Perhaps there is no other weapon that is as controversial as the Stechkin APS automatic pistol. He still causes numerous disputes and discussions about his combat capabilities and characteristics, and a lot of completely opposite and different opinions have developed regarding him, many of which, unfortunately, are based not on personal experience, but on simple reasoning. At the same time, it is very rare to meet a person who had to use this weapon in battle and who has the ability to draw conclusions about APS based on his own experience.
I turned to this topic, accidentally finding in the magazines "Weapon" of different years very contradictory opinions about this gun. So, in the second issue of 1999, an article was published titled “Weapon is not for us?”. Its author, a cadre officer, reserve colonel Leonid Migunov, draws conclusions based on personal experience of using the APS, but, as I understand it, not on its combat use, but on experience gained in the course of daily business activities. He expresses his opinion, which is that the Stechkin pistol is not effective enough, moreover, it is cumbersome and inconvenient to use.
Pistols APS with standard holsters-butts and pouches
APS pistols in a converted thigh holster with a rubber handle grip and twisted pistol strap
Somewhat later, in the third issue of the magazine “Arms” for 2000, a letter was printed, the author of which was Peter Dobriden from Spassk-Dalniy. This author has a completely different opinion on the MPS pistol and gives his arguments.
In addition, there are many conversations on these topics on the Internet on various weapon sites and forums on these topics, but there are not many intelligible and reasoned opinions either.
I had to use an APS pistol in a combat situation for quite a long time. Therefore, I dare to believe that I can judge this weapon based on my own experience and personal impressions. Now I will try to share them, while trying to avoid using the data and characteristics of these weapons, which can be easily found in large numbers in various sources. At the same time, I perfectly understand that my conclusions and opinions cannot be considered indisputable either.
In the book of A.I. Blagovestov “What they shoot at the CIS” under the general editorship of A.E. Taras, the section on APS says: “... The units with the detachable metal butt and silent flameless shooting device were successfully used in Afghanistan special forces. In addition, the APS is well established as a personal weapon of driver mechanics tanks, Armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, helicopter crews. ” Having familiarized with such information, some questions immediately arise. And why did he well established himself as a personal weapon of precisely driver mechanics, and not, for example, tank commanders or loaders? And with what qualities did he especially suit them, how and where did they use it?
In his letter to the magazine “Arms”, Peter Dobriden also talks about something similar: “... APS, several decades after being removed from service, became the favorite weapon of pilots and special forces who fought in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Special forces soldiers noted its high efficiency in the conduct of hostilities in the city and use as a "last throw" weapon, which was explained by high maneuverability and firepower. ... As for the special forces, in combat, they widely used the silent version of Stechkin APB ".
Let's talk first about the crews of combat vehicles. After graduating from a tank school and having served in tank forces for more than one year, having been in Afghanistan in the mid-eighties as commander of a tank company, I have never and never met a tanker armed with an APS pistol, especially a driver. And at motorized riflemen this weapon did not occur even more. Moreover, the staff of the tank divisions did not officially register any Stechkin pistols as personal weapons for officers or members of tank crews. There were PMs, there were automatic machines AKS-74 or AKSU, but not APS, then where could they get there, if according to the staffing table they were not listed?
APS different years of release
Helicopters also often had to communicate during the second Chechen war, while in Khankala. I didn’t pay special attention to their personal weapons, but I can say for sure that they were not armed with “Stechkin” weapons. Even if we assume that this gun was in service with the crews of combat vehicles and helicopters, how could he have worked well out there, as many authors claim? Crews of combat vehicles and helicopters on the battlefield perform tasks using completely different weapons, so they do not have the opportunity to evaluate the merits or weaknesses of the APS. Outside of combat vehicles, they do not fight, and Stechkin’s pistol is not used, even if they have it with them.
In this regard, it is not clear why the authors of the above book are misleading their readers in talking about facts that did not take place in reality. If somewhere the crews of combat vehicles and helicopters were armed with a Stechkin pistol, then this was not the rule, but rather the exception. And how then they could appreciate his merits is also unclear.
SPECIAL FORCE AND APB
There are references to the special forces, who allegedly often and successfully used a Stechkin pistol and appreciated it, especially in the version of APB. At the same time, it seems that the authors of these arguments do not clearly understand who the special forces are, what tasks and what weapons they carry out.
