US Army acquired the Swiss-designed 9x19mm APC9K submachine guns

WASHINGTON — Certain special personal protection units of the US Army are now armed with Swiss-designed 9x19mm APC9K submachine guns. 315 units of this weapon were delivered. According to sources, this is the last shipment and no more will be ordered. The quantity is limited [and small] because it is intended for special international operations.

US Army acquired the Swiss-designed 9x19mm APC9K submachine guns
Photo credit: US Army / Sgt. 1st Class Joy Dulen

Sub Compact Weapons or SCWs are part of the U.S. arsenal. Army’s Protective Services Battalion. This battalion is part of the 701st Military Police Group, part of the service’s Criminal Investigation Command [CID]. Its function is to guard, protect and defend dignitaries and VIPs during their travel, visits, and meetings abroad. Such persons from the army are ministers and deputy ministers of defense, the secretary of the army, chief of staff, commanders in chief, etc.

The 9x19mm APC9K was chosen as the primary weapon of the U.S. Army’s Protective Services Battalion in 2019. However, the US military did not announce the make and model of the chosen weapon at the time. One year later, the US Air Force also chose this weapon, but in a smaller quantity – only 65. They will also fulfill their purpose of guarding and defending high-ranking individuals from the composition of the US Air Force.

Spokesperson for the U.S. The Army’s Program Manager Soldier Lethality office said the first shipment of 9x19mm APC9K for personnel security branch [PSB] personnel was delivered in 2019.

About 9x19mm APC9K

US Army acquired the Swiss-designed 9x19mm APC9K submachine guns
Photo credit: B&T USA

The 9x19mm APC9K is a small and compact but deadly weapon. It has a sliding stock that increases or decreases the overall length of the weapon accordingly – from 12.7 inches to 20.9 inches. The APC9K features a 4.3-inch barrel. There is also the so-called A PRO version that features a slightly different stock design and a longer overall length – about 23.8 inches max and after folding the stock up to 14.8 inches. However, the device of the PRO version does not slide but folds to the side.

A Picatinny rail is located on the top of the APC9K. Smaller versions of it are located on the side of the weapon. This enables the integration of various optical devices, most commonly used collimator sights. The side Picatinny rails allow the integration of laser pointers or tactical flashlights or red dots.

Although the choice of a 9mm submachine gun is quite curious, according to experts, the compactness of the APC9K makes it quite deadly. The APC9K fires in semi-automatic mode and should provide close protection of the guarded persons. The APC9K can use its own cartridges, but its modular nature allows for a large selection of cartridges. For example, the magazines of the 9mm Glock and Sig Sauer P320 pistols, which are also in service anyway, can be used. The US Army is currently armed with the M17 and M18, which are actually P320s, and sharing magazines and using them in the APC9K is fully compatible.


The 9x19mm APC9K is a highly compact weapon. Its use allows it to be easily concealed under civilian clothing, as is done with pistols. But, the APC9K has much more firepower than pistols, so the effectiveness of its lethal action is much greater.

US Army acquired the Swiss-designed 9x19mm APC9K submachine guns
Photo credit: US Army

Also, the use of the APC9K greatly limits the carrying of other weapons with its characteristics, such as pump-action or semi-automatic rifles, or carbines. The APC9K’s compactness allows it to be highly effective in closed auxiliaries, large lounges, vehicle entry or exit, and more.

Last but not least is the type of cartridge used. The APC9K is supposed to use M1153 hollow point cartridges. This is the same ammunition used by the M17 and M18. The penetration of the 9mm M1153 cartridge is less compared to other lethal weapons. This is important because in confined spaces the risk of hitting innocents is lower compared to cartridges with high and highly armor-piercing capabilities. At the same time, a 9mm weapon like the APC9K would offer no ability to penetrate through any body armor an attack might be wearing.


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