Long considered essential beachwear for Russian frogman-types, production is ramping up for the special 4.5mm and 5.66 mm dart-projectile ammo used in the country’s underwater-capable guns. The 4.5mm round fires a mild-steel flechette dart loaded atop a 39.5mm bottlenecked case and is used in the 4-shot SPP-1 pistol while the larger 5.66mm cartridge was designed for the APS rifle system.
The SPP-1 and its darts
Due to automation, the factory can now produce 10,000 of these specialty rounds per day.
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If you drive a mini-sub to work, learned Russian as your first language and have a closet full of wetsuits, odds are you may have a working knowledge of the Avtomat Podvodnyj Spetsialnyj better known in the west as the APS. It’s the world’s only known underwater assault rifle and its James Bond-style interesting.
First off, it’s important to remember that this weapon wasn’t a prototype that looked revolutionary on paper only to never get used; it was designed in the 1970s, placed into production at the TsNIITochMash plant and issued for use to untold thousands of Russian military types. The Soviets in the 1970s were anxious to build the world’s largest navy and were running a very close second to the US fleet. With more than 300 submarines and up to 50 at sea at any time, the Soviet Red Banner Fleet, led by the iconic Admiral Sergey Gorshkov, felt the secret to a communist victory on the waves was in operating under them.
Of course, you couldn’t have the largest submarine fleet in the world without a huge legion of underwater commandos—who needed guns.
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