A Suppressed Revolver That’s Not a Nagant : OTs-38

Okay, stop me if you’ve read this one…

“So I flicked off the safety of my suppressed snub-nosed revolver and emptied five rounds of 7.62 into the target, each one so silent that you would have thought I was dry-firing the gun. I had a spare moon clip of 7.62 ready to go.”

Do you think that sounds stupid? Not just uninformed but a flat-out short bus riding soliloquy delivered by some leftist stooge who gained all his knowledge out of context by hanging out at gun shows and gun shop counters without so much as ever seeing a real gun?  It’s what some metrosexual wine-sipping scrote rag would write when he had to get descriptive in his alt-left spy novel or independent movie script?

Well, not actually, no. Such a beast exists.

OTs-38 Stechkin suppressed revolver from HUM3D
OTs-38: an integrally suppressed revolver.

It’s called the OTs-38 Stechkin revolver, and it fires from the bottom cylinder like a Chiappa Rhino in order to provide a much lower bore axis. This allows the revolver to transfer the recoil into the center of the shooter’s hand, more in line with the muscles of the shooter’s forearm. It has an integral laser sight where the barrel would normally appear on a revolver, and as we mentioned in the introductory sentence, it has a safety that blocks the hammer when cocked in order to deliver a single action first shot.

OTs-38 suppressed revolver

The revolver was designed by Igor Yakovlevich Stechkin, who was one of the most creative arms designers in history. He was essentially the Q of KGB and GRU, designing machine pistols that actually look like pistols as well as cigarette lighter derringers and of course the OTS-38 that bears his name.

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The Stechkin suppressed revolver.
Stechkin suppressed revolver; it’s one quiet wheelgun.

Stechkin died a year before his revolver made it to the production line.

 

Stechkin OTs-38 suppressed revolver
 This is the Chiappa Rhino that fires from the bottom cylinder, not the Stechkin OTs-38, but you can see the similarities. 

Stechkin’s OTs-38 was built by the TSKIB SOO (Central Bureau for Sporting and Hunting Arms, a division of famous KBP organization, located in Tula, Russia) on request from Russian FSB (Federal Security Service).

The other thing you might be thinking right now is, “That sounds cool, but you said snub-nosed. I’ve read enough of your shit over the years about silencers and revolvers to know it can only be done on a Nagant Revolver where the cylinder provides a seal with the barrel to prevent gas leakage around the cylinder. So this is a threaded-barrel Nagant-type revolver, right?”

The Nagant revolver fitted with a homemade can; also a suppressed revolver, but not the same thing.
It’s a suppressed revolver, but not an internally suppressed one: this one’s a Nagant fitted with a homemade can.

Nope. In fact there is no silencer to attach to the barrel. The sound and flash of each round is fully contained within the cartridge case. Inside the case is a piston. After firing the piston seals the cartridge’s neck. This eliminates the noise, smoke and flash by acting as a barrier after the round is touched off. In essence, each round acts as its own silencer.

Note: don’t confuse the OTs-38 or a silencer-equipped Nagant (both wheelguns), with the Pistolet Beschumnyj: all three are Commie guns, but the latter is an integrally suppressed semi-auto.

This particular round was designed to be effective at up to 100′ and the sound signature is said to be at 110 dB with no muzzle flash. It is a rimless cartridge and fed via moon clips.

“Ah hah, but in the intro, you said it was 7.62. That’s a rifle round. Is this the only error you made?”

The bullet diameter is 7.62mm. The overall case length is 42mm. So it’s slightly longer than an empty piece of brass from your AK or SKS (39mm), but unlike those rounds, there is no bottleneck; it’s pretty much a rimless straight wall case. The other unique concept here is that the cylinder opens out on the right-hand side of the revolver as opposed to the left.

Suppressed Nagant revolver

Suppressed revolver courtesy of Tamara Keel of "View from the porch."
These images of a suppressed wheelgun are courtesy of Tamara Keel, View from the Porch.

That is about the only thing that makes no sense to us in the design of the OTs-38 Stechkin. It has been said that this has to do with the nature of the cartridge cases and alignment with the barrel that is mounted in line with the bottom chamber of the cylinder.

Stechkin OTs-38 on display.

The principle behind the ammunition, however, was designed by the people who literally went to the moon, or at least helped out in some way. AAI (Aircraft Armaments, Inc.) Corporation located in Hunt Valley, Maryland, designed ammunition based on this principle almost fifty years earlier for use with the Quiet Special Purpose Revolvers (QSPR), a modified S&W Model 29 that fired suppressed in the tunnels of Vietnam.

Unfortunately, we will probably never see this revolver or its ammunition available in America. It’s not that common in Russia either, as less than 300 of these were made between 2002 and 2012.

It goes to show that even if a firearm description sounds weird, wrong or flat out stupid, it may still be something real and valid.

Do you prefer shooting suppressed? Read up on suppressor-compatible holsters

Read more on the Historical Firearms blog

 

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Mike Searson

Mike “the Mook” Searson is a veteran writer who began his career in firearms at the Camp Pendleton School for Destructive Boys at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire life, writing about guns and knives for numerous publications and consulting with the film industry on weapons while at the same time working as gunsmith and ballistician. Though seemingly a surly curmudgeon shy a few chromosomes at first meeting, Searson is actually far less of a dick and at least a little smarter than most of the Mad Duo’s minions. He is rightfully considered to be not just good company, but actually fit for polite company as well (though he has never forgotten his roots as a rifleman trained to kill people and break things, and if you look closely you’ll see his knuckles are still quite scabbed over from dragging the ground). You can learn more about him on his website or follow him on Twitter, @MikeSearson.


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2 thoughts on “A Suppressed Revolver That’s Not a Nagant : OTs-38

  • October 21, 2019 at 7:43 pm
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    wish for more detail on cartridge – maybe a cross section & detail of how works …

    Reply
  • June 29, 2019 at 4:18 pm
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    Well we had suppressed S&W MOD 10’s in Viet Nam. They were used mostly by tunnel rats. This was in the 60’s so it s nothing new.

    Reply

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