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Stechkin APS with stock
Stechkin APS
(Avtomaticheskiy Pistolet Stechkina)
Stechkin Automatic Pistol
Country of origin

Soviet Union


Igor Stechkin

Production began


Production ended


Weapon type



blowback-operated, with cycle reduction

Overall length

225 mm

Barrel length

140 mm


1020 g

Magazine/Cylinder capacity

20 round, detachable

Cyclic rate

600 RPM

Maximum effective range

200 m (official)

APS (Stechkin Automatic Pistol) is a rare machine pistol, since it built from scratch as a select-fire weapon. Designed and put in production in 1951 along with the PM (Pistolet Makarova) in same caliber, it was intended to be a personal defensive weapon for vehicle crews, RPG-7 carriers and front line officers.

For that purpose, APS had a 20-round magazine, option of fully-automatic fire, and holster, which doubled as buttstock. However, throughout the use, it had been discovered, that holster-buttstock is bulky and uncomfortable to wear, while the pistol itself lacked the longer-range power, despite still being more effective than the PM.

For those reasons, APS pistols were gradually shifted out of service, and relocated into reserve storages, replaced by shortened assault rifles, namely AKS-74U. However, this was not the end of service for this firearm.

Later, during 1980s, APS pistols were adapted into service by law enforcement forces of USSR (and later, Russia), who favor it for capacity and accuracy. Usage of inexpensive 9x18 mm round, ballistics superior to PM and availability of automatic fire for emergency situations are also quite-appreciated bonuses.

All in all, APS is a formidable weapon for close quarters, and it is still in favor with Russian law-enforcers, despite the availability of more modern pistols. Operating through simple blowback, APS has fully-steel construction, and sports a significant reliability. Simple fire-selector has three positions - safety, single shot and full auto.

Among flaws of APS, however, one should note, that automatic fire is hard to control - although not as much as on most machine pistols. and demands a significant physical force of operator to perform this. Originally-designed holsters-buttstocks (initially made from wood, later from plastic) are clumsy and uncomfortable to wear, so majority of APS pistols now is carried in open-top holsters instead. Among other curiosities one has to mention sights - which are marked for fairly realistic 25 m, 50 m and 100 m, but also for quite dubious 200 m, despite the Russians themselves never intending pistols to be used outside 50 m. That said, Mauser C96 had a 1000 m setting.

Variants Edit

Stechkin APB

The APB (Avtomaticheskij Pistolet Besshumnyj, meaning automatic silenced pistol) version was a version of the APS optimized for silent operations. Developed in the early 1970s by A.S. Neugodov (А.С. Неугодов) under the factory name AO-44, it was officially adopted in 1972 under the service name APB and given GRAU index 6P13. Muzzle velocity reportedly dropped to 290 m/s in this variant. Instead of the holster-stock of the APS, the APB comes with a detachable stock made of steel wire. Its barrel is longer than that of the APS; it protrudes from the slide and is threaded for the attachment of a sound suppressor. The barrel itself is also wrapped around by an integrated expansion chamber, in which gasses escape from holes in the barrel. When not in use, the detachable sound suppressor can be clipped to the stock.During the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the APB was used by Soviet Spetsnaz team leaders as an extra weapon; they usually carried on a sling with the suppressor and stock mounted. It was also employed by radio operators and even by some heavy gun crews.In the more recent past, other special forces units of the MVD such as the OMON and the SOBR have also been equipped with this pistol.

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