The weight of the APC is a mere 2,450 grams with the optic attached. This is almost a kilogram lighter than the MP5 with comparable accessories. This comes out to be a weight reduction of about 30%. Weight reduction is a serious issue for any policeman, soldier or other armed professional. The reason why this is so important for future users is that many operators today are forced to carry many types of extra equipment from lights, optics, extra handcuffs, night vision devices, thermal sights, electrical discharge weapons, radios, surveillance equipment and of course extra batteries and/or chargers for all of the above. In view of this one kilogram is a lot, especially at the end of a long hard day.
The front hand grip comes with the APC and is easily attached to the lower receiver with the B&T QD quick detachable mount. This mount will lock on to the rail so it will not come off. A nice point on this handgrip is that it contains a hollow cavity to keep spare parts or extra batteries. The rear pistol grip is integrated into the lower receiver but is already predrilled and prepared for the addition of a standard M16 type handgrip if the operator wants a special grip. This way the price can remain economic while at the same time keeping the flexibility for customization. The factory pistol grip configuration is also hollow with a trap door so the operator can carry extra batteries. There is enough room to fit three DL123 Lithium batteries or a small cleaning kit with some lubricant. The batteries do make a bit of noise but this is easily solved when wrapped in a small cleaning cloth.
The manipulation of the controls reminds the author more of a well designed pistol than a submachine gun or carbine. The safety is easily reachable and manipulated with the thumb. The bolt release and magazine release are also easily reached with the firing hand for both left and right handed shooters. The author has rather small hands and found the controls very easy to reach and manipulate. It is easy to index the trigger finger between these two controls. The bolt handle can be reversed to either side of the receiver to accommodate the shooter’s preference. This facilitates tactical reloads to almost as fast and easy to that of a pistol.
The magazine used by the APC is the standard B&T MP9 polymer, molded, translucent magazine. This comes in four different lengths: 15-, 20-, 25- and 30-rounds sizes. B&T can also make the magazine to any length required by the user. This is to conform to special requirements that exist in some national legislation of several countries in the world where the gun may be sold in the semiautomatic version but with a stipulation of magazine capacity. Many police agencies in the world carry the support weapon (or a “collective weapon” in some countries) in the trunk in a metal box. The magazine can be cut to fulfill these dimensional requirements.
The weapon comes already fully prepared for suppressor use. The barrel is a standard 3-lug barrel so it can accept the standard B&T 3-Lug suppressor, which is also used extensively by MP5 users. If an agency already has an MP5 suppressor in service it will save money for future procurements. B&T produces the 3-Lug suppressors for HK that are sold worldwide and it possesses a NATO Stock Number (NSN).
The APC9-LE also has an innovative gas release lever – This is a very unique and clever feature that will enable an operator to instantly modify the APC to fire full velocity ammunition at subsonic speeds for use with a suppressor thus making is as quiet as an MP5SD. The principal is in fact much different than the MP5SD which is a dedicated weapon. When in the standard position, the gas lever makes a full seal on the barrel providing full velocity to the projectile. This is important when firing hollow points or expanding ammunition because the projectile will require a certain velocity to upset in the target properly. When the gas valve is set in the open position there are a series of holes that are opened along the barrel. These holes will bleed off the gases of the cartridge thus reducing the velocity of the bullet to below the speed of sound, thus when combined with the B&T suppressor will bring the sound of a standard 124 gr. NATO FMJ round to around 125 dB level thus making it well below the level where permanent hearing loss occurs. The operator needs only to switch the gas valve back to close to bring the velocity up to supersonic level. The system really is rather ingenious.
Unfortunately, the version of the firearm with this option was going through some testing when the author visited the factory and was unable to test this feature. It will make a good article when ready and readers should expect something in the near future as to how this option will affect not only noise levels but also other terminal ballistics with various types of ammunition. For example how well will a 158 grain subsonic bullet upset in gelatin when the gas valve is opened? How well will it perform when fired to some of the FBI protocols through barriers which simulate clothing? Will this feature affect accuracy?
The reason this feature will be so welcomed is that in many countries it is difficult to get subsonic ammunition. Readers should understand that many countries do not have a culture of firearms because firearms are so strictly controlled. In some countries there are lengthy prison sentences applied to having even a single live round must less an firearm. This is especially true in Asia. Many police agencies and even military units have the problem of a rather bureaucratic logistical system that can’t supply the right ammunition to the users at the right time. Murphy’s Law is alive and well in all professional forces around the world. The use of full velocity ammunition with a reduced velocity makes great practical sense.
The inside of the APC is where the ingenious simplicity really comes through. The full automatic rate of fire is about 900 rpm. This rate and the recoil is controlled by a liquid-filled hydraulic piston. This absorbs much of the recoil thus enabling the operator to produce some excellent groups when firing full automatic. The first time the author was able to fire a fifteen round burst from five meters into a group the size of a fist. Most operators can only do this after firing several thousand rounds in training with conventional submachine guns.
The trigger group is very similar to the standard M16/AR-15 system. This option provides a sport shooter the option to have a different trigger pull if required. The APC comes in different versions.
For the professional market, B&T produces what they call the Assaulter Version. This is the standard APC but with the B&T designed Helmet Stock already installed. This stock will enable the operator to use the APC while using a ballistic face visor. This feature is becoming more and more standard in Europe as there have been several instances where a fully protected entry team member was shot in the face when he had to raise the visor of his helmet to obtain a good firing position to fire his weapon. The use of this stock will keep the team member as protected as possible. It may look a bit awkward but when used with the right personal equipment it makes a very big difference. It also works equally as well with a protective mask or SCUBA gear.
B&T also produces a training model for such ammunition as Simunition, Force on Force or UTM. These interactive marking ammunition products are an absolute must for modern professional training. Many manufacturers do not even attempt to produce a version of their weapon that will accept this ammunition. This is a major drawback for the calibers 4.6mm and 5.7mm and in the opinion of this author may have been a reason that weapons systems firing newer calibers are not more popular. How can a modern customer train if there is not a product that conforms to their training program?
As a final note in training, B&T also produces a Red Manipulation version of the APC9. This version cannot even be called a real gun as it was never designed to be a firearm in the first place. For example the barrel has never been drilled out so there is no bore. The bolt has no hole where the firing pin goes as it is just a block of metal. These parts are machined as not to be interchangeable with live weapons so there is no chance that someone can accidentally (or on purpose) switch out parts to make a live weapon.
Another version of the APC is their Sporting Model. It has all the same features as the standard APC but it is semiautomatic only, (using a standard AR-15 trigger group, so it cannot be easily converted). The handguard is 100mm longer with a NAR extending along the bottom the handguard. The barrel can be cut to any length required by national legislation.
The Advanced Police Carbine comes standard with a very nice selection of accessories. These include:
- 2 each thirty round magazines,
- 1 each fifteen round magazine,
- 1 each single point sling,
- 1 each BT-produced QD vertical handgrip,
- 1 each cleaning kit, a plastic transport case and operator’s manual. This accessory package comes with all versions of the APC.