The APS Underwater Assault Rifle is a derivative of the AK47, designed in the Soviet Union in the early 1970's for use underwater by frogmen or combat swimmers. Underwater, ordinary-shaped bullets are inaccurate and very short-range. As a result, this rifle fires a steel bolt caliber 5.66mm (especially designed for this rifle and is often mistaken as 5.56mm) and 120 mm (4.75 in) long. Its magazine holds 26 cartridges.
The APS's barrel is not rifled; the fired projectile is kept in line by hydrodynamic effects. As a result, the APS is somewhat inaccurate when fired out of water. Its range and firing rate decrease with increasing depth, presumably due to increasing backward suction caused by cavitation behind the projectile, and water pressure on the firing mechanism.
The APS is longer range and has more penetrating power than spearguns. This is useful in such situations as shooting through reinforced drysuits, and protective helmets (whether air-holding or not), and thick tough parts of breathing sets and their harnesses, and plastic casings and transparent covers of some small underwater vehicles.
The APS is more powerful than a pistol, but is bulkier and takes longer to aim, particularly swinging its long barrel and big flat magazine sideways through water. The APS has more stopping power against anti-frogman dolphins, but for most underwater fights, Russian commando frogmen prefer the pistol, which is more compact and easier to store away. It is reported that some Russian frogmen prefer to be photographed with the APS, as it looks bigger and more impressive.
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