Stechkin APS (Automatic Pistol Stechkin) History

It has always been something of a challenge to equip logistical, special role and second-line troops in warfare. The role is typically taken up by the submachine gun but there are times when an even handier, portable assault weapon is required. During the Cold War (1947-1991) between the East and the West, the Soviet Union sought to solve this issue within their ranks and called on local industry to develop a new close-quarters weapon. One entry into this competition became the Stechkin, an automatic pistol with qualities more akin to a machine pistol - the bridge between a semi-automatic handgun and a submachine gun. The Stechkin's formal name was "Avtomaticheskiy Pistolet Stechkina" or "APS", this literally translating to "Automatic Pistol Stechkin".

Igor Stechkin was credited with the design of the pistol, hence it bears his name, and work began in the late-1940s and continued into the early-1950s.

At the core of the design was a blowback system of operation which centered on the 9x18mm Makarov Soviet pistol cartridge. The pistol had a selective-fire capability and could reach out, with some accuracy, to 655 feet while maintaining a rate-of-fire of 750 rounds-per-minute. Muzzle velocity of the outgoing bullet reached 1,115 meters-per-second. To promote better accuracy while in full-automatic fire, there was an optional solid shoulder stock attached to the base of the grip. Sighting was through an iron arrangement and the sidearm more or less mimicked in appearance the various John Browning-inspired semi-automatic service pistols of the period.

After official evaluations and trials, this automatic pistol was formally adopted for service in 1951. Serial production was had through the Vytatsky Polyany Machine-Building Plant. Production of the APS pistol spanned from 1951 until 1958 and issuance was to vehicle and artillery crews as well as some officer-level candidates. Security forces soon took up the type and it was offered up for sale on the foreign market where takers were aplenty.

As designed, the sidearm weighed 2. 7lb and had an overall length of 8. 9 inches with a barrel assembly measuring 5. 5 inches long. Feeding was by way of a 20-round detachable box magazine inserted into the base of the grip handle. The usual pistol controls were found on the receiver including the fire rate selector and safety.

In service, the Stechkin proved its worth for what it was but it was also soon found to be a large and heavy gun to manage. It was uncomfortable in the hand and its high rate-of-fire made it prone to jamming while engagement range was limited in practical use. This led to the series being pulled from large scale active service though Soviet / Russian special forces continued to appreciate the weapon and valued the pistol's close-quarters "punch".

In all, operators included the usual Soviet allies and customers in Armenia, Angola, Cuba, Georgia, Libya, Romania, Ukraine, Syria and Tanzania. In Romania, the weapon was recognized as the "Dracula Model 98" (1998) and was chambered for the 9x19mm Parabellum German pistol cartridge. Several modifications were made to the gun to produce this local mark.

The APB became a silenced version of the original APS pistol. This form appeared during the 1970s and about 2,000 were produced from 1972 until 1973. Changes included a lengthened barrel assembly, reduced muzzle velocity and optional wire stock. The barrel was threaded to take on a suppressor component which was used to reduce the noise of the exiting bullet. This weapon became another highly-value version of the Stechkin pistol for Soviet / Russian special forces operatives with the series still in service today (2017).

The Stechkin is known to have had combat exposure in the Vietnam War (1955-1975) as well as the Soviet War in Afghanistan. It has also been a noted participant in the ongoing War in Donbass between the Russia and Ukraine.

Stechkin APS (Automatic Pistol Stechkin) Specification

ROLES

- Clandestine Operations

- Close Quarters Battle (CQB) / Personal Security

- Sidearm

STRUCTURAL

Overall Length:

225 mm (8. 86 in)

Barrel Length:

140 mm (5. 51 in)

Weight (Unloaded):

2. 76 lb (1. 25 kg)

Sights:

Iron Front and Rear.

PERFORMANCE

Action:

Blowback; Full-Automatic Fire

Muzzle Velocity:

1,115 feet-per-second (340 meters-per-second)

Rate-of-Fire:

750 rounds-per-minute

Effective Range:

655 ft (200 m; 218 yd)

VARIANTS

APS - Base automatic pistol form.

APB - Silenced pistol model; lengthened, threaded barrel; suppressor assembly; wire stock.

Related stuff

1400 1514 1587 1765 1774 1775 1776 1782 1785 1786 1791 1797 1811 1813 1819 1840 1841 1842 1852 1853 1855 1856 1857 1859 1860 1861 1862 1863 1864 1865 1866 1867 1868 1869 1870 1873 1874 1875 1877 1878 1885 1886 1888 1889 1895 1896 1897 1898 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Contact