After the AK-47, Mikhail Kalashnikov Pushed an Automatic Pistol
The APK lost out to the APS
In the late 1940s, Mikhail Kalashnikov — the Russian gun-designer behind the then-new AK-47 assault rifle — produced an automatic handgun called the APK.
Busy completing the AK-47, Kalashnikov reportedly lacked the time to truly refine the APK. In the end, the Red Army preferred Igor Stechkin’s own APS auto-pistol. The APK faded from memory.
Kalashnikov Concern recently released a video depicting a rare surviving copy of the APK.
In the aftermath of World War II, the Red Army launched a program for two new pistols. A compact officers’ sidearm and a larger automatic pistol for personal defense. The larger pistol would arm artillery and mortar, tank and aircraft crews.
Both of the new pistols would fire the new nine-by-18-millimeter pistol cartridge. A design by Nikolay Makarov won the competition for the new compact pistol. Both Kalashnikov and Stechkin submitted auto-pistols.
Soldier with an APS. Source
Like the APS, the Kalashnikov pistol boasts a wooden holster stock. Initial prototypes fed from an 18-round magazine. In 1951, Kalashnikov added a new rear sight and increased the magazine capacity to 20 rounds.
Unloaded, the APK weighs 2.75 pounds — 3.7 pounds with its wooden holster. That makes it only slightly heavier than the APS is. Kalashnikov’s pistol features a fixed barrel and a blow-back action. It has a single-action trigger and a three-position selector for safe, semi-auto and full-auto functions.
The APK boasted an extremely high rate of fire and, unlike the APS, didn’t need a rate-of-fire reducer. Kalashnikov produced only a few prototypes before the Red Army adopted the APS in 1951. The APS and the APB — a suppressed variant — saw action during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.