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Down the Rabbit Hole: A B&T GHM9 PCC Project

A while back, I received an email through the site asking why I didn’t ever talk about PCCs. The simple truth was that I didn’t have any experience with them, and therefore didn’t have much of an opinion one way or another. It’s not that I ever took issue with the PCC format, or that they didn’t interest me, I just didn’t feel they were compelling enough to draw me to them over other projects. Things like finally getting a shotgun, or building up a precision 223 rifle all come to mind as “new and interesting.” The PCC seemed like it would be fun, but not all that practical.

That email came from Pieter, who happens to be a strong advocate for the format. One thing led to another and he ended up writing an article on the topic and send it over to me for posting. I thought his arguments were sound, and it got me thinking. Over a few months, I found myself with enough resources to start up a new project gun and had a decision to make. As should be obvious by the title, I came home with a Brugger & Thomet GHM9.

So let’s rewind a few months and discuss the decision and why I’m coming around on the idea of PCCs as a “serious use” weapon platform to train with.

What Held Me Back

It seems to me that the SMG/PCC platform has a long and storied history. Not just as a weapon of personal protection, but as a widely-issued military weapon. Examples include the Thompson, M3 “Grease Gun,” British Sten Gun, Sterling, Russian PPSH-41, German MP-940, and of course the MP5 among many more. SMGs appeared in the hands of Jeep jockeys, helicopter pilots, and crusty NCOs alike.

Despite that history, the GWOT (Global War on Terror) swayed away from the SMG format and moved towards short versions of service rifles. The M4 and Mk18 are the most obvious examples. Along with that, we saw a concerted push for abandoning the SMG (and shotguns) in favor of patrol rifles and short rifles. The reasoning for this was sound, frankly. Rifle round ballistics beat pistol round ballistics across the board.

This led to a line of thinking that flatly stated, “If you’re going to carry a rifle-sized firearm, even if a short one, then why hinder yourself with pistol ballistics?” This was especially true when you’re limited to semi auto only and can’t take advantage of the high rates of fire and low recoil that’s part and parcel of the SMG package.

I bought into that-hook, line and sinker. To me, the growing trend of PCCs was mostly an artifact of increasing ammo costs and a desire to try something new, different, and fun. While those are compelling reasons, they weren’t enough to tip me over the edge.

So what changed?

Tipping Points

It wasn’t one single thing that pushed me over the edge into this rabbit hole. One of those was Pieter’s article. He had solid reasoning for his support of the SMG/PCC. Then my friend Justin Fields of Swift Silent Deadly started talking about how much he’s enjoyed going down the rabbit hole. I trust his background and experience a lot, and when he tells me “I’m never going back” after picking up a Stribog, it has a lot of weight.

Then 9 Hole Reviews put out a fantastic video. In it, they compare handguns to PCCs. their argument, which is bit of a paradigm-shifter for me, is that we should not think of PCCs/SMGs as smaller and less capable rifles, but rather they are larger and more capable pistols. They’re easier to aim, handle, accessorize with quality lights and optics, and far easier for new shooters to use well.

Then there was my own thoughts on the Martial Marksman training zones. In that post, I mentioned that we should all seek to be as capable as possible within 0-50 yards. This is the perfect zone for a PCC/SMG system.

Eventually I had to make to a couple of honest admissions to myself. First, as much as I understood that a rifle was probably the better home defense weapon, my go-to bedside gun is still a 9mm pistol equipped with a weapon light. If I was comfortable with that, then why wouldn’t I be comfortable with a PCC that offered a ton of benefits? Especially when we start talking about suppressability of 9mm.

Second, I had to admit to myself that I don’t get to regularly go out to 300-600 yards. As fun as a precision 223 bolt gun would be, I just wouldn’t get to shoot it much. On the other hand, I can get out to 50 yards practically any weekend. I stockpile a lot of 9mm for my handguns, so a PCC would benefit from that as well.


Project Xiphos

I know, I know…another project name. I have a problem.

The Xiphos is/was a type of double-edged short sword carried as a secondary weapon by the Ancient Greeks. Their primary weapons were spears and javelins. When things got too close, they went to the xiphos (or, alternatively, another short curved single edge blade called the kopis…I didn’t think that sounded as cool). The xiphos seems like a nice middle ground to name a shorter ranged weapon that’s somewhere in between a handgun and a rifle.

The B&T GHM9

Members of the community discord know that I went back and forth for at least a year on what 9mm PCC I was going to buy. Up until the brace ban, I was confident that it would be a Kalashnikov USA KP-9. It had that 9mm fun factor while scratching the AK itch. Also in the running was the PSA AK-V (very similar to the KP-9), the CZ Scorpion, and the Grand Power Stribog.

Once it was time to plop down money, though, I decided to go for something with a modern design and proven duty track record. That led me to….the Beretta PMXs that just recently hit the US last year. I handled one, it felt fantastic, and I can see myself getting one at some point anyway. If you didn’t know, the PMXs came about when Beretta bought the rights to manufacture the B&T P26. The PMXs even shares magazines with the B&T ecosystem.

