Simple Elegance: Field Stripping The B&T APC9

The decision to purchase a B&T APC9 was not taken lightly. It is priced at nearly triple the cost of the CZ Scorpion and equal to that of some of the more popular MP5 builds offered to the U.S. market. And yet, for some magical reason I was drawn to the Swiss import pistol caliber carbine (pistol). Besides being unique and having a super sexy silhouette, the APC9 comes ready to suppress with a three lug contoured barrel.

But the real selling point of this pistol-brace laden (soon to be short barreled rifle) firearm is its exquisite simplicity. I’m sure it’s manufactured with high-tech machines and designed by top engineers, but the ease at which it disassembles into a handful of precision parts is remarkable. Which is probably the definition of expert design and manufacturing.

In any event, I wanted to field strip the APC9 for our readers in an effort to show why I enjoy owning this gun. If the MP5 were to have an heir to the SMG/PCC throne, this gun is the royal family’s first born. (Sorry UMP, I want to love you and everything, but you’ll forever be a prince in a king’s world).

FIELD STRIPPING THE B&T APC9:

Due to import restrictions, the APC9 enters the U.S. as a pistol. SBTactical worked alongside B&T to develop a very functional folding pistol stabilizing brace.

The APC is operated via a reciprocating side charging handle. I choose to have the handle on my weak hand side.

Like the SCAR and opposite of the AR15, the APC line of guns from B&T is designed so that the upper receiver is the registered firearm and the lower receiver is an uncontrolled part.

Although accurate, I consider the embedded sights to be used primarily as backup iron sights (BUIS).

This one screw (center of the picture) is all it takes to remove the SB Tactical brace and install the folding stock.

Pushing out the rear takedown pin frees the rear of the upper receiver to pivot on the front takedown pin. It also enables the rear trunion/buffer assembly to be removed. Push down on the stock/brace assembly (0.25″ of movement) and pull it back to remove.

The lower assembly with captive takedown pins.

The APC uses the same fire control group as the AR15. Many AR triggers will drop in and function as advertised. And a few selector switches as well.

Look familiar?

The recoil buffer assembly. It is interesting that this one includes a .40S&W designation as well as a 9mm and .45ACP. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an APC40 on the market.

The charging handle can be swapped from side to side in under a minute without tools. With the mainspring removed, pull the bolt back to the circular notch in the receiver. Rotate and pull the handle out. Insert the handle on the opposite side using the reverse method.

The mainspring assembly.

The bolt and extractor. It’s weight helps with smooth cycling, especially when suppressed.

The barreled upper receiver.

The B&T APC9 stripped and ready for cleaning.

APC9

APC9 and MP5 magazines for comparison.





Pete

LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Pete.M@staff.thefirearmblog.com
Twitter: @gunboxready
Instagram: @tfb_pete
https://www.instagram.com/tfb_pete/


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  • datimes

    If you can’t get this gun in a full auto configuration what’s the point?

    • Mike N.

      You can ask the same question of any pistol caliber carbine/pistol-with-a-brace-that’s-close-enough. Because it’s fun?

    • Old Tofu

      to get the gun . . . that’s ALWAYS the point

    • FarmerB

      If you can’t get it in full-auto, move.

      • datimes

        I’m open for suggestions. FL has been pretty good to me so far.

        • FarmerB

          Too many hurricanes 🙂
          It was a bit tongue in cheek – everybody tells the Californians to move to a more gun friendly state, so I was sort of saying the same. Mine isn’t full auto, but I could have gotten one…

    • PK

      A thought occurs to me about this and the AR FCG compatibility… the Echo FCG from Fostech. I wonder if the bolt could be modified to work properly. At that point, with a double-tap per pull/release, you really have the same utility as the SMG itself.

  • PK

    “If the MP5 were to have an heir to the SMG/PCC throne, this gun is the royal family’s first born.”

    …but it’s a direct blowback system. In what way is that superior? I’ve had more than enough gas shoved in my face by firing unlocked pistol actions with silencers, thanks.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      I did consider this when I made the statement. I used the UMP as the context because it’s not delayed in any sort of way. I will say that the blowback on a suppressed APC is minimal.

      • PK

        I see where you’re coming from, but in my opinion to displace the MP5 would mean that it needs to be superior. The ergonomics certainly appear to be, and it’s good to hear that the silenced gas blowback isn’t excessive, but having no sort of delay also makes it quite a bit heavier than it could otherwise be.

        As it stands, it’s half a pound heavier than an MP5A2 with what, a 2″ shorter barrel?

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming actual superiority over the MP5. But what the next generation MP5 could have looked like. I could have phrased it better.

          • PK

            Ohhh! Now I get it!

            I totally misunderstood the thinking behind what you said, and I truly thought you meant that the APC is better in real-world use (including silenced) than the MP5.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        . I will say that the blowback on a suppressed APC is minimal.

        I’d love to believe you outright – but I’ve seen people say that about the MPX which is a POS suppressed compared to my MP5. But my MP5-K while I had it was also bad suppressed because of the locking piece being a bit more finicky than in the fullsize. Scorpion was good suppressed, but so much recoil for a 9mm subgun!

