The KCI APC9 Magazines – Metal Feed Lips Finally!

I love B&T and its dedication to subguns. Sure, they make other stuff, including great suppressors the APC223, but they are the most dedicated subgun producer I know of. Every gun they make is seemingly a banger, too. They make good guns, but their magazines often leave something to be desired. The mags for the APC9 series are used for several different guns, and they are the weak point of an awesome firearm. KCI’s APC9 magazines look to be a welcome upgrade.

It’s not that they don’t feed reliably. They do, and they tend to be as reliable as it gets. The problems come from the polymer design. It’s a bit brittle, and the polymer feed lips have been known to break and fail after a fairly short amount of abuse. B&T treats them as disposable parts, and admittedly, magazines are disposable, but they tend to be disposed of a bit quicker than other magazines. Plus, at $60, they aren’t cheap. Oh, and don’t drop them ever because if you do, they will spray out your loaded cartridges like a fountain.

The B&T magazines were just waiting for an aftermarket solution. You expect Magpul, or even Lancer, heck, or even ETS, to take the task to heart. Yet, it was the Korean manufacturer KCI who took the challenge and released a new APC9 Magazine. KCI is well known for producing affordable, fairly reliable magazines for ARs, Glocks, and AKs. They aren’t often considered duty-grade magazines, but they are very functional for the price point. The KCI APC9 magazines might be a reputation-breaking effort.

The KCI APC9 Magazines – Notable Differences

The first and most important difference is that KCI fixed the weakest part of the APC9 magazine, the feed lips. KCI uses metal feed lips. This reinforcement will help prevent the most common damage to APC9 magazines. Broken feed lips plague the B&T mags. The KCI APC9 magazines do lack the bumper that some B&T magazines offer, but I prefer metal feed lips.

When you drop the mags, they are less likely to break and won’t go off like a fountain when they strike the ground. The reinforced feed lips are a nice touch, but not the only nice touch. The KCI APC9K magazines are more translucent than stock B&T options. They are also a lot easier to load. There is a lot less pressure on the follower, and the last five rounds are easy to insert and load.

The magazines glide into the magwell with ease and lock in place rather nicely. Doing quick reloads won’t be much of a challenge, and loading a fresh mag on a closed bolt isn’t tough either. The B&T mags would often be quite difficult to insert on a closed bolt fully loaded. It’s surprisingly robust and seems very well made. Of course, a lot of nice features mean absolutely nothing if the magazines don’t run reliably.

To the Range

With a single KCI APC9 magazine, I hit the range, and to quote Frank Reynolds, I started blasting! In a safe and proper manner. Using my ammo to run drills rather than diving into the temptation to mag dump into trash I was able to track feeding reliability. I used a mixed bag of ammo for testing, with the majority being brass-cased 115-grain rounds. I mixed in some hollow points, some 147-grain, and some steel-cased stuff to find a weak point. In terms of just feeding, the magazine didn’t falter or fail. I loaded on an open bolt, a closed bolt, and more. There were no malfunctions to speak of.

I did some classic and largely useless shoot one reload shoot one drills just to test dropping the magazines. I only had one KCI mag, but the stock B&T mag worked fine for reloads. In this reload practice, I noticed the KCI APC9 magazine slid in easier and smoother than the stock APC9 mag. I let the KCI clash to the ground over and over.

Outside of reload drills, I loaded the magazine and let it drop on concrete. I dropped it at different angles, including directly on the feed lip. When dropped fully loaded, a round or two will fly out, but no more than two have ever popped out. The magazine body didn’t break, and the metal feed lips didn’t falter. The KCI APC9 magazines feel solid and well-made.

Three Cheers for KCI

The KCI APC9 magazine is substantially cheaper than the B&T model. If I go to GunMagWarehouse right now, I can get the KCI APC9 mags for $20 on sale. That’s a bargain compared to the stock standard B&T mags. My sample size is one, but if the KCI APC9 magazines function this well across the board, I don’t see a reason to buy OEM magazines anymore.

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.