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The B&T APC9k — What the MP5 Wishes it Was

Whether you blame John McClane or Tom Clancy, the roller-locked MP5 has captured the imagination of the public for more than 30 years. Unfortunately, the guns themselves are nowhere near as long lasting in use as they are in movies and videogames.

When Big Army asked for a new submachine gun, we thought that Sig Sauer would have it in the bag with the MPX. We were wrong. Seemingly out of nowhere, the Swiss firm formerly known as Brügger & Thomet came in for the win with their APC9k. When B&T set up their American arm, military contracts weren’t even on their mind; while 99 percent of B&T business in Europe is all about contracts and OEM production, the American arm would be all about the civilian market.

Maybe B&T was just as surprised as everyone else. An initial order of 350 subguns was placed, with the intention being to replace well aged and outdated Mp5s, especially Mp5ks. All told DoD is looking at acquiring at least 1,000 of them, and we anticipate this theme to continue throughout many government agencies in the years to come.

Will this be the end of the MP5? One would hope, at least if you’re a fan of parts availability and keeping guns running.


B&T wasn’t originally founded as a firearms company, but a suppressor manufacturer. Chances are if you’ve gotten your hands on a big-name factory silencer such as an HK or Glock made in Europe, B&T made it.

From silencers, they expanded to mounts and other accessories requested by Euro gun companies. Then, they moved to handguards, buttstocks (the UMP buttstock looks like a B&T for a reason), spare parts for armorers, and finally standalone firearms. To this day, B&T makes a lot of parts and pieces for European manufacturers, all while now being a direct competitor.

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The original design for the APC was literally scrawled on a napkin by Karl Brügger. Brügger was daydreaming about what a modernized easy-to-work-on MP5 would look like, or rather, what the MP5 should have been.


Way back in Issue #17, we covered the first generation of the APC9. At the surface level, there appears to be very little difference between the first generation and current models. B&T took careful note of what end-users wanted changed, and then they brought that plan into action.

Firstly, the reciprocating charging handle is gone, replaced with a dual self-folding non-reciprocating charging handle. The pistol grip is now removable and can be replaced with any AR-style grip that you want; curiously, this was part of the original napkin sketch of the APC9, but didn’t make its way into production until Gen 2. The selector lever is now easier to use, eliminating one of the complaints we had ourselves with Gen 1, and the bolt-hold-open and bolt release have been combined into a single control. The final large change is that the bolt is modified to allow for trigger groups that can accept Glock and Sig Sauer magazines. B&T told us there are some, “new tricks with the barrel” as well, but couldn’t go into detail without divulging trade secrets.

For the rest of this article, subscribe here: RECOIL Issue 45

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