        Can you compare APC9 to MP5 suppressed? And the recoil?

        • PK

          Out of curiosity, what degree LP were you running on the K?

          • JumpIf NotZero

            I don’t remember. 90 maybe?

            Whatever it was I think it was 10-15degrees off from my fullsize and it was night and day different.

        • QuadGMoto

          I got to shoot an APC45 suppressed. The recoil was minimal. Unfortunately, I can’t give you any direct comparisons. All I can say is that I finished with a huge smile and even more determination to buy and suppress an APC9.

        • FarmerB

          I’ll have to do that comparison, we have APC9, MP5’s and MPX with the same tri-lug. I have to say that the MPX isn’t as good suppressed as people think it is.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            I don’t know anyone but new MPX owners that say it suppresses well. It doesn’t. There MIGHT be some ammo and can combos that are better than others, but I got blowback on my MK9K high-volume can, and the same on a 45 can with a larger bore, so no thanks.

            If it did suppress well – no question, I’d have one. Now I’m looking at the APC9.

          • FarmerB

            As I said, I’ve not run them side-by-side at the same time to compare, but my recollection is that APC is better. I was surprised how poor the MPX was, since it’s supposed to have all the right pieces to make it work well (i.e. piston). I guess it’s just too fast and opens too early.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Who knew putting a port AT THE CHAMBER of a piston system would open too early!!!?? (anyone who really knew anything about guns)

          • FarmerB

            Ok, I took an APC with B&T suppressor, an MPX with same B&T suppressor (I have a tri-lug on it) and mate bought an MP5-SD (didn’t have access to “normal” tri-lug one last night). That’s favoring the MP5 a bit, I know, but it’s what I had.

            Ammunition was S&B 124 gn FMJ.

            Took some slo-mo videos, but it doesn’t really show the effects that clearly (I’m still trying to get slo-mo videos to display properly on the PC – I’ll work on that).

            But across a couple of shooters, it was clear that MP5 was best, APC was middle and MPX was worst. The MP5 just pushed a cone of smoke out the front, APC let some come back via the chamber (and kicked a lot of sh*t/unburnt powder out the ejection port) and the MPX just had gas coming out every orifice.

            I don’t think any were unpleasant to the point of unshootability, but the MP5 was definitely easier on the eyes. The other two kicked an enormous amount of debris out the ejection port.

            YMMV.

          • Pete – TFB Writer

            Thanks for doing that. If you upload your vids to YouTube I’ll write a TFB post with credit to you and this discussion.

          • FarmerB

            Actually, I can take them both down a cellar tomorrow and try ’em. I’ll get a mate to bring a couple of MP5’s.

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          To be honest, the recoil of any 9mm PCC/SMG has never bothered me. The real test would be to have a full auto APC9 alongside a full auto MP5. But I’ve never had access to a FA APC.

          I’d still guess the MP5 would win.

          Blowback is something I can try to test/compare however.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            I know none of them are “bad” recoiling, but going from mp5 to Scorpion doing A/B/A/B/A/B compare was stunning. The scorpion despite being dirt cheap and having a ton of appeal went into a box and got sold.

          • Pete – TFB Writer

            I’ll see if I can get some video comparisons.

          • FarmerB

            Interesting: seems the Scorpion and the APC stir a lot of emotion here. I’ve run into people that HATE the CZ and others (including local police) that think the APC is a piece of junk. Nobody is without an opinion.

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          To be honest, the recoil of any 9mm PCC/SMG has never bothered me. The real test would be to have a full auto APC9 alongside a full auto MP5. But I’ve never had access to a FA APC.

          I’d still guess the MP5 would win.

          Blowback is something I can try to test/compare however.

  • cosmoch

    Before there is some complaining again about the high price, please remember that the minimum salary in switzerland is around 3500$-4000$/month for an average worker. So a gun costing 2000$-2500$ is considered affordable here.

    • Kelly Jackson

      So overinflated wages cause overinflated prices of products?

      Who’d of thunk it?

      • SGT Fish

        thus inflating themselves out of the market in other countries. sounds like they screwed themselves pretty well. I believe we call these “unintended consequences”

        • int19h

          And yet, they’re one of the most prosperous countries on the globe, by many different metrics, including overall quality of life of an average citizen.

          Perhaps it’s not always about markets.

          • Wow!

            Markets always matter, if not then you are dependent on speculation, which the Swiss basically are. However they can maintain this in a large part due to their political neutrality, which means they can essentially play to both sides without anyone getting on their case. As a design for a country, it is a very smart setup, but morally I don’t like what the Swiss do and the consequences of their business.

      • iksnilol

        Not overinflated. Swiss Franc has good value. It’s simply that they are much richer on an individual basis.