We had to perform combat missions, together with the army special forces, as well as with the special forces of the GRU and the FSB. I want to note that this is, in fact, selective, well-trained, trained and equipped infantry, performing the most complex and demanding tasks. In the army special forces units, strange as it may seem to many, the personnel mainly consisted of well-trained conscripts. Of course, there was a considerable number of contractors there. The main tasks for the special forces in Chechnya were the organization and conduct of ambush actions, raids on mountain-wooded areas in order to detect and destroy militant gangs, their camps and bases. But the same tasks, and no less successfully, were performed by both reconnaissance and ordinary motorized rifle subunits. For this they needed a powerful enough weapon, at least an automatic. Neither automatic pistols, nor submachine guns, due to their insufficient firepower, were not suitable for these purposes.
It was quite true that in Afghanistan, JSA was used by special forces to perform a number of tasks. But its use was sporadic, due to the specifics of the weapon itself. It should be noted that the use of another pistol, namely: the Makarov-Deryagin PB design under these conditions was no less successful, and it was used no less frequently than APB. And considering its much smaller dimensions, its use was much preferable than APB.
I am familiar with both samples of this weapon, and I can say that for performing specific tasks, the Stechkin’s APB pistol has no particular advantages over Makarov’s PB. "Stechkin" with a connected silencer has absolutely exorbitant size, inconvenient in carrying and placing on equipment.
"Makarov" with a silencer is also not small, but, nevertheless, much smaller APB.
To reduce the initial speed of the bullet to 290 m / s in the barrel of the ASC there are gas vents, which the usual Army APS does not have. Thereby, the firepower of this pistol is significantly reduced, which has become quite comparable with the power of the PB pistol, whose initial bullet speed is also 290 m / s. For example, APB muzzle energy is 250 J, versus 246 J in PB. Therefore, the PB in its capabilities is not much inferior to the APB, while having much smaller dimensions.
Figuratively speaking, if someone thinks that with any of these pistols one can quietly get into the rear of the enemy and quietly shoot the sentry there near the enemy headquarters, then this is a pernicious delusion. Both APB and PB are absolutely noiseless, and, as it seemed to me, the sound of the shot is better off at the PB. In addition, both pistols have a rather loud clack of the bolt during rollback and roll forward when firing. Considering these circumstances, it is not possible to consider the possibility of firing bursts of the dignity of the JSA, since its silencer successfully copes only with a single shot, and the sound of the queue is jammed poorly. Moreover, the massive shutter of the APB, moving during the automatic fire mode, produces a roar, similar to the sound of a nearby train. For these reasons, firing in bursts with an installed silencer is useless.
There is no doubt that APB and PB pistols are a very worthy weapon, but if we say that APB has become the favorite weapon of special forces and reconnaissance aircraft, then there is another quite simple explanation for this. Enough frequent and successful use of both of these pistols contributed to one very important fact. And this is not at all some of their exceptional characteristics and qualities, but the ability to use a common and affordable ammunition — cartridge PM. That is what became decisive when choosing a weapon to perform special tasks. All the rest is a silent weapon, the choice of which is not so small at the moment, as well as their ammunition in the form of SP-3 and SP-4 cartridges - rather exotic, rarely found among the troops. Everyone knows that it is there, but many of his entire service, including me, have never seen him.
Makarov's silent pistol and Deryagin PB
In order to properly use a weapon, you need to correctly evaluate its characteristics and combat capabilities. Then it will become clear, for what fire tasks it is suitable, and for which it is not, and under what conditions its use will be the most expedient. Unfortunately, I did not immediately take into account this simple truth, and the possibilities of the Stechkin pistol were initially greatly overestimated. Understanding these misconceptions came soon enough.
APS immediately made a very good impression on me. He had an attractive appearance, was beautiful and elegant, if this epithet is applicable to weapons. I liked the simplicity and originality of its design, it was easily understood for maintenance and cleaning, was well balanced. With the added plastic holster, he turned into something like a submachine gun, which, in essence, is.
I noticed and flaws, however, seemed not so significant. So the wide and thick handle when shooting from the hand does not allow you to conveniently hold the weapon. This disadvantage is due to the design, since there is a two-row magazine for twenty rounds in the handle, as well as details of the retarder, the combat spring and the combat spring pusher.
