KCI Mags for the B&T APC9/GHM9: Better Than Factory Mags?

If you’re into guns at all, you likely know that factory magazines can be a little pricey. But aftermarket mags are often lacking in the quality department. So, it’s always nice to find a less expensive aftermarket offering that makes the grade. Seemingly, anyway. In the video below, GunMag Warehouse’s Jeremy Stone puts the new 30-round KCI mag for the B&T APC9/GHM9 carbine through an admittedly rudimentary test, and the initial results are promising.

Magazines for B&T APC9 carbine
Jeremy put the KCI mag to a head-to-head test with the B&T factory mag.

Magazine Similarities

Since the mags are for the same firearm, you expect them to be similar, if not identical. The KCI and B&T mags share the following features:

  • Both are polymer.
  • Both are translucent, though the KCI is a bit more so.
  • Both are double stack 9mm stick mags.
  • Both are numbered on the side for an easy round count.
  • Both have similar polymer baseplates
  • Both have a 30-round capacity
Magazines for B&T APC9 carbine
Both magazines are translucent and have numbered sides for easy reference.

Magazine Differences

There have to be differences or there’s no point to this video or commentary. There are only three, but they are significant:

  • The KCI mag has steel-reinforced feed lips. The B&T mag feed lips are polymer.
  • The B&T mag is available with a bumper sleeve. The KCI is not. More on that in a moment.
  • The B&T mag retails for $50.00 The KCI mag retails for $35.00
APC9 magazines baseplates and feed lips.
Both magazines have polymer baseplates, but the KCI mag has steel-reinforced feed lips while the B&T mag is only polymer.

Big Differences

The magazines’ similarities are whatever. It’s what you’d expect. But the differences, now; Congratulate yourself if you noted the $15 price difference paired with the feed lips. Steel-reinforced feed lips are a big deal. I get that the APC9 is not an AK and won’t tear up the feed lips as badly, but why would you not want a stronger, more robust magazine? At least on that end.

Another difference isn’t really a difference at all. The B&T mag has an available bumper sleeve that seems necessary based on the drop test below. But…you can buy those sleeves separately and they fit the KCI mags. By the way, the sleeve-equipped B&T mags are $66. So, the KCI is still better priced, even if you buy the sleeve.

APC9 magazines
Both magazines were 100% reliable when feeding the carbine.

But how do they perform?

Glad you asked. Jeremy says up front that this is an initial test. One day at the range with 1 of each magazine. Hardly scientific, but it may be helpful anyway. Both mags demonstrated 100% reliability as far as feeding the gun. So that’s all good.

The only real problem came with the drop test. Jeremy ejected each fully loaded mag onto a flat rock. Both ejected cleanly. The B&T mag lost 2 rounds from the top upon impact. The KCI lost 1 round. Pretty much the same.

But the B&T mag’s baseplate broke. It was still attached, but it was noticeably damaged. It did, however, complete the test with 0 malfunctions. But once Jeremy removed the damaged baseplate, it was clearly broken and needed to be replaced.

APC9 magazines bumper sleeve
The available bumper sleeve seems to be a necessary upgrade for either mag. The B&T mag’s baseplate did not fare well without it in the drop test.

Final Judgement

Well, it’s hard to make a final judgment here. Like we said, it was a single range trip with 1 of each mag. It could be that the B&T mag landed just right, or wrong, when it hit the rock. The KCI mag might do the same next time.

APC9 magazines
It’s difficult to judge from one brief test, but the KCI mag seems like a winner.

Both were fully reliable, even after the B&T mag was damaged, though it likely would not have lasted long. Again, a single test is inadequate to make an informed decision. It’s very likely that both mags benefit greatly from the bumper sleeve. Jeremy even says as much. If you have either one of these mags, the sleeves seem like a necessary upgrade, assuming you can find them in stock. Jeremy could not.

The real difference from where we stand is the feed lips and the price. If all else is equal, the KCI mag seems like the better choice. But that’s up to you. Factory mags are factory mags. But occasionally, something better might come along. The KCI might just be that better thing.

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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