • tts

            I dunno but that is what they’re saying its for.

    • int19h

      That craze was for military uses, however. Where it was quickly made pointless by the advent of SMGs.

      Now they’re positioning this for the law enforcement market. Which is also completely different from what it was back then, since *any* cop may find themselves having to deal with an active shooter or a terrorist. So a holster-able weapon that works like a handgun most of the time, but can also be an SMG-lite if and when needed, has its niche today that wasn’t there before.

  • guest

    Oh gee, the select fire and/or the neutered SA hangun “PDW” concept re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-visited for the 100000000000000000000000000th time.

    But THIS time it will SURELY catch on.

    B&T should stick to what they do best – inconel cans and nearly theatrical weapons for assasination.

  • thedonn007

    What, no back up sights?

  • William Nelson

    I love weapons like this – good luck B&T!

  • Havok

    So a Glock and a Kriss Sphinx drunk one night……

  • CharlesH

    I love the Colt SCAMP, it has such a retro futuristic look to it.

  • Sam

    Question.

    What are those slots/rails on the front of the frame or dust cover? Above the pic rail are slots on either side of the frame… would those be to mount into a holster?

    • William Elliott

      probably additional accessory rail mounting points…or as you thought, some kind of “quick connect” holster thing

  • shooter2009

    Looks like an updated version of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. gun.

  • Richard Lutz

    Nice idea, but it needs backup iron sights that lower 1/3 cowitness the red dot sight.

  • CavScout

    This thing is dumb. It’s literally a handgun made much longer just to accomodate a stock. All because European govs don’t like guns.