Manufacturers are being leaned on heavily by our government to supply warfighters with more specifically purpose-built firearms. Case in point, Prototype Opportunity Notice (PON) for Sub Compact Weapon (SCW) System – SolicitationNumber: W15QKN-18-R-032M. B&T wins Army SCW contract for PSD teams
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I received a B&T APC9 PRO this week and will be testing it against the protocol listed in this announcement as soon as possible and will write up my results for the next issue of Rate Of Fire magazine. The ACP9 PRO is not the exact model and configuration that the Army will get but it is as close as we can get at this time.
The U.S. Army has selected B&Tto supply a Sub-compact weapon system (SCW) for the use of Protective Security Detail’s. This announcement went out just moments ago, to view the solicitation click HERE.
The world stage continues to change technologically. Threat reporting and terrorism are evolving. Attacks appear to be less frequent to the public, but the fact of the matter is the good guys have gotten better at stopping them before they happen. Technology, training, equipment and supply are all key elements in the success of each mission and the defeat of the enemy. Those who protect our nations interests, need to be agile and not prohibited by too much, but have the ability to impose their will when all lesser means have failed.
The Global War on Terror over nearly the last two decades has taught our nation and our warriors many lessons. Lives have been lost that could have been saved but for the lack of better equipment. We improve, adapt and move forward. The renowned MP5; one of my favorites, has been in service to governments and militaries for 53 years. Though there are over 100 variants of the platform, it hasn’t changed much. As supply chain and manufacturing processes slow the HK MP5 is not the “go to” sub-gun it once was. Parts are scarce, and delivery from HK simply is not fast enough to keep up with the inventory needs. This is a painful realization for me because the MP5 was one of the first platforms I trained on early in my Marine Corps career. We employed the platform for shipboard security, quick reaction response and close quarters battle (CQB) operations. The MP5 was the most reliable tool we had at the time due to its size and caliber. To say the MP5 is near and dear to my heart is an understatement, but if there is something better that will increase effectiveness then we must accept the inevitable. Change has come.
When I caught wind of B&T winning the award, I called Tim Nickler, CEO B&T USA for a few details, he respectfully declined to comment on the particulars of the contract, and the system itself. He told me that a variant of APC9 was submitted for this solicitation, but due to OPSEC, the particulars remain under lock and key. From an end user perspective, it’s a relief knowing that there are companies out there who don’t “kiss and tell”.
Why The APC
The platform performed under multiple scenarios at Aberdeen Proving Ground. The “User in the loop” testing parameters, consisted of 7,180 rounds and end use inspection of everything from reliability to ergonomics during “operationally realistic engagements.”
The Sub-Compact Weapon systems (SCW) were all tested in the following conditions:
- High Temperature (+160F)
- Accuracy Dispersion (35 – 50m range)
- Accessory Compatibility (Optics, Suppressor, Sling)
- Rough Handling (5’ drop tests @ 6 angles)
- Limited User Evaluation (Individual – Technical Support maintenance)
- Low Temperature (-50F)
- Cook Off resistance (210 rounds without cook off)
- Toxic Fume Exposure
At first glance, the APC9 PRO offers an interchangable reciever that will accept other pistol magazines without additional adapter kits or an abundance of spare parts, and due to the nature of what the solicitation called for, a variant of the APC9 K is more consistent with its end user objective, only time will tell.
It is not often that an “underdog” company is chosen to supply weapons to warfighters who are providing skills such as Protective Security Operations. The thAPC9 was selected for doing just that!
While this contract is not as highly monetized as Sig Sauer’s handgun contract or Colt’s M4 solicitation, money isn’t everything. The value to our protection providers and the diplomats and highly ranked military officials they secure is incalculable. If money buys safety and this system allows for more people to do their jobs more efficiently, then we should all consider it a win.
What does the APC9 offer that the ultra-sleek, and very popular MPX or MP5 don’t? The APC9 controls are all ambidextrous and ergonomic. Regardless of hand orientation selecting fire modes, dropping magazines or putting the bolt back into battery are all within reach and require little to no deviation of body position to manipulate. These are all underappreciated features when “walking a diamond” or shooting in offhand positions.
Per the solicitation, B&T’s submission was selected to address an operational need, to PSD military personnel that require weapons with greater lethality than pistols that are more concealable than rifles. The ultimate objective of this program is to acquire a highly concealable Sub Compact Weapon (SCW) system capable of engaging threat personnel with a high volume of lethal force while accurately firing at close range with minimal collateral damage. This APC9 variant is compact and can easily be concealed underneath a sport coat, under a seat or in an inconspicuous bag.
Off The X
Decades of PSD and thousands of missions have been successfully conducted using high profile gear and guns. Currently, PSD’s are required to blend in with their environments or appear to be anything but security, this approach has proven to be more effective than the outdated “show of force” mentality and the APC9 is poised to be a force multiplier in business casual profiles.