Even though it felt like an exceptionally nice weapon, the tepid response that the PMXs received at launch worried me. Beretta does not have a strong track record of supporting platforms that aren’t commercial success. I was concerned that aftermarket support would dry up and I’d be stuck.

So I looked back at B&T itself, and found that the GHM9 series has gained a lot of popularity in the last several years. They enjoy a good reputation for reliability, modularity, and there’s a base of enthusiast support. B&T even put out additional receivers allowing you to use Glock or Sig P320 magazines. The aftermarket also has a lower that lets you use Scorpion magazines.

A tri-lug barrel is a nice bonus.

When I found one on sale, I jumped on it.

Next Steps

So what are my plans here? This is going to cost a lot of money and time, honestly.

I plan to turn the GHM into an ideal 0-50 yard blaster, “truck gun,” and home defense tool. I’ll take it to competitions (where possible), and I bet it becomes a favorite “hand out” gun for new shooters.

This is also my entry point into the NFA game. I plan to purchase a 9mm suppressor for it, and may very well SBR it along the way. In all, this is going to be a fun- though expensive project.

After some initial testing, I’ll do a standard review on the GHM. However, as of writing this, I’m already picking up the parts I want to see my vision through. I also happen to have an inordinate number of spare accessories on the shelf that make it a bit easier.

The EOTech XPS 2-0 and Arisaka 300 light were things I already had on hand. Easy add here. I picked up an Edgar Sherman Design (ESD) sling and attached it with Blue Force Gear Universal Wire Loops (UWL). Some spare Magpul XTM panels and handstop went on the bottom of the handguard. I’ve already found that the flashlight position is a little awkward to use given the cramped space, so this might be where I start experimenting with remote switches as well.

I plan on getting a Lingle Industries lower, which lets me use Scorpion magaines as well as most AR-15 triggers, grips, and safeties. Of note, the upper receiver is the serialized portion of the gun, so purchasing and testing out new lowers are easy. They are uncontrolled.

For a suppressor, I haven’t decided yet. Nor have I settled on going through the Form 1 process and all that it entails. I know that braces are back on the menu again, for now, but I don’t know that they are a good long term solution for me.

Stay Tuned

Yeah, this was probably a bit of a “filler” post this week- but now you get a sense of where my head is at this year. I’m very much focused on that 0-50 yard critical zone, and this kind of project just seems like it will be a lot of fun to take on.

Have you gone down the PCC rabbit hole, yet?

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Matt

Matt is the primary author and owner of The Everyday Marksman. He's a former military officer turned professional tech sector trainer. He's a lifelong learner, passionate outdoorsman, and steadfast supporter of firearms culture.

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12 Comments
Oldest First
Newest First
Pieter
Member

Hi Matt, Im glad you came around to the PCC/SMG. The descriptor of the SMG as a large pistol as opposed to a small rifle is very good. Think of SMGs in three size categories. The smallest sized ones would be guns like the old MAC 10s from the Miami Vice days, or the VZ61 (the original SKORPION). Mid size guns would include the MP5 and UZI. They bridge the gap to Full size SMGs like the Thompson and PPSh41 etc. I think of them as ones that can be “concealed” vs what I call “Go To War” guns. I… Read more »

Ryan
Ryan
Guest

I went down the smedium road when I found a deal on a scorpion locally. I’m not sure it was the best choice, but it has served me well. I do not find it to be a bigger pistol, nor a small rifle. I saw a niche for a bag gun to throw in my Jeep when camping and tried a 5.56 Tavor, a 300 blk folder, and a few others for the role. 12.5 6.5 Grendel anyone? They all have their ups and downs. Of course, you need to build out a whole kit for it. I’m not opposed… Read more »

Pieter
Member
Replying to  Ryan

Crossing State lines does require a single form; but its not something that would keep me for SBRing. As for the Scorpion, I think its one of the better current options. Its still relatively inexpensive and the big plus is the low cost and availability of quality mags. I also like that they have a Full size and Mini version.

Chris
Chris
Guest

Addition of the BT tele stock with tail hook adapter. Add the MOD1C tail hook and it’s one compact package.

Chris
Chris
Guest
Replying to  Matt

The B&T GHM9 Tele Brace w/ Tailhook Adapter is robust. Makes for a very compact PCC. Personal preference, as it reminds me of the MP-5.

I don’t think you can go wrong with a folding or tele stock, a long as it’s quality. Oh B&T APC9 RBS Compact Suppressor is a nice option. Overall nice compact PCC.

Chris
Chris
Guest
Replying to  Matt

Those are good choices. You will have a quality made project.

Dutch
Dutch
Guest

So I got a shortie 9 ar. I’m looking at building a load carriage kit for it. I went back to the beginning and checked out original SAS kits with MP5’s and saw they carried 3 stick mags in a leather thigh holster that dropped from the belt and had a thigh strap. Today you just have chest rigs and plate panels with smaller pockets. Competition bros just use a fast belt with angled mag holsters because, speed equals points. Is there an intersection between these concepts for a modern sub-gun loadout? Is there a better mousetrap? Given the narrow… Read more »

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