Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Arming Tank Crews to Special Operations: The Stechkin

When Soviet Spetsnaz stormed the Afghan presidential palace in 1979, the weapon brought to bear on the overwhelmed defenders, the Stechkin automatic pistol.


The Stechkin curried favor in the modern age of special operations and counter-terrorism was designed in the late 1940s as a vehicle crew weapon; and for a time was mothballed before returning to the fists of enforcers of Soviet, and now Russian, might.


It was 1948 when Igor Stechkin, attending the Tula Mechanical Institute, put together a thesis project outlining an fully automatic 7.65mm pistol. That same year Stechkin's automatic pistol design was assembled as the TsKB-14 and began testing chambered in 9x18mm, a caliber common then and now. The result, three years later would be the APS, Automaticheskij Pistolet Stechkina, a select-fire machine pistol.


The Stechkin would see a run of over 20 year. However, not quite a pistol and not quite a submachine gun, the Stechkin was pulled from service in the 1970s. Yet, the Soviet mantra of any functioning weapon is a good one, resulted in the Stechkin being stored intact meaning it would have a comeback.


It would be dusted off and return to the field as the need for a small, select-fire weapon rose in the age of terrorism.The turn-around for the Stechkin, which is still loved by police and military forces in the CIS, came in part when it was modified with a threaded barrel capable of taking a suppressor. After that point, and with modernized small-arms employment methods, the Stechkin found a new lease on life.


But, to the guts of the Stechkin, what is the pistol sized weapon all about?


The large framed automatic pistol operates via direct blowback. After a 20-round magazine is inserted, slide manipulated and round chambered, the rearward recoil of the expended ammunition cycles the slide back, against recoil springs and then back into battery.


The Stechkin, with a rate of fire of around 600 rounds per minute, was fitted with a three position safety. The safety, located on the left side of the slide (like most automatic pistols) had safe, single shot and full-automatic positions. The 20-round magazine could easily be expended with a simple pull of the trigger in fully-automatic.


To help control the direct blowback method of operation, Stechkin built into the grip a plunger-style buffer. The vertical piece was forces down upon the rearward movement of the pistol slide. The slender buffer was fitted inside the grip, between the magazine well and the hammer spring mechanism.


Showing its early 20th century heritage, the Stechkin was originally fitted with a hollow wooden stock. The stock also doubled as a holster for the machine pistol. The pistol would sit inside the hinged butt-cap, released with a spring loaded button. The muzzle end of stock/holster was then slid into the heal of the pistol grip, locked into place. The stock, a large and cumbersome accessory aided in control, but was often discarded. By it's reintroduction, the Stechkin would have the accessory of a wire stock added to its envelope.


Relatively unknown outside Soviet/Russian arsenals, the Stechkin filled a small post-war niche and remains in service among some of the Commonwealth of Independent States elite units.

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Comment by Andrew V. No on March 29, 2011 at 7:19am
I have seen and even held in my hands APS in 2001 in the North Caucasus. Our scouts had several pieces. The only difference was the presence of a silencer and a folding metal stock.

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