Tag Archives: Sub Compact Weapons

USAF Goes B&T

Last Spring, the U.S. Army announced they would be buying a small quantity (~350) of Sub Compact Weapons, ultra-compact 9mm SMGs for use by the special teams tasked with protecting high-value officers and dignitaries. The first decent sub-gun contract by the Pentagon this century, there were lots of bragging rights on the line and 10 different companies both foreign and domestic threw their hats in the ring, with Swiss-based B&T coming out the winner with their downright tiny APC9K.

Well, the USAF just jumped on the same train last month, ordering a smaller quantity, likely for similar uses.

After all, could you blame them?

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SCW, anyone?

Earlier this year, Brugger & Thomet won the Army’s Sub Compact Weapon contract to supply up to 1,000 very short SMGs to DOD for use by security details. The gun had to be ambidextrous, very compact — under 15-inches overall with some sort of provision for a stock — and light. For reference, the very short HK MP5K, with no allowance for a stock, is 12.9-inches.

The winner: B&T’s APC9K, which has a 13.6-inch overall length with the stock fully collapsed. Further, the receiver can be made in a variant that accepts Sig P320 pattern mags, and keep in mind the Army just adopted that pistol as the M17/M18.

The B&T APC9K will almost fit in the palm of your hand– if you have really big hands. (Photos: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

The B&T APC9K will almost fit in the palm of your hand– if you have really big hands. (Photos: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

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The Army went Swiss to replace German

Swiss gun maker B&T had a very short Trident Arms-marked APC9K-SD model on hand at SHOT Show earlier this year that looked like a contender for the Army’s Sub Compact Weapon program, a move to buy up to 1,000 handy room brooms to replace aging HK MP5s used by personal security details.

This thing. Of note, everyone else that has written about B&T’s SCW entry is using pictures of a different gun, because they didn’t take this one. (Photo: Chris Eger)

It turns out to have been at the head of the pack, minus the integral suppressor.

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What is an SCW and how is it changing the new guns on the market?

Last June, the U.S. Army tapped first 10 and then a total of 13 companies for what it termed “Sub Compact Weapons.” These guns, “capable of engaging threat personnel with a high volume of lethal and accurate fires at close range with minimal collateral damage,” were to be used by the military’s Personal Security Details, special teams tasked with protecting high-value officers and dignitaries such as the SACEUR and the commander of U.S. Forces Korea– each likely an endangered species in the hours prior to the balloon going up in those regions.

The Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun of U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Samuel Caines, assigned to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe Security Detachment, ejects a bullet casing at the Training Support Center Benelux 25-meter indoor range in Chièvres, Belgium, Oct. 22, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Pierre-Etienne Courtejoie/Released)

Well, that didn’t work out and the Army trimmed the field a bit in September with a tough series of requirements (a weapon shorter than 15-inches overall when stowed but still ready to fire in such a position, weight less than 5-pounds, etc) and just six companies were able to get in on that. While a small contract, likely to run 350 to 1,000 guns, the bragging rights to replace the long-standard HK MP5 would be huge.

While little details about what models were ultimately submitted for review by the Army, several new SCW-ish guns were in the aisles of the 41st annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas last week, and they are pretty swag.

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PSD in the future could get pretty interesting, subgun wise

In the Army, Personal Security Detail duty is either collateral part-time stuff (for visiting dignitaries or when deployed overseas for leadership at the brigade level and higher) or dedicated full-time stuff (for like SACEUR, Commander UNC/CFC/USFK, et. al). In the former, it can be as simple as a squad-sized element detailed from a regular platoon with their standard battle rattle, in the latter, it is typically specially-trained MP/CID types (or even special ops guys, Schwartzkopf was famously protected by a plainclothes detail from Delta during the Gulf War) with purpose-dedicated equipment.

The Army has long provided a 2-3 week PSD course at Fort Leonard Wood for just such a skill qualifier.

A U.S. member of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe Security Detachment shoots with a Heckler and Koch 9mm MP5 submachine gun at close distance during a Criminal Investigation Command protective services qualification at the Training Support Center Benelux 25-meter indoor range in Chièvres, Belgium, Jan. 14, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Pierre-Etienne Courtejoie/Released)

It’s that latter type of PSD that is seeing the Army planning to award a flurry of small contracts to 10 different firearm companies for what it is terming “Sub Compact Weapons” for those occasions when it is preferable to have something more serious than a handgun under your jacket to sweep gremlins away.

A synopsis of the contract award says the Army is looking for a commercially-available (COTS) design to meet the branch’s need for a “highly concealable” SCW, “capable of engaging threat personnel with a high volume of lethal and accurate fires at close range with minimal collateral damage.”

The awards, ranging from $8,500 to $39,060 include a small quantity of 9mm weapons with along with magazines, cleaning kits, suppressors, spare parts and other tools and accessories if needed.

And they have some pretty interesting weapons on the table to T&E.

I have to admit, the Sig MPX is a heck of a fun gun to shoot (Photo; Chris Eger)

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