The development of the selective fire, large military pistols, intended for military personnel as a personal defense weapon, was started in USSR in the late 1920s, but eventually lead to no success. But, after the end of 2nd World war, this idea was resurrected and, with the introduction of the new 9mm cartridge Soviet Army requested for a large, semiautomatic pistol, capable of controllable full automatic fire and fitted with detachable shoulder stock. Such weapon, designed by the Igor Stechkin in Tula was adopted by Soviet Army in 1951, along with the Makarov PM pistol in the same caliber. New pistol, designated as the "APS - Automaticheskij Pistolet Stechkina" (Stechkin Automatic Pistol), was issued to artillery, tank and armored carrier crews, RPG-7 carriers in the infantry, front line officers. But it soon was discovered that the APS, with its bulky and heavy holster / shoulder stock, is awkward to carry, and lacks the power for a military weapon, so it was gradually removed from army service and put in reserve storage. During the 1970s, however, small quantities of existing APS pistols were fitted with new, extended barrels, with threaded muzzle parts. These pistols, designated APSB, were intended for SpetsNaz use and issued with quick-detachable silencers and detachable wire shoulder stocks.
During the turbulent 1990s, the APS found its second life in the hands of various special Russian Law Enforcement teams, such as OMON, SOBR, various VIP security and hostage rescue teams. APS offered much better accuracy and larger capacity, than the general-issue Makarov PM pistol. APS also capable of very good rapid-fire accuracy in semi-automatic mode, as well as full automatic fire for emergency close-quarter situations. At the present time, regardless of advent of more modern and powerful pistols, like the Yarygin PYa or GSh-18, the APS still well regarded by Russian law enforcement, because of readily available and inexpensive 9x18 mm ammunition, good accuracy and low recoil. Now it is often carried in various open-top "combat" holsters, instead of its original clumsy and heavy holster / shoulder stock.
The APS is a simple blowback pistol, of all steel construction, with external hammer and a double action trigger. A three-position safety lever, located on the slide, also acts as fire mode selector, allowing for single-shot or full automatic fire. To slow the rate of fire down to controllable 750 rounds per minute, APS featured a plunger-type fire rate reducer, located in the grip. Return spring is located around the barrel. Front sight is fixed to the slide, rear sight is adjustable for range, with settings for 25, 50 and optimistic 100 and 200 meters. To further improve the long range and full automatic mode accuracy, a shoulder stock / holster can be attached to the grip. early holsters / stocks were made from wood, latter - from brow plastic.