    • nova3930

      Wife and I passed through Switzerland on vacation a few years back. I’ll never forget dropping in the Chinese joint (yeah just like one in the US) down from the hotel getting an order of kung pao chicken, fried rice and 2 cokes to have a bill pushing $80……

      • FarmerB

        Yeah, it’s the exchange rate – just bloody stupid. And not made any better by Financial crisis and people wanting a “safe haven” for their loot – so they all bought Swiss Francs and pushed it up in value. The Central Bank has spent 10’s (100’s?) of billions trying to keep it low.

        • iksnilol

          Not bloody stupid, if it was, Switzerland would’a failed a long time ago.

          • FarmerB

            If it wasn’t stupid, they wouldn’t be spending billions to keep it lower.

  • Harry’s Holsters

    Beautiful!

  • Eric B

    Very nice – thanks! I wish mine were that clean.

    It’s very easy to change the stock on this pistol / SBR.

  • Mr._Exterminatus

    It’s a neat weapon, but for that amount of money I could buy some other stuff that I want more. I’m sure it’s an excellent product, just not for me.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Yea, you could buy an MPX and a Scorpion…. and still not have the B&T.

      I fail to see how that changes anything about the topic of a well designed – albeit blowback – specialty gun.

      • Mr._Exterminatus

        I can appreciate a well designed weapon, my point is, it simply holds no purpose for me at that price. Simply stating an opinion.

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          I can understand that.

        • iksnilol

          I’d rather get some women of ill repute and some blow.

          • DangerousClown

            If you’re not too choosy about the women, you might even have change left over for a Scorpion.

      • Mr._Exterminatus

        I can appreciate a well designed weapon, my point is, it simply holds no purpose for me at that price. Simply stating an opinion.

  • The_Champ

    No surprise a blowback sub-gun is simple. They really haven’t changed for the last 100 years. The really impressive thing is how expensive the Swiss managed to make this gun. I guess they are no strangers to over priced sub-guns though, see the Solothurn S1-100 and the MP41/44.

    • PK

      …or the absolutely marvelous SIG 1920 Bergmann patent SMG. That remains my personal favorite out of all the first generation designs.

  • Kelly Jackson

    An elegant weapon for a more civilized age

  • Dan Klein

    I don’t get the appeal of these at all. They are stupid expensive and have an ascetic that makes them look like they could be Keltec’s’ “special” cousin that no one talks about at family gatherings.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Tastes are so personal. However I’d have to say that you are probably in the minority here.

      • GaryOlson

        Dismissing the minority viewpoint! Good thing politics aren’t discussed!

        Seriously, I agree these all give me the impression of movie props designed for camera angles instead of firing positions. When you expend all your ammo it works well as a club.

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          No dismissal. It’s just rare to hear criticism of the APC based on looks.

          • Dan Klein

            I just find that so hard to believe. They are just uglier umps that are the price of a SCAR 17. All those screws really don’t remind you of Keltec Pete?

          • Pete – TFB Writer

            It’s funny you say that because besides availability, the screws are what will keep me from buying a KelTec. But those screws remind me of a Nerf gun. And I don’t get that feeling from the APC. I need a control group – what gun do you consider sexy?

          • Dan Klein

            I’m a big fan on the x95. More conventionally new galil ace and the CZ Bren are both nice.

          • Pete – TFB Writer

            Ha. Awesome. I guess I’m a bit confused since the CZ Bren could easily be confused as the APC’s brother…

    • PK

      I enjoy the looks. It has that same brutalist aesthetic displayed with firearms such as the Sterling, Sten, MP38/40, and so on.

  • TheUnspoken

    Nice photos and break down.

    My initial thought when the APC was announced, coming from the HK side of things was “great, another spendy sub gun.” But I began to get a better picture of where it fits as I thought about it.

    The mp5 is just a classic and for those who want one, there is no substitute, just like any classic design.

    I do think it competes well with the UMP, both in the police market (more compact, aluminum vs polymer receiver if you like that) and in the consumer market, with the USC no longer imported and even when it was, a conversion involved a lot more work, parts, and cost, especially since the USC was imported as a sporter rifle. If you wanted a UMP 9 then getting an aftermarket barrel/bolt/mags adds even more cost. From that perspective the APC 9 might be up to 50% the cost of a UMP 9 conversion. As a ump alternative it makes sense.

    I have seen some APC 9s priced closer to the Sig MPX or zenith/omega guns, and at that price point I think the APC 9 has a lot going for it vs the others, especially if you get it under 2K.

    If you are going by price alone the GHM9 or discontinued p26 is more at the skorp price point.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Well said. Thanks.

  • El Dude

    SB Tactical – Release the brace for the TP9/P26 already!

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Careful… TP9 looks cool as an SBR but suppresses terribly and it’s cheaper to buy a second gun if you need parts for one.

  • Edeco

    Neat I guess. I crave a Sig P232 which is similarly expensive yet simple, basically a Sig Bersa Thunder. So conceptually I feel ya.

    But in a PCC I’d want more compactitude and gas action for the price.

  • FarmerB

    Err, out of the US.

    • PK

      Yeah, that works too! Either way, no amount of money will get an ordinary citizen of the USA one of these as a SMG, legally.