The PLA Also Have An Underwater Gun

A Chinese TV station has broadcasted footage of Chinese PLA Navy drivers with their clone of Russia’s APS Underwater Assault Rifle. The existence of this gun was confirmed only three years ago and until now I have not seen clear above water photos of the gun.



The gun has  improved on the original by adding a forward handguard, improved sights (although I am unsure how useful sights are at close range underwater) and a snag free magazine.

The original Russian APS Underwater Assault Rifle

The original Russian Tula APS Underwater Assault Rifle

Unlike the new Tula ADS Underwater Rifle, this gun is not useful above water. The bullets, which resemble long needles, are designed to operate in water and have very limited range out of it. On the other hand, many folks argue it is not particularly useful below water either …

Thanks to Sven for the link.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Jonathan

    I thought underwater rifles were a fad in the 80s.

    Them Chinese folks are a tad late aren’t they.

    • Jeff

      Maybe Thunderball just got translated?

  • Doom

    but where was the TV stationed?

    • Roger Mao

      CNTV is a online subsidary of the chinese national broadcasting entity – CCTV.
      And this “news” is already 5 months late.

  • bbmg

    So 1970s, surely they’ve heard about supercavitating bullets?

    The bullet profiles have been published online, the research is done for them:

  • Roger Mao
    this one has the most pics available and goes pretty deep (the deepest u can find most likely) i can find, too bad nobody reads Chinese here but me.

    • bbmg

      Nice find!

      Of interest are these projectiles with fins at the end:

      An attempt to make them more stable in the air perhaps?

      • Roger Mao

        im really glad u found that website, i personally know the guy who runs it, only he is reallllllllllllllllllllllllllly busiman to catch.

        this is generally my go-to database for firearm and it should serve the purpose here.

        as u all know, all research for firearms is conducted by the state here in China, we shall see when they wanna us see sth

        • bbmg

          Fantastic! I first came across it (almost literally) years ago and even though I don’t speak a word of Chinese it is by far one of the most complete image collections for some more obscure firearms online.

          The domain name does keep changing though, a good way to find it again for me was the fact that “Russian” is misspelt as “Russain” 🙂

          • Roger Mao

            No shit, never noticed

            even i spend quite some time hunting it down, once a while. the thing is he gets free lunch, thats the reason why he moves a lot cuz free host is not that easy to find according to him. and i personally dont even know how to setup a website.

            tell u what, this website – the firearmsworld – will be the closest venue to inside infos. i know he know some of the guys in 208 Small Arms Institute, which is one of the most important firearm research facility in China. The 208’s most recent well known piece is the first chinese made bolt action sniper rifle: CS/LR3 and the 762 NATO variant CS/LR4.

          • Guest
          • Guest
      • Anonymoose

        Does it use the same cartridge dimensions as the APS?

        • bbmg

          With the calibre stated as 5.8mm, presumably it is based on the indigenous DBP87 round.

          • Roger Mao

            presumably its just the shell case of DBP87 or could be DBP10

          • Anonymoose

            Yeah, I saw that when I went to that website. Apparently it uses “5.8x42mm” ammunition, just like the APS used “5.45x39mm” ammunition.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Judging from the profiles of the projectiles in the photograph, it is likely that they were designed specifically with the goal of superior hydrodynamics in mind — they are therefore optimized for enhanced underwater performance, not aerodynamic performance in the dry.

  • Frosty_The_White_Man

    Has there ever been a documented underwater gunfight involving this type of weapon? Or even a mention of one in a Spetsnaz memoir?

    • Nicks87

      That’s what I was wondering as well. Is there really a demand for such a weapon?

  • Lance

    You just said it like everything PLA they copied it off of Russian weapons.

    • FourString

      Not “everything.” QBZ-95-1 is not copied off of a Russian weapon….

  • I blame James Bond…

  • Walter

    This has obviously been designed for those sea lions of the Santa Monica pier that keep trying to sell me crack!

  • antonis maniatis

    Imagine our surprise in Greece when in the early 90s, the Russians revealed their secret small arms program like the APS and other staff during the Defendory exhibition.