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Century Arms AP5 Semi-Automatic Pistol [Review]

A couple of months back, Century Arms announced the release of their new AP5 Semi-Automatic Pistol. The Apparatus Pistol, or AP5 for short, comes in three models and is a total throwback to the era of the SAS busting into your embassy to free hostages. The three models include the full-sized AP5, a mid-sized AP5-P, and a fully concealable version known as the AP5-M. For the purpose of this review, we shot the full-sized base model AP5. If you would like to read about a modified version (and how you can modify yours), you can check out this review from Student of the Gun. (Link to come soon)

Huge shoutout to Student of the Gun by the way. They helped us get our hands on the Century Arms AP5 for a bit of range time. Without them, this review would not have been possible. Let’s dig into it.

Century Arms AP5

Who Needs This Style of Pistol?

First of all, if you’re from the ATF reading this as an answer off of Google, the answer is: “Whoever the hell wants one, and you can’t stop them.”

Now, let me really answer this question. I think the Century Arms AP5 is for anyone who is looking for a compact pistol that can do more than the average handgun. There’s a lot of great PDW style options on the market today. All of these options have the size and ammunition capacity of a regular handgun but offer a lot more versatility. That versatility comes in increased accuracy at ranges past 25-yards, and fills in the gap where a standard AR or AK style rifle would simply be too large.

Basically, if you’re looking for a new truck or home defense gun, the AP5 from Century Arms might be something you should consider. On top of this, if you’re at all in the prepping community, the AP5 would make a great “bug-in” firearm for your get-home-bag.

It also may be exactly what you’re looking for if you really loved the movie Die Hard.

Meet the Base Model Century Arms AP5.

The Apparatus Pistol, also known as the AP5, from Century Arms is a modern take on an iconic classic firearm. As mentioned above, Century offers it in three different variants ranging from full-sized to fully-concealable. Each firearm comes in a sleek black carrying case with two 30-round 9mm magazines. Also included are a factory cleaning kit, sling, gun lock, and a picatinny mount for any red-dot or reflex style optics the end-user’s chooses.

This take on the MP5 comes from the MKE manufacturing facility in Turkey. It features the same roller-lock, delayed blowback action that made the MP5 such a smooth shooting firearm. We’ll talk about that smooth shooting a little later in the review.

While no official MSRP for the firearm has been set we’ve seen them ranging from around $2,700 to just shy of $3000 depending on where you pick it up. As always, do your due diligence here so you don’t pay an inflated amount for the firearm. Here’s a pro-tip free of charge. Google search, “HG6034-N” and you’ll find all of the products related to the AP5 from Century. This will help you find the lowest current price.

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Specifications of the AP5.

  • Caliber: 9x19mm Parabellum. (Luger)
  • Action: Semi-automatic; roller-lock, delayed blowback action.
  • Sights: Rear drum sight, fixed front sight.
  • Barrel Length: 8.9 inches.
  • Overall Length: 17.9 inches.
  • Barrel Twist: 1:9.8 inches.
  • Barrel: Cold hammer forged chrome molybdenum vandium.
  • Muzzle Attachment: 3-lug quick attachment; 1/2×28 threading.
  • Overall Weight: 5.5 pounds. (unloaded)
  • Range Performance and AP5 Overview.

    Before we dig too deep into the range performance and our overview of the AP5, let’s get a few things out of the way first. We shot the full-sized, stock version of the AP5 with cheap steel cased 9mm ammunition. That means, we opened the case it came in, put some EDC CLP on the firearm’s moving parts, picked up a magazine, and jammed steel cased 9mm into the thing and started shooting. The base model iron sights were on the weapon, and we shot in fairly inclement March Wyoming weather. I also say we, because I shot the firearm with Student of the Gun’s very own Paul and Jarrad Markel. Paul later took this same AP5 and fully modified it for a review that is linked at the top of this article.

    All of that out of the way, I was incredibly impressed with performance of this weapon system. It’s not every day that you take something as good looking as the AP5 out of the case, jam steel cased ammo into it, and have it run flawlessly. The AP5 did though, and it cycled all of that steel cased ammunition without a single complaint. Over 600 rounds of 115g Red Army Standard 9mm Luger cycled through this weapon fresh out of the case without a single hiccup. That’s either us getting really lucky, or a testament to this firearms ability to eat whatever ammunition you feed it.

    Let’s talk about how the firearm felt.

    On The Range

    Range Performance.

    I am generally not a fan of this style of firearm, and by this style, I mean civilian variants of sub-guns from the spec-ops world. Generally speaking, they have a bit of extra bulk to them that I don’t like, and the lack of a stock usually makes them very difficult to control or aim. Also, they generally lack a lot of what makes sub-guns so appealing in the first place, such as a roller-lock, delayed blowback action, and the ability to run the firearm suppressed.

    None of that applies to the AP5.

    With the exception of not having a brace or SBR stock on the weapon, the AP5 feels exactly like shooting a regular MP5. Sure, it didn’t have the happy switch which is what makes the MP5 so devastating and effective, but it was still awesome to shoot. The trigger action was smooth and responsive, and the weapon’s recoil was almost non-existent even without a brace or SBR stock. That lack of recoil made the weapon fully controllable, even sans any sort of bracing system. I am confident that anyone with real experience behind the MP5 will barely be able to tell the difference between it and the AP5.

    I’m really looking forward to trying the firearm out again with the modifications that Paul has made to improve it.

    Final Rounds with the AP5.

    AP5 Conclusion

    Overall, the AP5 is an outstanding firearm that is perfect for anyone looking to fill the role of a pseudo sub-gun or PDW in their current collection. Out of the box, this firearm is an impressive throwback to the special operations community of both the past and present. It’s a rough time to be looking for new firearms, but if you manage to find an AP5 for under $2,900 and it’s something that is on your wish-list, I would definitely recommend picking it up. You will not regret it.

    That’s just the singular opinion of this firearms reviewer though. Let me know down in the comments if you have any experience with the MP5, SP5, or the AP5. What are your thoughts on the weapon system in general? Together as a community we can always come together to make the best decisions about our firearms purchases.

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