Type Pistol, Machine Pistol
Place of origin Soviet Union
Used by Soviet Union
Designer Igor Yakovlevich Stechkin
Manufacturer Tula Arsenal
Produced 1951 — 1975
Weight 1.22 kg
Length 225 mm
Barrel length 140 mm
Cartridge 9x18mm Makarov, 9x19mm Parabellum.
Rate of fire 40-90 (practically), 750 (theor.)
Muzzle velocity 340 m/s
Effective range 50 m
Maximum range 200 m
Feed system 20-round detachable box magazine
The Stechkin APS (Avtomaticheskiy Pistolet Stetchkina, Russian: Автоматический Пистолет Стечкина) is a Russian selective fire machine pistol. It bears the name of its developer, Igor Stechkin.
The Stechkin pistol was originally chambered for 7.62x25mm Tokarev. Stechkin changed the pistol to the 9 mm caliber used in the new Makarov pistol (PM), as it became clear that this cartridge was set to become the new service ammunition for handguns of the Red Army. In 1951, both the Makarov and Stechkin were introduced into the Soviet military arsenal, replacing the trusted Tokarev TT-33. They do not only look similar but have indeed much in common, such as the simple unlocked blow-back mechanism.
In contrast to the Makarov, the Stechkin APS has an automatic fire mode, which is selected using the safety lever. In burst or automatic fire, the pistol should be fitted with the wooden shoulder stock; otherwise, the weapon quickly becomes uncontrollable. The detachable stock is similar in appearance and design to that of the Mauser C96, and likewise, the pistol can be stored inside when not in use. The extra weight of the stock helps to control the recoil.
The Stechkin was intended as a sidearm for artillery soldiers and tank crews. As a pistol, it is rather heavy, and combined with the shoulder stock (which was rarely ever used), it is quite bulky. This led to the APS being gradually phased out of active service, although it is still held in reserve. The Stechkin APS was eventually replaced by the AKS-74U compact assault rifle with folding stock, offering more firepower due to its much more powerful 5.45x39mm M74 rifle ammunition.
In the 1970s, a version of the Stechkin pistol was produced including a metal stock, threaded barrel and a silencer. This special version was designated Model APB (B for Bes-shumniy, the Russian word for silent). The APB was issued to special forces units such as the Spetsnaz. During the Soviet war in Afghanistan the Soviets conducted a number of clandestine campaigns in enemy territory, raising the demand for relatively compact, rapid-firing guns. The APB met this requirement, which gave it a new lease of life. In the more recent past, law enforcement units such as the OMON and the SOBR have also been equipped with this pistol.
A contemporary derivative of the Stechkin, the OTS-33 Pernach, is also chambered for the 9x18mm Makarov cartridge.