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Automatic pistol


The APS automatic pistol is still popular with Russian special law enforcement forces

Caliber 9x18 mm
Weight (empty) 1 020 g
Weight (loaded) 1 220 g
Length 225 mm
Barrel length 140 mm
Muzzle velocity 340 m/s
Magazine capacity 20 rounds
Sighting range 25 - 200 m
Range of effective fire 50 m


   An automatic pistol was designed by Igor Stechkin to meet a Soviet Army requirement. The Soviet Army required an automatic pistol, that would be used as a personal defense weapon by vehicle crews, pilots and other types of soldiers that do not need an assault rifle. It is worth noting that the Soviet tactical doctrine had no place for submachine guns. The APS entered service in 1951 alongside the Makarov pistol of the same caliber and new 9x18 mm ammunition. It seems that production of this pistol began in 1952. It was produced in thousands. The APS was issued to tank, combat vehicle and artillery crews, front line officers, and some other soldiers. However soon after its introduction it was discovered that it had some drawbacks. It was heavy, lacked power and penetration and was uncomfortable to carry. Also it was expensive to produce. Its production was discontinued in the late 1950s. The APS automatic pistol was gradually removed from army service and kept in storage. By the early 1970s most were replaced by AKMSU, a compact version of Kalashnikov assault rifle. This automatic pistol was never exported even to Soviet allies. However it might be in service with some former Soviet republics.

   The APS is still used today. It found its second life amongst various Russian special law enforcement forces. At the present time more modern pistols, like the Yarygin PY, GSh-18 or Gyurza were developed in Russia. However the APS is still popular.

   This automatic pistol fits the gap between semi-automatic pistols and submachine guns. Its full automatic fire capability was mainly intended for emergency close quarter situations. It is a more effective alternative for a close quarter combat than standard semi-automatic pistols. However only a specially trained shooter can fully exploit all the benefits of this automatic pistol.

   The APS is chambered for 9x18 mm Makarov ammunition. This round was designed by Makarov alongside his pistol. Basically it is a larger version of the 9x17 mm (.380 ACP) round, developed by John Browning. Russians deliberately opted for ammunition that is not compatible with any Western 9 mm pistols. So in case of war captured Soviet ammunition stocks would be useless. The 9x18 mm round became the standard pistol and submachine gun round in the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries, as Soviets required their allies to use the same ammunition. Comparing with Western 9x19 mm Parabellum round, the 9x18 mm Makarov round is less powerful and also looses in terms of penetration. Ball and tracer rounds are available.

   The APS has an all-steel construction. It is a simple blowback operated weapon. It can fire in semi-auto or full-auto modes. This pistol has a fire rate reducer. Cyclic rate of fire is 600 rounds per minute. It is much more controllable during full-auto fire than other automatic pistols, that have a rate of fire well over 1 000 rounds per minute. The APS has a double action trigger. It can also operate in single-action firing sequence.

   A safety switch is mounted on the slide. It also acts as a fire mode selector.

   This automatic pistol is fed from a double-stack magazines, that hold 20 rounds.

   The rear sight is adjustable. It can be set at a range of 25, 50, 100 or 200 meters. However effective range for this pistol is up to 50 meters. For more accurate shooting a holster can be attached to the backstrap and used as a shoulder stock. Early production holsters were made of wood. Later these were made of plastic. However the original holster was heavy and clumsy to carry. So the APS is usually carried in various open-top holsters.

   Overall the APS has a much better accuracy in semi-automatic mode and much larger magazine comparing with the general issue Makarov pistol.




   APB silenced automatic pistol. Sometimes it is referred as APSB. It was developed in the late 1960s. It is based on the APS. This pistol has a longer barrel, removable silencer and detachable wire shoulder stock. It fires subsonic rounds. During the 1970 an unspecified number of existing APS pistols were remanufactured into the APB. It is used by the special forces.


Video of the APS automatic pistol

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APS pistol

APS pistol

APS pistol

APS pistol

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APS pistol

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