Kalashnikov’s Automatic Pistol (Video)

    The APK (Kalashnikov Media)

    Kalashnikov Concern have shown off a rare example of Mikhail Kalashnikov’s automatic pistol developed in the late 1940s. Kalashnikov’s pistol was beaten by Igor Stechkin’s entry into the trials, the APS.

    In the late 1940s, the Soviet Union began a programme to adopt two new pistols, a compact officers sidearm and a larger automatic pistol for personal defense. The larger pistol would be issued to artillery and mortar crews as well as tank and aircraft personnel where an SKS or a new AK-47 would have been a hindrance.

    Right side view of Kalashnikov’s APK (Kalashnikov Media)

    The two new pistols were to fire the new 9x18mm pistol cartridge, a design by Nikolay Makarov was selected as the new compact pistol while several designs were tested for the larger automatic pistol. The submissions from Kalashnikov and Stechkin were evaluated with Stechkin’s eventually winning out.

    In the video Kalashnikov Concern show off an APK marked serial number 1#, only a handful of prototypes are believed to have been produced. Sadly, the video doesn’t show Kalashnikov’s pistol in action but its a fascinating look at a very rare prototype from a hugely important small arms designer.

    Like the APS, the pistol has a wooden holster stock and fed from a 20-round magazine. Kalashnikov is said to have developed the pistol just after the AK was selected and did not have enough time to refine the new sidearm.

    Kalashnikov’s APK with its wooden holster stock attached (Kalashnikov Media)

    Unloaded the APK weighed 1.25kg (2.75lb) and 1.7kg (3.7lb) with its wooden holster – only slightly heavier than the APS. Kalashnikov’s pistol used a blowback action with a fixed barrel. It had a single action trigger and had a three position selector with safe/decocked, semi-auto and full-auto positions. It had an extremely high rate of fire and unlike the APS did not have a rate of fire reducer.

    Left side view of Kalashnikov’s APK (Kalashnikov Media)

    Only a few APK prototypes were made for the trials and Stechkin’s APS was adopted in 1951. The APS and the suppressed variant, the APB, were both used during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. While Kalashnikov’s pistol design was unsuccessful he continued to develop the AK as well as other Russian smalls arms such as the RPK and the PK.

    Matthew Moss

    Matthew Moss – Assistant Editor.

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written for a variety of publications in both the US and UK he also runs www.historicalfirearms.info, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of www.armourersbench.com, a new video series on historically significant small arms.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]


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