The APS is a machine pistol developed by Igor Stechkin in the late 1940s and adopted by the Soviet Union in 1951, basically at the same time as the Makarov pistol. The Stechkin and Makarov share many characteristics – both are double action, both fire the 9x18mm cartridge, both have decocking mechanisms, both have heel magazine releases, and both are simple blowback actions with fixed barrels. The Stechkin, however, is capable of both semiautomatic and fully automatic fire, and is paired with a detachable combination shoulder stock and holster. The Stechkin is also a substantially larger gun, with a 20-round double stack/double feed magazine and a rate reducing mechanism in the grip.
In practice the Stechkin was not particularly successful, as is a difficult weapon to shoot accurately. It was intended as a personal defense weapon for personnel like drivers, vehicle crews, and the like – men who needed a weapon of some sort, but did not have the need for an infantry rifle. In the US military at the time, this role was performed by the M1/M2 carbine. In the 1970s the Stechkins were pulled out of service and replaced by short-barreled AK rifles – but they did see a limited resurgence of use by the Spetznaz in Afghanistan, where they were used with suppressors for special operations.