Holding the gun in your right hand, it is not possible to move the fuse to different positions and cocking the trigger with the thumb of the same hand, as can be done with Makarov. To do this, you must resort to using the other hand, while removing the weapon from the line of fire.
When the trigger is cocked, the trigger angle also seemed to be not very comfortable, located too close to the handle, this caused the feeling that a finger stroke might not be enough to make a shot. Therefore, the trigger had to press the second phalanx of the finger, not the first. Perhaps it’s all a matter of habit.
During almost daily use, Stechkin showed amazing reliability, reliability and unpretentiousness, approximately at the level of Makarov. For all the time there was not a single delay due to the fault of a weapon or ammunition, and this is in view of the fact that it was not always possible for its quality service and cleaning.
Strangely enough, but when shooting from the hand at 20-25 m, it turned out that in these conditions the APS pistol has no distinct advantages in relation to the PM pistol. The results of the shooting were approximately comparable. Shooting from the hands of the MTA is much more difficult than from the PM, because here its significant dimensions and weight play an important role. These parameters adversely affect the results of shooting due to the rapid fatigability of the hand, and therefore the accuracy of each subsequent shot is reduced. It is hardly advisable to fire long in such a way, especially at a considerable distance. With such a weight, shooting with two hands or using a holster-butt is naturally preferable.
With an increase in the distance to the targets, the effectiveness of the fire and the accuracy of the hits decreased sharply. Therefore, I believe that the firing range stated in the technical specifications for the MPS without the 50 butt butt, and with the 200 butt butt, is clearly overestimated, at least twice.
When shooting with a closed butt, both in single shots and bursts, the pistol's shutter moving in close proximity to the shooter causes not very pleasant sensations.
In a combat situation, several attempts were made to use the APS as an independent weapon. Here she misled the possibility of automatic fire from him, and the butt that was fastened at the same time seemed to endow it with the capabilities of a submachine gun. The illusion was created that Stechkin is a versatile weapon, compact, mobile, convenient to use, and having the ability to conduct continuous fire. But, as you know, there are no universal weapons, and Stechkin, of course, was not the same either.
Modern Russian special silent pistol PSS for special cartridge SP-4
It soon became clear that in modern combat there are practically no tasks that this gun is capable of performing. Fire contact occurs, as a rule, at distances that are not available for the effective use of the MTA. His bullet has a low penetrability, for which even a lightweight shelter becomes an insurmountable barrier and limits the already low combat capabilities.
In a combat situation, it turned out another not very pleasant quality of the Stechkin. It has a high unmasking property. Since his concealed carrying is difficult because of his considerable size, he had to wear it on a belt in a regular holster in front of everyone, including the enemy, who perfectly understands that an ordinary infantryman cannot be armed with such a weapon. Therefore, the owner of the MTA becomes the first candidate for destruction. And it had to be taken into account.
It quickly realized that when everyone around was armed with machine guns and machine guns, when the enemy also fired automatic and machine-gun fire, the owner of the MTA feels completely helpless and useless. In order to be able to perform combat missions in modern combat, a much more powerful weapon must be used than even the most remarkable automatic pistol.
Experience has shown that the most suitable weapons in a combat situation are a set of automatic weapons and a pistol. In this case, with the help of an automaton in combat, the main fire tasks are carried out, and the pistol is used as an additional and reserve fire weapon. Very often there were situations when the use of a pistol was preferable to a machine gun. For example, when inspecting premises, basements, dugouts. In addition, an additional weapon such as a pistol was used when the main weapon was discharged or defective. Therefore, the pistol, as a backup weapon, has certain requirements: it must be compact, reliable, reliable, safe to use, well placed among equipment and gear, easy to remove and always be ready to fire. All these requirements for such weapons, as well as possible, are satisfied by such an excellent gun as the PM.
For a certain but brief time, I attempted to use the MTA as a backup fire weapon, but they were unsuccessful. It turned out that this gun is not suitable as such a weapon, since it does not satisfy all the requirements for such a weapon. In addition, he has excessive, not pistol firepower, although this, of course, cannot be attributed to the shortcomings. As an additional weapon, a compact and reliable PM is much more preferable. In connection with this, it became obvious that the Stechkin pistol was practically useless in ordinary combat.
