The Company’s Large-format Pistol Pumps 10mm Power Into The Discreet And Portable APC Platform.
Things have gotten a little strange in this world, what with the “mostly peaceful protests” that the news media and all of us keep talking about. Gun sales are at an all-time high, and recent figures for the month of August show that we’ve already easily exceeded the number of firearms sold for the entirety of 2019.
People are worried—and for good reason. No longer is it the random robber or burglar we’re worried about. Now, we have to worry about being attacked by a frenzied mob.
It’s little wonder that people are looking for “more comprehensive” defensive guns than just the standard compact carry pistol. That’s why pistol-caliber carbines and large-format pistols are becoming so popular.
They’re a step up from a standard carry pistol, with the ability to offer more capacity and a stable, more accurate shooting platform. This keeps the package more compact and more portable than a full-blown rifle.
And, for use inside the home, the noise signature is significantly less than a rifle-caliber firearm.
While there are lots of pistol-caliber carbines and large-format pistols that shoot 9mm rounds on the market, there are very few available in the more powerful 10mm chambering—especially outside of an AR form factor.
B&T Arms has recently introduced a new large-format, 10mm pistol for the American market for those of us who want just a little extra “umph” from our bridge weapon-of-choice.
Meet the APC 10 Pro
Brügger & Thomet of Switzerland has enjoyed quite a bit of success recently. This includes the U.S. Army’s selection of the company’s APC9K subcompact weapon platform as its go-to defensive weapon for special units that protect diplomats and other officials who are considered high-risk personnel.
In a fully automatic firearm and in a shorter barrel, the 9mm round makes sense, because it’s controllable, and multiple hits from a faster fire rate help ensure the target is neutralized.
In a semi-automatic form factor, I’m not quite as impressed with the 9mm’s performance from a shorter barrel.
I think that’s where 10mm steps in to shine.
It seems that others also felt this way and petitioned B&T to come out with a 10mm variant of its APC platform. In quick fashion, B&T listened to the desires of consumers and responded with the introduction of the APC 10 Pro.
In almost all respects, except for size, weight and caliber, the APC 10 Pro for the American market is virtually identical to the APC 9 Pro.
Like the APC 9 Pro, the APC 10 Pro is a straight blowback-operated firearm, but because of the higher pressures involved, the APC 10 Pro includes a larger and heavier bolt to properly cycle.
For the American market, the APC series of firearms is manufactured as pistols without the inclusion of a stock that would make them a short-barreled rifle.
However, because they’re large-format pistols, the addition of a stabilizing pistol brace is possible in order to make shooting them an easier and more comfortable affair.
There are many pistol braces available for the APC 10 Pro. The one I received for review included B&T’s telescopic brace adapter, which works with Gearhead Works Tailhook Mod 1 brace.
This is a very “sexy,” although expensive, piece of engineering that has rails on either side of the pistol that extend when the user simply pulls the Tailhook Mod 1’s brace rearward.
The rails have included cutouts that will lock the rails at varying lengths of pull. To collapse the rails back into the shortest configuration, the user simply presses on a tab located at the end of the receiver to unlock the rails and slide the brace forward again.
Extending the rails to their full length is a very quick and intuitive operation, making this setup ideal for a fast-moving, tactical environment.
The APC 10 Pro includes all the upgraded features found on the APC 9 Pro that were added to improve the functionality and ergonomics of the original APC 9.
First, the pistol grip can be separated from the polymer lower receiver and then swapped out with a standard AR-style grip. There are many aftermarket AR grips available, and the user can tailor the grip to their particular liking.
Additionally, the APC 10 features ambidextrous, folding and non-reciprocating charging handles. This essentially means the charging handles don’t move while the APC 10 is being fired.
This is important, because there’s not a lot of room for the shooter to place the support hand, and a reciprocating charging handle could easily bang against the shooter’s thumb during fire.
