Country of origin
5.66 x 120 mm
Weight (without magazine)
Length (with folded stock)
Cyclic rate of fire (air)
Practical rate of fire
Range of effective fire (air)
~ 50 m
Range of effective fire (5 m under water)
Range of effective fire (20 m under water)
Range of effective fire (40 m under water)
The APS is
an underwater assault rifle. It was developed specially for combat
divers. It was adopted by the Soviet Navy in the mid 1970s. It was
used not only by the divers, but by naval commando units as well. At
the time of its introduction, the APS was a unique weapon with no
known analogues in the West. This underwater assault rifle was kept
in high secrecy until 1993, when the APS was first offered publicly
for export customers.
The APS is a
gas-operated, selective fire weapon. It fires from an open bolt. It
can fire while under the water, as well as in the air. The APS is
much lighter than the
assault rifle, which is a standard-issue infantry weapon in
Russia. Build quality of the APS is rather crude.
ammunition is useless under the water, as it has a range of only 2-3
meters. Bullets loose their trajectory and penetration instantly.
Furthermore it is unsafe to fire standard firearms under the water.
So this weapon
has a smoothbore barrel and fires specially designed 5.66 mm
MPS rounds with darts, rather than bullets. The dart is 120 mm
long. The whole projectile is 150 mm long. Under the water projectiles are stabilized by a hydrodynamic
cavity, generated by the flat point of the dart. However these have
no stabilization when fired above the water. There is a baseline MPS
round with a steel dart and MPST round with a tracer dart. This
ammunition uses standard 5.56x39 mm cases. The ammunition is
resistant to water and corrosion.
A fire mode
selector has three positions for "safe", "semi-auto", and
"full-auto". It is located on the left side of the receiver, and is
operated by a thumb.
underwater assault rifle is fed from 26-round capacity magazines. It
has unusual shape due to its long ammunition. Each APS assault rifle
comes as standard with two magazines, and a bayonet.
has got a simple steel wire stock. When not in use the stock is
telescoped into the weapon.
assault rifle has got simple, non-adjustable, iron sights. This
weapon is quiet effective and accurate under the water. Though its efficiency and firing rate reduces gradually
depth increases. At a depth of 5 meters its effective range is 30 meters. At a
depth of 20 meters its effective range reduces to 20 meters. Such
range might not sound a lot. However in most cases visibility under
the water is even lower. So such range is adequate. In the air its
effective range and performance are reportedly poor. That's why
combat divers and naval commando units, that are engaged in
amphibious operations both below and above the water, typically
carry the second weapon - a standard assault rifle for use on shore
or on board hostile vessels.
This weapon can easily penetrate diving suits
and defeat hostile combat
divers. Its rounds penetrate a 5 mm thick organic glass, or diver's
of the APS when firing above the water is very short. Its barrel
deteriorates instantly. So another interesting
feature of this weapon is that for training above the water its
smoothbore barrel can be replaced by a rifled one. Once the barrel
is replaced, the weapon can fire standard 5.45x39 mm ammunition
above the water.
experimental underwater assault rifle. It appeared in the late 1990s
and is a significantly modified version of the APS. The main
improvement is that it used a rifled barrel with shallow riffling.
This weapon could fire both special underwater ammunition and standard
5.45x39 mm ammunition without the need to change the barrel. It used
two types of magazines - a magazine of the APS, loaded with special
underwater ammunition, and a standard magazines of the AK-74 assault
rifle, for firing above the water. Its performance under the water
was similar to that of the APS. However on the air it outperformed
the APS significantly. The ASM-DT had an effective range of 150-200 meters, which was similar to that of the
compact assault rifle. So the shooter had to simply change the
magazines when entering or leaving the water. A drawback of this
weapon was a complicated magazine well.
underwater assault rifle. The ADS is a further development the ASM-DT
experimental assault rifle. First prototypes of this weapon appeared
in around 2000. Externally it has got little in common with the APS.
It is actually based on the A-91M assault rifle with bullpup layout.
This weapon can be used both below and above the water. The ADS uses
newly developed 5.45x39 mm PSP underwater ammunition. This
ammunition was developed by 2005. From the standard 5.45x39 mm round
it differs only by bullet shape. This special ammunition retains a
compact size of the standard 5.45x39 mm round and can be loaded and
fired from the standard AK-74 magazines. Under the water this new
ammunition has slightly inferior performance to the APS darts,
however the same ammunition can be fired both below and above the
water. Furthermore it has significantly greater range above the
water, than ammunition of the APS. Its effective range above water
is 500 m, similar to that of the standard
full-size assault rifle. That was a huge improvement for the weapon of this type.
Furthermore the ADS has got an integral 40 mm grenade launcher. This
weapon is being proposed for the Russian Navy as a replacement for
the APS. It is also being proposed for various export customers.
QBS-06 is a
Chinese underwater assault rifle. It is a clone the APS. The Chinese
weapon has got a number of modifications and is chambered for
slightly different 5.8 mm ammunition, which is built around cases of
the China's standard 5.8x42 mm round. Still though it uses darts.