Here are some more quotes from the letter of Peter Dobrideni: “... From my own experience I know that when shooting from one hand to the 70 distance, all bullets fall in a circle with a diameter of 30 cm ... for a submachine gun, the main thing is the density of fire, for a pistol the very possibility of automatic fire, and even with one hand, is already excellent ... As the experience of Afghanistan and Chechnya shows, there is no replacement and no alternative to it, because not one pistol of the world fits into the parameters of the APS, that is, twenty rounds, the target range is 200 m (and this is real) the weight of the 1220 g with the loaded magazine automatic fire with one hand. " The author of another letter, Leonid Migunov, on the contrary, believes that the APS shows poor results even when fired at 25 m due to the high windage and weight of the pistol, and automatic fire from this pistol is absolutely not effective.
But is it worth arguing about this, because it’s not even a matter of which of these authors is right and who isn’t? The shooters also have a different level of training, which is why they show different shooting results: some are the best, others are the worst. But in the given reasonings one important fact is not taken into account, that in the enemy the battle is a growth or chest target that is not stationary at a certain distance. In battle, the other rules. And very often it happens that even an insufficiently well-trained shooter, but possessing endurance, composure and combat experience, performs a firing task much more successfully than one who has the best rifle training, but has lost his composure and lost his head in a difficult situation.
Peter Dobrideni repeatedly points to the possibility of automatic fire from a hand to create a high density of fire. But this cannot be considered the task of a pistol. Having a rate of fire of 700-750 per minute, the APS will empty the magazine in a second and a half, leaving the arrow in the face of the enemy unarmed. Shooting bursts using a holster-butt does not give a high accuracy of shooting, and shooting bursts from the hand, especially not
Modern submachine gun "Chestnut"
will give high results. The possibility of automatic fire for a pistol is not so important, it is judged on completely different qualities. It is for this reason that automatic pistols capable of firing in bursts are not widespread either in the world or in our country.
The store capacity of twenty rounds cannot be considered a big advantage of Stechkin either. Although, theoretically, this is not bad. But practice says something else. When it came to the use of pistols, the most important factor here is the reliability of the weapon, the time of the first shot and the accuracy of its hit. If the fire task with the use of a pistol failed to be solved by the first shot, or at least the first three, since the enemy gave you the opportunity to make them, then neither the eighth, nor the tenth, nor, the more, the twentieth cartridge remaining in the store will save you In life, of course, all sorts of situations happen, there are no rules, no exceptions, but usually it looks that way.
Modern submachine gun "Cypress"
There is no doubt that the APS pistol is a masterpiece of design thought in its design, and its creator Igor Yakovlevich Stechkin is undoubtedly an exceptionally talented person. Within the framework of what was entrusted to him, he created an unsurpassed sample of weapons. The low power of the ammunition used in this gun determined the simplicity and reliability of the design, but at the same time, it significantly limited its fire capabilities.
Modern submachine gun "Cedar"
In fact, an APS pistol is not a pistol, but a submachine gun that is comparable in its characteristics to other, more modern, PPs designed for the 9-18 mm PM pistol cartridge, such as Kedr, Klin, Cypress "and some others. In some ways he surpasses them, but in some way inferior. But all these weapons have very limited capabilities, and therefore have not received wide recognition and distribution among the troops. We in the army units it was not in service and was not used at all. In the special forces, GRU and FSB divisions with which we had to jointly carry out combat missions, if there were similar samples, then only in single copies. The fighters of these units were armed with much more powerful weapons. For example, I only saw the APB pistol once with the chief of intelligence of the 503 th motorized rifle regiment 19 MSD, as an additional weapon. No enthusiasm for the use of this gun, he did not express. The APS pistol was in service with almost every commandant of the city or region of Chechnya, General Vladimir Bulgakov, whom I had met, was also armed with Stechkin. Submachine guns chambered for PM we had some Interior Ministry officers, such as investigators, criminologists, and the like. I do not remember the case when some of them had to use this weapon in battle. These categories of servicemen and militiamen with their personal weapons did not directly take part in the hostilities.
All modern submachine guns, including the APS, cannot be considered a full-fledged weapon on the battlefield, their fire capabilities are very limited. It is difficult to even say in what situations such a weapon can be used. It is suitable, rather, for the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to carry out the tasks of apprehending criminals peculiar to this department. And in modern combat its use is ineffective. In this regard, the decommissioning of such a good, at first glance, a pistol, like the APS, was quite natural and justified.