- Aug 14, 2017
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https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/27261/this-is-the-armys-new-submachine-gunhe American subsidiary of Swiss gunmaker B&T has won a multi-million-dollar contract to supply the U.S. Army with a variant of its 9mm APC9 submachine gun. For almost a year, the service has been evaluating a number of proposed weapons as part of an effort to give personal security details added firepower.
The Army quietly announced that it had awarded B&T USA the deal, worth more than $2.5 million, on the U.S. government’s main contracting website FedBizOpps on Mar. 29, 2019, but did not specify which weapon specifically it was buying. A trusted source familiar with the contract confirmed the gun in question was a version of the APC9 PRO series, but could not say which model specifically. The Army now expects to purchase at least 350 of what it officially calls the Sub Compact Weapon, or SCW, with additional options to buy up to 1,000 of the guns in total. The order also includes unspecified accessories, spare parts, and services.
This means that the Army’s version of the APC9 could use the same ammunition and magazines as its new standard issue pistols. This would give any individual equipped with the SCW immediate magazine commonality between their primary and secondary weapon, which could be extremely valuable in even a brief firefight. It would also allow personnel with one of the submachine guns to exchange magazines back and forth with individuals who are only armed with a pistol, if necessary.
Beyond that, it would help reduce logistical requirements for the new submachine guns. The service does say the SCWs will need to have 20 and 30 round magazines, but it is already buying 21-round P320 magazines as part of the MHS program and there are 30-round options available on the market.
But the Army’s decision to acquire any new pistol-caliber submachine gun, a category of firearms that has been becoming steadily obsolete in military and law enforcement circles, especially due to its limited ability to penetrate body armor, for years now, remains curious. There are an increasing number of ultra-compact rifle-caliber weapons available, along with specialized cartridges, such as the increasingly popular .300 Blackout, to help maximize the effectiveness of these short-barreled guns.
On top of that, there are more novel purpose-built personal defense weapons that are specifically intended to meet the kind of physical requirements the Army has laid out and that offer better range and armor-piercing capability over a 9mm gun. The U.S. Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six reportedly already uses the 4.7mm Heckler and Koch MP7, while the U.S. Secret Service is a notable user of the 5.7mm FN P90.