Arms embargoes set against the nation of South Africa (due to Apartheid) led to the development of an indigenous weapons industry. Born from various initiatives were frontline multi-role aircraft, artillery systems, armored vehicles and a bevy of firearms known for their reliability and production quality - and very comparable to Western types. One such product became the "BXP" submachine gun which saw development begin sometime in the early 1980s. The submachine gun was intended to arm local police elements with a compact, high-volume, close-quarters weapon. After evaluation, the BXP entered serial production in the late 1980s and has since gone on to see acceptance with both police and military forces in South Africa. The BXP is produced in a semi-automatic fire, closed-bolt design for law enforcement and a full-automatic fire, open bolt design for military use.
At its core, the BXP is reminiscent of the proven and classic Israeli UZI family of submachine guns. Design of the BXP is characterized by its rectangular receiver which houses the major internal working components of the firearm as well as the charging handle set atop the receiver and the rectangular ejection port along the right side. As in the UZI, the BXP features a grip magazine to which is inserted a 22- or 32-round detachable box magazine in 9x19mm Parabellum form. The trigger unit is integrated with the straight pistol grip and sports a large oblong ring which makes its use by gloved operators possible. Manual safety controls are ambidextrous and found near the trigger area on the grip. Green marks the weapon as locked while "red is dead" and made ready for fire. Selective fire (in the military full-automatic version) is accomplished by "half" and "full" trigger presses to actuate the single and full-automatic fire modes respectively. The firing operation is of standard blowback and yields a rate-of-fire between 800 and 1,000 rounds-per-minute. Effective range is out to 100 meters though, with a weapon of this class, ranged accuracy accordingly suffers at greater distances. Iron sights are set across the top of the receiver in a conventional way though aiming lasers can be affixed as needed. The BXP features a hinged metal (stamped steel) stock that folds under the receiver, the shoulder pad now acting as a forward hand grip. A perforated shroud with slotted muzzle cover fits over the protruding portion of the barrel and assists in heat dissipation. With the shroud removed, the barrel nut is threaded to accept a silencer assembly which can be coupled with subsonic ammunition. Various muzzle attachments are available including compensators of differing lengths and cooling perforations as well as a grenade launcher attachment for firing rifle grenades. While the barrel is full-length (8.2 inches long), the weapon's compact size is made possible by way of a hollowed-out bolt which encompasses the hidden portion of the barrel. Maintenance and repair is eased by field stripping the weapon into its major components. Overall weight is a handy 5.5lb. Overall length is approximately 24 inches though a length of 15 inches is achieved with the stock folded. The BXP features a special exterior coating which is rust resistant and brings longevity to the overall service life of the weapon.
Despite its high rate-of-fire, the BXP has proven to be a very effective submachine gun entry. It can be fired with a two-hand grip from the shoulder in the usual sense but can also be fired in a traditional two-handed pistol stance held away from the body (with the stock folded). The weapon is well-balanced and well-constructed, owing much to the South African defense industry's penchant for high-quality military products and attention to detail. The BXP certainly does not disappoint for what it is.
The BXP originated under the Mechem brand label and has since been produced under several company names. It currently appears as a product of the Truvelo Armoury with manufacture ongoing.