When it comes to owning certain firearms, there seems to always be a couple bucket list guns out there for everyone. Movies and pop culture certainly influenced my love of firearms over the years and the TP9 was certainly one of them. Whether it’s paragliding pilots carrying a Steyr TMP shooting at Pierce Brosnan or Robert De Niro being shot at by a bad guy in the drive in movie theater with a TMP in the classic movie Heat, this little submachine gun was always such a cool concept and it was always a goal to own one. I’ve owned my TP9 and SBRed it for around three years ago. Let’s take a closer look at the classic B&T TP9.
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B&T unveiled their TP9/MP9 back in 2001 which was originally based on the Steyr TMP with a number of upgrades and small changes. The TP9 is known for being an incredibly lightweight PDW-style firearm. B&T state that the full auto capable variant, the MP9, is the lightest select fire weapon system chambered in 9×19. They also point out a fully loaded 30-round magazine weighs more than the actual firearm. This weight savings is possible from the majority of the pistol being made out of lightweight polymer and the locked breech short barrel recoil action that doesn’t require a heavy bolt like in the case of direct blowback guns. The overall weight of the TP9-N is just over 3 lbs without anything on it.
My technical model name for this firearm is the TP9-N and comes standard with a 5″ barrel. One of the more unique features of the TP9 is the large tri-lug barrel design for the specific MP9 suppressor. This design cuts down on overall gas blowback while offering a streamline design. My B&T came with one translucent 30-round magazine as well as a manual and all the other goodies you expect from a new firearm purchase. Originally, the TP9 came with no vertical grip or folding stock since it was a pistol when I initially purchased it. After receiving my tax stamp, I installed the factory vertical grip as well as the minimalist folding stock. MSRP on the TP9 as a pistol is $2115.99 but occasionally you can find them for slightly less around the $2,000 mark.
|Manufacturer||B&T USA||Trigger Type||Slide Trigger|
|Capacity||30 rounds||Origin Date||2001|
|Weight||1.4KG / 3.1 lbs||Magazine Type||Translucent Polymer|
Over the 3 years of owning my TP9, I can’t really tell you how many rounds I have put through it since the day I purchased it. If I had to do a rough estimate, I would guess I have roughly 3,000-4,000 rounds through it at this point. Out of all those times, the gun has been incredibly reliable with no malfunctions coming to mind when looking back at all my range trips. The overall build quality is in typical B&T fashion being exceptional with everything being right where you need it.
When it comes to ergonomics, everything feels more like hybrid controls between a handgun and guns like the MP5 (the safety selector). All the controls are easily accessible with your shooting hand. The magazine release is right where it is on most American handguns and the slide release is just slightly above the strong side hand. Having all these controls in the same area as a defensive handgun makes reloading and manipulations much easier than other models like the GHM9 where it takes practice to know where all the controls are on the gun.
Having this TP9-N SBRed has completely changed the overall feel as well as the functionality. B&T created an incredibly small but effective folding stock for the TP9. That extra point of contact on your shoulder really does wonders in stabilizing the whole gun. Thanks to the folding stock, you can accurately fire the TP9. Combine the functionality of the vertical grip and folding stock with the TP9’s overall ergonomic controls and you have a very capable firearm that feels just as capable as firearms twice its size.
Whenever I talk about my TP9 online, I always get questions about the trigger and if it’s something you can get used to with practice. B&T developed a slide trigger system for their full auto MP9 submachine gun. As far as a select fire trigger, this system is incredibly easy to control whether you want a single or full auto burst. With the civilian model TP9s having this same trigger system, it can take a little time to adjust to the sliding trigger over something like a traditional hinged trigger. The trigger does feel like there’s a large amount of movement but once you reach the wall, the trigger does go off fairly easily with a crisp consistent break followed by a defined trigger reset.
If you are someone who enjoys slapping the trigger, it may be rather difficult to get the hang of this style of trigger in just one range day. If you apply pressure and look for the reset, the TP9’s trigger is much easier to learn and in most cases, people will get the hang of the trigger around the 80-100 round mark. After that, it’s all about finding that sweet spot to shoot and you can really have a high firing cadence with just a little practice. Certain people prefer to switch out the trigger instead of learning the slide trigger method. If you decide to go that route, there are a few different companies that offer trigger box replacement kits as well as straight trigger upgrade kits.
Having a 5″ barrel in addition to a folding stock and vertical grip makes this little PDW-style firearm very accurate at close and medium distances. Anything past 75 yards, the groups start to open up but that’s a limitation to the overall barrel length and powder charge in the round. If you have a target at 50 yards or closer, there’s absolutely no issue with making accurate shots on target time after time. For accuracy testing, I used Federal 115gr American Eagle, LAX ammunition 124gr reloads, and Federal HST 124gr self-defense ammunition. Between the three ammunition types, I go an average group size of 1.55″ with the LAX ammo going up to 1.63″ and the HST coming down to 1.22″ groups at 25 yards.
Like I said earlier, I have had no malfunctions or hiccups with this gun out of the 3 years of ownership. Breaking down the TP9 for cleaning is incredibly easy with a simple action made up of only a few parts. This is one of the reasons the TP9 is known for its reliability and the lack of moving parts is a huge plus. If I had to find one thing in terms of reliability on the TP9, it would be the translucent magazines.
Over the few years of owning the TP9, I’ve accidentally broken two magazines dropping them on concrete with rounds still in them. After the second time, I purchased some base pads for the B&T magazines which completely fixed the issue. I figured it was worth mentioning but the actual functioning of the magazines is 100% and overall reliability is exceptionally positive.
How is it as a PDW Style Firearm?
Where the TP9 really starts to shine is the ability to put it in almost any bag and carry it wherever you go. Whenever I decide to head out on the road across the country, if I want to bring something larger than a handgun but don’t want people to know I will either carry this TP9 or my SIG Rattler. This TP9 is by far the easiest option to carry in a small bag. Weighing under 5lbs even with optics, light and a fully loaded magazine, it’s incredibly easy to carry in a small bag while you’re driving across the country or on the move.
It’s always important to keep all NFA laws while you’re traveling but having something slightly larger than a handgun is always a peace of mind move when you’re away from home. Some of you will say it’s completely unnecessary but living in a free country like ours means I can travel with weapons like this TP9 legally. As a PDW-style firearm though, it’s one of the best options I’ve used for its overall size and capabilities. Of course, there are other options like the SIG Rattler or MP5K but nothing is as compact or easy to conceal as the B&T TP9.
I know some of you will think it’s an expensive 9mm PDW-type weapon with much cheaper options on the market. Out of all the PDWs I own and have used over the years, the TP9 is one of the easiest and by far the lightest option to carry in a bag for extra firepower. The TP9 is an absolute blast to take out and shoot as a range gun and with a little practice, the trigger can be mastered no problem. It may be an expensive price of admission to get the TP9 but it’s still less than an equally capable HK SP5K, or LWRC SMG 45. It may not be a jack-of-all-trades firearm, but as a PDW firearm, it truly does exceed.
What do you guys think of the TP9? is it a useful PDW-style firearm or are there better options on the market? Let me know what you think in the comments below. If you have questions about the TP9 or other firearms in general, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there and we will see you in the next review.
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