Other Pro features on the APC 10 Pro include a re-designed, ambidextrous magazine release that’s easily accessible from either side. Also, the ambidextrous bolt release has been redesigned from a push-button style to more of a lever that has to be flipped down, preventing accidental engagement.
Although not necessarily “Pro” features, the APC 10 also includes folding polymer battle sights to act as a backup for an optic, as well as Picatinny rails at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock for the attachment of additional accessories.
Finally—and most importantly for some—the APC 10 Pro accepts Glock-style 10mm magazines. The APC 10 Pro ships with one 15-round Glock 20 magazine.
The ability to accept Glock 10mm magazines allows the user to swap magazines back and forth from the powerful G20 (or G29) pistol to the APC 10 Pro.
This is a truly hard-hitting and effective combination to have on hand. While it’s generally recommended to use Kriss USA’s MagEx2 extended, 33-round magazines with the APC 10 Pro, I decided to try a couple of cheaper alternatives for the purposes of this review.
“If 10mm is your ‘shtick,’ and you won’t settle for less than the very best, the APC 10 Pro is the only stop you have to make.”
I bought a couple of magazines each of the ETS 30-rounders and SGM’s 30-round magazines. I was curious to see how well these mags functioned, as well as to see if it was worth saving a little money (but if you can afford the APC 10 Pro, you’re probably not going to sweat the price of the Kriss magazines).
The Novice and the Pro
For range testing, I asked a couple of friends to go with me to try out the APC 10 Pro. Lincoln, who’s a seasoned shooter, and Hannah, who’s brand-new to the shooting sports, both enjoyed their time with the APC 10 Pro immensely—as I did.
However, there’s simply not enough space here for me to lavishly offer all my praise for this finely crafted bit of Swiss engineering.
The pistol was exceptionally accurate with a number of loads, from Speer’s 200-grain Gold Dot offering to Buffalo Bore’s 180-grain JHP rounds. We shot hollow-points, flat-nosed bullets and everything in between, and there were absolutely no failures.
In fact, the operation was boringly reliable, and the action was as smooth as glass. The craftsmanship of the APC 10 Pro reminded me of other venerable European manufacturers, such as H&K and the Sig Sauer of old.
Both Lincoln and Hannah practiced moving with the APC 10 Pro while addressing and shooting our 3D Bad Guy targets from Thompson Targets. They both commented on how easy it was to handle the pistol and maneuver with it, despite it being a little chunky and front heavy.
With the pistol’s weight and the larger bolt, the recoil wasn’t all that noticeable. Even Hannah, a slightly built novice shooter, could barely keep the grin off her face the entire time.
After shooting several other pistols during the range session, Hannah kept going back to the APC 10 Pro as her favorite, if that tells you anything.
“For the American market, the APC series of firearms is manufactured as pistols without the inclusion of a stock that would make them a short-barreled rifle.”
I was just as impressed. From a bench at 25 yards and using a 1X Leupold Freedom RDS, my best five-shot group was essentially one hole; this was with Speer’s 200-grain Gold Dot Hollow Points.
Subtracting the .400-inch diameter of the 10mm bullet from the caliper-measured group of 0.695 inch left me with a group measuring just 0.295 inch—that’s simply the best group I’ve ever shot at 25 yards with a pistol and no magnification!
I won’t claim that all the groups I shot with the APC 10 were that good, but that was probably more me than the pistol. As you can see in the table below, the APC 10 Pro will easily outshoot the shooter.
Part of that excellent accuracy was due to the fairly nice trigger. It wasn’t the typical mushy or heavy trigger you find on most pistols designed as submachine guns.
The trigger’s takeup was smooth and grit free, and it broke crisply at a reasonable 4.96 pounds on average.
The trigger wasn’t so light as to encourage an accidental discharge, but it also wasn’t heavy enough to interfere with a clean and smooth pull while staying on target.
As mentioned earlier, the APC 10 Pro was exceptionally reliable, with no malfunctions of any kind. That included our time with the aftermarket, 30-round magazines from SGM and ETS.
