Within the ranks of the U.S. Army are Personal Security Detachments (PSD) and High Risk Personnel (HRP) security teams that provide safe and timely transportation for command staff. These jobs require a constant state of readiness that encompass mission planning, vulnerability assessments, convoy escort, protection of principal dignitaries, and security in threatening environments. These soldiers take their jobs seriously, as they does of their gear.
On July 26, 2018, the Army’s Product Manager for Individual Weapons at Picatinny Arsenal reannounced the Sub-Compact Weapons (SCW) project that included the need for a new subgun, suppressor, magazines, tools and spare parts.
The Army determined HRP needed a small arm more capable than issued sidearms, but still concealable, and one that was handier than a rifle or carbine. It is unclear whether the HK MP5 and MP5K in inventory were worn out, or unavailable to meet demands, but the request went out for a submachine gun firing the 9mm round from a barrel length of 5½ inches or shorter. The overall length was specified at 15 inches or smaller with a collapsed stock and without a suppressor attached. It also had to weigh less than 7 pounds. Lastly, soldiers issued the SCW had to reliably put four out of five rounds within a 4-inch circle at less than 40 yards.
It was written that the SCW would have to include ambidextrous controls, selective fire and be finished a nonreflective black. The new subgun would have to perform optimally with 147-grain 9mm loads and function with marking or other training rounds such as frangible ammo. Why 9mm? The Army said that a 9mm SCW would ease the logistical strains that can result from having to supply exotic rounds.
The MPX was thought to be an easy win for SIG Sauer, and others had their eyes on the CZ EVO 3 Micro. It was also speculated that the Army could simply purchase an updated HK MP5 variant or Beretta’s PMX. The bid to win the $2.6-million contract for 350 guns (and up to 1,000) didn’t get much attention until the Army announced that B&T won the competition with its APC9K Pro.
“APC” is an acronym for “Advanced Police Carbine.” The “K” stands for “Kurz,” or “short,” and “B&T” is the shortened name for Brügger & Thomet of Switzerland. The APC9 was introduced to Europe in 2011 in 9mm, and was quickly engineered for .40 S&W and .45 ACP offerings. The standard model’s barrel length measured 7 inches and featured a right-side folding polymer stock. A carbine variant with a 16-inch barrel was also developed for the commercial market, as well as integrally suppressed models.
There was also an APC9/40 Pro model introduced in March 2019, which featured a non-reciprocating charging handle and a replaceable pistol grip that would accept AR-15-style grips. There is also a Pro model that features a lower receiver that feeds from Glock-pattern magazines. The APC9 is currently employed by nine nations.