That said, there were a couple of kinks with those magazines: First, one magazine from ETS had a sharp, plastic burr at the feed lips that sliced my thumb open when I was sliding a round into place (I’ll get over it, but it wasn’t a pleasant experience).
Second, and probably most importantly, was that the magazines from both companies seemed just a bit thicker than the Glock magazines.
This caused them to fit more snugly in the magazine well and not lock into place as easily as the Glock magazines. We either had to wiggle and finagle the magazines back and forth into place or give a very solid tap on the bottom of the magazines to lock them in place.
The wiggling worked for the SGM magazines … but not for the ETS mags. Those required a sharp pop from the bottom to get them in place.
“B&T Arms has recently introduced a new large-format, 10mm pistol for the American market for those of us who want just a little extra ‘umph’ from our bridge weapon-of-choice.”
When the shooting was done, both the Glock and the SGM magazines dropped freely with the press of the magazine release. The ETS magazines hung up and had to be pulled out manually.
While there were no malfunctions with any of the magazines while shooting, in my mind, the extra manipulation required for the aftermarket magazines would preclude them from fast-paced defensive encounters for which quick, sure and easy manipulation is required. I’d use the SGM magazines for range practice to save wear and tear on the Kriss extended magazines that I’d carry for real-world defensive use.
The large-format APC 10 Pro pistol certainly lived up to ideals we have of finely made Swiss watches, German automobiles and other examples of exquisite European craftsmanship. It was just that good.
That said, the APC 10 Pro is not priced for the faint of heart. The base pistol has an MSRP of $2,650, and the telescoping brace adapter (with the Tailhook Mod1) tacks on another $789. That’s a total of $3,439 for the APC 10 Pro as it’s configured in this article, although you could save a little by going with a less-expensive option for the brace.
So, who is the APC 10 Pro for, and is it worth the price of admission? Anyone who owns a Glock 20 pistol and wants the very best in an accompanying carbine-style pistol package would find the APC 10 Pro very appealing. Even if you don’t own a G20, with its tri-lug, 6.9-inch barrel that’s ready to take a suppressor, the APC 10 Pro would serve as a formidable home-defense weapon. It packs more punch than a 9mm alternative and will still be easier on the ears indoors than a full-blown rifle. Outside of the home, it can be easily carried in a pack or bag with a 15-round mag installed and a few 33-round magazines along for the ride.
“It’s little wonder that people are looking for ‘more comprehensive’ defensive guns than just the standard compact carry pistol. That’s why pistol-caliber carbines and large-format pistols are becoming so popular.”
As to whether it’s worth it or not, I guess that’s up to the individual. If the H&K SP5 is worth $2,799 in its base configuration (its roller-block design notwithstanding), the APC 10 Pro is well worth its asking price of $2,650.
As a long-time prepper, I’ve always done what I can to cut costs so I can save money for other things or to simply increase my inventories. Nevertheless, there are some things that are worth the stretch. If you want the very best the market has to offer, that costs a little extra sometimes.
Brügger & Thomet APC 10 Pro
- Caliber: 10mm
- Action: Blowback
- Receiver: Polymer lower
- Barrel length: 6.9 inches
- Overall length: 15.15 inches
- Weight: 6.1 pounds
- Finish: Black matte
- Sight: Folding low profile adjustable
- Capacity: 15+1
- Magazine: 1 15-round
MSRP: $2,650 ($3,439 as configured)
But, in the case of the APC 10 Pro, you can sleep easy at night. In my opinion, when it comes to absolute reliability, accuracy and ease of operation, the APC 10 Pro is the very best 10mm, large-format pistol available on the American market today.
If 10mm is your “shtick,” and you won’t settle for less than top shelf, the APC 10 Pro is the only stop you have to make.
Brügger & Thomet, USA
Elite Tactical Systems (ETS)
Gear Head Works
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the January, 2021 print issue of American Survival Guide.